Earlier this week I interviewed Steven Moe, the founder of Seeds. Seeds is a podcast with a purpose – it features interviews with inspiring people making a change, and digs deeper into their stories to try and find out what motivates their choices.
What I love about Seeds is how Steven unpacks the stories of entrepreneurs and discuss the roots of their ideas and experiences. .
Why did you start the Seeds Podcast?
I wanted to tell good stories, and podcasts are a great platform to connect via audio and go deep with people to really find out what makes them tick.
We can get to the ‘why,’ not just superficially stake over what people ‘do.’
Our interviews typically last for an hour, so I can ask guests about their childhood, that time they lost someone close to them, what it meant to move countries…
All that then informs the second half of the interview, where we do talk about what they are doing.
My hope is simple: to tell stories that inspire others to start their own.
What’s your Story and the back story to Seeds?
My day job is as a lawyer helping entrepreneurs, so I kept meeting people with amazing stories but often no platform to share their own journeys and what they have learned on the way!
The podcast provides that platform and now has more than 80 such stories.
I did a history degree and so for me, the Seeds podcast is like recording contemporary history, so that a moment in time is crystallised and others can learn from that.
I try to get real diversity so every week the listener will be surprised at how different it is to the last week.
For example, I might jump from an entrepreneur to a poet, to someone with a disability – but consistent across all of them is that these are people acting with purpose in their lives who look to make our world better.
As for me personally, I love to read stories and write them and tell them and have also lived in six different countries for more than a year each, so I appreciate the incredible diversity and beauty of our world.
Seeds is one way for me to help get some good stories out. I grew up here in New Zealand (despite my accent) and returned at the start of 2016 after 11 years overseas working for an international law firm in Tokyo (four years), London (three years) and Sydney (four years).
In my work as a lawyer offshore I had gotten used to large scale commercial transactions (occasionally in the billions of dollars!).
On my return, I was looking to do things differently and embrace the mid-life crisis of ‘what my purpose’ was. So, I have had a shift in focus while continuing to work as a lawyer.
That led me to write Social Enterprises in New Zealand: A Legal Handbook (a free ebook I send out to anyone who wants it).
I also wanted to find ways to ‘add value’ and kept meeting amazing people with stories that deserve to be told but had no platform for that.
So that was the reason I explored the idea of a podcast and Seeds was born from that.
As for the name, Seeds look dead – give them the right conditions and new life springs up.
I want each interview to be like a seed that people listen to and something may grow from it in their own lives.
What does Social Entrepreneurship mean to you?
To me, it is about connecting the heart (why we want to do something) with the mind (the rational business focus).
Too often we let ourselves be dictated by our mind and pursuing a career and leave our hearts behind.
Social enterprises unite the heart and mind because you are using your mind through business to advance a social or environmental cause which is driven by your heart.
So, you can start a business you believe in!
The next generation gets this stuff easily – in the entrepreneur incubators I see many initiatives that have some social or environmental outcome they are aiming for as well.
Imagine you have been transported back in time. Reliving life as a teenager, what would you want to change?
I often ask guests what they would change. Most say … nothing!
I agree with that. Because each of us have our circumstances and the journeys that formed us. Embrace it, learn from it, let it shape you and give you empathy with others.
Really listen. Stay curious.
When I was 20, I moved to Japan for a year to teach English. Many people said I should finish a degree and start work but my reasoning was:
1. Don’t make choices that mean you will live with regrets and ‘what ifs’
2. When I am 90 looking back on my life, taking a year out to explore the world will have made me a richer person. It did!
What has been your biggest obstacle in establishing Seeds?
One thing is that I get very little feedback from listeners. I know 22,000 people have listened across all the episodes, but I don’t know their identities or if it really helped them, apart from they keep listening and numbers grow!
So, it can be a little lonely to work hard on something like this and get little feedback.
However, when I do get feedback, it is usually enough to keep me going – like someone who wrote to thank me as it had helped them in a career decision.
Someone else thanked me for recording their father’s life as he died two months later of his cancer.
If you listen and subscribe to Seeds – leave a rating or review so I know what I’m doing right!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to young people finding their own way in entrepreneurship?
Take time to reflect and know who you are before you decide what you will do.