Naphtali Visser Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Naphtali Visser
Naphtali Visser is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is a man who currently runs a company called “Humans Working”, focused on 1-on-1 coaching with executives and managers; team-based (or even company-wide) workshops; and ongoing support, to help companies build loyalty and create environments that people love working in.
A concept that is born within the Join Up Dots story that we will bring to you today.
In 1997, when he was 24, he started an Internet software consulting company.
While he knew that it’d be fun to create software in the early days of the Internet, his primary goal when starting the company was to create a fun atmosphere — a clubhouse if you will — that people would love coming to every day.
They had a successful business for four years, not breaking any records, but they were profitable, provided very competitive salaries, great benefits, and a really fun atmosphere.
Can all good things last?
How The Dots Joined Up For Naphtali
Well of course we hope that will always be the case, but in the case of our guest it wasn’t to be (at least not in the short term)
After four years, their biggest client, because their promised second round of funding didn’t materialize, went out of business.
With no money in the company bank account, less than $500 to his name, and a payroll of $40,000 due in 2 days, it was clearly time to shutter the doors.
He summoned the team (of 10 guys at the time) to the conference room, and with tears, told them that I loved them, that we’d had a great run, but it was time to go home.
And that is where we will start todays show, as there is nothing like a good cliffhanger to hook you from the start.
So is it wise to look at the environment before anything else or is this going to lead to less productive, professional staff?
And what was the biggest learning that he has taken away from the journey so far?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Naphtali Visser
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Naphtali Visser such as:
How he managed to negotiate an amazing raise for all his employees when in fact the majority of the market place were looking for redundancies.
Why Naf is a big exponent of the quiet mind. A problem will never resolve it self by thinking too much about the problem. Let the answer come to you.
Why creativity is a major part of building amazing morale changes within a company, as long as we allow for mistakes to occur naturally. Allow staff to feel they are part of the business and not just employees.
And relax, stay calm and allow things to happen naturally in your life. Relaxed action is always the best way to achieve greatness.
How To Connect With Naphtali Visser
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here– enjoy
Full Transcription Of Naphtali Visser Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello there. Good morning listeners of Join Up Dots. How are you? How are you feeling good, I hope you’re feeling motivationally charged because we were going to try and deliver a show that really will will get you running into your offices if you’re in an office and saying to your employers, there’s a better way of operating it doesn’t have to be like this. We can enjoy ourselves. We can we can channel our passions into more creativity and more productivity and just love it just love it. Because today’s guest has been on a bit of a journey and he now he currently runs a company called humans working focused on one on one coaching with exactly tapes and managers, team based or even company wide workshops and ongoing support to help companies build loyalty and create environments that people love working in Yes, a concept that is born within the Join Up Dots story that we will bring to you today. Now in 1997, when he was 24, he started an internet software consulting company. While he knew that it’d be fun to create software in the early days of the internet, his primary goal when starting a company was to create a fun atmosphere, a clubhouse, if you will, that people would love coming to every day they had a successful business for four years, not breaking any records, but they were profitable provided very competitive salaries, great benefits, and a really fun atmosphere can all good things last? Well, of course, we hope that will always be the case. But in the case of our guests, it wasn’t to be at least not in the short term. After four years their biggest client because of their promise second round of funding didn’t materialise went out of business and with no money in the company bank account, less than 500 to his name and a payroll of 40 grand jus in two days. It was clear Time to shutter the doors and get a bit stressed as well imagine the team of 10 guys at the time to the conference room and with tears told him that he loved them that they’ve had a great run, but it was time to go home. And that is where we will start today’s show as there is nothing like a good cliffhanger to hooky from the star. So is it wise to look at the environment before anything else? So is this going to lead to less productive professional stuff? And what was the biggest learning that he’s taken away from the journey so far? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up dots with the one and only Naphtali Visser good morning. Naph how are you?
Naphtali Visser [2:38]
I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me. It is great to have you here.
David Ralph [2:42]
But I tell you what, that is a cliffhanger. And we we could go into about nine episodes on this. But that was a that was a good lead up. So let’s get straight into it. You go into the boardroom, you say to your guys, it’s been a good one. We can’t do it anymore. What happened?
