Season 1 finale: A Conversation with Stephen Green, Luke Kanies, and Mara Zepeda,

[00:00:05] Kristen: Hi welcome back to upright and better, the podcast where we talk about growing businesses up and to the right and up and better. On this show it’s not just about scaling for scaling sake, it’s about making organizations that deliver value to everyone involved. I’m your host Kristen Gallagher.

[00:00:28] All right good morning everybody. I’m super excited to have Stephen Green, Luke Kanies and Mara Zepeda here with me. All of them have been interviewed on the podcast before. We’ve all had actually a pretty long episode. I think it correlates all of you have had the longest episodes too. So that should say Something.

[00:00:47] Luke: If the goal is being short or probably…

[00:00:49] Kristen: Probably not going to work out. Yeah I’m sure it’ll be fine though. Well we’ll figure it out. But I don’t want to introduce you the same way because everybody has probably heard about you so I want to hear what you have been up to lately and we’ll take a volunteer who wants to get started first?

[00:01:04] Luke: I’m happy go first because it’s easy for me and it’s low pressure. So I spent the last year or so it was just around a year ago that I stepped down from puppet and I spent most of that last year doing personal R&D and investing in really understanding what I care about. And I… as part of that I spent two months traveling the U.S. park system with my family in a converted sprinter van and the reading I was doing around that and thinking I was doing really helped double down on the question of like what really matters to me. And if I were to say I have a passion for something what would it be? What am I willing to or able to commit to another decade of my life at? And that question is… it’s answerable in very different ways at different stages of your life. If you’re a person who has no cash and no relationship and no equity in any real sense.

[00:01:53] Kritsen: Can do anything you want.

[00:01:54] Luke: Well the answer to that question you know in some ways has a lot more valid answers and you don’t have to dig as deeply. But when you replace words like well OK I’ve got actually a lot of relationship equity, I’ve got a lot of opportunities, I’ve got a platform that I certainly didn’t have when I started puppet, and it’s not perfect infinite platform to do anything but it’s something that allows me to do way more than I could before. And so the question of what can you do what should you do, In some ways it’s harder to answer because the opportunities aren’t… It’s not necessarily obvious what the opportunities are right when it’s like oh no I need to eat. Then you’re like OK kind of limits what I what I can focus on but what it’s like OK well I know I need to eat but I have other things I could do. That’s the thing that I’ve been really delving into and I certainly don’t have an answer but it’s been an interesting study.

[00:02:40] Kritsen: Yeah. Hey we can talk a little about it this episode.

[00:02:43] Luke: That’d be great.

[00:02:45] Kristen: Mara?

[00:02:46] Mara: I have been…

[00:02:50] Luke: Embarrassing all of us pretty I think.

[00:02:54] Kristen: Pretty much.

[00:02:55] Mara: I suppose that if I were to think about what I’ve been up to logistically you know it’s just keeping up with everything. But what I’ve been up to see thematically is thinking a lot about scale. Just it’s almost like going through whiplash. The best way to describe it every day and some days it feels tennable and other days it feels like it’s coming apart at the seams. I think everyone probably feels that. You know I think you go on the Internet and there’s this sense that you’re just drinking from a firehose of other people’s emotions and that can become… you can just end up getting infected by this feeling and how your day, your day can get totally derailed.

[00:03:33] And then on the other hand it’s been getting really clear and identifying the type of work within the community that I find gratifying and soul nourishing and important and validating and that it’s making a difference. And that scale is just tiny it’s tiny. It’s like dozens of people maybe. And Portland is such a special place for having the opportunity to create, that community is here I call it sort of… my husband and I lived in Florence and living in Portland feels like living in Florence during the Renaissance. I imagine the people here are just incredible. So I think for me thing magically it’s been toggling between this micro-scale of this incredibly affectionate, motivated, talented community where we can get so much done and there’s so much potential in Portland and also in the state of Oregon and then switching to this kind of macro scale that is completely overwhelming and unsustainable on so many different levels.

[00:04:30] So that going back and forth between the big and the small is something that I’ve been grappling with at all the projects that I’ve been working on right now.

