Updated: Oct 31
Hi, Kuda welcome to ForeignConnect podcast. How are you doing today?
I'm doing really really well and thank you so much for inviting me um it's an honor and a privilege to be on your podcast thank you very much.
So let's just jump right on to the questions that I have I'm very impressed by your uh what you've done already so far. So let me ask you like, can you tell me your background a little bit and also all the businesses you're working on right now?
Sure, so I've been an entrepreneur ever since I was young. I started my first business when I was nine years old when I was still in Africa.
I was born in Harare Zimbabwe and, uh what happened was I was actually um uh going to ask my mom for uh ice cream money. So it was it was a hot summer day in Zimbabwe and I went and asked her for a dollar to buy ice cream and she said no because i'd been naughty that day so you know in my mind I was like hey how can one person dictate my ice cream destiny - i mean she had the power to decide that you know because she didn't feel like she wanted to give me ice cream money, I wasn't having ice cream that day so I wanted to change that because I felt like I needed to be in control if I wanted to have an ice cream. I should have an ice cream so I saw that my neighbor's windows were dirty so I took a bucket and my mother's cleaning supplies and I went over to my neighbor and asked if i could clean her windows and she said yeah so I cleaned her windows and she gave me five bucks and the next day when the ice cream truck came by I bought my own ice cream with my own money so that's how I got into entrepreneurship. And then when I came to America to study I started my second business which was a clothing line so we made t-shirts and whole bunch of stuff and it was a social enterprise and we would donate uh 20 of our profits to educate children in Africa and the company has gone on to educate hundreds of children in Africa. And then when I graduated I got hired into a big fortune 500 company multi-billion dollar company and my role within that uh business was to create new businesses so think about it that's all I did. I would think of ideas then come up with business plans, get the financing and, create businesses for this big corporation.
I created four businesses while I was in that role. One of the most successful ones was a meal delivery business and um we were able to grow it scale it.
It reached more than 20 million dollars in revenue in less than three years. So it was really quite successful. And then um having been in corporate america for more than 10 years uh i decided it was time for a change.
I was making millions of dollars for this big corporate but deep inside I was not fulfilled. So an opportunity came by to start a cookie company with a social mission. So for every cookie that was sold, meals will be donated to feed people in need and um when I started looking into the opportunity, it was really attractive because I could really apply all of the skills that I've learned in building and creating businesses but more importantly in making an impact.
And um the business idea actually came from Tony Robbins so Tony Robbins was the very first uh investor uh in the business so he's a business partner in this project. So I then became um the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of a cookie company called "non-believable."
Wow! that's amazing how did you get Tony to invest in that !? that's super crazy.
Well it was actually Tony's idea and they reached out to me like uh the group that was working on it, so when Tony came up with the idea he reached out to a guy called Michael Loeb, Michael Loeb is one of the guys behind "priceline.com"- super successful guy and when Tony and Michael did the joint venture, they needed a entrepreneur who knew how to create businesses from scratch, had food experience but also at the social mission. I ticked all those boxes so I just received a phone call saying like, Hey Kuda there's a project that's happening you might be interested, Come check it out. So I didn't even know who was involved at first and then when I went over and I looked at the idea I'm like, Oh Wow you know this is super crazy, I like it!
I was in this big fortune 500 really comfortable job earning a lot of money but I was like you know what it's time for me to really go out there and do something that makes a big difference and you know while doing that I also got connected to some of these uh influential people.
That's a super-cool story well thank you very much for sharing.
Well, that brought me to uh two different questions. One is a little bit more personal about you and then another one is more about the topic of like courage, building up courage.
I'm gonna go with the second one first. You said that you left this corporate job to take on to a new journey - right? which has more to do with like creating impact, which is amazing, but like a lot of people can't gain that courage to leave their comfortable jobs right..? like what was the self-talk around that when you felt like uh but "you know I'm so comfortable here I don't know what's gonna happen if I leave this position"... like what were you thinking at the time and also when you were creating all these businesses uh in your previous position like were they um mainly like social enterprises you're working on?
Yes so i'll start off with the last question so no um the other businesses that I created were not social enterprises. These were regular for-profit uh entities but uh even the cookie company that we have it's a for-profit entity but we've just decided to use our profits in a certain way right. We've made the commitment to say like, hey we stand for this purpose but it's actually a for-profit business like any other business. So i think that's a key fundamental that i just want to share.