Naphtali Visser [2:59]
Yeah, so they were There were We were 10 guys at the time and all sort of 20 something programmers, not the most loquacious guys ever, you know, they were pretty quiet usually. And whenever we had a meeting, they usually wouldn’t say much of anything. So here I am standing in front of them, practically crying, and they’re just kind of all sitting there stunned a bit, that I’ve told them to go home, there’s no other option. And so, one guy at the table who kind of had a reputation as being a bit of a wise ass, he said, I’ll stay. And I didn’t really know if he was being a wiseass, or if he was being nice, or what was going on. And I kind of just blew them off. And I said, you know, thanks for your thanks for your kindness, but whatever. And then the next guy at the table said, Yeah, I’ll stay too. And then the next guy said, Yeah, you’ll you’ll come up with something you always do. And basically one at a time. They all said we’ll stay. So we’re not going anywhere. And, you know, I was just kind of dumbfounded. I didn’t really know what it meant. I didn’t know if they were all just sort of wrapped up in the adrenaline of the moment of everybody else saying they’d stay. And I said, Alright guys, I don’t, I don’t really know what this means. I don’t really know what there is to do. But if that’s what you guys want, whatever, let’s just see what happens. And so the next day, sure enough, 9am they all showed up as if you know, business as usual. And for two months, they all work for free. And to be quite honest, I’m not exactly sure what they did. But I do know that we sent out dozens of proposals. And long story short, in this two month period, we got our biggest contract ever, so quite a bit bigger than any other contract we’ve gotten in the four years prior. And because of that, we were able to find a buyer for our company, kind of a similarly sized company that that acquired ours and in the sale of the company. The only things that I negotiated were that everybody had to come along as, as a group, they couldn’t cherry pick who they wanted to come along. And that everybody had to get a raise, which, at the time was kind of crazy because it was, it was right before 911. And there was a lot of layoffs, even programmers were getting laid off left and right. So the, you know, they said, if you want people to get a raise, you’re out of your mind. And in a moment of inspiration, I just kind of said, well, that’s, you know, that’s kind of the deal and you need me more than I need you, which was obviously not true, but that was what had to be done for everybody to get a raise. So that’s what happened. And since then, this was quite a while ago now But since then, I that’s that that story that experience, if you will, was so transformational for me that I just have really wanted to help companies. See What it is that they can do to create environments like this. So combining that experience with a lot of learning that I’ve had since then, and my other experiences in much larger organisations have kind of come up come up with a plan or a process, which is actually sort of an anti process, if you will, to help companies kind of create environments like this.
David Ralph [6:23]
Well, what was fantastic about that story, and it was only many paths that I want you to jump in, was the fact that you stood there and you said, there’s no other choice. And your guys said, you always come up with something. Now, years down the line, do you sort of go when actually yeah, I think there always is because building a business is hard. There’s no getting away from it. And we all had those moments when we’re sitting somewhere and we’ve got a beer in front of us. I’m thinking, I don’t know what to do next. I just don’t know what to do. And I always say a story that I heard with the Beatles when the Beatles were right at the beginning and they were going from rubbish clubbing. You The United Kingdom to rubbish club and they were being ferried around in a rubbish van. One of them used to get depressed, maybe two of them would get depressed. But somebody would always say something will happen and it always did. They say there was always something that would come along. Do you see that differently? Now? Would you have stood in that room now with your experience and go? There is no other choice? Or would you have gone? Look, guys need your help? Let’s brainwave. Let’s see if we can get something going.
Naphtali Visser [7:28]
Yeah, I think now I definitely see the power of having a quiet mind. Right. So when this thing was going on, it just felt like the world was, you know, closing in on me at a very, very rapid pace. And my head was spinning and there was just no way to sink my way out of it right now as you know, a programmer, software engineer, entrepreneur, whatever. You know, I’d like to think that I’m relatively clever and I can sort of think my way out of anything. And the thing that I think that I’ve recognised most since then is that you can’t and in fact, it’s the opposite. Right? The more that your mind is quiet, the more that something is going to show up and where that shows up from I mean, that’s, that’s just way above my paygrade. But I’ve, I have come to recognise that it does show up consistently, when when you allow yourself to be quiet, and this can be in technical problems. You know, if when I was writing software a lot, you know, sometimes I would just think that the problem I was working on was impossible to figure out and then once I got started, it just became really easy. You know, it was like, I don’t know, and again, where that comes from, who knows, but who cares. I just, you know, I just have come to trust the system a whole lot more.
