DiscoverKarmic Capitalist Conversations - businesses with purpose
Karmic Capitalist Conversations - businesses with purpose
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Karmic Capitalist Conversations - businesses with purpose

Author: iyas alqasem

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Purpose, values AND profit. It's a heady mix for companies to aspire to today. In the Karmic Capitalist Conversations, we talk to CEOs, founders and advisors to businesses which put purpose and values at the heart of their commercial model. We dive into the nitty gritty of what it takes to make all of those things happen, as well as their stories so far. Some are starting the journey, others are a long way down it, and still others still are changing direction. But all are business leaders who believe that a successful businesses is defined by profit, purpose and values. And, oftentimes, fun.
10 Episodes
Purpose can be a real facilitator for growth and profitability. And in turn, growth increases  your ability to make impact, while profitability allows the business to serve at a higher level.It's a wonderfully virtuous cycle when you get it right.A beautiful case study of this is Hyphen8, a Salesforce consultancy with a focus on  thecharity and non-profit sector. As CEO Elaine Forth doubled down on the company's purpose and focussed in on its ops at the same time, they were able to both give more, and turn profitable.How much more? 16% pro-bono time for charities in 2020.This episode of the KarmicCapitalist podcast with Elaine is packed with founder and scale-up nuggets. Some of the key takeaways include:the importance of alignment between the founders on purpose and valueshow aligning business, marketing and ops with purpose both strengthens the business and allows it to contribute morehow embedding purpose in your sales and qualification processes is essential in times of peak demandthe importance as a leader of recognising areas where others may do better than you, and allowing them to do ithow focussing on just making things happen, rather than on gender, drove success for her in a world dominated by men (a lot of resonance here with the earlier episode with Jan Rippingale).Way too much to summarise. Listen in to this episode of the Karmic Capitalist on your preferred podcast platform.
This episode of #TheKarmicCapitalist podcast is so back-to-back full of real life, practical lessons that it was nigh-on impossible to fit it into our standard time limit.But that's no surprise. Neal Gandhi and his team have taken The Panoply from a standing start to a publicly listed, £1/4 of a billion company in less than 5 years.And done it by wearing purpose and values very visibly on their sleeves.There's tons here for anyone who wants to build around purpose and values. If you're doing it through M&A, this will be the best 40 minutes you spend today.Some of the key takeaways in this episode include:How rather than trying something he's not good it, he asked the question of how to turn what he *is* good at into doing good.How clarity of purpose and values helped get better M&A prospects, and moved the conversation to a more profound place than "buy at 3x, integrate at 5x".The careful thought into having values that balanced each other - the entrepreneurial and the conscious.How values helped The Panoply have clarity going in to the pandemic.It's tough to overstate how much sheer experience of a purpose-led company comes through in this episode.Bring a notepad.
"We'd like to fully electrify Africa by 2040, with renewable energy at its core".That's the vision that Tony Tiyou had when he set up Renewables in Africa (RiA), his engineering, consulting and media organisation. The trigger was seeing a satellite image showing the distribution of power across the planet, and seeing that Africa, was mostly veiled in darkness.There's a lot in this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, but 2 big lessons stood out for me for purpose-driven companies.First, the need to ensure economic viability for the company and fill a real demand. For RiA, revenue from engineering and consulting work helps fund the media platform, which serves the larger mission of sustainable electrification across the continent. Achieving that important social purpose in turn opens up a bigger market within which RiA can be a player.Second, if you're a startup or scaleup looking at a large transformation, then you need to identify and collaborate with the parties that can make it happen - in this instance, companies with a focus on technology, finance, engineering and resources.As well as, in RiA's case, enabling other solar entrepreneurs to take up the baton across the vast continent.Enjoy the episode - and apologies for my bad microphone!
Ben Brabyn's had a fascinating career across multiple touchpoints with entrepreneurship. He's ...set up and sold his own company;represented entrepreneurs for global investment at the DTI;headed Level39, London's biggest fintech entrepreneurship hub;created a company to connect entrepreneurs to people who wouldn't typically inhabit that world.This gives him unique insights that most founders don't get. And the beauty of it is that he openly and humbly shares these in a very thoughtful way.In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, Ben shares his stories and some of the things he's learned along the way.Such as the dangers of trying to revolutionise your sector without a deep balance sheet.Or the effectiveness and positive impact that can be made while building rationally, but selling to the heart.But I found the discussion around GenieShares especially interesting. How a simple (but not easy) task of giving away 1% of your share capital can be transformational for you, the recipient, and your company.And we never got to talk about the abseiling world record he broke with the Royal marines. Next time.Listen in to this thoughtful episode, and please rate the podcast once done.
Jan Rippingale's ambitions were never small. At an early age, Jan was looking first to be an astronaut, and then president. Ironically, working with John Glenn turned her ambitions away from this, and more towards using technology to create impact.Her chosen area of impact was our escalating carbon footprint. And her solution was to develop software that reduces the cost and complexity of rolling out solar. Specifically, software that if deployed at scale has the proven potential to eliminate half a billion tons of carbon emissions per annum.Some great lessons along the way. Some of my favourites:Her very practical way to assess the skills to focus her personal development on.The power of knowing your impact numbers in detail if you're to drive change.How giving away time and skill to large initiatives maximises impact and creates valuable contacts at a much higher level than you may otherwise access.That becoming the centre of gravity for the work she engaged in meant that success followed.Have fun, make money, create impact. In that order.An amazing origin story also of how it was a vision with her daughter that triggered and empowered her to change course and tackle one of the world's biggest problems.Fantastic episode. Enjoy.