In terms of your earlier question around you know courage and you know whatever um it really aligns with the message from a book uh called "the game of self-domination" by this famous author **wink wink** - that i know, um but anyway it was really all about growth right, one of the things i've learned in life is that you do not grow when you're in your comfort zone and I actually did a tedx talk about it where I really talk about growth only comes out when you're in your comfort zone so in life whenever you see yourself feeling like oh i'm in a comfortable position right now, it actually is an indicator to show you that you're not growing so one of the key things that really came into me deciding to leave corporate America was because I had become comfortable and it was for me a good indication that "hey i've kind of like peaked on my growth trajectory, i've been in this company for 10 years i've learned a lot. i've done really amazing things but do I want to be in this type of environment for the next 10 years ? - No sometimes you have to change environments in order for you to grow so that's when I decided to leave.
And put myself in a uncomfortable position because that's how growth happens, right? so think about it right, in order for you like, let's say if you're working out, if you run the same two miles every single day for a year are you gonna be better? - no because you're just doing the same thing every single day but what you're gonna need to do in order for you to grow is you take yourself outside of your comfort zone to do all these things and that's what I try to do as i'm getting into business is to really look for things that challenge me things that really take me outside of my comfort zone because by doing that i'll be able to actually dominate myself right?
it's the game of self-domination and that's what i've been able to apply um in in my life and i wrote a book about it uh the spear method where i talk about how to really achieve success and fulfillment it's really mixing in those ingredients of looking for your purpose in life number one but then making sure that you're doing things that take you outside of your comfort zone because that's how you're really going to grow and achieve success but at the same time you achieve your purpose because you've used fulfillment as that first layer and filter to guide all of your decisions so for me it was making an impact to the world and unbelievable gave me that so that's why it was an easy transition to leave the corporate world to come to work on this project i see how did you come about that like how have you always been away or were there any times in your life where you came to realization do you think no i think i think everybody right you're not born a certain way experience is shaping right so i'll share a couple of experiences in my life that shared me so the first one was when i was about seven zimbabwe we experienced a major drought it was the worst drought that ever hit southern africa millions of livestock died people didn't have food people were literally starving to death and with non-believable if you look at what we're doing we're donating a meal for every cookie that we sell and the reason why this message resonated with me was because of the experience that i experienced growing up you know experiencing hunger and feeling that no one should experience what i experienced has really driven me to really want to make sure that i am part of the solution to ending hunger so that was uh the first experience the second experience is that um i met a young girl when i was about 10 years old and she was also like the same age as i am and i asked her a question the question was what do you want to be when you grow up and she looked me straight in my eyes and she said cuda my parents are dead i don't go to school i'm just waiting to die so in that moment i quickly realized that dreams are the fuel that enable you to achieve great things and having that ability to dream is super important for anyone so it became my mission in life to help people get their ability to dream back so that's why with my other entity this is my era we have a social mission centered around education because we've gone on the realization through that experience that when people get an education now you can dream to become the doctor now you can dream to become that entrepreneur now you can dream to change the world in ways that if you didn't have that in education you don't have the confidence or even the ability to dream to do these amazing things so it's really those two experiences that really shaped my life and my career path right now um so yeah though those were kind of like two important um you know turning points in my life interesting like do you believe that education is the key fundamental for someone to have the ability to dream i think it's one of the major ingredients i don't think it's the only thing right can i tell you a story of what i usually talk about so it comes down to my mission with life up education to me i came to the realization that there's no purpose in life but that's not to say that i'm a macro thinker so i tend to look at the current state of the society from the perspective of like not only now but of like you know 100 years later or 100 years ago right like that's the time frame i tend to look at and that excites me more than looking at what i can achieve at individual life and when i think about it like that i notice there's no purpose in my life but that's not to say that my purpose of okay sorry my purpose of life is to live it totally and for me today totally means i want to make contribution to the progress of humanity that's my meaning of life that's what i'm attaching to and when i think of that i think i get really excited about possibility what human can do when what humanity can do and possibility is association of future and impossibility is association of history past and then history and past is data history and past is equal to knowledge and our experiences that create blocks in our mind which makes us cynical which makes us scared which makes us like that's kind of like one way to look at it right like practicality over dreaming and so coming from business background as well for me i deploy practicality over everything too because logical thinking is needed in order for you to strive navigate through your daily life and also just daily businesses but when it comes to dream i associate the cons the term dream like the capability to dream or having the mission or purpose in your life a lot with more more with like a micro thinking or less practical thinking but more like emotional thinking so less logical but