David Ralph [8:47]
Well, let’s play some words that really emphasise that we’re going to ram that home, that quiet mind, he’s Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey [8:53]
The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the new Next, right move, not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. But what is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Naphtali Visser Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you, because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [9:25]
So she talks about being quiet, but I see that as a problem. But for many of my listeners out there, they are listening to podcasts, or they’re commuting to jobs that they don’t like, and they’re looking for inspiration, motivation to change direction, but there’s like there’s too much choice out there and I don’t know they can’t, they can’t find the answer. Now in your website, which I was looking at you quite openly saying that the answer is always within you. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a company or a person, the answers you’ve got to work inside out to get there is a solar system. One step process that somebody can use on themselves Nath before they actually go in and try to change a company, is it better to do the individual first when the company or the company when the individual?
Naphtali Visser [10:12]
So you’re asking sort of for an executive and owner of a company?
David Ralph [10:17]
Anyone? Anyone out there if I if I want to transform their life in a way, did I always have to start inside out and on the biggest sense with individuals in a company? Does it still start with individuals before a company can change?
Naphtali Visser [10:32]
Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think the distinction that I want to make is that there isn’t a way to start inside out or outside and if you will, what what I’m sort of describing is just how the system works, meaning, we’re always creating our realities from the inside out. It’s just what’s happening. So, you know, it’s kind of like gravity, whether you believe in it or not. It’s just what’s happening and So the more that we recognise that this is what’s happening, well then that that has implications into what we can do. So I’ll give you an example in, in companies where there is bad morale say, often it is perceived that the reason that there’s bad morale is because the boss is a jerk, right? Or all the people in the, you know, the product development department are a bunch of jerks and they’re all arrogant and they don’t know what they’re talking about, and bla bla bla, and they make everybody’s else L. They make everybody else’s life. So difficult. But when you recognise that that is an impossibility, right, it is impossible for us to feel a certain way because of what somebody else is saying or doing or any other circumstance, when you just recognise that the reason that you’re feeling crappy, has nothing to do with anything thing else that’s going on the budget, the people the circumstances, the fact that your lunch was horrible. It has nothing to do with that. It just has to do with the fact that you’re having crappy thinking in the moment. And what do you do to fix this thinking? Absolutely nothing. It goes away by itself the same way that when there’s, you know, it’s a cloudy, overcast day, well, you don’t do anything about it, and the universe doesn’t do anything about it, the clouds just pass. And I feel like so many people spend so much of their time trying to get to this place of happiness or fulfilment or whatever. Naphtali Visser And anytime that they’re in a state that seems like it’s opposite to that, they’re, you know, they get even more down because they’re not in this happy state all the time. And the there’s an ebb and flow to our moods, there’s an ebb and flow to everything and that lower state, if you will, is just as Natural as that upper state, you know, so recognising that, you know things will change and that and that your experience is coming from within you not from things on the outside. And when I’ve taught this to executives to individuals, individual’s things just seem to change miraculously from that understanding
David Ralph [13:25]
is a very Buddhist principle that you’re talking about, isn’t it? Really,
Naphtali Visser [13:29]
I think there’s definitely pieces of it in Buddhism or pieces of Buddhism in it. But I think maybe one of the distinctions and not to get too theological about it, but is just that, you know, we don’t need to be conscious of our thoughts, right. Like what we’re thinking. We don’t need to, like the term mindfulness right to kind of have a kind mindset, for example, or something like that. It doesn’t really matter what we’re thinking. Just that we’re thinking, right, our experience is coming from the fact just that our that there’s this hundreds of thousands of thoughts that are passing through our, through our head all the time. And when we recognise that that’s all that’s happening, there’s just a bunch of thoughts passing through our head and our experiences caused from them. We don’t really need to figure out what any of those thoughts are. Right We all have thoughts all the time. You know, you have you have thoughts about your family, you have thoughts about work, you have thoughts about your future you have thoughts about your past you have thoughts about you know, some lady you might like to date you have thought all these things, but we don’t need to sort through them that that process happens on its own that’s the mind is really wired for calmness and like a pond right this is a common metaphor. Once you drop a stone in a pond or you take us Stick in, you dig up all them the mud in the pond and you’ve got this murky water. There’s nothing to do to settle the pond other than wait, right? There’s no magnet that you can put on the surface of the water or an iron or you can’t boil the water. You just you just wait and it’s natural state is one of them. And I absolutely see that in myself and others that calm and creativity and love and kindness. They’re all very natural states of the mind. And when we don’t pile on this crap on top of that natural state of fear, and you know what, what is the right thing that I’m supposed to be doing? What’s my life’s purpose? What if this thing doesn’t work out? When we don’t pile all that stuff on there? Things just start to become so much easier.
