Let's chat beer, brand, community (and algae...) with Oscar McMahon from Young Henry's!

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Today we are mixing things up and instead of sharing my own thoughts, we are joined by Oscar McMahon the cofounder of Young Henry’s. Besides being a wildly successful, trail brazing brewing company, they are also known for their commitment to sustainability and community. They have set the benchmark in the industry for environmental consciousness, integrating eco friendly practices at every aspect of their business. They are a stand out brand and have done amazing things with their business.

Our sister podcast is called 'Now, That's What I Call Green'.

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Kia ora and welcome to Now That's What I Call Business. I'm your host, Brianne West, and you may know me as the founder and former CEO of Ethique or That Soap Company, as some of you may know it, or hopefully my newest startup, Incredibles. I absolutely believe that business done right, done ethically, is the way to change the world. So if you are looking to build your world-changing biz or you just want to find out how Incrediballs is going, then you have come to the right place.

Brianne: Kia ora, today I have the absolute pleasure of speaking with Oscar McMahon, the co-founder of Young Henrys, which is a genuinely trailblazing craft beer brewery based in Sydney, known for its commitment to sustainability and community. Under Oscar's leadership, Young Henrys has not only delighted beer enthusiasts with quite innovative brews, but has also set a benchmark in the industry for environmental consciousness, integrating eco-friendly practices in every aspect of their business, you wait to hear about the Bioreactor. They are a standout brand in a massively overcrowded world of craft beer and I am delighted to speak with Oscar today. So in a minute or less, we'll be scoring, what does Young Henry's do?

Oscar: Young Henry's started out as a beer company and as we progressed, I think we realised that we were more sort of focused in being a sort of lifestyle brand and we were trying to create a business around a certain mindset and a certain bunch of loves and personality traits. It's more than just a beer brand and that's allowed us to go into sort of the music space, gin and festivals and different things because we see it's not just the beer, it's all the culture around the beer which is actually important.

Brianne: So you're effectively building a brand far more so than a product?

Oscar: Yes, I think we've always intrinsically being brand builders and I'm only saying that with hindsight. Definitely there's a lot of hubris and naivety in the right.

Brianne: But I do reckon if you knew then what you do now in terms of how hard it would be and what you'd have to do, you just wouldn't do it I don't reckon.

Oscar: That is absolutely true. I think naivety is one of the most underrated and important values and variables in starting a business because all entrepreneurial new.

Brianne: Yeah, I really like that. I have been called naive often and idealistic on other days and it's always been as an insult but there's a really nice framing of it actually. Nice.

Oscar: Absolutely. Those naivety and idealism, you get them together and you can actually create some real polarity.

Brianne: Yeah, and that's how you change the world, in a twee sentence. But how did you and your co-founder decide that this is what you were gonna do? And why did it matter to you?

Oscar: When Richard and I met, and we had this first sort of inkling of an idea, why did it matter? Was because we were both at a stage of our lives where a door had just closed. I had just had a band that had just sort of decided to wrap up. He had been in another beer company that had not gone the way he wanted so he made an exit from that and we connected over a love of music and beer and I guess when the idea of, well hey, what if we were to do something together, we were just both ready to, hey, let's throw caution to the wind and let's do this. Why does that matter in the bigger context of where Young Generations is, is that that really simple narrative has sort of managed to permeate and continue through our decision making and our brand ethos. But very importantly, it's not just the two of It's now a group of like-minded people, 60 strong, who sort of live and breathe both the brand, brand ethos and also the mission, what we're trying to do. We're trying to be our own company, stand on our own two feet and do something different to what is happening in the beer space.

Brianne: I do notice in your website, you use the term independent a lot. I assumed because of that, that that is a really important value to you, that you do stand on your own two feet, you're not tied up with other breweries or I don't know much about the beer industry but I assume there's a lot of interlinkage.

Oscar: Yeah, I mean most beer that is sold in Australia and around the world is owned by multinationals. There's nothing wrong with that. I think our business and brand operates in a way that could only have been created by an independent company and we have the ability to be agile and to do things which are really linked with the sort of group personality of our people which a bigger company often doesn't afford that luxury.

