Brad Pedersen is a Canadian entrepreneur who generated more than $100 million in annual revenue in his toy manufacturing business. He shares wisdom from wounds and financial gains; all part of his journey to combatting food waste while still reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lomi composts your food scraps and compostable plastics. Use code YPIpodcast for your Lomi discount.
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we put stuff in bins.
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We created infrastructure for trucks to come pick it up and then take it to these big holes in the ground and bury it.
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And that's how we've done things for years.
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And so we assume it's the way it's done.
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And so we recognize that this new category of smart waste is different.
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So we continue to, evolve and grow our understanding of both the impact we're making and our ability to solve it.
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And it's first step is awareness and then it's about change,Catherine:
hello, I'm Catherine, your host of this variety show podcast.Catherine:
Your positive imprint is transforming how we live today for a more sustainable tomorrow through education and information.Catherine:
Your own positive actions inspire change.Catherine:
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Check out Chris and his awesome music at ChrisNole.com.Catherine:
C H R I S N O L E Thank you again for listening and for your support of this podcast,Catherine:
your positive imprint.Catherine:
What's your PI?Catherine:
there's a way for you to compost food scraps and even compostable plastics without having a yard, without even having a garden.Catherine:
Well, we have our compost garden and it doesn't always go well outside.Catherine:
Well, my guest today, Brad Pedersen of British Columbia, Canada, is transforming how we live today for a better, more sustainable future through combating food-waste, while stillCatherine:
That button kind of sounds different, doesn't, it's not something that you would have in your backyard.Catherine:
Well, he is one of the co-founders of Lomi, and Brad is committed to creating a waste-free future, and I just love that transformation that he is providing for all of us for a better tomorrow.Catherine:
Well, Brad, also known as the "startup Santa" has an entrepreneurial background in the business of toys.Catherine:
He is from the north, which makes him a real world toy maker from the far north, which is so incredible just to have someone here from the far north to talk about his positive imprints of how he is transforming lives.Catherine:
Brad Pedersen, thank you so much for being here on your positive imprint
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what a great introduction, Catherine.
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I'm very, uh, honored to be a part of your show.
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Had a chance to listen to some of the episodes and, and inspiring to hear the positive imprint that people are making all around the planet, for things for the planet or for people and just in betterment overall.
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And, uh, yeah, I am the real toy maker from the north.
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I just don't have as big a beard or belly as one that you know of.
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So yeah, grateful to be here.Catherine:
Oh, well thank you.Catherine:
And everything that was said in the intro is just a piece of what you are about.Catherine:
Brad, you have just an incredible background and we were talking before the show and, and you said you just feltCatherine:
so privileged to be in the world today in providing these positive imprints, and I'm so glad that you see it as your privilege to serve the world and the needs of the planet.Catherine:
So thank you.Catherine:
And, and I wanna start out with a quote that I found on the internet that you said, on the three things that separate humans from all other species.
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Yeah, that's great.
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Um, You know, I've, I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about just like, what is it that makes us unique as humans because, we, we have this incredible opportunity
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And, over the last 10,000 years that we have sort of basically gathered together information about who we are and what we do, uh, I've taken a lot of the insights and
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And that is that, uh, we we're built for relationship.
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As a species, we really thrive when we build meaningful relationships with others, and we create communities and we promote abundance within those communities.
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, yes, there are other species out there that live in communities, but it is strictly for survival, and it's only within that unique, uh, tribe that they're a part of.
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In fact, you know, if you see chimpanzees that are in, in two unique pods, they will actually fight each other to survive.
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So, but as humans, we really, , thrive, not just survive, but thrive, and we build meaningful relationships.
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So that's the first unique thing that I believe is, is, is important for us to recognize.
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And it, it also just forces to think about our interdependence as a species that we're really, you know, we, we seek independence for ourselves.
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That's kind of like we're, we're taught to go to school, get an education, and then go work, and you're trying to create this independence.
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But I think where you ultimately land is that we're interdependent
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with each other for not only survival, but actually creating a, a better, more abundant future.
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So, first attribute, we thrive in relationships.
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Second is we're called to create.
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I, I believe that we have this God-inspired ability to do what He did.
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So we live in this incredible planet that's a marvel in the universe.
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We haven't found another one like it.
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You know, as insignificant as we are cause we're literally a speck, you know, a little planet in a galaxy amongst the universe.
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And it, it, it feels daunting when you think about it, that perspective.
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But at the same time, because we've never found another one like it.
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It's all, all too important and it makes us incredibly important.