David Ralph [15:54]
So how do you build a business around base because I’ve worked in the City of London for many, many years. I’ll be honest, if you came into our office, I would say probably 95% of them would show you the door they’re just not ready for what you’re offering. How would you actually get this message through so that you can actually show how it will change the morale in the office? Because companies and certainly middle management they just closed off, aren’t they?
Naphtali Visser [16:22]
Yeah, and I think you know, we are bombarded with messages of you know, try harder just run you know, run into the brick wall 1000 times and eventually it’ll fall down. But I just I seem to think that there’s a there’s a better easier way right. And look for the door. Yeah, look for the door. Yeah, or the hole in the wall or, you know, whatever, whatever metaphor you want to use, but I think it is very hard to see something when you’ve been told the opposite. All your life, right. We’ve been told all the time, that you’re feeling bad because some Somebody yelled at you or because your bank account isn’t big enough, or whatever it is. So, you know, what I try to do now is not describe what I do I try to just work with people and in, you know, 15 minutes or a couple hours, just talk to them about what’s what’s on their mind and what’s what’s challenging them. And usually in relatively short order, I can get them to see something different. And through that, sometimes they say, you know, I want to hang out with you some more, you know, can we do that? And that’s, that’s sort of my sales process.
David Ralph [17:35]
So how do you change the morale of a company? You know, I have been into places that I remember working for a company in London, and I won’t say what the name of the company was. But literally, as soon as you open the door, there was a small room that I was based in and there must have been no more than about 10 people in there probably about eight. And the atmosphere. It was you could cast it with a knife. It was like going to work and every now and again, Somebody would jump up and start shouting and screaming at somebody out the upper end of the desk, and then they’d have an argument, and then it would come down. But all the time there was this feeling of it was going to go. How can you sort of change that morale when it’s not just one person? It’s it’s a whole team. It’s a whole company.
Naphtali Visser [18:19]
Right? That’s a super, super question. And I would say, for a long time, after the experience with my company, this the story that we shared earlier, I thought that if I could teach companies, the things that we did, meaning we have really good benefits, we had nice salaries, we had a great atmosphere to work in, meaning it was a very cool office space. We had company lunches, we had some company outings, we had no rules around what tools people could use, or when they had to come to work and pretty much an open vacation policy and all this kind of stuff. And I thought that if I didn’t taught people, all of these things right or the value of all of these things, and they implemented them, then their culture would be one that mirrored the one that we had, right that had great loyalty. And people really wanted to work and stuff like that. So since then, I’ve come to understand that probably not much could be further from the truth. And this points to the same thing that I was just talking about that our experience never comes from the outside, right. So just as I cannot be affected by somebody yelling at me say, I can’t be affected by a free lunch or a great benefits package or anything like that. So to answer your question, to me, the way to improve morale is to have more people in the company understand this inside out nature, if you will, to understand where problems come from. So if I go into a company, people that do similar work to me that try to do this sort of culture improvement say might go in and do a survey. have everybody at the beginning of the project and ask everybody, essentially, you know, how happy are you on you know, these 10 different points on this 1010 point scale, whatever. I asked explicitly or implicitly, where do you think problems come from? And the more that people think that problems come from the outside, generally, the crappier the culture is the more that people see what’s really happening? And the more that people see that, you know, when that jerk and accounting you know, ruins your day, that that’s not actually what happened and all you need to do to make that crappy feeling go away is Wait a minute, right then well Geez, morale kind of never gets bad in the first place. And really, like I said, this natural state of the mind is one of calmness and love and caring and understanding. And so you know, as we the metaphor that I use is kind of the the boat always drifts back to shore. Right, that if you just doing nothing, it just kind of drifts back to shore. And so we don’t really need to do anything to fix it because nothing’s broken in the first place other than the fact that people are thinking that the problems are coming from somewhere that they’re not.