[00:04:38] Kristen: Stephen?

[00:04:39] Stephen: So for me I think you know I think it’s been about probably 90 days since I did part of my podcast episode and life happens. There’s been some tremendous ups some tremendous downs.

[00:04:53] You know and just the last 90 days laid off from my job an amazing you know community that in pitch black and seeing people come together.

[00:05:03] Luke: It was so shocking to have the awesome pitch black followed almost immediately by the Exclamation Point laying off.

[00:05:08] Stephen: It was like it was literally 48 hours later and all the while like we you know my wife and I dealt with the cancer scare and you know to face that 90 days where you’re… you know I tend to be a pretty forward thinking positive person and thinking about you know five years or two years ahead. What’s the game plan. And to get a call or to get an e-mail one day and think that you know you may be thinking six months or eight month chunks. It is shocking. But also I think being on this side of it reinvigorating and I really value the relationships I have with people so much more now and I think I think I valued them prior to that. But now especially I just I think I’m I’m super duper present and my North Star has never been more clear than now. And so you know I’m excited about what the future holds and I know it’s going to be something around pouring in to community doubling down on community and really strengthening the fabric of kind of the things that bring us together here in Portland in the region.

[00:06:17] Luke: And on that note actually on the note of perspective you know one of the things that’s affected me and most people I’ve talked to is the loss of Sam Blackman who was somebody who most of us or all of us knew and you know he looked up to in various ways but also saw as you know I certainly took for granted the assumption that he was going to continue to continue to contribute and change his contribution over time and to have that change suddenly both left this gaping hole in the political landscape, the technology landscape, the leadership landscape, but also a lot of people’s personal landscapes and I know everyone I’ve talked to it’s caused a huge amount of reflection because he really was at his peak at the point where he could do so much more. That’s again the platform he had was it was fantastic.

[00:06:58] So you know on that note of perspective it’s it’s been it’s been a heavy input to that for the last couple weeks it has been and I think what I’m hearing common in all of your and all of your voices is the questions of what are the big questions and what are the little questions and maybe we swap that definition sometimes that though the bigger questions are actually how do we work with a dozen people or the community. How do we use that platform a little bit better especially given the political landscape that we have.

[00:07:28] Kristen: Knowing that you know not to be defeatist but we may not be able to make changes that are, you know the top scale changes we may be able to make the changes at a smaller scale which interestingly may have more effect to us so I think that’s what I’ve been learning a lot about in my own business and in my own community involvement. The past 90 days past you know six months.

[00:07:52] We started this podcast and in early 2017 so there’s been a lot of growth and it’s been very interesting to have different voices in my ear every other week and learn about how they’re asking these questions because the the goal of the podcast is to question whether or not we’re going up and to the right the right way. And in what ways are we supposed to be according to the kind of startup canon in the business canon. In what ways could we do that better and better mean so many different things to people. And it can mean on this community level.

[00:08:25] I think what I would like to know too from you all is is as you reflect about this past year what do you think a better business is these days what is a better business in terms of people and scale and profit as you’re trying to build something or whether it’s a business or an organization you’re trying to build that thing. How do you build it better?

[00:08:48] Mara: Something that I’ve been thinking a lot about is seasonality. And seasonality isn’t really accounted for in the startup mindset. So this notion that you’re going to have exponential growth month over month. You know month over month revenue and growth as the month is what you’re always talking about.

[00:09:05] My businesses is in higher education. And so that means that you have to look at the calendar year in a completely different way and it’s very seasonal so spring you know is this time where you’re kind of coming out of the muck and you’re growing and there’s this sense of you know this full push to the end of the year and then you have summer where you know people want to be outside and they want to explore and then fall where there’s this time of sort of reaping what you’ve harvested in spring and then winter of this time of contemplation and some of the reading that I’ve been doing around sustainable business.

[00:09:36] You by definition build in and start to account for times of contraction and reflection. So there’s this notion that you’re going in and out of sort of external outward push energy and then internal reflective energy and businesses that I look up to and sustainable businesses have this model of expansion and contraction and the contraction is equally necessary for expansion and that seasonal metaphor and the reflection of those two different energy types is something that I am now thinking about constantly because it’s just not, it’s not talked about. I mean the notion of contraction in business is anathema, right.

