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Co-Founder of Holstee Answers Our Questions

Dave Radparvar is the co-founder and creative director of Holstee. A company based in Brooklyn that, through their products, inspires people to live mindfully, as evidence by their kick ass company manifesto.


We caught up with Dave after a Frontier client immersion that Holstee was a part of (thanks, Dave!) to ask him a couple of questions around the Holstee manifesto and what is means to be passionate about your work and attentive to opportunities.  

Q: I read this book once titled, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion In The Quest for Work You Love” and the premise was that you need not look for the perfect job or follow your passion (that can often lead down a road where there is no strong customer segment and need) but instead you need to find a skill or craft, become amazing at that thing and the love will follow. What do you say to that notion?

Dave: I think that’s a great approach. When it comes to self fulfillment or happiness I think that it will always come from within, it’s not something someone can give you. So whether you have a burning passion or dream that you pursue or whether you find a craft and go deep on it, I think they can both be great roads to self fulfillment and happiness. Life is complicated in that we have so many decisions to make but simple in that so few of them are really as important, in a universal perspective, as they may seem. If following a dream makes you happy, follow that. If honing your craft gives you joy, then do that. Give your energy to people and things that give you energy.

Q: How are you meant to recognize an opportunity from a distraction? 

Dave: I like this question. I think that knowing your goal really well will help you identify things as a distraction or an opportunity. Here is a simple example…If your goal is to cross the street, and along the way a car is flying by and honks, that honk may distract you momentarily from your goal of crossing the street, but that honk also made you pause and saved your life from getting hit. Had you not yielded to the ‘distraction’ of the honk you would have never reached your destination. Awareness to the opportunities or distractions around you can help you reach your goal, as long as you have a clear goal and are open to new roads and paths to get there.

- BC

Stevie Toepke’s Three C’s


She’s one of our favorite facilitators out there. She’s an awesome moderator, always knowing how to ask the right questions to get to the really interesting answers. She’s our culture guru at The Frontier Project. Get to know Stevie in the Q&A below, borrowed from our friends at The Creative Change Center in Richmond

How do you CREATE?
ST: I’m a four-time marathon runner, which sounds impressive, until you realize that running is just putting one foot in front of the other…over and over again. The accomplishment is simply in the stick-to-it-ness. Creating isn’t that different. You just try things and do it as an activity or discipline rather than an act of inspiration. Sometimes the result is crap. But if you do it enough, you’re bound to get something great every once and awhile. AND you learn to love the act of creating for the act itself. It becomes very gratifying, when the product isn’t exactly art.

How do you CONNECT?
ST: My uber young and hip colleagues accuse me of being a technical luddite because I do not tweet, instagram, flikr or post to Facebook like they think I should; however, I choose not to engage in those channels quite intentionally. I believe we have mistaken reach and platform for connection. True connection is personal and two-way and usually doesn’t doesn’t happen when we are all busy projecting the image of perfection we want others to have of us. Instead, I am a fan of meeting over coffee, connecting through volunteer opportunities, discovering connections over a glass of wine, or learning about our shared interests while we huff and puff on a run. Those are the spaces that allow us to express our hopes and fears that truly help us to connect with one another.

ST: I’m not gonna lie - this is hard for me. I am opinionated AND bossy. I get an idea in my head and I am ready to run with it and will wage serious campaigning tactics to get others on my side. Of course, that isn’t collaboration so much as it is influence or persuasion. I heard a great interview with John Cleese (for you youngsters, he was a founding member of Monty Python, which I hope to God still means something). In an interview with HBR, he was once asked to explain as a comic, how he collaborated with others. He referenced his movie, The Life of Brian (again, if you don’t know what I am talking about, for the love of God, please consult Netflix). In producing a movie about religion, he knew that if they tried to collaborate and agree on what religion IS, they’d never get anywhere. BUT, if they started with what religion ISN’T, they’d have a chance in hell of getting someplace. I follow that cue and start with agreeing on what something isn’t or what we don’t want and then suddenly it becomes easier to narrow in on the right direction.


Everlane's weekender bag

We recently stumbled upon one of our favorite brands, Everlane, occupying a pop-up retail space in downtown NYC. Inside was a beautifully crafted lifestyle store that housed pretty much everything you could want - from clothing to housewares, iced coffee for the super hot day, grooming tools, outdoor gear, and more. Except none of it was for sale. 

The point of the pop-up was to drive home Everlane’s philosophy of transparency: that you should know exactly where the products you buy are made, and why they cost what they do. To wit, Everlane calls it “Radical Transparency - know your factories, know your costs, always ask why.”

A powerful way to drive your brand message home, activate advocacy, and gain customers.

- KC, in NYC


By 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs in computing fields — what a recent NYC report called the “tech ecosystem.” Women are on pace to fill only 3% of those jobs.

What is to blame for the lack of women who take positions in the technology ecosystem?

Well, we cannot point to just one thing, but one part of the complicated problem was floated by Girls Who Code founder Reshma Suajani (check out her book) this morning at Grindspaces’ monthly ReThink event. She asserted that it is over-commercialization and micro-targeting that has created a world where a singular focus on demographics and gender has begun to seep into our lives — even as the lines seem to be blurring in everyday life, our corporate culture continues to gender us into pieces.

In the race to develop the technologists (read: problem solvers) of the future she also shared that, “Niger, India, China, and Cambodia” she emphasized, “are ahead of the United States in teaching their youth to code.”

The problem is a microcosm of the overall inability of homogenous cultures to trumpet difference and diversity. Girls Who Code is part of a larger movement to democratize the inner-workings of technology. And, in my hope, help develop healthier interactions between humans and technology.

The business case is clear. Women are the dominant group of consumers and they will soon dominate the workforce. Getting more girls involved in tech is crucial to the success of any company.

I walked away with one question. Why is it that entrepreneurs (social and business) always lead the way to the future? What about the Big Boys — those Fortune 50, 100, and 500’s?

Let’s get to answering that question.

Diversify or Die.

- Ibrahim

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