then more emotional like what do you think about this no i i think you you are on the the right track in in terms of the way you're you're thinking about it um when i think about the connection between uh the the three time phases right we live in three time phases past present and future right where you know you should you should use the past as a way to like you said get data points and insight and maybe extrapolate trends to help you apply good decisions in the present which would then influence your future right so so i think you're you're looking at it the the right way uh but i also believe that you know we we create our futures by dreaming right so life education tv for example um or foreign connect um was a dream at one point um some moment in time it was a dream and then you used kind of like um insight and data points from what others did in the past how did others do it how you know blah blah blah and you applied it in the present moment to actually make that dream come true so now you are quote unquote in the future from the day that you are dreaming about having these podcasts platforms um but now it's reality it's your present does that make sense i completely agree with you like i i'm not disagreeing but i just wanted to share my viewpoint of it um because i kind of like it took me a little bit until i get to this point and i agree with you because confidence right like you're saying that the experience and the knowledge becomes confidence and then only when you have a confidence you can manifest your dream because you actually have like backed up knowledge and it feels more real like it feels more logical for you to aim about something and and one thing i wanted to add was that do you know the most important conversation that anybody has do you know what it is i mean talking about dream is pretty important i think it is it is it is self-talk you talk to yourself right more than any other person in the world and it's everybody when you're sleeping and you're dreaming you're talking to yourself yeah when you're sitting and you're thinking you're talking to yourself right now if you think about it self-talk is the most powerful uh and most important conversation that everybody has now the the thing is you need to make sure that your self-talk is empowering right building that confidence you're talking about because it can also be very disempowering meaning like if you tell yourself like oh i i'm not good enough it's not meant for me and you're always telling yourself that your subconscious mind will then actually believe that it's true because your subconscious mind will believe whatever you tell it if you tell it that you are amazing you're beautiful you can achieve anything when it comes that moment of doubt your subconscious will tell you like hey you're beautiful you're amazing you can achieve anything so go for it and now you have the confidence to go do whatever it is that you need to do so it's important to create habits where you tell yourself positive things and from from my perspective i do it as positive affirmation so every day when i wake up i have a routine where i tell myself positive affirmations that help fuel my dreams right to to paint that future reality so self-talk is super super important and you should have a routine to really uh help guide that thought process so that in that moment where a little bit of self-doubt creeps in you can really pull from those um uh you know positive affirmation statements that you've built into your subconscious to help you push through that's so important like hands down like once again my title of the book is the game of self-domination right so it's all about some stock i'm completely agree with you so because uh part of this is also b2b uh podcast i wanted to ask a little bit more business like technical question let's talk about struggles let's talk about struggles that you went through specifically because you got involved in social enterprises like and then you've been you've been the side of both right like you you have also funded many like for-profit businesses and also you found it for more like social businesses like were there any difference
well there are a lot of uh similar things right because any business has things that you need to create that are that are quite similar but they are a little bit of nuances um to to a social enterprise so the first one is you now have a responsibility right because you're telling your customers you're you're telling all stakeholders investors and and and people that hey we have made a commitment as a brand to make an impact so there's that added responsibility that comes with with a social enterprise um because you're you're you've committed to making a difference so you know it's it's it's now is super imperative for us to do what we say we do um and have been transparent about that so i think that's one of the key major um differences between having a for-profit business and a social mission uh because now you you really have to to do what you say you do because as you're building a business you want to be transparent you want to build that trust with your customer with your stakeholders with your vendors and and your partners which is which is super important but you also want to actually do what you say you're gonna do because that's the reason why you were founded so in in our case we were founded to help fight hunger so everything that we need to do we need to make decisions based on those filters like if we do x how does it help push and influence our agenda of making a social impact in the world so sometimes you might actually um make decisions to not pursue certain good opportunities because they're not aligned with your social mission and the purpose that you've set out to do so which would that's another key difference as well um that i'll i'll say and and it can be a struggle in in in balancing the two because your question was what what are some of the struggles you face and the struggle really is balance like how do you balance um driving the the profitability agenda with the mission so to be able to really like you know balance the two it's it's a struggle but it's doable and there are case studies of companies that have been able to do it uh with great success will be parker is a good example where they have the buy one give one uh model for for you know eyewear so you buy you know their eyewear they get to donate they've actually been able to surpass the one billion dollar valuation mark so you can actually do it with with social enterprises um tom's shoes is another great example as well as bomber socks so you know the the the blueprint is there and um they've also