[00:10:15] You would you would not be killing it if you were doing that, but you might be caring for yourself and your team and your community and so much else in the process of that reflection.

[00:10:25] Kristen: That’s so top of mind for me right now because the way that my business has grown in the past nine months is expansion expansion expansion. But I haven’t necessarily paid, for all that I talk about and ask people about on this podcast, I haven’t necessarily paid attention to that seasonality or paid attention to you know for lack of a better term the care that it takes to run and feed and manage the, not just the people in the business, but the clients, and the family, and all of the people around it.

[00:10:56] Not, just to mention that you know service based businesses are seasonal people have fiscal years and things change and they need to get rid of budget or they don’t have any budget or you know even if you’re trying to constantly move forward without paying attention to that then you are almost forgetting why you’re running into certain barriers. You’re like, “Why is this happening?” Well if you had paid attention- I’m saying this almost to myself if you’d paid attention to what was going on in the business ecosystem then maybe you wouldn’t be doing that or maybe you don’t have to work so hard over and over again to jump a barrier. You could just wait a couple of months.

[00:11:34] Luke: I find the concept of a better business is challenging and a lot of ways. And I think, I’m, I think that I’m mentally broken in a couple of strange ways and one of them is that I struggle with ever accepting a definition of good or better or things that smell of altruism. I because I grew up in a commune because I grew up with a huge amount of useless lefty people and I’m incredibly lefty, but at the same time I am allergic to anything that doesn’t that I can’t say here is the concrete effect it will have and anything that doesn’t feel like that is essentially a philanthropic donation in my mind as opposed to in and I’m not saying this is rational or good I’m just saying I understand my brain well enough to recognize this behavior. And I’ve I’ve worked on a lot. But it’s still there.

[00:12:26] And so when I think about a better business I always what I have found as a tool for me is there are if I look at the world through the lens of the rest opportunities and say How can I build a business that does its people right that does all of its constituents rights or does its investors right, of course. But more important does its employees right. Because of those those do have to be your first constituent, does its customers right, does the community around it right.

[00:12:57] But as a business how can I build a business that is addressing, through the opportunity its chosen to address, can have a more positive impact in whatever ways I define matter than other ways and for me at least there are a few things that I have gotten to the bottom of that question of what matters to you? And the things that matter to me most I know now are I have to help people improve their personal lives.

[00:13:26] I dont I don’t get any satisfaction from making an executive or a managers team perform better. It does nothing for me but if I talk to the individuals in the team and they say I’m doing work I’m doing better work that makes me makes me happier and I’m more relaxed at the end of the day more fulfilled in the day than that makes me happy. I look back at puppet it and say the things that made me happiest were never selling to executives. It was selling as this happens and this just happens. I have a job today because of the software you built. I stayed in this job and I shifted who I was and what I did because the work you do.

[00:13:59] So taking people at the front line improving their work product and as a result improving their life satisfaction. And when you look around the market and say how many people out there who could be more valuable and not because their work is more you know but you invest in them and you allow them to invest in themselves you build tools to make them better to turn them into super users and there’s the answer is there’s a ton right.

[00:14:25] Look at what are the unaddressed economic opportunities in our world today where there are people who are fantastic people who haven’t been unlocked and especially the world of software, those people don’t exist that way as well and not if you ask the world of software as the role of venture capital. Janitors don’t exist right the entire cleaning staff the entire construction staff. You’re like you know how much work is, right, all that stuff doesn’t exist right? There’s no, there’s no value, there’s no software opportunity in that world if you ask the world of VC.

[00:14:54] But in my opinion almost by definition of both how many people are there, and how great those people really are. Because it’s not like they’re worse people because you know it’s not that they’re not there because they’re limited in some way. They’re mostly limited in opportunity or because they love what they do and a lot of cases you know mention the kitchen. And also it’s a great opportunity because everyone thinks it’s boring. And to me the best opportunities are those that everyone else thinks are stupid.