Brianne: Yeah there's much less flexibility right? If we look really granularly at like literally what you did as opposed to sort of the ethereal thinking around it. I find a lot of the entrepreneurs I talk to get stuck on how the hell you actually get started, particularly something like a brewery because you need a lot to get started. It's not something you do – well, it's probably not something you're doing in your kitchen. You need a lot of equipment, you need a lot of machinery, you need a lot of know-how. So in those first – let's say the first year, what did you do to actually start?

Oscar: We wrote a business plan which is pretty fit off the ground to be perfectly honest. I think the best ones are. And we went and sold the dream and we found some people who were very interested in craft beer and in the potential market. At that point in time, the craft beer industry was, you know this is 2010, 2011, it was quite fledgling compared to what it is now. So people were really, it was really taking a punt on a pretty big unknown. There was not the marketplace that exists today where there is a space for independent craft beers in bottle shops and you know space for independent craft beers on tap. That didn't exist so we had to do a huge education piece on, especially public it and say this is why your customers might care about this, this is why it's different. And that was a really amazing experience for everyone because once you become the educator you can actually create really great relationships around, hey this is why this is important, we know something about your business, you're learning with us, we're learning with you and that really allowed us to grow with some businesses through all of our mistakes, because when you're setting up a production business, you will make mistakes. And having some of those early publicans understanding and being supportive of us through some of those mistakes was so invaluable.

Brianne: Nice. Yeah, once you have that sort of two-way street beyond the whole buying, selling thing, it's a really powerful relationship. So this is a problem, this isn't going to make it to the podcast but particularly here, we've had a lot of independent breweries go under which is very sad and it's been quite a flurry of them. Do you think it's because it's become quite a crowded space now?

Oscar: I think you've got a couple of variables. It is a very crowded space. Every single line item in our P&L has increased on us. Wages, super, malt, petrol, you know, water bills, electricity, literally everything. The price tolerance has not shifted at all at consumer level. You actually have more competition from the majors like the big breweries. So they are making it more difficult and we just do not have the economics scale that they have. So we can't compete. So you're basically having a complete GP squeeze. There's nowhere to go. Nowhere to go and there's a bunch of other smaller people who are trying to get any volume that they can. So it's a bunch of smaller players all scrapping together in a very small pond and the two bigger ones, one of them which is massively dominant at the moment, are using two recent acquisitions very effectively to soak up some extra independent craft beer volume.

Brianne: It's a harsh industry from outside looking in.

Oscar: Yeah, it's not for the faint of heart and if someone was saying, I'm going to open a brewery at the moment, I'd say, look, maybe don't.

Brianne: Yeah, get another dream.

Oscar: Like you're welcome to but...

Brianne: Yeah, I can understand that. So based on that idea, what is your ultimate pie in the sky? What would be the best outcome for Young Henrys? What do you want to see it do in say 10 years' time or be, I should say?

Oscar: We're really focused on clarifying exactly what the Young Henrys brand is and what it means, not just in a historical context but in what it needs to be moving forward. We're all so proud of the brand that we've created and the strength of it and it has managed to survive through a couple of ups and a couple of downs. Just a few. Yeah, just a few but I feel really confident in our brand's strength and elasticity, ability to sort of move and shift when needed. And so I look forward to bigger and better opportunities and activations and the most important thing is I want our brand to still be having fun in 10 years. We've just had 12 years of fun and that is really important.

Brianne: Nice. Most people talk about you know global expansion or blah, blah, blah, export and all that stuff and I'm sure that's part of it. At the end of the day, what is the point of doing anything if it sucks? I like that.

Oscar: That's exactly right. You're creating a product that needs to have a human reaction. When you produce something, you're putting something onto a shelf or into a pub that that you need another human to feel something about and be attracted to. So you can set an international expansion goal, but unless you actually understand what your brand is and how that is going to make those human reactions in that market, then it's useless. You know, you really have to understand what it is that we do, why do people care about it and why will people care about it? Once you get that right, it's just a matter of choosing different geographies but it's not that simple.

Brianne: No, people don't know the reason behind why they do a lot of things and they can't just tell you what it is and it's a lot more than just sitting in a room with a focus group.

Oscar: The most important focus group we've ever had is our team. Internally. If you get a group of Young Henry's crew to be excited about something, nine times out of ten that thing is going to work, that thing is going to be successful and that thing's going to be fun.

Brianne: And that's because you've got your brand so embedded?

