Expa Fireside Chat with Vishal Vasishth (Obvious Ventures, and former Exec at Patagonia)

Expa hosted a fireside chat with Vishal Vasishth, who was once part of Patagonia’s team. If you know Patagonia as a company, they were founded on the core belief of doing the right thing for the world, the people, the environment and their employees. Their purpose goes beyond making money–but rather, to preserve our planet, our resources, and empower fellow human beings.

Vishal echoed some of the culture from Patagonia–you can tell that the company deeply enriched him during his tenure there. If you want the dive deeper into the source code, check out “Let My People Go Surfing”. Yvon Chouinard (the co-founder of Patagonia) was the original activist and war poet that fought for corporate social responsibility and ethics.

I left all my notes at the office, but I wanted to share some thoughts while they were still fresh in my head. One quote that really stood out was, “A company can be a gift to the world”. This struck me because most companies are perceived as extracting value out of their customers and employees. How can a company be a catalyst to give back to the world more than it’s taken?

Vishal said he was moved by companies that he believed could be here in a hundred years, serving a global purpose. He gravitated towards founders and companies that focused on themes around sustainability of resources, health, or empowering people to do things.

As we build our own culture, I reflect on our own opportunities–to find purpose beyond financial opportunity. Vishal asked, “Is there a way to inspire your 1,000th employee with the same passion of the team when it was only 10?” There’s a saying, “99% of work isn’t worth doing, but 1% is worth dying for”. I don’t think anyone has to fall on the sword for our vision, but we should always have a north start that pulls us together to achieve something bigger, together.

The vision of empowering everyone in a company to have a voice and involving everyone in the decision making process is what moves me, personally. I’m hoping Input can help teams do their best work soon.

Anyway, it was fun hanging out with everyone at the event. If you’re in town, you should definitely attend one of these. In the mean time, here are some more photos:

Oh yeh, there was some yummy food and wine there! ^_^