[00:15:20] And I like it because it means you’ve got about five years before the market realizes it’s a good idea. So that’s really when I think about a better business it’s one where you can build a great business where you can also build a business where all the constituents look up and say I’m thrilled to be associated with this business in some way.

[00:15:36] Kristen: It makes me think about something that a friend of mine here in Portland Amelia Bray who talks about a lot which is the ethics of care and that we don’t have care in the, I use the term startup canon earlier, but if you are building a startup that’s not, you know there’s no part on your business plan- There’s no question that your investor is going to ask you about how much you care about your employees or the people who make the food that you spend a lot of money on for your employees.

[00:16:06] Luke: There was an amazing article in The Times recently about two janitors one working at Google and one who had worked at Kodak I think. And and she’d be the one at Kodak was an employee and direct promotion through the corporation became the CTO. And the one at Google of course is like three steps removed from being an employee of Google. That person is an hourly worker at an agency that Google probably doesn’t even directly contract with they contract to a third party. That contractor is never going to get a fulltime job. Google much less a full time job at an executive role.

[00:16:37] Kristen: Right. And that’s their way of limiting how much health insurance you have to pay for and how many other things that you can slim off of your bottom line so that you can continue to seek the revenue that you seek rather than to care for the people that are building your revenue for you.

[00:16:54] Stephen I’m curious what’s been on your mind lately.

[00:16:58] Stephen: You know being someone who is a recovering banker and venture capitalists I’ve always I’ve always been fortunate that my financial career I’ve always been able to sit down with you know really successful and sometimes not successful entrepreneurs and hear about you know from 20 years downstream. What’s really important. And people always share two things. One is balance. I would give up a third of this company right now to have been there for prom football games all of those things.

[00:17:27] Luke: Do you to get to the kids proms, isn’t that creepy?

[00:17:30] Kristen: That might be weird…

[00:17:41] Stephen: That’s a bad analogy, soccer games!

[00:17:41] (crosstalk, laughter.)

[00:17:41] Stephen: And then the second thing I always hear is people said they wish they would have started earlier. “I wish I hadn’t have gone the proper route and done a full career.” “I wish I would have taken that idea that I had at 18, and I didn’t put into action until I was 38 or whatever and done something with it” and the power of showing up.

[00:18:00] Luke: Just starting right?

[00:18:02] Stephen: Right! I mean that’s ninety nine percent of being a founders is managing- You know just fake it till you make it. And I always say that being an entrepreneur means you’re smart enough to know something is a good idea but dumb enough not to say no. And that’s what it takes to enter the door. And you know we we all get help along the way. I think one of the things that dawns on me as I talk to early stage founders is no one starts a business saying oh I want to manage a team of people, right? My goal is to be a leader, right? And they never do. Solve a problem, be smart, or whatever

[00:18:37] Kristen: We’re all product people.

[00:18:40] Stephen: Right. And so it’s fascinating to me to see that’s where people really really struggle is the people side of things. I have a friend and in venture capital down in the Bay Area and whenever they interview teams for foreign investment they bring them into the office and they actually have them interact with either the janitor or someone low level that it shouldn’t be important to them at all. Right. The classic go to meal and see how they treat you how they see how they treat the person that they don’t have to treat well. And I think that says a lot about someone who is a leader of a team of how you model that stuff. When you’re when you’re talking to the janitor when you’re talking to someone you don’t have to be nice to.

[00:19:21] Luke: I always relied incredibly heavily on my assistants perspective and she always surveyed everyone around who interacted especially executives because executives are really good at managing up and there are a bunch of them who have never had to manage down they’ve never had to figure out how to make people who again, as you put it theoretically it shouldn’t matter to them shouldn’t have to matter. And being able to have somebody observe all that and who is trusted by all the people to go get opinions and then you know really using that to trim who you bring into your organization. It’s a huge task.