Oscar: Yeah, we hire people around a brand and that's not obviously a brand is actually a philosophy, a way of being, a way of talking, how you interrelate, how you collaborate. There are so many different facets and for a brand to exist in any market, we want someone who meets one of our delivery drivers to have an equal experience that they would speaking to someone from our marketing team or someone from our sales team or having a conversation with me or Dan, or Richard, that's when a brand is cohesive. But every touch point is equal in some way.

Brianne: And that is really easily said and really hard to do. So when I grew Ethique, which is an ethical beauty brand, as we started expanding, that was the first thing that started going. It's all well and good. It's so easy when it's eight of you to be that super mission-driven, everyone understands the point and the purpose. And as we grew, particularly during COVID, we had to get offshore teams and we never met them for a couple of years, right? So hard to get that across. And even now, I'm not certain everybody across the brand is thinking from the same hem sheet in some ways, right? How did you manage that? Because it's really, really difficult.

Oscar: Look, it's an ever-moving set of goalposts as well. I completely agree with your sentiments that when you start, and it's a small team, everyone is in each other's business. You know exactly what makes the business hum. In the early days of setting up our Henry's, Richard and I wrote down a set of values that we thought the business needed to exemplify. And when we were in year one, we're about to hire our first sales person and Dan, one of our business partners, said, you know, we all get it. Is there anything that we've got that, you know, could explain it to someone else coming in? It was like, oh yeah, we wrote down some values. And he read through it, he's like, yeah, yeah, this is, yeah, exactly. He then rewrote it when Stocko, our first salesperson, who's still with the business, joined. We read through those values and we've been reading those values to any new staff member ever since we started, every time that they come on board. But last year, we did an exercise where we got people from all the different departments of our business. We pulled them together with a facilitator who's like brand specialist, written a book on brands, amazing guy. And we put our brand values, our company values on the table. We said, all right, everyone, safe space, call Bullshit. What's real, what's not, what feels right for the business as it is today. These were written a long time ago and we allowed everyone to sort of pick apart and question and edit and what we came out of that, it was a few days session, you know, but what we left with was a somewhat edited version of those same values. That was a really powerful exercise in the way that now when someone joins and we sit down and we read through these values, we say, look, we wrote these a long time ago, but these were stress tested by people who work in this business, all these different parts of the business. So they see this as being true and real. So I hope you do too. And if you're also thinking about those brand values when you hire that person, chances are when they walk in, they're going to read it and go, well, yeah, of course, of course.

Brianne: That's a real, I don't know, that would give you a real shot of confidence if those same values are still relevant to your team, not to you, so to external, not external but external to you, that's really cool. That's actually a really nice exercise idea. I might take that into my new business.

Oscar: I think one of the other things is that Dan and I, it's always us that reads the values to a new staff member. We've always done it that way. It starts at the top and every time we read them, we're not just reading them to that new staff member, we're reading it to ourselves as well. We have to explain it, we have to talk about it and when something comes out of your mouth, you get a pretty good sense of whether you think it's legitimate or not. And also, you have these multiple reminders of what we're doing, why we're doing it, why this needs to make sense to the humans. So it's a beautiful exercise bringing people in. It's a very important exercise for keeping us in the right mindset as well.

Brianne: Yeah, nice. I really like that. Far better than a here's an employee handbook, read this, which companies still do and I would say, what are you doing?

Oscar: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's it.

Brianne: Yeah, okay, nice. Right. I saw a quote from you somewhere that I really like that you are, and this is something I've been guilty of historically with Ethique, was you don't say we're the most sustainable business in the world and you do that or don't do that on purpose. So what is sustainability in all its greenwashed beauty? What does it mean to you guys?

Oscar: Sustainability means an ability to continue trading into the future. Across every facet, right? Exactly. You know, you need financial sustainability. Yes. You need your brand to be sustainable and actually still be relevant in the marketplace. And sustainable practices allows a production business to continue to manufacture. It's critically important. Soon there will be added costs to your business, if you are not doing things sustainably. So therefore, to be sustainable, you must be sustainable.

Brianne: I like that. To be sustainable, you got to be sustainable there. Perfect.