David Ralph [21:16]
But people always sit in offices moaning and groaning and you can go to any bar on a Friday night, and it’s full of people basically griping about their work situation. I have worked in a few companies that the morale was brilliant. And I’ve worked in the majority of companies when the morale was just what it was. It was just a company and every now and again, people would have a moan off and other times it wasn’t. It’s, it’s, I totally understand what you’re saying. But I don’t know with the people I’ve worked with whether they would buy into this. I think they are always looking for a scapegoat. They’re always looking to point a finger. They’re always saying it’s because of that guy in accountancy. It’s because I haven’t had a break for four years. It’s because of this I’ve always with that pointy business, they are pointing externally, totally against what you’re saying. But overall, I understand totally what you’re saying, and I agree with it. But I just know whether I’ve worked people are always looking for something that they can say it’s not me.
Naphtali Visser [22:16]
You’re right. And as I said, there seems to be a correlation between not just morale but the ability to innovate or be creative. And this understanding right so I’ll give you another example or another, that you know, innovation and creativity comes from the same place right? It comes from the same place of, of our natural state comes from the same place as love, which is why you know, babies and and don’t need to ever be told how to be creative if you give. If you give a one year old, some crayons, they’ll make something out of it. They don’t They don’t worry about is does this look good? Does this the right thing to draw that wouldn’t What should I draw? Is this the right, you know, is this? I don’t you know, I’m thinking I want to draw something, but I don’t really know what it is and and they don’t have that problem, right? And so this, this understanding that we’ll all be fine No matter what, right? We’re never affected by anything on the outside. And even if our businesses fail, or we don’t come up with a great idea, we’re going to be fine. This is the concept of resilience, right? We’re always going to bounce back. And by the very nature of the fact that we’re all still here, it means that any challenge that any of us has faced in our life, we’ve found a way through the tunnel and got to the other side. So you know, to be innovative, doesn’t really it’s not a thing. It just means you know, you have these ideas. Sometimes an idea comes to you in a dream or in the shower, and you don’t even have those Brilliant idea. And you go to work and you sketch it down and you’ve got this, you know, brand new product. And sometimes you have, you know, a little zygote of an idea and you start working on it. And once you start, you take the first step towards it, kind of as Oprah said, you take the first step towards it, and then the next step becomes obvious and you take the next step and the next step becomes obvious. But man sitting in your cubicle, banging your head against the wall wondering what’s going to be the you know, what, is this thing gonna turn into at the end? Or, or how do I picture a perfectly formed product or solution or website strategy or anything? Man, that’s that’s generally a recipe for disaster.
David Ralph [24:39]
So so so he’s saying here, just a jumping are we saying that by allowing staff to be creative and almost allowing staff to take extra responsibility, make their own mistakes, but feel part of it, they feel that they’re actually helping grow this company instead of just being a cog? Is Is that how morale really starts shifting. I was really sort of inspired by the word creativity as you were speaking. Mm hmm.
Naphtali Visser [25:07]
Yeah, that’s an awesome question, too. Yes, you to answer your question in the short way, yes, we need to make people feel as part of it. But that does not come from some sort of strategy as to how to make them feel more a part of it. So let me let me see if I can make that a little more clear. Some companies would hear what you just suggested and say, Okay, we’re going to make a plan around employee engagement or inclusion. And every time we have a meeting, we’re going to invite anybody who wants to come. And anytime we have a plan, we’re going to invite comments from everybody or something like this, right? And because we do that, then the morale is going to be good.
And I would say, kind of
that the more that we just understand that we don’t need to control the process. Write that creativity is in everyone, not just the people that we call creative. And that the ability to fail or the permission to fail, if you will, is just a natural thing. It’s not even something that we need to do. And the more that we just sort of recognise that life is just kind of flowing. And we don’t need to control it as much as we think that and that when things go wrong, they generally have a way of writing themselves, and that we just loosen the reins a little bit, that this this creativity just sort of more naturally comes out of everybody without having to do anything, like I said, like more brainstorming or more, you know, soliciting comments from anybody just recognising that we don’t need to be in in control as much as we think we do. We just have to do that answer your question.