Red Badger is one of the UK's most successful digital transformation agencies. Founded by 3 friends coming out of Conchango, a successful previous generation agency, they decided they wanted to do things better.At the heart of that ambition was to do two simple things. First, deliver significant change and impact to clients, and second to be a nourishing environment where the best people could go to elevate their careers.In this Karmic Capitalist podcast episode, I interview founder and CEO Cain Ullah. He shares the pivotal role that values had in the Red Badger success story. Including how not spending a huge amount of time articulating them early on it was the right thing to do!We talk about Red Badgers' values-based evolution towards a bigger mission and purpose, but the need to build it on the foundation of a financially sustainable platform. For Red Badger, that has involved the creation of the Mission Beyond initiative, which will bring the dynamism which the Badgers are famous for into the mission world. Specifically, the action-based laser focus of going from thought to action to impact that the Badgers which they regularly deliver to their clients.I really enjoyed going into the detail of what the Badgers actually do to embed values within their work.And Cain is just one of life's genuinely nice blokes!
As far as BHAGs go, Eliminating Global Healthcare Inequalities has got to be out there with the best.Though Alphalake being a British company, it's a little more modest."To work towards global health equality."This is just the fourth part of a strong mission, which aside from being a key part of founder Olly Cogan's aspiration, has had the unintended benefit of being a strong attractor for talented employees.This episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast ranges from the macro of where Capitalism may need some fixing, to the micro of how Alphalake prioritises between immediate and longer-term needs.Along the way, we take in some great comments ("Bill Gates didn't set up Microsoft with the Bill and Melinda foundation in minds. He probably set it up to make money and stuff it to IBM" is a personal favourite!), and dives a little into the tech of the opportunities for RPA and Microsoft Teams in healthcare.Olly closes with a great question as to why the NHS isn't viewed as this cool organisation to work in, given the level of dynamic thinking, innovation and problem solving that goes on underneath the glacial-moving reputation.Listen to this episode of a startup on its journey to achieving a great purpose.
Many CEOs call their companies "people companies". Occasionally they mean it!Far more occasionally still, it translates into every sinew of a company's being.Answer Digital comes about as close as you can get within the tech consulting sector. I don't know what perks they offer, or if they've latched on to the latest must-shout-about people-pleasing fad. But I do sense they've embedded values through the whole organisation.And that's right from graduates who join their academy. Their coding skills will grow for sure. But they're also going to be asked to present what the company's values mean to them in front of their colleagues.A tough ask, but it starts the process of connecting the team's day-to-day work to the company's values and the outcomes they create for their clients.... and it seems to work, as 40% of the company's employees are academy graduates!But way bigger than that is how founders Gary and Katie Parlett shunned high offers from trade and private equity and chose instead to put the company into an Employee Owned Trust.EOTs aren't always the best answer. But they were to retain Answer's culture.So my latest episode of the Karmic Capitalist talks to co-founder Gary Parlett about growing a successful, truly people-first digital transformation and IT consultancy.
Peter Tiszavolgyi's company, Stylers Group, started with a couple of mates at uni in Budapest. It's grown into a 50+ person company that is Deepak Chopra's digital partner in San Diego.Not your typical trajectory from a recently ex-Communist country.In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast, Peter shares some of the lessons which have served him well. Including:Getting serious about your friends and your network is essential, and the importance of it should be taught from school.Believing that he can get the best out of people means that he usually can.The underestimated importance of luck, but how essential it is to be there when it happens.Why talking to your team about how and when they leave you is important.The power and giveaways of observing people's habits.Not wanting 2 Ferraris!This is a wonderfully heart-warming story of how to build a 50 person agency from scratch while keeping your values front and centre.Tune in and subscribe for stories of business leaders at various parts of their journeys to businesses that are human and profitable.
Eric Edmeades is a master story-teller. This week's episode of the Karmic Capitalist isn’t just packed full of sage moments, but is just... plain... fun. From parents rebelling against apartheid in South Africa, to blowing things up for a living, to taking on the food industry - it’s one heck of a ride.Adventure, purpose and business success. Eric has grown and turned around significant businesses in tech, in AV, in nutrition, in business consulting and more.When you’re able to turn your hand to, and succeed in, such a diverse portfolio of sectors, there’s clearly something at work. For Eric, much of this comes down to the gifts he gave himself - of health, of communication and economic liberty. Gifts which, not so incidentally,  he's build businesses to share with others.But it also comes down to creating companies that have a clear sense of values and mission. And then get the team behind the mission. Including the unbelievable trick of getting your accountants impassioned by it (sorry to any of my accounting friends for the indirect stereotype!).Find the Karmic Capitalist podcast on Spotify, iTunes or Google. And listen in to this fun conversation with a values-driven and serially successful entrepreneur. Enjoy the ride with Eric. And you're welcome!
A near-death accident led Marc to get serious on life while his friends were "getting drunk and smoking wacky backy".  Getting serious on life for Marc showed up in how he injected purpose in his startup years from very early on. It showed up in a belief that there's a lot more to business than the cash.Though to be fair, having your first company founded as a teenager go to $50m is also not bad in the cash stakes.Marc is a serial entrepreneur. We talk about the path from purpose to strategy to action, and how doing it repeatedly for his own businesses turned into his doing it with others for their businesses.We also touch on Covid and the current business environment. He takes a leaf out of Drucker's book that “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”Within the context of the pandemic, we discuss some of the tensions company leaders face between their instinctive response to a downturn and the best ways to respond.For example, Marc opines that while the instinctive reaction to a downturn is to  broaden out your offer and try to sell everything in an effort to drive income, the reality is that narrowing focus will drive cash flow.We also discuss, as we've seen with many corporates, how leaning into your values in times of crisis actually helps you grow rather than compromise cash flow.A lot of really interesting real stories in Marc's trajectory to repeated values-centric business growth and success. Enjoy.
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