Oscar: Yes and I think it's a really important thing. What I've noticed is it's quite amusing. Anytime Anytime someone says, hey, if you do nothing in sustainability, no one calls you out for that, unfortunately. If you say, hey, we've just done this, people will say, well, what about this? It's a really odd thing. But also, we as business, we're really conscious of, we want people to be drawn to sustainability. We want people to feel like it is achievable and actionable because there are heaps of quite simple, pragmatic things that you can do within your business to lessen your carbon footprint. We don't want people to, we're not walking around like this is a badge of honour like, we've done some good things and you know what, there's still some work to do. But we're doing the work and that's important and every business owner, don't be afraid of it. Once you get a little bit more understanding of it, once you take the first step, all of a sudden it becomes easier. Because then you just take another step and another step and all of a sudden it just becomes, it's like a muscle, you work it out and eventually you will be considering sustainability at every key decision-making point. And all of a sudden that turns your business into a sustainable business.

Brianne: Spot on, couldn't really agree with that more. Exactly what I say. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You break it down in little tiny steps and you develop confidence in your ability to tackle it each time. It's actually dead on. So what do you do to be environmentally sustainable? I've read about this but I'm not going to talk about it.

Oscar: For us to be environmentally sustainable, it's taken quite a few different variables and there are still many variables to go. When we upgraded our brewery, we put in a high efficiency brewing system so we could use less heat and less grain. We sort of get almost a 20% grain efficiency, grain being our sort of main dry good and largest waste product. We donate all of our spent grain to livestock feed so none of that goes to landfill. We have two community owned solar farms on our roof so basically members of our local community have invested into solar systems through an organisation called Pingala. We basically buy most of our power back investors and we're now paying them back at a rate of return for sustainable energy.

Brianne: So it's a little bit like crowdfunding. What is crowdfunding?

Oscar: Yeah, it is in a way but it actually you have a fixed rate of return which crowdfunding often does not offer.

Brianne: This is true.

Oscar: Whereas I think one of the other things we have a truly renewable power purchase agreement for the remainder of our power use and also probably the most significant, we have been funding a research project for the last over five years with the University of Technology Sydney. We're going to get a little bit nerdy here.

Brianne: Is this the algae? I've been excited about talking about your bioreactor.

Oscar: Yeah, this is the algae thing. So basically we have a feeding it to a bioreactor full of microalgae. The microalgae is basically using that to photosynthesize, creating more algae and more oxygen. That microalgae, when fed to cattle, can potentially lower their meat date data emissions between 40 and 60% at a really low dosage. We're working quite hard. We've got a commercial prototype in our brewery. We've also just finished our first 100-day live animal feeding trial. Basically they're getting fed pellets of spent brewers grain and algae. Next year we want to try to commercialise this proposition. proposition basically turn as many brewers into algae farmers as possible. Because around the world brewers are either selling or donating their spent grain to livestock feed. If you add algae to that you can lower the methane emissions of the livestock industry quite significantly with essentially two waste products. So we think that's a pretty interesting proposition. It also means that we are a manufacturing business in an urban environment that have two algal bioreactors that create the same amount of oxygen as a hectare of Australian bushland each. So you think about that for an urban manufacturing site actually creating more oxygen than if we knocked it down and planted trees here. So that's the other part of the proposal.

Brianne: That is the absolute wonder of combining, I mean this is again another trite saying, but combining the idea of science and nature and rather than working against nature using it because using it sounds horrible but it has all of the answers. We simply need to start implementing them. I find the climate change conversation quite frustrating and with the absolute nonsense that was COP even more so. But this is so cool. It's not just a beer-specific industry. It could be across so many things because so many industries produce, although they don't necessarily capture, the mass amounts of CO2. That's so cool.

Oscar: So our system would technically work for soft drinks, wine, cider, distilling spirits, any beverage production that creates CO2, this system could technically work it.

Brianne:: That's so cool. Well, I look forward to the day you go and knock on Coca-Cola's door and say, hey, let's help halve your carbon footprint. So cool.

Oscar: We agree.

Brianne: And the thing about all these answers again is it's not a simple process and I'm sure it has not been simple to work out, but it is a simple answer, right?