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So , I believe we were created within this incredible creation and that we were asked to continue to create within it and to fill it with things that promote abundance.
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And, uh, the ability to, again, not just survive, but thrive as a species.
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And, uh, everything is created twice first in your mind and then in reality.
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And that's something that's just truly unique to our species.
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If you take a look at animals, they, they do creative stuff as well, but it's all based on instinct.
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It's not built on imagination, imagining and then actually taking your imagination, casting it out there, and then coming back and creating it.
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And I think as entrepreneurs, that's actually one of the things that we do, is that we imagine a future.
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We are time travelers.
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So we go into that future and then we come back and we ultimately make it into reality, , as best as we can.
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, and then the third, and this is probably the most important part of all, is that we're empowered to choose.
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Every single day, we are given the choice of how we show up in the world.
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And with those choices, we create either abundance or scarcity.
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And again, if you take a look at our history as a species, unfortunately we've defaulted pretty heavily to the scarcity side, survival and doing so at the expense of others and at the planet.
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But I think we're in a, a day and age, in fact, this is the most exciting time to be alive.
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That's what I would say.
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We now look at, , our understanding of the planet of each other and that our choices matter and that actually we can make choices daily, small choices that will actually make positive impact that promotes, , the planet,
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Those are the three things that I think set us humans apart from any other species.Catherine:
That is a fabulous way to start this episode featuring you, Brad.Catherine:
So I thank you for that and I really, really love we create first and then we turn it into reality.Catherine:
We have to make a choice and how are those choices going to affect our tomorrow?Catherine:
Our choices matter.Catherine:
And I thank you for that.Catherine:
So your choices, and I love the shirt that you're wearing today.Catherine:
Just love it.Catherine:
And, uh, you, , before the show, we were talking about how grateful you are to be in a place where you are, where you can share your ideas and become,Catherine:
And thank you for doing that.Catherine:
Brad's experiences as an entrepreneur and business owner have been life-changing, but full of learning experiences that move Brad forward with his continued positive imprints.Catherine:
He shares his journey as he describes it.Catherine:
Wisdom from my wounds.Catherine:
We're going to go back, we're gonna go back to those years when you wereCatherine:
my gosh, playing with toys
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It doesn't seem obvious Based upon your background, you're born, , in the prairies of Canada, which is known for agriculture and oil.
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, there was no obvious industry around you that would inspire you to want to go into toys.
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The only real answer I can come up with is curiosity.
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, I'm a big believer that, we don't stop playing cuz we get old.
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We get old cuz we stop playing.
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I really have, , always been extremely curious and entrepreneurial.
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And I read a s a story in a magazine back in the mid early nineties about an entrepreneur from California who had invented this, , toy and it could fly really far.
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It was a throwing toy.
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And I was inspired by flight.
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You can probably tell cause I have a picture of, uh, one of my favorite airplanes, a P 51 Mustang behind me.
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And, um, so I, I ended up buying the product, uh, playing with it.
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, and this is in my early twenties.
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Being inspired by the idea that, hey, not only is this a really cool product, but maybe this is a cool product that other people would enjoy playing with in Canada.
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And I, you can't buy them in Canada.
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I had to import 'em from the states.
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So, , I reached out to the, the maker of the product and, uh, fortunately he was as naive about Canada as I was about toys.
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And, and together our mutual naitivity came together to create an opportunity where I started off becoming a distributor for toys and, uh, started off with that one product and eventually,
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That grew from, , doing, I, I called myself a Carney where I would go around to events and sell these things at different events and throw these things around.
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I decided at the end of that career, I just had one big arm from throwing things and it wasn't very sustainable or replicatable.
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So, uh, turned that into kiosks and malls that eventually turned into going to retail stores.
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And, uh, by the, uh, late 1990s, early two thousands, we had built the largest toy distribution company in Canada.
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And it was, uh, you know, a fast growth.
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Trajectory and it was, uh, a lot of fun to be a part of it.
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And I loved being kind of this, um, uh, person who was, uh, contrarian to what was going on.
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Like I was from Alberta and that didn't make sense that you would do this there.
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, but I, I, I just loved it.
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And, , that was amazing up until about 2006 where I found out the hard way you can grow a business too fast.
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I ended up putting my company into special loans cuz I grew too quickly and got upside down in my covenants with my bank.
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And after fighting with, , the banks over a couple years, we eventually bankrupted that company.
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And it was an incredibly, , formative part of my history understanding that, uh, mastery is found on the mountaintop of mistakes.
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You can make a lot of mistakes in life and that's tend to be where you learn.
