Graduate Theory

Warwick Donaldson | On Asymmetric Risks and The Power Of Asking

February 22, 2022 James Fricker Episode 18
Graduate Theory
Warwick Donaldson | On Asymmetric Risks and The Power Of Asking
Show Notes Transcript
James:

Hello, and welcome to graduate theory. On today's episode, you'll hear about what it means to take an asymmetric risk and certain things you can do in your career that have unlimited upside. We'll talk about networking hacks from Chinese culture, and we'll also talk about what it means to challenge yourself appropriately. If you haven't already please consider subscribing to the graduate theory newsletter. You get takeaways and mine insights from this episode directly to your inbox every single week. Without further ado, please enjoy. Hello, and welcome to graduate theory. My guest today is a serial entrepreneur problem solver and country, man. He's an active member of the Australian startup community, and he's been a part of several capital raises and RAs about startup funding on his side of startup funding.com that I use. He's passionate about helping young people and growing the Australian startup ecosystem. Please welcome to the. Warrick Donaldson.

Warwick:

Hey, James. Thanks for having me very excited.

James:

Great, man. I'm really excited to chat as well. Before the podcast, we were speaking about your first job and how that came about, and I'm curious, you know, what was your, your very first job and how did you, how did you get.

Warwick:

Well, I've actually had a few first jobs, so it depends which first job we're talking about. So I'll, I'll tell all

James:

Yeah.

Warwick:

All three I kind of fun. So my, my. So it was actually what I was about six years old and I used to get, I think, one or $2 a week pocket money from my parents and it wasn't enough. I always wanted to buy things and my parents wouldn't give me any money. And so, I devised a way to, to make some more money. And so basically my first ever job, my first ever business was actually collecting sheep per so I used to walk around and picking it up, put in bags, and then I used to sell it to to people in, in town. Cause I grew up on a farm. So that was my very first. And then I suppose I created that job. My first job working for someone else was actually working on the farm for my dad. And so that was when I was about 10 years old. And he used to get me doing proper full days cause I really wanted to do it. So he used to pay me like, you know, off reasonably well, he's like, oh, well you do a full day's work. Then you get paid like a you know, an old person. And but my, my first job, which I think you're referring to out of. Well, maybe I'll tell the backstory to that. So basically ever since I was about 14 I was fascinated in finance and, and I really wanted to be in banking. My idea was that banking was kind of the pinnacle of, of I think capitalism and sophistication. And, and I thought. I was going to be exposed to the most amazing things in the world there, and I'll be challenged and I'll get to, I get to see billions of dollars and all this sort of stuff. And so that absolutely fascinated me. So, ever since I was 14, I wanted to go into banking and SAR. I went to uni and I studied banking, finance and accounting. And then. When I graduated, I graduated with an eye, pretty average grades. I didn't fail anything. That's that's probably my claim to fame out of my my uni degree. But my, my grades, I don't think we're good enough to get into a grad position. So I tried and, and didn't get in any wet, but I wanted to be in banking. And so I said that guy, well, I'm just gonna get a job. Doing anything and figure it out once I get there. So, I actually got a job in outbound credit card collections call center. And so I spent about, I think maybe about nine months there. And so basically while I was there, what I did was every day I would get on the gal, the global address list. And I was. Research people in an Zed that I thought were working in interesting departments and I'd send them emails on say, Hey, I'm really interested in what you do. I want to learn more. Do you have time to go and get coffee? And slowly I worked my way through like credit risk market risk, kind of, you know, the trade is and, and all different parts of veins, ed and. Everybody said yes. And they, they were really plays that someone would reach out to them and ask them questions and want to learn about them and what they do. And so I did that for about eight or nine months and and each of those people would go and refer me to someone else who they thought was working in interesting department based on what I would tell them about what I wanted to do. And so I ended up. Working my way through a and Zed. And eventually I made my way to an Ed's treasury. And so there's, if you are not familiar with treasury is basically the banks bank. And so they're the ones who ensure that the bank is funded and they dish the funds out to the various business units and manage the liquidity, so I found some on, in in the treasury and he's like, well, we've never had anyone find there's a, this is actually really cool. Uh, we're actually honoring a grad role as an analyst. Are you interested in? I said, oh Yeah. Yeah, I and with interviews and got my first, you know, quote, unquote real. Grad job, I suppose. Yeah. Which is X Rachel's an amazing opportunity.