Oscar: It's a really funny thing. If you think about what a cow does, if you've got a cow in a field, when it's thirsty, where does it go? It goes down to the creek. What's in the creek? Cows are probably drinking microalgae all the time and it's a known fact that grass-fed animals produce less methane than grain-fed animals. So, you know, like there are these interesting little, oh yeah, okay, that kind of makes sense. The main sort of light bulb moment was when Richard met Dr. Peter Ralph from UTS. He was talking about microalgae and what it does, you know. And then realising that brewers used to microalgae are these similar things, but they do an opposite job. They're like this yin and yang because they're both microorganisms that live in a liquid environment. One eats sugar and releases CO2, which is brewer's yeast. One eats CO2 and releases oxygen. So you've got these really lovely little...

Brianne: Circles"

Oscar: Yeah, really circular. So that's why we're like, hey, you know what? What if we could add one more tank into our brewery and offset some of this stuff?

Brianne: Yeah, brilliant. So cool. I mean, I did a biochemistry degree, so I've seen a couple of bioreactors, but I've never actually seen it used in a commercial setting, which is always the difficulty with scientists typically struggle to make the leap to commercialise a product. So that's really cool and I'll be watching excitedly next year to see how it goes. And for when Coke are like, hey, we've come up with this great idea because they'll steal the credit for it. Anyway, that's really awesome.

Oscar: I think there's something interesting there like what you were saying, the disconnect between academia, great ideas and the industry. I think that what UTS have done so well is they are very focused on getting good ideas out of academia and linking them with the industry because they want to see them adopted, they want to see them grow and they want to see industrial change through smart thinking.

Brianne: Case in point and how much change that could create? A lot of, well certainly not the algae one, but a lot of the things you have done seem common sense which I think kind of a lot of sustainability decisions are by and large but how do you choose which one to tackle? We talked about it being a journey and you're absolutely right. If you are a sustainable business, people will harass you far more than if you are not making sustainable choices. So how do you choose what to tackle next because no business is perfect and you cannot do everything at once.

Oscar: No business is perfect. I think sustainability needs to sort of become a common sense mindset. So that it's not about walking through your business and saying, alright we're chucking all of this out, we're replacing all of it. But at each decision-making point, if you need to replace a piece of equipment or buy a new piece of equipment, that is the time where you say, okay we can go down this Or what happens if we switch it? The rate of improvement technologically of heat pumps, water reuse, solar, battery, it's just guaranteed what you thought last year if you were to do some deep diving at the moment it is completely different and probably the same thing will happen again next year. At every key decision making point, you've got to look around and work out what is available and what could I do here. The community owned solar farm, we could not afford to go solar at that point in time. We couldn't have afforded the 30 grand in CapEx to put a solar system on our roof. But through meeting these people, we were able to make that change and have other people fund it. You know, so it's just about being open-minded and thinking, well we'd like this. If you can't afford it, what about Sustainable Australia Fund? Really great thing that is set up. You know, what about crowdfunding? What about... you know, there are options. It's probably about being open-minded and pragmatic but also looking for opportunities. Absolutely and I think one of the most important things is that if you're a company that makes a product that you want to have a human being be your customer, there are different ways that you can market towards that person. You can do bright pictures, beautiful campaigns, you can drop your prices or you can do something valuable and you can give your existing customers value from being a values-based business. If you do something which is in line with someone else's values, that's probably a much stickier relationship than just a lovely billboard.

Brianne: Absolutely, or constantly lowering your prices because you think that's all you've got, which is a terrible spiral.

Oscar: Yeah that's the truth you know. Creating value as opposed to just giving value is sort of a probably the truth is in between both of those. Do I think people are walking into the bottle shop and say what's your most sustainable beer? No, I don't unfortunately. I think that that is a massively small percentage of people. Do I think that a lot of Young Henry's existing customers feel comfortable continuing to be customers because of some of those other values that we provide as a business? Yeah, I do. And I do think that that is important. Sales is not just about new customers, it's actually about looking after existing customers.

Brianne: It's far more valuable to retain.

Oscar: Absolutely. They're the most important. If you never get a new customer ever again, you've at least got the ones you've already got.

Brianne: Yeah. I swear to God, so many brands forget that and they're just obsessed with acquisition. I don't know. We can rant about that for a while. I mean, studies have proven time and time again that the more values-driven, well, not the more, but a values-driven business has greater customer loyalty and they tend to be more profitable, which is interesting because you'd expect the opposite because values lead typically means more expensive decisions. But Deloitte and very big clever businesses tell us that's not the case. It's very interesting. You're a B Corp, aren't you?

Oscar: Yes, yeah, we are. We were B Corp certified early 2023.

