EP 04: Solving The World's Biggest Problems w/ Maiko Schaffrath
Updated: Jun 30
With a firm belief that technology entrepreneurs will solve the world’s biggest problems, he helps entrepreneurs and companies achieve their missions. Maiko Schaffrath is the co-founder of real changers, a platform matching mission-driven talent to companies solving the most pressing global challenges.
In 2017 he started Impact Founders, a community of impact-driven entrepreneurs, and hosts the Podcast 'Impact Hustlers', where he shares the stories of those who connect impact with profit and build businesses and solutions that solve problems such as climate change and poverty.
Some questions I ask:
- What made you go from arts to technology entrepreneurship? And how is it related?
- Where are you from and why did you choose London?
- What’s the world's biggest social problem and how would you solve it or how do you think it can be solved? Is there anyone working on it?
- In your article on Medium about how money for nothing will boost entrepreneurship, how do you decide who gets the money, don’t you think once money doesn’t need to be earned people will get lazy? How do you measure and control the productivity and results to make sure it’s not money wasted?
- You have been a mentor since almost the beginning of your tech startup career, what’s the most rewarding story you can share with us?
- Do you consider any of your work failure and what do you consider as success?
On This Episode You Will Learn:
What it means to be a great leader, how to design a life that makes YOU happy, not your parents or society, what's wrong with the education system, being fearless and his best advice to impact the world.
The biggest social problem that really few people talk about is climate change. It’s really affecting each part of society, every social issue you can imagine is actually affected by it or will be affected by climate change.
Some of the solutions use engineering, for example, extract CO2 from the atmosphere or do something useful with the CO2. One of the recordings for my podcast this week is with the chief scientist of a company that uses waste CO2 to create new forms of materials and petrol.
It will make a difference if we can extract CO2 from the atmosphere and manage the transition to renewable energy.
Speaking about the idea of money for nothing, a system that would pay every citizen in the world a minimum wage no matter their social status, I asked him if people would get lazy and his response was: there’s a real drive behind humans why they work and in the worst case it’s just because they need to survive and pay the bills but actually once they’ve covered that they actually like to work to feel they contribute to society, feel like they are doing something important, that they are leaving a legacy behind, etc.
I’d much rather live in a society where people go to work inspired and choose to do jobs they do, they are not going there because they are scared of not putting food on the table. All the data shows that people would still want to do things, that they would not be scared anymore.
To control the productivity and that money is put to good use I think is down to the inherent motivation of humans, you don’t necessarily have to manage every detail, I think humans naturally wanna do something with their lives.
We really need to rethink the education system. The whole education system is built on a society that’s really based on the industrial age type of society. Where you go to school, you have a be a good average citizen, have to know the skills so you can fit into the system. As long as we have a system like that we are kind of telling people the opposite of what we need them to do when we have a basic income. Because we don’t want them to just fit in, we want them to create, we want them to be creative, entrepreneurial if they have entrepreneurial skills and we can’t be killing that from day 1.
One of the most important things to go side by side to the basic income I’d say would be to reform the education system, to tell people: ‘Look, the reason you are working is not just to survive but to create something meaningful in the world based on the talents that you have whatever that is.’
I’ve learned that I’m not trying to be an expert in everything.
In the big scheme of things, I don’t see anything as a macro failure because it brought me where I am now. There are loads of micro failures, short term failures that feel in the moment like it’s the end of the world.
Success comes down to happiness. This has been my journey for the last few years, I’ve been optimizing for happiness, optimizing for things that society expects you to do or that your parents expect you to do is almost always a recipe for failure because you will feel unhappy. Even if on paper you may be rich, accomplished or have a nice career it won’t give you any meaningful thing.
You can design your life the way a designer would assess how does an ideal week looks like, then review how does your current week looks like, which things deplete your energy and which are worth it. This type of practical thinking has helped me a lot more than a lot of motivational speeches where I’m like, yes, thank you for telling me to follow my passion but it’s really bad advice because I don’t know what to do with that advice.
Being fearless in that sense would mean picking myself up again and again. Some of the best things in my life came as a result of doing things I felt really uncomfortable with. Like quitting a job to found this company that has made a 100 pounds. For me being fearless is picking yourself up, saying I know I have this fear but I’m still gonna go for it, and it’s gonna be worth it.
What makes someone a great leader is empathy and understanding people’s motivations, really understanding who’s working with you. Making sure that you help them achieve the success that they are looking for in their life which maybe for some people money, for other people may be a more balanced family life and you really need to know that.
I have this dream of people truly thinking what’s important to them, of being self-aware and doing exactly that, and stop listening to outside voices.
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