James:

Yeah, that's really cool. I think that's such a good story. I mean, it, I think it really speaks to this idea of like, you know, you're reaching out and then like, People are so surprised almost to have someone reach out to them. And, and then like, there's, there's, it's such a valuable thing to do for yourself. And like, for them, that's just, I think, like reaching out call with like that you know, it's, it's, I think that's a great example of how valuable that it can be because. W two, many of us either don't do that. I don't think, I think like, you know, you're almost worried luck or what if they say no, what if they're like this or this or this or whatever, but like, you know what if they said yes, you know what I mean? And it's like, that's a great example of how they can work out if you, you know, persist with that kind of thing.

Warwick:

Well, that's the best bit, right? Like the worst they can do is say. The best they can do is say yes. And you ended up getting a job, like, you know,

James:

yeah.

Warwick:

there's no downside and there's upsides are, you know, it's a pretty good it's a pretty good risk to take. If you want to call it a risk at all.

James:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think, yeah, I was reflecting on this, this idea, like through probably the last week, just how many people that I've met that have this like commonality of them, you know, like their opportunity. That's been something that really changed their life was just so. They wanted to do and they asked for it, you know, and then suddenly they were like, you know, off doing something incredible. I just think it's something that's really, really common and something that's underappreciated or yeah, people just don't do that enough or they don't even realize perhaps what you can achieve just by asking.

Warwick:

Yeah, and I think never underestimate someone's willingness to talk about themselves. People love talking about themselves. You know, We gather a lot of experience in our life. And a lot of people love to share that experience and, and, you know, I, I, that's why I'm doing this, this, this interview. Right. And, and that's why, like, I take every cold outreach nearly that, that, you know, people make to me because I love sharing my experiences. And hopefully someone can learn from me because, you know, I've done all this stuff and then hopefully I can short circuit some learnings for, for the next person. And that's kind of what it's all about. Right.

James:

Yeah. Yeah. I think it's so powerful and yeah, it's like people like yourself who are so open to to people reaching out as well as what you know, what makes this work as well. So I'm sure, like, I appreciate it. And I'm sure other people that have reached out to you appreciate it as well. I want to move on now with your career and move into your, you know, your, you went overseas in your career, you went to. Talk us through that process and kind of what what led to you deciding to go to go over there?

Warwick:

Yeah. So, I mean, I was working at AINS ed. I'd spent about two years in treasury at that point in wholesale fund. Well managing portfolio bonds. It was about a bit over a hundred billion dollars and it was crazy and we'll do it $25 billion of, of new instruments per year. And it was absolutely insane. Right. And and I love the work and, and, and I loved the markets and all this sort of stuff, but there's really something missing and, and I think I saw my life flash before my eyes. I kind of saw where I was going to be when I was 40 and 50, because you know, the, the progression sames Ravo Looney or I did when I was there. Anyway, it seemed quite linear. And, and, and I think that scared the shit out of me. And I was like, oh my God, what happens if I spend the next 30 years at a and Zed or in banking? And I w would I be happy? Would I say that I've lived a full life and And up until that point, my life had always been about risk management. So grew up on a farm and I found mean is about extreme risk management. And then, you know, I studied banking, finance and accounting, which is also risk management. Right. And so I felt that I wasn't really taking risks with my life. And you're a part of that is, is to do with my privilege. And then part of that is to do with like my, the way I grew up and kind of, you know, Australia and all that sort of stuff. And Australia is a pretty safe place to be. And I want to do experience be more about the world and, and I didn't take a gap year or anything like that. So, I said, okay, it's time for me to challenge myself, like really challenged myself, like. Well, it's the most extreme thing I can do to challenge myself without taking too much risk, right? Like, you know, I'm still like a person who likes to manage risk and and it's like, With this idea of moving to China, I'd been there twice on, on holiday and, and really enjoyed it. And it kind of felt like a second harm. And, but I didn't speak Chinese. I didn't know a whole lot about Chinese society. All I knew is that for some reason I was drawing. And so I said, okay, well, like, you know, it's probably the biggest risk that I could take. I talked to this guy here who moved there a couple of years before he was like, just do it, man. Like, what's the worst that can happen. I was like, all right. dad's like, oh, I didn't know about this. And everyone at night is like, I don't know why you would be doing that. You literally have one of the best jobs in the world right now, you know? And. And so I did, I decided I quit and I got a job teaching English in a primary school in kind of this suburban Nanjing and Nanjing, basically I know, compared to is probably like Jalong, right? It's 10 million people, but it's still kind of like a big country town. And I was right on the the outskirts in the suburbs there. And I went and taught English. And that kind of started my journey in China. I ended up spending three years there and it was it was a crazy time and, and it was a time that really challenged me. And it challenged me in, in really good ways. It challenged me to understand that there is a completely different world out there and the parameters that we don't quite understand the parameters that guide us in CYA Australia in the west with. We take for granted certain things that exist in Australia as like, this is just the way it is, and we don't really challenge those things. And then when you go to a place like China, it's complete and to build on a completely different set of rules and, and technology and culture. Now, all of a sudden you realize all these things that you thought would just, just had to exist no longer had to exist. You know, for example, like I'm moving. 2016. And everybody was on wait shot. And literally every payment was instant. You know, coming from Australia where like, you know, and, and just because of the Chinese banking systems built on a completely different set of rules and, and that's what society demanded and they kind of skipped the PC age and went straight to the smartphone age and, and. Yeah. they're just basic things that really challenge what you want. We kind of accept here in Australia as, as normal, like slower progression.

James:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that's, that's really interesting to hear that. And I'll be curious to hear, you know, around your, your decision to move is something that is interesting, maybe because it's something that, you know, like you said, you're in sort of the typical, like, this is a great job, like doing well in the corporate. Kind of sphere and then you, you know, you're sort of giving that up to go and do something which, you know, people would consider. Okay. That's really not as quite, not as good of a job. Right. Being a teacher and sort of like a remote place in China, like, what is your, how did you deal with that? I mean, was, was there any, like, did you feel like sort of social expectations on doing that? Like, you know, in sort of a, oh, we just kind of like, yeah, like. You know, I mean, I'm curious to hear we'd like, did you date yourself at any point through that process or we just kind of, yeah. Whatever, like, Ooh, this is what I want to do. So I'm just going to go straight forward.

Warwick:

yeah. no, I, I, I, it took me six months to like, basically make the decision. And, and figure out how it's going to do it with the least amount of risk possible. And I doubted myself a lot, but I think, you know, that the fact that I was doubting myself a lot meant that I was probably taking the right level of risk and challenge, because if you're not doubting yourself, then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. Right. You, you, you you're feeling too safe. And so you just kind of need to fought through it. I mean, really, you know, the, the, the risk was pretty large. Like worst case scenario. Like I ended up leaving China after six months a year and I go back into banking, like back to Australia and to banking, right? Best case scenario, I discover and evolve and learn into this amazing person and have all these experiences, which make me a better person. You know, it's not like, like I can get a job in China and teach in English. It's really easy. And, and so the risk was relatively low, but I did doubt myself a lot. And, and, you know, I was quite conscious of the fact that people would judge me based on this. And my dad's like, oh, this is really a good idea. You know, like, you know, he doesn't know very much about China and, and you know, that the reason why I was going is because like, one of the reasons why I was going is because China is in the paper every day and it's this like massive influence on our society. But I didn't know anything about it. All I knew it was like, you know, how it was portrayed in the papers. And, and obviously, you know, if anyone who's ever traveled your, you know, how somewhere I culture or country or whatever is portrayed on paper is, is obviously extraordinarily different to how it is in real life. And that's why we, that's why we travel right. To challenge these, these learnings, these perceptions that we have and, and, you know, put some substance behind them. So then I, it was, yeah. I doubted myself a lot about whatever

James:

yeah, yeah.

Warwick:

And now, now I'm like, you know, now I'm this white dude. He can speak Chinese cruising around Australia. And like, you know, I pull it out all the time and people are like, oh my God, you can speak Chinese, like speaking to Chinese people. And it was really nice and it's like, you know, you can bond over it and I can understand a different culture in society. And I really appreciate that. It's really propelled me as a person, but career.

James:

Yeah. I mean, I'm interested to hear then, you know, those, you mentioned those, the cultural differences there, and obviously like going to a different, different country, you know, that's, you know, you get to see those differences, but then coming back to Australia, like I'm interested to hear like how you ended up coming back and then even, you know, what kind of lessons or what were the things that you really took from that experience in China, you know, back the T.