faced those struggles as well but they've been able to to find and navigate their way out so i think that would be the key um you know struggle that i'll say having been on both sides of the coin it's really finding that balance where you really balance uh the unit economics with profitability while you're also making an impact um interesting what like were the process any difference between starting up like for-profit business versus social enterprise business not really in terms of formation right it's the same type of paperwork it's the same you know corp dev and and and and thinking i think the biggest difference really is the business model right because now you really need to think about how are we going to price it because now you need to make sure as you're coming up with your pricing you are healthy in terms of profitability while also taking into account um whatever you're gonna donate as part of your profits so um that's one of the key things we spent a lot of time thinking about and it's influenced the impact partners and non-profit organizations that we work with uh because they need to fit into that model so i think i think that was kind of like one of the key differences in uh the process and really working with the right partners and also making sure that your unit economics uh you know make sense are the key differences really can you go for higher pricing because of the mission like is that how you price usually there's research yeah um that actually shows that uh and this is u.s customers so i'm not really sure how it applies globally that u.s customers are willing to actually pay a premium for a brand that has a purpose so yes research has shown that customers are willing to pay a little bit more for brands that stand for something than just any brand so um
so it's it's it's it's definitely possible for for for for us to to to compete uh based on price i see so i have two more questions um the first one is actually it's going to be more personal question from now on and what i want to ask the first is you know you shared me your background earlier right and there's something i wanted to ask you is i often tell people that advantage of not having anything is not having anything right that's what i tell people and what do you think about that i think it's a it's an interesting uh question but uh what i would say that when you don't have anything it actually means that you have nothing to lose so there's there's actually uh uh an advantage there because a lot of people get stuck on oh i'm gonna lose this right and that fear of losing something can actually restrict them from doing amazing things but if you don't have anything to lose it only means that upward is the only way you can go you're free you don't have anything weighing you down or any attachments that might you know let fear creep in and affect your decision-making mechanism so i actually like that coat of having that mindset of like hey i i don't have anything so that's actually an advantage meaning that you have nothing to lose so anything that you do is is going to be a win do you think that you know like obviously you know you didn't grow up in usa for example right and then also you've also experienced the hunger and you know you you have experience set up experience that a lot of people who grew up in the states didn't get to experience do you think that definitely became your advantage like was there a role um your background yeah i i wouldn't use the word advantage so to say but i think it has helped me bring diversity a diverse way of thinking to the table and it's a unique way of thinking that mixed up with other people from other cultures and other experiences you now have a very uh comprehensive look so for example you grew up you know in japan and it's you know your experience so imagine you then working with with someone who grew up in africa and someone who grew up in europe and someone who grew up in america now having the best of all the worlds it actually makes the the team stronger so so what what i can share is i do bring a unique perspective to the table um and i also do value that my perspective alone is is not the best right but it's different and i think that you should appreciate that and then other people also bring unique uh experiences to the table so i think we all need to be open-minded uh about learning from each other but also bringing our experiences you know and and and things that are unique about us to the table what i've found sometimes is that people who come from different cultures and when they come to an america like to a place like america for example they then tend to not want to bring those unique experiences and things that they learned that a lot of the americans didn't get to learn and try to fit in into kind of like the american context so what you're actually doing there is is you you're doing a disservice not to just yourself but to the entire group because now they get to miss out on the amazing perspective that you can bring to the table so i do believe that everybody is unique and you have something to give and contribute and you should not be afraid to to to bring that uniqueness because it's only you who can bring it so every day you need to show up and and show your uniqueness because that's how you add flavor and value to true to life and as they say variety is the spice of life that's right i i completely agree with you like the innovation only happens when you can appreciate the differences right and yes for me i guess i phrased my questions slightly wrong way like i didn't intend to i guess i'm gonna rephrase my question a little bit um and which you know what you said is amazing right i just wanted to slightly change my angle of the question so when i said about advantage right like not having anything is actually advantage uh we touched on like you have nothing to do it's right like that's a courage that's an edge um that you you can gain from that state but i want to talk about uh mental strengths right like do you think that not having anything allows you to be stronger or look at things from more like grounded and then you know perspective of gratitude like do you do you believe that can you i believe it's all down to the person okay right um not all people who have nothing you know get to build that mental strength some people it actually defeats them because now they feel less confident and they feel like they're nothing and it eats into their self-esteem and self-worth i think it all comes down to to the person because there's some people who have who have it all but they're miserable they're miserable billionaires out there miserable millionaires um but