Brianne: Oh, congrats.

Oscar: Thank you very much. It was a big piece of work and a big thing to undergo along with doing a full three scope carbon audit.

Brianne: Another big piece of work.

Oscar: Yes, exactly. And we did them in tandem without a full-time sustainability person. So we were doing a lot of that ourselves, a lot of people picking up a whole bunch of different things, which was a really great exercise. Everyone within the business, well a lot of our management team, learned a lot about what those certifications need and what goes into them. That was great. There's a lot of value to just being open to doing a certification or doing a carbon assessment because once we got the results of our carbon assessment, we had visibility. We were able to make some changes within a week that would improve our next score.

Brianne: It's kind of bizarre actually. I don't like the phrase low-hanging fruit but there was a lot of it and if you don't measure it, you don't know it's there. It's really interesting. I found that about the B Corp assessment too. It was a horrifying thing to do but so good because I did it first back in 2015 when I was really sort of starting the company and all these best practices that you can put in at that early stage are so helpful. But a high bar. So congrats, that's really cool.

Oscar: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Brianne: If we talk about marketing, I mean I have a feeling I know what your answer is here. What has been your most successful marketing tactics? Obviously you're all about brand and you've expanded well beyond beer. So what has kept your customers loyal and what has attracted new ones?

Oscar: I that the most important variables within our marketing has been allowing our brand a little bit of elasticity, being defiant on what the core of our brand is, but allowing it to move into different spaces at different times whilst always sticking to the playbook being inclusive, fun and sort of unapologetic. I think that once you know what you are at your core, you can actually collaborate and move into different spaces and actually start putting your brand in front of more varied people. But to do that and do that effectively and not lose brand equity, you really have to understand where your core principle, you know, brand offering is, and really stick to that at every move. I think collaboration is probably the most important thing that we've done. And I don't just mean collaborating with, say, a band like you and I making a beer together. I think collaborating with our customers on events or with a band on a tour support or with different brands doing a t-shirt launch or something like that because when you get that right, everyone remembers the recommendation from the dinner party. If you can have another brand or another business talking positively about your business, recommending your business to their customers, that's the best way in. But to do that, to collaborate well, you have to make sure that you're protecting your brand variables whilst also giving value to another entity's brand. It's a really tricky thing to do, and to do well, and to do consistently. But it also, it pushes you to be creative. It pushes you to do something actual as opposed to just talking about your own brand which is sort of, it gets a bit boring, you just keep banging that same drum all the time.

Brianne: Yes, for you and your customers. It is very hard to know yourself and your brand enough to not lose yourself when you do something that might not be to your core audience.

Oscar: But that's where all the opportunity is. The opportunity of new lies in stepping outside of your comfort zone and everyone's going to laugh.

Brianne: Yeah. Okay, talking about stepping out of your comfort zone, what has been the most, I won't say worst, but the most challenging moment? Which is, you know, a super obvious cliche question, but it's always interesting.

Oscar: The most challenging thing has been the last few years economically, that have had an effect on team members. We are a people-made business. We hire people because we respect them and we see something in them. We see our brand in them and quite often they come and build our brand with us. And so to be hardest thing. You know, the term it's just business is way too simplified and is I think a misnomer. A business is an ecosystem with a bunch of different lives, bunch of different families in it. You need to respect that and you need to protect that as much as possible and every once in a while unfortunately as a director of a business you need to make decisions that have negative effects and they are always the hardest and they sit very heavily with us when we have to do that.

Brianne: Yeah, it's the worst.

Oscar: It's the absolute worst thing.

Brianne: Yeah, and you can only look after people so much. It's still shit and it's an unfortunate reality of being in business, right?

Oscar: that's exactly it.

Brianne: Okay, well, onto a slightly more cheerful question then. So just talking your Instagram, because that's why we have Instagram now. I see you have a young daughter. Yes. Now, this is a question, so the majority of the people I mentor are women and they get this question all the time. So I like to direct it to blokes, but how do you manage to run a business and raise a family? And how does it not keep you up at 3 o'clock in the morning?

Oscar: How do we balance family and business? We have to set boundaries. When I get home, I don't answer my phone. I don't answer my phone on the weekend. I don't check my emails when I get home.

Brianne: I love that boundary!