Warwick:

So I came back twice. So the first time I spent two years that and I wasn't progressing as fast as what I wanted to, and I was a little bit frustrated and I was like, oh, I'm going to be a teacher forever. Like just kind of really annoying. I want to get back into doing some, some the work that I love and finance and and. So I came back to Australia and so I came back to Australia, actually, really not knowing much Chinese because I'd kind of fallen into maybe what a lot of people do when they move overseas, unless you really like want to challenges. So. You fall into the crowd that speaks kind of a common language. And so, you know, I, I ended up spending a lot of time with people who spoke English, both locals and ex-pats and so I came back and I tried to make it work in Australia and I got a couple of really good jobs and I just wasn't really settled and. It was really hard coming back because I'd had this like crazy, phenomenal experience and like, you know, the way that I lived in everything had changed forever. And nobody could kind of understand that and, and, you know, everything was kind of the same here. And so it was really difficult coming back. And so I got a really, really good job in, in venture capital and And after about five months they asked me, they said, so, you know, are you enjoying yourself? Do you see yourself here for, for for a while? And I said, honestly, no, I don't hurt. And, and they're like, oh, and I couldn't believe I was saying that because. I really wanted to work in venture capital. I was, you know, I was waking to startups. I was working finance and it was, it was, it was good to talk to founders all day and all this sort of stuff and is great. It was amazing. But I just, wasn't excited about all I could think about was China. And so I ended up leaving and going back to China and I said, all right, if I'm going to get back to China this time I'm going to do properly. I'm going to learn Chinese. I'm going to take the time. And there put the effort in And so I went back, but I went back and enrolled in university full-time study in Chinese. And so we had five hours of class, five days a week, and then we'd have probably another four to five hours of homework a day like rote learning Chinese. So. Literally write in Chinese characters and I'm pronouncing tones and doing conversation and reading, like, you know, all this sort of stuff. And it was, it was really intense. And I loved it and it was, and so I felt like I was kinda going back to, to finish off something that I started, that I didn't, that I didn't do properly. And, and it was amazing. And and then. Kind of 12 months in to study. And I realized how long I was going to have to study to get my Chinese, to a level where I could work, like in the areas, in the fields that I really enjoy. And it was probably another three to four years and I really wanted to get back into that type of work. And also it dawned on me. Once I get my Chinese to that level that I would have to then rebuild my career in a different country with different rules and side to side it. And you know, all this is because like Chinese culture is a very old complex culture, like any culture in the world. Right. And so you, you're not only learning the language, but you're learning the culture. And so you need to understand that sort of stuff. And and so, yeah, anyway, basically after 12 months I kind of came to the realization that there was probably a little bit too long and, and and I'd kind of got a lot out of the experience already. And so I was times come home. And so I actually flew back into Australia two weeks before COVID was officially announced in, in China. So I flew back in on the 15th of December and the 31st of December, it was when it was kind of announced, so discovered. And actually there were people with COVID one week later where else, where I was working at the time. Um, so I could have been patient zero. If

James:

yeah.

Warwick:

one day, just like insane to fit, right. Like, absolutely like yeah. kind of cool.

James:

Yeah. Yeah. That's so cool. And yeah, that's really interesting. Cause yeah, people often talk about like Chinese being, sorry. That's like quite hard to learn. Like the language is something that you're really going to be yeah know, it's like probably one of the hardest languages to learn. And then, you know, on top of that, late in the college and then, you know, doing all these other things, I think. Yeah, I think it's, it's definitely a great experience. It certainly sounds like it. I'm curious, you know, what were the, some things that you, when you came back in end of 2019, when you, when you came back to Australia there, is there anything that kind of stuck from when you're in China? Like, is there any, you know, sometimes it's like things like, yeah. there's certain like cooking techniques that they use. So then why is it you would like get ready all, you know, those cultural things that, you know, perhaps we, you know, the way we do things in Australia is like a bit different, you know? Is there anything that you took back, you know, from that, that you still do today?

Warwick:

Yeah a lot. I, it didn't influence my lifestyle much, like my choice of breakfast, you know, like I like to have a noodle soup for breakfast, a hot bowl of noodle soup on a hot day. I like to drink warm and hot water. Picked up a lot of cultural things and as well as actually on the networking side And I was going to let it leave this till the end, but in China they have something called guanxi going to see is, is the concept of relationship and the power of relationship and And so in China, it's extremely important. And I think through, you know, a lot of, a lot of Asia and they, it basically rules society in a way, you know, the, as I understand it and this idea that. You know, you build your relationships, but actually you build your network. But actually what you're doing is, is you should also be using those relationships and, and, and the those networks. And so they say it going to see is like, an arm, the more you use it, the more powerful it gets. And I think this is a really important thing that kind of underpins what I, how I conduct myself these days. I grew up in Australia where we build networks, but we use them as a last resort. We don't like to draw on our networks too much because we feel maybe a little bit embarrassed that we're asking for help. Where in China, it's the complete opposite. You should be using that as, as, as you know, one of the first one of the first polls. And so I really picked up on this and, and so I've really been trying my best to, to apply that in my daily life. And I'm seeing the benefits already. You know, I talk a lot with people the same people, you know, or try to build up a good network of people and help each other and help each other. And I really feel that bond and relationship evolve and, and it gets more meaningful over time. And, and it's really enjoyable. One because you're building relationships, which obviously as humans is like a basic thing, which is really nice, but also you're helping each other. And that's also really nice in a professional sense, as well as in a person.

James:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think like what you said there about like, often we turn to our network as a last resort, certainly like when, when you said that, I was like, oh, I definitely like, I'm definitely guilty of that. And has certainly like, even taking it back to what we were talking about at the start with the reaching out and things like that, you can achieve so much from, from just asking. Oh, and they often like, yeah, from what you've just said there, like you can, you can save yourself a lot of time trying to work something out yourself when just asking someone could, could solve your problem really, really quickly. So you asked. Yeah. I, I totally, yeah, I absolutely agree. I think that saying that, that I personally could do better. Luckily, a lot of people could do better is, you know, not being so, so worried to just reach out to people and ask for things ask for help, ask for, you know, if people can help you. Cause yeah, I think it's it's something that can be beneficial for both parties. Like you said.

Warwick:

Yeah. And I think, I think, you know, the, I know definitely the. I grew up in is definitely a more individualistic society. And and so we pride ourselves on doing everything ourselves, right. It's like move out of home as soon as you write in and like, you know, fight for your survival and blah, blah, blah. And I don't really fight for your survival. Like, it wasn't that bad, but,

James:

Yeah.

Warwick:

but, but you know, like really drive home as individually. And I know I kind of rejected my family for a long time and it was on the often, this is really another thing that I, that I came back with was, was the importance of family and friends and, and, and You know, Chinese society is very much centered around this family unit and and, and friends come within that and that's really important. And so that's something that I came back from China with as well, really drawing in my family and embracing it and, and, and really enjoying it. Which has been really nice and really refreshing and a, not like thinking that I have to do everything myself, just because I need to prove that I'm like a big, tough person who can make it in Australia by himself. Like it's not us.

James:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think not so many all weekend, all day, we can all do it better and yeah, certainly. All right. Yeah, absolutely graded that. It's only, at least for last time. I'm like, I could definitely improve in that area. So yeah. Okay. Even like with the podcast, I'm like, you know, people will say like, Hey, you should like reach out to this person. Like, they'll be able to help you with this area. And then like, part of me is like, yeah, that's a good idea, but I don't know why it's, unless it's just like, almost like want to do it. It's probably it's like fully, like not the best way to do it right. Is, but I'm like, yeah, like I can do it all myself. Like I don't, I got it. This person that has a newsletter that like, they can share it with heaps of people. Like, no, like I don't need that. Like, I'll be able to do it myself, you know? And it's just like, wow. The amount of opportunities that like, yeah. That I like that all of us add, not just me, but you know, that are just one ask away that you just completely ignore because like you have to do it yourself. I think is phenomenal.

Warwick:

Yeah, but also I like, you know, it's fun doing things by yourself on like, making your own mistakes and like, that's like, Hey, but just making sure that you find a balance. Right. And, and, and. Especially seizing opportunities that are really like that are really juicy.

James:

yeah, yeah.

Warwick:

But also, you know, acknowledging the fact that you just don't know where an opportunity is going to lead. And and, and so you may on the face of it, an opportunity may not look that appealing or juicy. But it may end up leading to, for example, a grad Joe Black guy got right. And that was not what I was expecting, but that was what happened. And, and I suppose if I'd tried to judge that meeting the opportunity from the outset, I would have been completely wrong. And, and you actually, most of the time, I'm, I'm completely wrong when I try and judge outcomes of, of meeting people. People are very complex and that much more than their LinkedIn or Instagram profile or whatever. And they have amazing networks and amazing knowledge and you just cannot ever predict where something is going to go or what you're going to learn, or like just their background. And, and that's the most beautiful thing. Like, it's really daunting though, because like, you have to be prepared to like, for. To learn anything to be exposed to anything, but that's what makes it so beautiful. Especially if you have a love for learning right.