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We don't tend to learn real well from success, but we learn from failing.
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And I believe in failing forward.
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Fast forward, that event, which was terrible at the time, led to, , a new beginning where I started making toys, not just distributing, but now making, and, eventually
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, they have, incredible brands in their portfolio, , like Light Bright and Tonka, and Car Bears and Mashems and Connects Construction.
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And, and so some of these brands your, your listeners will be familiar with.
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And literally, , over my lifetime of building a business, we've shipped billions of pieces of, of toys and plastics around the planet, , with noble brands.
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So that's, that's kind of a fast abbreviation of my, , journey through the toy business.
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And, , certainly not a straight up to the right line.
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There's been lots of character building moments along the way.
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But I've also looked back and, and found that those challenges are what created the character.
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And it was really what it led to me to the opportunities that I, I've, uh, found today with both Pela and Lomi.Catherine:
What an incredible journey , , your humbleness of where you are today strikes me as a grateful dude, and I so much appreciate your down to earth way of looking at, at life coming from, as youCatherine:
You talked about growing too quickly, , when you say grow too quickly, you mean monetarily it grew too quickly or you couldn't keep up with the orders?
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I think we're designed to grow.
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I mean, a tree's planted, it grows, grass will grow through, , through asphalt to seek out sunlight.
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And I think as humans, that's a part of our journey is to grow.
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And when you start an enterprise, a company, its purpose is to grow and in its growth, build value.
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And that value should make positive impact if you want it to be a durable, uh, enduring enterprise.
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But growth is a double-edged sword.
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So there's a, , appropriate amount of growth and then there's, excess of growth.
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And, , when I started my businesses back in the nineties, we saw, , significant growth mostly just from, sort of the sheer force of will.
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And we were always very fortunate that we had ways of figuring out how to finance it.
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Because when you grow a company, it puts incredible strain on three systems.
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The people you have, the systems you operate within, like the operating systems, the SOPs, and the cash that you require to actually grow it.
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Cuz you have to hire people, have to build a inventory, , you have to give terms to, to customers.
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And we were very fortunate that for quite a long period of time, we just figured it out, figured it out, figured it out, and were able to support a growth.
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And as a result, the company doubled its size every year for a period of time.
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And when the numbers start getting bigger, It gets harder to reinvent those three things.
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And in 2006, we grew again.
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We doubled the company.
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, and it was, uh, we thought a record year of banner a year.
, Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:15:42
And I'd actually taken a vacation.
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And when I came back, my C F O at the time said we got a problem.
, Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:15:47
And the problem was we had grown so quickly that we had actually breached covenants with our, our bank who was lending us funds to be able to support the growth.
, Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:15:57
And suddenly we didn't have enough assets and , our balance sheet to cover off the amount of debt we were using to support the growth.
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So that put us into special loans.
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And, , it's a, it's a become a, a.
, Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:16:12
practical lesson on two levels.
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Most businesses don't die from starving of lack of opportunity.
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Usually they choke on biting off more they can chew.
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And you come to understand that, , top line is vanity, bottom line, sanity and cash flow is reality.
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The most important piece is how are you able to cash flow a business?
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Cause a business is something you birth and it it, it's something that needs cash to survive.
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And without that cash infusion constantly coming through, it's the lifeblood.
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You will eventually face some very difficult times.Catherine:
Do you offer classes in building businesses?Catherine:
Because everything that you say is just, Uh, wisdom run and, you have that background to share.Catherine:
I just think that that's, maybe, maybe that's something that you have in your, your book.
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Yeah, look, the book The Startup Santa, , is really a distillation of life lessons again.
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, I, I'm a big believer that your challenges form your character and your adversities can be turned to your advantage if you choose to let them do so.
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And, uh, so this is a collection of wisdom from my wounds, so that the, uh, the next generation of entrepreneurs who are starting out can hopefully glean some of these
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You know, the format is, is is fun in that every chapter.
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So there's 10 chapters.
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Every chapter takes an iconic toy that people know, gives you a bit of a history of what that, where that toy came from, but then also unpacks what does a toy teach us?
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Cuz toys and play are about problem solving and they're part of our developmental process.
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So there's lessons that come from playing with a toy.
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And then I will take a story from my experience , in the business and, , and then tie those lessons together.
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And, uh, so things that I just said will be unpacked in that book.
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It's been a fun, , it's been about three years that I've been working on this and, it's taken way more time than I thought it would be, but it's been incredibly cathartic for me to think
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So, um, I'm looking forward to hopefully making some impact in a positive way to other founders and, and people who have start-ups.
