Sam Davidson is a speaker, author, and entrepreneur who tells stories and starts slow companies. He is the co-founder of Cool People Care and, most recently, Batch. He lives in Nashville with his wife and daughter. Bourbon, neat.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
The world is tired of work not meaning something. It’s tired of work being a bad, boring, or terrible thing. We need to work in a new way so that work is enjoyable, seen as a positive part of life, and allows people to leave a meaningful legacy.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
I like to say that I start “slow companies.” These are organizations that are linked with my and become part of my identity. The goal isn’t to grow and sell the businesses I start (though that could happen). The goal is to create work for myself that is meaningful and better integrates with other parts of my life.
Why do you do what you do?
I’m a storyteller. Whether on stage or online, I look for ways that my work can allow me to tell the stories that need telling.
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
For me, art happens when I witness someone doing something better than anyone else. Whether they’re singing, acting, cooking, or speaking, I look for art in all areas of work.
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
For my companies (Cool People Care and Batch), we’ve always tried to understand that the titles one has (“employee”, “owner”, etc.) are only one part of someone’s identity. People are parents, spouses, friends – work needs to be flexible to allow people to live fully in those other roles.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
I’m always impressed by a great restaurant or food experience. The ability for a great chef or manager to balance two variables (customer experience and food quality) is impressive when done right.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
In interviews, we often ask the question: “When the time comes for you to leave here, what do you hope to be able to say you accomplished?” This lets us know someone’s goals for their time with us, whether it’s a semester or a career. Don’t just see if someone matches your company goals; see if your company’s goals matches theirs, too.
What does your preferred work environment look like?
It’s organized. It allows for team-based creativity and discussions as needed. People have their privacy but are encouraged to work in community. It smells like an apple orchard.
What do you do for fun?
Fun for me is no agenda or objectives. This mainly happens in the context of family time with my wife and daughter. Going to the playground, the library, a farmer’s market – it’s all fun when the point is just being with people you love.
What time of the day do you do your best work?
I work best when un-interrupted. Interruptions can kill creativity, so if I need to get some more creative work done, I plan that for when I’ll have fewer emails coming in or no one’s around (usually the early morning).
Where in the world are you?