James:

Yeah, yeah. That's yeah. Very wise. Certainly. I think that's yeah. The thing that's like, it's so true. I think, yeah, the, the love of learning is so important. And that's something that we can, we can all do better. I'm sure. I wanna, I want to talk about now, like your experience in the startup world, because this is something that you said you watched invasive for a little bit in before. Your trips to China, it's something that you're you know, you're really involved with with, with today. You know, how did you, how did you stumble into that area and kind of what you know is the similar trend of kind of life lessons? Is there anything that you've really what of startups? So, and being in this space,

Warwick:

Yeah. So, you know, as I said before, I started my first business when I was like, And I had a few businesses since, and then I started my first startup when I was 21, I think when I was just coming out of uni and I was, I think I was, I was studying at and Zed in, in treasury. And I had an idea for a fitness marketplace and so I was like, whatever, let's just try and build it and see what happens. And so I convinced my dad to give me a little bit of. Which he never saw her again. And he still teases me about today. He always asks me when I'm going to

James:

Yeah.

Warwick:

wish I better get onto that actually. It's a good reminder. As I started fitness Maga blaze, and basically went through the whole thing, finding some developers and blah, blah, blah. And you know, after a year it was kind of built and, and I basically had grand plans for it to be the biggest and best thing from day one. And nothing, crickets. I had no idea what I was doing and I kinda came to the realization after a couple of miles and I'm going to have to get out and like pound the pavement and go and talk to people and all this sort of stuff. And, and I actually didn't care about a fitness marketplace. I'm sorry. I just don't do not, did not, care about 50. I could play. So there's just not, not me riding. And so I kind of started this thing, thinking I found like this, this niche and I was going to be able to, because of a business person, I can just like execute anything. And like, you know, it's irrelevant whether I care about it or not, which is just not true for me and. And so I ended up shutting that down because I didn't want to do the work. And, and basically that was what I came out. Oh, so written realizations coming out and

James:

Yeah.

Warwick:

And then And then about a year later, I started another startup called go bear and Warrick. And so basically it was a custom men's shoe business and souls design, your own shoe and shoes. It was modeled off the shoes of prey which I saw some people at work using. And I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. And I was kind of playing around with like a custom design shoes at the time, we'd go nervous to Vietnam on holiday and getting them made. And it was really fun. And so I was like, okay, well I have to do this. And and so I started building not, not basically, maybe for three years. I was building this custom shoe business. And then when I was in China, I was still doing the same and, and I met my really good friend all our GABA and we, we joined up together and he's a designer. And so we're having a lot of fun building this this tack. And then we found a custom shoe manufacturer factory in China. And we used to go there. On weekends and and play around with these designs and they throw away absolutely crazy. We would, we were trying to get them to make the most crazy designs. And then we found that they had a laser in the factory. And so he started like, you know, getting leather and laser and things on, and then we'll get him friends who, a tattoo artist, like tattoo leather. Oh man, Mike, you know, we'll do it an old LA lots of crazy stuff, little diamond shoes, like all pink. And like, it always, it's just a little, so much fun. I, we tried that for like three years and it didn't really come off. And and I knew that I loved at that point, I knew that I really love change and innovation and startups. And. So I went into the space and decided to go and work for anyone that was in the startup space, basically. I just wanted to learn. And so that kind of started my, my startup Korea as a, as an employee. And yeah. I've kind of. And I, now I work at, at tractor ventures and it's an amazing place to work. And I get to meet founders all day, every day. And and I get to see all these innovations and, and, you know, whilst we're also a startup ourselves where we're actually a FinTech the name tract of ventures is a bit deceptive where we're actually. A FinTech company and we also get to do with startups who are innovating themselves. So it's kind of like the perfect job because it's also financed. So it's kind of amazing. My, you know, I was like before that I worked in a, in a medical device startup and doing finance. And before that I worked in and ag tech, SAS startup called mobile during growth and Yeah. While I was in China. I also did a lot of community work building the ex-pat community and, and then started doing startup community work through startup grind and then came back to Australia and was also doing startup grind. And I just really enjoyed community building. And, um, it was, I know what it is about it. I'd like, For me, I get really excited when I see three people meet each other for the first time start sharing stories. And then all of a sudden you see something happened where they share some stories about problems they're trying to solve. And then the other person goes, ah, I did that six months ago and don't do this, this, this, this don't do this, this, this, this, and all of a sudden six months worth of learning has been showcased over to the other person. And they don't have to spend six months like making mistakes. And there's something beautiful about that. All you have to do is create this environment for these learnings to be shared. And you've just saved hopefully someone six months of like trying to figure out some stupid problem that you know, and, and I don't know, somebody's electrifying about that and seeing kind of relationships being built. And Yeah. and, and, and so I've kind of been doing community work on the side ever since. It's kind of morphed these days into finance community work, where I, where I have my website startup funding, they'll come to you. And and I publish investors on there investors and lenders for startups. And so That's been really great for me to learn about the early stage capital markets space, Austin. And then I was like, well, this not really enough. Like, you know, it's one thing, having an investor list. It's another thing really knowing what to do with it or how to raise the money. And so then I started doing analyst reports and basically writing up reports for founders on on metrics, on capital raising metrics, you know? How what's the median seed size raise in Australia. And, um, how Long between rounds, like, you know, how, how much capital should I be raising? Should it be 12 months? Should it be 18 months? Should it be 24 months? And so, yeah, I kind of did that for still doing that today. And yeah, I find myself a tractor and then riding audits. On my weekends and doing a little bit of community work here and there. And I kind of forget what the question was. So