[00:19:53] Kristen: I have thoughts on some of the stuff that Stephen said and thought and stuff Luke said. But there are two two assistants and operations managers and clients that I have that I got if I could hire them immediately I would because they’re they know everything about this business and it’s a huge business and you know it’s like that’s where the truth is going to come from from the people that take the time to talk to every single person on their team and to understand why they’re about to quit or what’s going on. So I think that that test of you know how do you treat people that that might not technically matter to you or shouldn’t matter to you is a really good one.

[00:20:34] Luke: Actually on that note, real quick one of the things that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about. And honestly I think some people in this room helped spark this thought but also Malia and I spent a lot of time talking about how why why do something businesses have to fail in the venture capital model. And I’ve been because one of the things that I’m I’ve concluded is I’m much more likely to start a finance company than a software company. Meaning I want to start a company that build software companies and so one model that is a fund but there are other models too. And I’m leaning towards what apparently is called a studio model where you know I’m finding a small piece but really it’s about generating companies.

[00:21:09] And I’ve been thinking a lot about how you instead of moving from a world where in nine out of 10 fail or seven out of 10 fail and two out of 10 return money and then one out of ten is your big win. How do you what happens or what options what tiles exist to help move to world where probability is a failure is lower but overall returns are either the same or close to the same. Because I think we always say oh well you have to have this number of failures to get the returns but that’s not really the case. It’s just the model that’s that’s evolved over time.

[00:21:36] And one of the things that’s really stuck out I know two women locally who have sold significant portion of their companies is to Vista equity and I’ve been talking to them about Vista’s model and Vista has what appear to be two really significant things they invest in when they walk in the door the first one is we assume that you’re young growing company is not good at operations which is absolutely the case with pretty much everyone. Partially because I don’t think our modern business understands what operations is. I don’t think anybody I’ve never talked to somebody who is really good at it in a growing business.

[00:22:07] But the second so they come and they say we’ve got a playbook and you can run this playbook and we’re going to do most of it for you so you don’t have to even become an expert in it we’re just going to walk in and we’re going to make you ten times better operations out of the gate. Which is amazing. The second thing is they invest heavily in people. And what they mean by that isn’t the standard we’re going to send you to a lot of training and blahblahblah. What they mean is they consider the success of the people involved in the organization as critical to the success of the organization and they invest in that the same way as if you said hey this product is critical for us. How much money are we spending on it right. If you say my people are my best asset but how much money are you spending. How what are you doing to ensure they are the thing that succeeds. Right if you consider them failure modes.

[00:22:46] And so one of things I’ve been thinking a lot about in terms of building that better business is how can a model built on the assumption that we don’t want you to fail right. We want to help you succeed. But because we know that you’re an ignorant entrepreneur who has a you know a bright shining light you’re running out but not much else to go for. How can we help ensure that you will succeed and surround you with skills and assets and playbooks that work on yes on operations yes on how to build a product and how to ship technology and how to sell and build a marketing and sales funnel.

[00:23:21] But also on how to build a team and how to think about the team and how to interact with your founders if it founders no longer getting along as one of the major sources of startup failure. Isn’t that a thing you can manage. I’ve had it. I’ve worked with many big investors. I know a ton a ton of founders who have. I’ve never heard of one who said oh yeah they basically put us into like a six month coaching program that we had to spend 10 percent of our time on to ensure our success because it gave us $10 million shouldn’t. You know I’ve never heard of it. But to me you look back and you go in that like the most obvious way of ensuring success. And so you look at the fact that investors don’t invest in that again.

[00:23:57] General (indistinct) and it makes a really clear statement about their business model which doesn’t mean their models are wrong but it does present an economic opportunity to others who want to build a different model.

[00:24:07] Kristen: Steven you and I talked about this earlier this year I said you know maybe I should sell Edify’s services to investors right because investors want their companies to succeed and I can quickly draw the line between OK if you want better sales quotas failed then how about you enable your salespeople. Right and if you didn’t enable them with training what else can we enable them with. Right. But that and I draw you know a b c but it quickly goes from A to Z in most investors minds. And I you know I quickly put the brakes on that idea that you and I talked about. Maybe that’s the network that I need to be building rather than the CEOs and VPs of engineering because you know it just wasn’t making sense right.