David Ralph [26:54]
He does it and I’ll give you an example myself is this is my show off but enjoying it. At the very beginning, I basically almost killed myself slogging it and I thought I could work every single person. And the first year I could do it because I got the energy left from my corporate gig. I wasn’t sort of worn out. The second year, I started to fall to pieces where I just couldn’t keep going so far. It’s not going to work. Now, I do barely anything on my show. And it’s just going up naturally. You know, it’s, yeah, you could argue it was all the effort I put in at the beginning, but I’m now looking at stuff and I’m doing the right things and I’m not forcing it. I’m just kind of like a sheep herder. Just kind of whistling every now and again and pointing in the right direction and I can just see the path in front of me and where we’re going. And I do think that there the majority of being and it comes you know, in all life, being relaxed being focused on the enjoyment is when peak performance comes along. It doesn’t matter what it is, you could be in bed with your perfect partner. And if you’re stressed, and let’s get this over with as soon as possible, it’s going to be rubbish. But if you just kind of relax into it, and you just do it, and if it works, it works. And if it doesn’t, more often than not, it does. So I agree with you totally, sir.
Naphtali Visser [28:15]
Yeah, you mean, you alluded to like a romantic relationship here and I,
before I got married about a year ago, I was, you know, I was on the online dating sites and going on a whole lot of dates, you know, most of which didn’t last through dinner. But the more that I recognise that as I was going on a date and thinking about it the whole time, like, what’s this going to lead to do? They like me doing all this, like all these thoughts, man, the more it was a horrible experience, and the more that I just showed up, literally just kind of showed up and said, you know, here I am. What let’s see what happens. And they usually went pretty well. That doesn’t mean they ended exactly where I wanted them to or any of those things, but they usually were more fun and more lighthearted. We got to experience more of each other in, you know, in the real each other, if you will not this sort of, you know, made up persona that we, that we put on when we go on dates. And that seems, you know, that’s that’s what life is about, right? That’s what life is about is human connection. And so just to point this back to business, you know, if we’re doing sales, for example, right, it’s, there’s so many strategies that are around customer relationship management systems, or, you know, how do we cold call better and stuff like that, and, and we, you know, maybe we’re just kind of trying to do the wrong thing better. And maybe, you know, the sales process is not about how many people you can call or how, you know, how well you can target your customer. But instead just being able to connect with people more on a human level, right? And again, how do we do this? Well ask them, you know, ask them about their kids. And then this becomes a strategy. And then because it didn’t come from inside of you, it came from somewhere else. It becomes very fake, right? You’re like, why I see on this piece of paper here. I’m supposed to ask you about your kids. So do you have any kids? And it just becomes really awkward, right? But when we actually are curious and actually want to get into somebody else’s world, well then people buy from you not because they love your thing, but more because they love you.
David Ralph [30:27]
So you’re fascinating them you’re selling by being fascinating yourself. That is a two way street. And I suppose what Oprah said at the very beginning was, you’re not defined by your next decision. If you go on a date, you’re not defined. If it works or not. You just go on a date and if it works, and the next company you go to, it may not work out for you, you may actually decide you don’t like it, but you just I don’t suppose it’s a metaphor of Join Up Dots that there’s no experience wasted. Everything you do leads you to a point where it comes together. You look back and you go, Oh, I can see how I got here because the dots have joined up, but you’re just allowing those experiences to lead toward something.
Naphtali Visser [31:10]
Yeah, and, you know, if I look back at my life as to how I got here, I mean, yes, of course, all the dots join up. But if I had tried to make that map, you know, before, you know, 30 years ago, I mean, there’s no way in hell that that would have made that map. You know, I went, I went to college, absolutely convicted and convinced that I would be come an orthopaedic surgeon. I mean, I had had that dream for forever. And two years into it. I mean, I realised I was not cut out to be a doctor. And I kind of liked computers. So I took a computer class and then I graduated with a computer science degree. At the time that the World Wide Web was starting, I worked on one of the first three.com websites in the world. And I just was sort of in the right place at the right time. And that led to, you know, working at a couple of really big agencies and working on some of the first versions of some very, very large brands. And then that led to starting my company, and then that led to, you know, this business that I have now. But I mean, you know, and there was a whole lot of, you know, weird missteps in there, I started a fashion consulting company at one point, I mean, there was, you know, that failed miserably and, and, but, to me, that’s the fun part of life is, is going not to be cliche, but it really is about the journey, you know, if you if you just pick a destination and go in a straight line. It’s kind of boring.