Oscar: Yeah, because that is family time and then it's also time for me to rest and for me to be better tomorrow. I need the cuddles, I need the positive, happy, relaxing, for my daughter to grow and become a great individual. She needs connection and real human interaction. So I can't shortchange that and I think if you ask anyone what is their version of success, they're not going to say, oh, it's working 70 hours a week. No, they're going to say, it's getting to a point where I have everything that I need, I'm relaxed, I'm engaged. So my to-do list has never been complete in 12 years. I assume that my to-do list tomorrow is not going to be completed either. So guess what? It's 5 o'clock. I'm not answering your phone. I'll call you tomorrow.

Brianne: I love that. Yeah, because your to-do list, you might knock off two but you'll add four, you know. It's just how it works. And you are in the entrepreneurial world, you have to get up at 4am, you have to do this and hustle, hustle, hustle. Everything's all about side hustles and stupid, well hustle culture. It's totally unnecessary and people tend to burn out faster and never achieve anything.

Oscar: I think hustle culture is actually not reflective of how human beings need to operate. I moved out of the city recently and I found a lot more balance being outside of that hustle environment. We still hustle every day. When things go wrong, you need to fix them. That will never change. And are there a couple of nights where I'm quite late home? Yes, there are. Every week. But perpetual momentum is not sustainable for humans. You need your on and you need your off. And if you have a partner at home, you can't just leave them to do everything. You need to support them in their life as much as you expect them to support you in your life.

Brianne: Damn right. Absolutely spot on. Love it. Okay, two quick fire questions, actually three. What is your number one tip for someone who wants to start or run a more ethically driven business?

Oscar: Work out what it is that drives you in that space. Once you clarify your values, it will become easier to act in that way.

Brianne: A lot of what you have said has centered around that idea of knowing, knowing thyself, right? Because if you don't, you're not going to do shit.

Oscar: Yeah, pretty much.

Brianne: That's all been quite consistent throughout. Okay. What is the one action you want people who are listening to this podcast to go and do and you can say, go and buy your beer if you like. Most people do.

Oscar: No, I would say put your phone on silent think about work. I don't allow myself to think about work in bed. Bed is for sleeping.

Brianne: How do you stop yourself? Because I can't. I'm so intrigued.

Oscar: Well I used to wake up in the middle of the night all the time and lie awake thinking about things. And then I met someone who just said, the best thing you could do for your problems is to stop thinking about them and sleep. And I thought about that, once I actually believed that that was the truth. If I wake up in the middle of the night and I've got something on my mind, I actually tell myself, the best thing you could do right now is go to sleep. And if you believe it, you do.

Brianne: Yeah, it's about being disciplined in your thinking process, isn't it?

Oscar: And guaranteed, when you wake up in the morning, that issue is not as large as you thought it was. Never. And you can actually take some pragmatic steps in a shorter period of time to get it fixed.

Brianne: It is funny how 3 a.m. problems become the most enormous thing you'll ever face and yet in the light of day, you think, well, what? It's not even worth an email. It's bizarre. Very bizarre. Those are my favourite questions, also the last question. If you were a supreme world leader, what is the one thing you would implement or change right now that would make the world a better place?

Oscar: I think I'd remove money.

Brianne: Yeah. Arguably, we would just go and make something else.

Oscar: Yeah, I think I would lessen the power of money. If you had an international finance system that was all of a sudden, you know, there are so many things around the world that you could fix. There is enough wealth in the world. There's enough food in the world, you know.

Brianne: It's distribution.

Oscar: It's just distribution. And if you had that all centralised, you'd be able to make some positive steps, I think.

Brianne: Yeah. It is interesting at the moment, shall we say?

Oscar: Complicated, to say the least.

Brianne: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Oscar. Honestly, such an interesting insight into an industry I really don't know much about. But I really want an algae bioreactor now. It's so fucking cool. Thank you for joining me on this special episode of Now, That's What I Call Business. I will see you in a fortnight.

Brianne: Short and sweet, like all the best podcasts, right? Thank you for learning with me. It is always an absolute blast to put these together and share these stories, some of them, which are a little ridiculous, and they all come from building a business that will hopefully change the world. If you enjoyed this episode, don't keep it to yourself and feel free to drop me a rating and hit that subscribe button. Kia ora and see you next week, Kia ora and see you next week, where I will have another incredible episode for you.

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