there are also some people who are poor but because of their mindset they see things differently so i think it all comes down to the individual and to the self-talk remember what we're talking about earlier around the story you're telling yourself right so if you tell yourself a good story regardless of your external materialistic realities right um you then you know shape whatever you feel right and these are just belief systems so i really think it comes down to the belief system where do you come from a glass half empty or glass half full type of belief system because you can put the same two people in the same environment same circumstance but they can have totally different experiences someone might feel like oh my god this place sucks or someone will be like oh my god this is the best place ever you can just go to a party and say music same people same environment and someone is on their phone and they want to leave they're not enjoying and experiencing the environment and someone is having the time of their life so it really all comes down to the person um and and what they think about it let's talk about blaming self-blaming right and actually you said something that triggered me a little bit earlier um you said you know when you are running like social enterprise you need a balance between profitability and then like social purpose right and like this is something that i even have struggled before at personal level like not even at the business level you know in life like sometimes you just feel like you want to give people but then you also have your own need right that you want to meet and then i think it comes back to my ultimate purpose and mission in my life which connects it to the life of education tv is i want to create a state of abundance rather than scarcity like in short right and when i want to do that i have to lead by example i want to give people regardless of like whatever i have right and when i fail to do it for example i go into this loop of like you know blame me myself and just you know and do you have any insight around it like have you ever experienced anything like that where you felt almost kind of like guilty of not being able to give something to someone so i have you have okay share me a lot of times okay how these are
i came from a you know lower middle class family my parents couldn't afford the opportunity like they couldn't afford to pay for my american education so i had to get scholarships right in order for me to come to america and when i came to america uh one of the key things that i realized was that um i wasn't the only one who wanted to come to america there the millions of africans you know asians south americans like so many people from all over the world who want the opportunity to come to america to study and i was one of the lucky few that were given that opportunity so i always had this guilt of like number one why me and what can i do to give back to others like i need to give back and i felt like when i wasn't giving back i was being quote unquote selfish i'm not helping people but i learned something and i actually learned this as i was um going through the pilot training because i went to study aviation as well when i was in college and i learned something during that time and whenever you are on a plane they always tell you put the mask first on yourself before you put the mask on someone else yeah why do they do that because otherwise you die and then the other person will die so it's important to focus on improving yourself and really building yourself because the more and more you become the more impact you can make so sometimes we get into this whole rut where when we're growing we then go like oh we need to give yes it's important for you to give and then you start giving and you stop focusing on your own personal growth meaning that you can now only give 10 but if you focused on also growing and growing and growing and becoming better and better and better now you can even do more because you focused on your growth so i think coming back to what i spoke about earlier you now need to find the balance as to your own um mechanism and the other thing that i've also realized is that the more you also give the more you also get because it's just a law a principle in life so what i've kind of like come to the conclusion of is that i will do the best that i can to contribute and give and make a difference but i will also make a double effort on growing because the more i grow the more i can give i can mentor others i can use my experiences and and other things to actually make more impact in the world than if i had just stayed in this one place so for from my perspective that's that's kind of like it and then lastly and i actually talked about it in my book i learned a concept uh from a guy called ron cordes he's the founder of the quartus foundation and he basically said that life is in three stages stage number one learn so you're learning right so the first third of your life you're going to school you're learning and whatnot and then the second phase of your life is earn way when you're working and you're earning money and then the last phase in life is return so once you retire you can actually return and make a difference and whatnot so as you're going through the first and second phase you need to be thinking about how you maximize learning and how you maximize earning because if you maximize those two during those two phases of your life you can then maximize returning so the challenge that a lot of people then do is they then try to maximize returning when they should be learning and earning right so now you just really need to think about how you balance that um and you you have an understanding of your phases in life because if let's say you're going to live up until you're 80 yes you shouldn't wait until you're 80 to start giving back right but you can maximize your learning and earning phase so that by the time you stop you now have more resources to give and you you're not earning as you were before now you can give you can give your time you can give your resources and so forth and so forth so that's the way i look at it um that's really beautiful i feel like a lot of people don't even get there like don't even get to think that way like there's three phases i feel like people usually want to retire but they don't connect that retirement with giving back i think very like self-driven so it's beautiful that you have that concept um okay well thank you very much for your time today we got a lot of interesting insights so i'm really excited to publish this episode all right cool thank you so much for having me thank you very much