James:

Yeah.

Warwick:

of.

James:

That's all right. Well, yeah, it's, it's, it's really cool. How you, how you can manage this. CAPA, so many different areas through like the the, like the base say in the startup ecosystem in Australia. Cause yeah, like you said, you're you contributing with startup bumping, you're doing community events, like helping founders, like, well, this kind of stuff. It's, it's really great. Great to see.

Warwick:

Well, all that kind of comes back to literally, I just see. a problem. That's not being solved. Some information that's not being shared. And I'm like, okay, well I might as well do this. And like, just see what happens and whatever, you know, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Everyone's got a pretty short attention span these days. They'll forget.

James:

yeah. True. That's such a good way of looking at it. Hey, that's amazing. I wanna ask. So, you know, you touched on the custom shoe stuff, but black didn't quite work out, you know, I'm sure you've seen many startups kind of start and be like, yeah, we're going to be amazing. And then things like it didn't really work out so well, but I'm curious for yourself, has there been a failure in you in your life that turned out to be something that was really beneficial was a failure that turned out to be a success.

Warwick:

Yeah. good question. So I think, I think fast it's important to define what I think a failure is. And, and so what I actually think of failure is, is I think a family is when you try something, but you don't learn from it. And I've only realized this after working in experimental environments, which is like startups, right? So startups by the very definition are experiments in themselves. And and on the, after being in an environment that encourages failure have I been able to embrace it and enjoy it? And, and so very much what's come out of that is that if you're trying something. If you're experimenting and it doesn't go the way that you hoped it would, but you learn something from it, then it's not a failure, but if you didn't learn anything from it, then it is a failure and you've kind of just wasted it bit at time. Right. And so for me, that's how I would define a failure. And so with that in mind, all of a sudden, all these things that I've done in my life, I've actually known. They been successes because I've learned a whole heap of things and they've contributed to my career where I am today, who I am as a personality, you know, as a person and my personality and and where I'll go in the future. So however, you know, there are some failures that I have had some, some failures as I defined to find them. And I think my favorite failure. I was reflecting on this last night and I was like digging really deep to like, discover this, you know, you had a fast here, I'm graduating.

James:

Yeah.

Warwick:

My favorite failure is, is not actively listening. And, and th this is really painful to say, but, you know, I've been quite guilty of not actively listening in the past. I don't think I'm very good at it. And I had been learning how to do it bash up. And so, you know, the result of that has meant that there has been some really valuable information that has been shared with me that I have not retained. And therefore it's meant that I've gone and done subsequently dumb things. That I should have known would not have worked out. And so therefore I've actually wasted time and kind of, you know, failed and experiment as such as well, I've by not actively listening, I failed to have deeper conversations and therefore uncover more opportunities, which. Benefit both me and the person who were in that conversation or in that situation. So I think for me, not actively listening is my greatest failure.