David Ralph [32:44]
But let’s play some words that say that perfectly, and he created the whole theme of this show no longer with us. But these words are Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [32:52]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [33:27]
ties up perfectly doesn’t enough.
Naphtali Visser [33:30]
It does. I think he said a little bit better than I did.
David Ralph [33:33]
He says it better than all of us. It’s one of those words, no speeches that will stay with us forever. So when you look back on your life, obviously you are here now and you’ve already mentioned the big boardroom speech when your guys stood up and said, You know West Bay with your stay with it is a big day in your life. But you could say yeah, without that occurring. I wouldn’t be here now.
Unknown Speaker [33:57]
I mean, I know I
Naphtali Visser [34:01]
Honestly, I think, you know, my divorce. I mean, it’s not probably something that a lot of people aspire to. And not that I would suggest it for anyone. But I think it was through that process that I really started to see a lot more of how life works, if you will. And now it’s going to be difficult to dig into that too much. But, you know, again, something that when I got married the first time, you know, I would have done anything to avoid getting divorced, right. I mean, I had this, you know, everybody gets married and thinks they’re going to be together forever. And and then, you know, this horrible thing just sort of shows up, but at the time, it seemed like the worst thing that could possibly happen in my life or anybody’s life. And just seeing that it kind of wasn’t that bad and that there was kind of a pretty easy path through it. I’d say that that that really has helped A lot as well. So you know, moving forward knowing that I can start a business, I can get married, I can do just about anything and no matter what happens, I’ll be fine. Right? That as one of my mentors says, once you realise that there’s no bullets, you don’t need to keep piling on bulletproof vests. And
so yeah, that’s, that’s a pretty good one. And one,
David Ralph [35:28]
you sound very relaxed. You sound very chilled out on it at times when you’re going, Oh my god, I can’t believe this happened. Are you kind of like the Zen like character that we’re getting on the show today?
Naphtali Visser [35:41]
Hmm. Probably, I mean more, the more of the calm person and I think that that has come. I used to get pretty frazzled. But the more that I’ve recognised that, that whole frazzled mess, if you will, is only coming from me, the more that I just naturally You know, become more chill, if you will, right that I don’t meditate. I don’t study Buddhism, I don’t study techniques of how to be calm. Just things just naturally the more that I see this inside out nature of things that we’re creating that frazzled state, the less it just happens. Naturally, right? The less that I get frazzled, naturally. I’ll give you a good example. I was at this company, when I was working at a company and my boss brought me in his office and you know, we’d had a disagreement on something and I’m sitting in this chair and he’s sitting behind his desk, you know, we’re on opposite sides of the desk, and I say something that, you know, pisses him off and he stands up and you know, he’s like, 643 hundred pounds. I’m like, five, three, and like sitting in this chair and he walks over and stands next to me. And he’s screaming at me so much that like, spit is coming out of His mouth, and he’s screaming, you know, like, I’m not gonna take any crap from you. And, and just, I mean, you know, and I was like, you know, if I said to myself, like, if you’re gonna hit me, I’m probably in trouble. But otherwise, what do you think that I haven’t heard people yell before and I couldn’t help but just start giggling and laughing which just completely diffused the situation and he kind of got angrier inside, but he knew that there was, you know, I was bulletproof, right? That I just there was nothing he could do to sort of scare me or persuade me or whatever the you know, whatever he was trying to do. And where did that come from? It just came from, you know, knowing that like, come on, what’s gonna happen? Are you gonna fire me? You’re gonna, you know, tell my, you know, tell my mother that I was a bad boy, what are you going to do? And, you know, similarly, I got, I got mugged in Detroit. A couple couple years ago. I was there. photographing. And you know, just in the moment, I saw this guy walking towards me with a gun and I was like, Alright, well, you know, there’s about 20 seconds till he gets here and so figure it out, you know, that’s all you got to do. And you know, you’re not going to fight them, you’re not going to shoot him. So, figure something else out. And we kind of had a nice chat, kind of like this one. And it worked itself out pretty well. But I don’t I don’t really know where that comes from either. You know, I know it’s not me. I know. It’s not my brain. It comes from somewhere else. But again, it’s above my paygrade to say where that is.