[00:24:49] Luke: They say they care.

[00:24:50] Kristen: They say they care but you know you want to spend a measly ten thousand dollars on building up you know your engineering teams onboarding and they suddenly freak out. But you also want to remind them that they’ve got a 25 percent attrition rate you know I mean the money you said earlier you know how much money are you putting in to your people. You know if I tried to pull an H.R. budget from most of my clients it wouldn’t exist because they don’t have budgets. But if you go pull their marketing budget it’s multiple millions of dollars. Right. So you’re definitely working hard on something but it’s not your people.

[00:25:24] Stephen: Well I think the other thing is people always think you know pouring pouring gas on anything makes it better. Right so if we can just put money into it then it ought to get better as opposed to when you take a look at you know I love Dan Pink’s book Drive and he talks about what motivates people post the industrial revolution and that’s it’s not money. You actually get worse results when you try and pay people more.

[00:25:47] Luke: Try telling that to a sales leader though right.

[00:25:49] Kristen: That’s the different nut. I think there’s like something with no sales leaders listen but there’s like something wrong with that. It is.

[00:25:56] Stephen: But what I would say that the sales leader is you’re quantifying the wrong things and I agree that you should try and quantify because things that get measured get done, right?

[00:26:05] And I think there’s other things that you should be focusing on beyond just those unit metrics that you’ve you’ve been sold are the the the only way to go. And so you know I think about I got to listen to Barbara Cochran do a talk one time and she talked about growing her real estate business and she had one of her best performers this woman that went on to pick you know be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and she went to go visit her one day in her big office right by Central Park and as she walked in you know she’s looking at a $30000 table and all this great stuff.

[00:26:40] And behind this woman’s desk in this amazing ornate cabinet was this $5 award that Barbara gave her when she worked for her. And Barbara was like I wish I could have paid her more which didn’t have the money so I can put this cheesy idea of these awards for the people that were you know the leaders in the shop every quarter and here we were 15 plus years later and this woman’s got this cheesy award right there. And so you know just acknowledging people and saying the words I want to see grow and be better. Sometimes that’s better than putting them in the five day long class or training or whatever because most people never hear that.

[00:27:24] Kristen: Simply flipping your I mean to me one on one is the easiest way out rather than sending somebody who is training. I say how much do you talk in your one on one with your person. Oh wait you don’t have one on one. OK so that’s your first problem. All right step one- one on one. Step two if you’re talking 70 percent of the time you’re doing it wrong. Right.

[00:27:43] And so there’s there’s time for you to talk too but questioning the manager who probably also is freaked out of their mind to have to manage people because nobody ever taught them how to manage people in all of their managers were probably bad. I mean there’s some serious emotional baggage that I think we forget that people bring into the workplace and how are we offering people that opportunity just like I believe in you I hired you. I know that you can do this work. Let’s let’s go do this work how can I help you do it. So with that we’re, I want to wrap up a little bit but the last question I want to ask you is what’s one thing that you are going to take into 2018 from what you’ve learned this year.

[00:28:24] Luke: I can’t conceive of not taking the whole thing. I mean it’s it’s been a super weird year right? I think for probably for everyone at the table, it’s been a pretty weird year. Sounds like it’s been an inflection year for you and a lot of ways.

[00:28:37] It’s been a strange year for me because it’s felt kind of like retirement. But I know that I have to keep working but I’m afraid to start working again. And so I think the thing that I have to take in… the thing that I thing that I have to develop for next year is is not a direct answer to a question but I’m going to have to build up and carry into the year as opposed to think that I have is I have to, I always describe myself as the laziest person around. I don’t I like doing the least amount of work possible and I don’t really have a work ethic of it I don’t want work. I basically can’t.

[00:29:11] So I have to find that that clean line from where I am and what I’ve done and what I have the opportunity to do into a thing that I can invest in for a long time and that I think can make a difference in ways that will motivate me because I think a lot of things that should motivate me don’t. And so I have to find the things that do actually motivate me and will convince me to spend time away from our new kittens and my kids and my wife and my house and things like that.