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The key point is that, value is something that we need to create first before anything matters.
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And, and that's just a life principle.
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The first chapter, which is on GI Joe's and the Origin of GI Joe's.
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And there's some really incredible lessons that I think that we can learn from the, not only the origin story of GI Joe's, but what they stand for andCatherine:
very interesting and I'm actually very anxious to, , read the book because you say that you start each chapter with a toy that most people will have come across, maybeCatherine:
Or in a store.Catherine:
And they've seen it.
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These stories of toys will continue to inspire people because I think all of us can go back to our childhood and remember our favorite toy and or toys
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You may even remember the smells that were in the air if your mom was cooking something.
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, I just think there's, there's this innate part of our humanity that we, we, we played with toys and inspired us.
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And so I think this will be timeless.
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I hope it's timelessCatherine:
do you have any of your childhood toys still?Catherine:
Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:19:44
Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:19:44
Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:19:45
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So my, my favorite things, and, you know, this was kind of, uh, a cathartic experience because I, , went back to my folks' place.
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So both my parents passed recently and, , had a chance to go through the, , cleaning out of, of their home . And so coming across all these toys.
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When I said I was into flying toys, I had a whole lot of flying toys.
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And my favorite things as a kid were model rockets.
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I, I still remember the estees rockets as just like, such an exciting
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thing to get as a kid when I, would, would birthdays or Christmases get one, I couldn't wait to start assembling them cuz again, it took time.
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You had to put glue on 'em, you had to them, and then the, the grand adventure was when you'd launch 'em the sky.
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So I found a whole bunch of the model rockets, that, I had had as a kid, as, as I was pulling these, these, cleaning up these cupboards.
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And that was really fun.
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But my most favorite toy, most memorable toy, which I don't have anymore, but I talk about it in the book, was a kite.
Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:20:43
And this kite had, , a small gyroscope that you would send up the, uh, the line and attached to the gyroscope was a space shuttle glider, and it would go all the way up to the line and at the
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Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:21:00
I wish I could find that toy again today.
Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:21:02
But as a kid it was like just mesmerizing that I could fly this kite and then on top of flying the kite, I could send a glider, a helicopter glider up to the top and it would come gliding down.
Brad Pederson 12 Guest 1 00:21:11
So it was super fun.
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And you mentioned the kite, that was always one of my favorites because it was a family thing.Catherine:
And we would go to the park and we would take our kites out and we couldn't wait to see it up in the sky and Dad would unroll it and help us.Catherine:
It was just so much fun.Catherine:
And it was, but it was.Catherine:
It was that family time too.Catherine:
You know, you walk to the park and you unload the kites and we're all playing.Catherine:
So that, that, those are valuable moments.Catherine:
And it was a toy . So, , moving out of the toys everything that I read about you, you are wanting to really make a difference for a more sustainable future in some way and in creating a waste free future.Catherine:
And so you now, Fast forward, have moved into a co-foundership of a new company, Lomi.Catherine:
And Lomi, first of all, before we, we get started with it, I just wanna also mention something you talked about when you were talking about your toy, companyCatherine:
you said you made a lot of plastics, so I know that that's going to be a part of where you are coming from, , with Lomi . So what does Lomi mean, first of all?Catherine:
And then let's talk about why you wanted to even do this and how plastics played aCatherine:
role in it.Catherine:
Top line vanity, bottom line sanity and cashflow reality.Catherine:
I have learned a lot today.Catherine:
Well join Brad and me next week as Brad shares how he is transforming, how we live today for a better tomorrow with Lomi the world's first smart waste device,Catherine:
Brad shares, why he wanted to move from manufacturing, plastics to a more sustainable planet changing product.Catherine:
If you know what Lomi is and anxious to purchase one, please use my discount code YPI podcast.Catherine:
To learn more about Brad Pedersen, go to Bradpedersen.com.Catherine:
B R a D P E D E R S E N.Catherine:
The first chapter of his book, the startup Santa is available now.Catherine:
Thanks Brad for your global positive imprints.Catherine:
Again more with Brad next week.Catherine:
Well, head over to my website, yourpositiveimprint.com, where you can learn more about me and the show.Catherine:
Plus the catalog is there on my episodes menu all of my 200 episodes.Catherine:
Oh, my gosh.Catherine:
I'm so loving, sharing all of these amazing positive imprints with you.Catherine:
Thank you for downloading, subscribing or following this podcast.Catherine:
I appreciate the support.Catherine:
Your positive imprint.