David Ralph [38:34]
As you sign he ties this right up to the sort of Beatles story at the beginning something happens. Just figure it out. You know, you’re not defined you can just move on. I think this episode is an absolute masterclass for anybody out there. Who is in a situation at work well, Morales not good, where you can realise that actually, you’re not part of that you can separate yourself from that if you want, you know, you can choose to be annoying. You can choose to be frazzled, you can choose to be whatever you want but you’re not part of that situation and I can see your business going from strength to strength, sir because I think there is a, a movement away from certainly the experience that I used to have in corporate land where people actually are aware now that their greatest commodity is staff and it’s not a conveyor belt you know, you train people up you want them to stay with you in the best way of doing that is by having better morale and not just layering on benefits and benefits that people don’t want. It does all come down to morale and feeling worry, doesn’t it?
Naphtali Visser [39:38]
It does, and people will stay because they want to stay not because you give them reasons to stay. Right? There’s there’s absolutely no reason you can give somebody to stay. You can’t give them more money. You can’t give them more benefits. You can’t give them more responsibility, a better title, free lunch, anything like that people will stay because they feel it within themselves. To stay, so all you need to do is cultivate that understanding that that is what that that inside nature, if you will, will, will make them stay. So you just keep building that in every aspect of your business building that inside out in nature. And people will either stay or they won’t, but it’s out of your control. You know, and to me, the more that if somebody wants to leave that, you know, they say hey, I want to go to a different kind of job a bigger position or whatever it is, the more that you not only encourage them but help them and that you know, again, I don’t want to put too fine a point on it that of karma or something like that, but it seems to come back right. It seems that that that sort of behaviour, if you will, pays pays back in spades.
David Ralph [40:53]
Well, this is the almost the end of the show and this is the partner we’ve been building up to but we called a sermon on the mic when we are going to start back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young enough, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it fades your lap, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [41:22]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Naphtali Visser [41:39]
So I think I would say I would probably point back to
my childhood maybe say, you know, 1215 years old as we start to experience, you know, the angst of life, right the the teenage angst and not only the stuff around you Know that our parents are annoying and, and girls and college and all that kind of stuff, but you know, but where’s my life going? Right? And what does it all mean? and all that kind of stuff. And I would really tell myself sort of all that what we’ve been talking about here right about this inside out in nature, but also that no matter what happens, you really will be fine. And the joy of life really comes from doing something, not trying to figure out what to do, because we have no idea what we will feel like in the future, right? We often tell ourselves, oh, once I have a successful business, then I’ll be happy once I have a wife, you know, family, career, certain bank account, etc. And we just never know what we’re going to feel and so Yeah, I think that’s that’s the only thing is is to really I would I would try to convey this inside out nature and as I think about my own kids which I don’t have yet but but would love to soon. That’s that’s what I will try to share with them above everything else is just this this inside out nature
David Ralph [43:23]
bright stuff great stuff. So what’s the number one best way that our audience who’ve been listening today and are interested in changing the morale in their own businesses and their own selves? How can I connect with you?
Naphtali Visser [43:35]
The websites pretty great. There’s a bunch of content there. It’s humans working.co and you can email me at Knopf and a F at humans working.co.
David Ralph [43:47]
Well, well, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures Naphtali Visser thank you so much.
Naphtali Visser [44:02]
Thank you, sir.
David Ralph [44:05]
So if you’re in a company and the morale is not good, where do you look? Do you point to point at him? Do you point at them? Do you point at situations or do you pointing to yourself and just being, I’m allowing this to affect me. There’s a lot of truth there. It really is, you know, in business you’re pushing, you’re pushing, you’re pushing. And when you leave it behind, and more often than not, when you go on vacation, you come back and you find that certain things are just occurred like magic, because you’ve sort of let it go somewhat. Let it go. Let it go. Hopefully, you won’t let Join Up. Dots go and you will be back for another episode coming shortly. But until then, this was David. Well, that was Join Up Dots. And we’ll see you again soon. Cheers. See ya. All right.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. I’ll head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.