[00:29:35] Stephen: You know if I’m talking to you know a founder or somebody is thinking about being a founder I guess there’s there’s really two things. One my life changed when I made a contract with my wife when we wrote down: These are the things that are untouchable no matter how busy we get no matter how we don’t miss these five or six things right and they don’t have to be big things whatever. And two great things happen when you pour into other people.

[00:30:01] I’ve been floored by the support that’s happened. You know losing my job. But also with pitch black people people get a lot out of helping other people and they want to do that. And and it’s, I hate seeing founders go and think they have to wear all the hats and do all the work and show that they’re the lone wolf when in actuality no one gets anything done by themselves even if they think they are they’re not they’re somebody removing a barrier for them somewhere and other people get a lot out of just helping you move down that path. And people shouldn’t be afraid of that. They should embrace that and find time while they’re really really busy with their startup to do that for other folks.

[00:30:39] Mara: Yeah I think to piggyback on that when I was at pitch black I was so blown away. I mean Stephen has just accomplished so much with that whole event is just beautiful just like so so beautiful. My God. And I think you know I had a really big mentality shift because suddenly you know these 12 or 13 black founders that were pitching and it became very clear that like the opposite mentality of what we’ve been holding had to apply for us to move forward which was we can’t afford for any of these to fail. You can’t afford churn anymore. You can’t afford this mentality of disposability, you can’t afford to treat people like trash and assume that there’s just this endless pipeline and pitch black was… just embodied this completely opposite ethos.

[00:31:29] And what I’m seeing and I think but I’m feeling is every opportunity that we have to care more and to support one another and to really show up and to be there for each other is what we have to be doing in this time. And so it is the total opposite of the ethos that we have around that disposed around just the cadence of everything that surrounds us. You know how fast your Twitter feed goes how disposable things are. The culture of disposability has to be countered by the culture of care and that work takes so much self awareness and introspection and work on your self in order to actually manifest that into the world. And it’s it’s just work you have to do on yourself concurrently to trying to create this repair in the world as well.

[00:32:17] Kristen: So the big takeaway is everyone needs more counseling I think.

[00:32:21] (Laughter)

[00:32:21] Kristen: But I’m actually serious.

[00:32:23] One I think I also think people need to understand the scale of what they do. I was lucky last week to sit down with a former Marine and he talked about you know the most powerful thing in war is a grain of sand. And I was like what? And he was like All it takes to stop a weapon of mass destruction is one grain of sand. And it was a really powerful metaphor for me as he went through like you know if you get a grain of sand in your rifle or whatever you can do anything with it you’re done. You’re stripping down you’re doing all these other things just for this one little grain of sand and so it’s a really powerful thing when I think people feel like oh I have to be doing big stuff. No. Like just be that one little green and say and do one thing like say hi to somebody today give something you know show up at their event even if it’s for five minutes because you’ve got a ton things going on.

[00:33:14] Luke: And climbing that huge cliff in front of you is usually too frightening for people to step up and it’s too big of a thing to take. But if you can build a path of small steps then you can do way more. And of course because it’s small steps you need help and because you’ve got help you’re a bigger movement and all these things cascade in a way that just looking up the steep cliff and saying I can’t climb that you know.

[00:33:35] Kirsten: And I think as we close one thing that I’ve learned from all of you and especially some of the work that you’ve done Mara too is being patient and knowing too that not you won’t climb that mountain today. It will be a couple of years potentially or months or whatever the timeline is. I think there is an ethos that wants you to climb tomorrow and but knowing that you’re probably going to break your back and also ruin your relationship and all of these things will fall apart for you if you try to do that. So I think that’s sort of swimming the opposite direction can sometimes help in this. So with that I just want to say thank you again. And I’m so lucky that I get to live in the same city with all of you but thanks again for being here. We’ll talk again soon.

[00:34:24] Everyone overlapping: Thank you.

[00:34:28] That’s it for today. Thank you so much for joining us for another episode. If you’d like to ask a question or suggested guest e-mail me at hello@uprightandbetter.com. Till next time. Grow better.