James:

Yeah, certainly. Yeah. I think that it is, it's a tricky thing to, you know, to solve almost is like, is, is that kind of thing, like, you know, listening, like you're actively listening can be something that's quite, you know, it seems like, you know, on the outside seems quite hard perhaps to something that you can improve on or something that you can really. Well, that really worked on me. Is there anything that, like, you know, as a result of that, that you try and do now to sort of combat that, that listening process

Warwick:

Yeah. I, I tried to make, I try to slow down. I liked to. Move fast and think fast and, and, and, you know, break things and all that sort of stuff. And I love change. And so I means that I am primed to be a poor listener. And so I try to make eye contact more often. I try to waste in a conversation and not, not into interject. Not get too excited. Also learned techniques not to annoy other people when I'm making maybe a sessions in conversations. One of my buses once got a little angry at me because I was making some assertions and he's like, ah, I don't really know if you know that work. Like, you know, you maybe based on your experience, but you know, it may not be true, like, you know, for the whole world. And, but you'll. Asserting that it is. And and so, you know, he said, I think a better way to to make an assertion is to say, in my experience, this is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so rather than saying that this is true for the whole world, I'm saying, well, based on everything that I've done today, this is what I've learned. And this is what I think the answer is. And so you come across far less confrontation. And more like your you're sharing something and, you know, it's a shared learning thing, which is also part of relationship building. So that's really helped me reduce confrontation in conversations and allowed people to open up more and allowed us to go deeper.

James:

Yeah, Yeah, it's cool. It's a great, that's a great technique. I think to, you know, to say what you're thinking and, and open up the space. The discussion rather than like, you know, just saying what you think and leaving it there. I think that's yeah, that's really great.

Warwick:

Because I'm an extrovert,

James:

yeah.

Warwick:

I have to be mindful of the fact that other people. Not everybody's an extrovert. And, and so there's some really important information that everybody has and experiences that everybody has. And so you need to be out to give them the space, um, to.

James:

Yeah, definitely. Well, where we're coming pretty close to the end of this interview arc. We've been times absolutely flown. But I've got one more question for you. And it's something that I ask all the guests and that is what advice would you give someone starting their career in 2020?

Warwick:

bill Joel network. It might be same. Huh? And a daunting task at the start. And it is but it's a marathon, not a race. And there are plenty of beautiful, amazing people out there that want to talk to you, and that wants to share their experiences with you. And don't be afraid to ask them the worst I can say is in the heart, literally that's the worst that they can say and the best that they can say. Is hell yeah, let's go and have a coffee. And then who knows what's going to happen once that happens. So, you know, it's that it's an isometric risk and it's an amazing thing. And, and you really should be doing that. And, and I understand that not everyone's an extrovert. And so it's more difficult for others than it is for some of us, but try to find out or try to find ways that, that it can work. Atlanta, maybe it's online. Maybe it's like pinging someone and asking some questions. You know, it doesn't always have to be face to face. Yeah. Face to face is great to build relationships, but you know, it doesn't always have to be there. There are other ways there's always, there's always another way to solve a problem. So try to innovate, do some reading and, and figure it out. But yeah, I think those networks, those relationships. What will hold you strong throughout your career and your life. And it's something that your job doesn't ARN. You know, when you leave, you take that with you and that becomes some of your capital that you can use to improve your life and improve your performance in your role, and just. You, I have a nice alive. It's really good.

James:

yeah.

Warwick:

Yeah. I encourage everyone to go out and build their network and set yourself some goals like, okay, each week I'm going to meet one new person, two new people in a certain area. If you're going out to learn about a new industry or a new job, or you know, a new topic, set yourself some goals. I want to meet one person every week for the next eight weeks and go and reach out to.

James:

Yeah. Yeah. That's great advice. I think. And certainly something that everyone can do and. Yeah, I'm saying that can really be the beneficial. I think you have it in your, in your LinkedIn, but it's, it's something like, you know, worst case, I won't reply in the best cases up to your imagination. And, you know, I, I think that's a great way of putting it.

Warwick:

Yeah. Yeah. If you're thinking of Rachel, I put it by LinkedIn. If you think you could reach it out to me then. Yeah. West case I worked reply and best cases. Yeah,

James:

Yeah. Yeah, I think that's so good way. Like, thanks so much for the chat today. Work, I've learned so much about yourself and, and there's so many lessons that we've we've spoken about today that I think are really really great for the young people today that if people want to find out more about yourself and connect with you further, where's the best place for them.

Warwick:

Yeah jump on my LinkedIn. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. I know some of you may be rolling your eyes, but you know, it's, it's where I'm active. So I jump out and and have a look through it and I do a lot of posts on there and that will give you a bit of a flavor for what I'm interested in and, and if I might be helpful for you and, and yeah. Read for my profile and make, make a decision for.

James:

fantastic. We had, thanks so much for chatting today, work Thanks so much for listening to this episode with Warrick, Donaldson, I'll hope you got something out of it. And I certainly did. If you haven't already please consider subscribing to the graduate theory newsletter. You get the episode and my takeaways straight to your inbox every single week. Thanks so much for listening again today. And I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.