Thriving in the Age of Disruption

The Future of Work - Finding Alignment Of Values, Interests And Purpose: Daan van Rossum (Vietnam)

February 16, 2023 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra & Mr. Daan van Rossum Season 1 Episode 32
The Future of Work - Finding Alignment Of Values, Interests And Purpose: Daan van Rossum (Vietnam)
Thriving in the Age of Disruption
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Thriving in the Age of Disruption
The Future of Work - Finding Alignment Of Values, Interests And Purpose: Daan van Rossum (Vietnam)
Feb 16, 2023 Season 1 Episode 32
Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra & Mr. Daan van Rossum

Have you ever met someone who just looks like they are having the time of their life, every day? Someone who bubbles with a contagious energy and yet contains a quiet conviction within? That person has something that most don't - They've found a direction and purpose that are aligned in their work and personal life. 

Daan van Rossum shares his journey of how he first jumped into entrepreneurship young, subsequently worked hard to achieve corporate career success and came a full circle to creating his own dream job and companies in order to pursue his "ikigai" (life purpose) of helping people find their purpose and design their everyday work life towards it.

To learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset with Dr. Ramesh, get your copy of The Big Jump into Entrepreneurship 2.0 on Amazon.com or www.Dr-Ramesh.com.

If you're interested in building crisis resilience, Dr. Ramesh will be launching her new book on the crisis ready mindset in the first half of 2023. Make sure you follow Dr. Ramesh on LinkedIn so that you’ll get her new book alert!

Host: Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra, Author, Podcast Host and Founder of Talent Leadership Crucible

Guest Speaker: Mr. Daan van Rossum, CEO - FlexOS and Dreamplex

#EntrepreneurialMindset #Vietnam #DaanvanRossum #CEO #FlexOS #Dreamplex #Dr.RameshRamachandra #TheBigJumpintoEntrepreneurship2.0 #CrisisReadyMindset #TalentLeadershipCrucible #Thriving #AgeofDisruption #hybridwork #futureofwork #employeeengagement #employeeexperience

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever met someone who just looks like they are having the time of their life, every day? Someone who bubbles with a contagious energy and yet contains a quiet conviction within? That person has something that most don't - They've found a direction and purpose that are aligned in their work and personal life. 

Daan van Rossum shares his journey of how he first jumped into entrepreneurship young, subsequently worked hard to achieve corporate career success and came a full circle to creating his own dream job and companies in order to pursue his "ikigai" (life purpose) of helping people find their purpose and design their everyday work life towards it.

To learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset with Dr. Ramesh, get your copy of The Big Jump into Entrepreneurship 2.0 on Amazon.com or www.Dr-Ramesh.com.

If you're interested in building crisis resilience, Dr. Ramesh will be launching her new book on the crisis ready mindset in the first half of 2023. Make sure you follow Dr. Ramesh on LinkedIn so that you’ll get her new book alert!

Host: Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra, Author, Podcast Host and Founder of Talent Leadership Crucible

Guest Speaker: Mr. Daan van Rossum, CEO - FlexOS and Dreamplex

#EntrepreneurialMindset #Vietnam #DaanvanRossum #CEO #FlexOS #Dreamplex #Dr.RameshRamachandra #TheBigJumpintoEntrepreneurship2.0 #CrisisReadyMindset #TalentLeadershipCrucible #Thriving #AgeofDisruption #hybridwork #futureofwork #employeeengagement #employeeexperience

To learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset with Dr. Ramesh, get your copy of The Big Jump into Entrepreneurship 2.0 on Amazon.com or www.Dr-Ramesh.com.

If you're interested in building crisis resilience, Dr. Ramesh will be launching her new book on the crisis ready mindset in the first half of 2023. Make sure you follow Dr. Ramesh on LinkedIn so that you’ll get her new book alert!

Host: Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra, Author, Podcast Host and Founder of Talent Leadership Crucible

Guest Speaker: Mr. Daan van Rossum, CEO - FlexOS and Dreamplex

#EntrepreneurialMindset #Vietnam #DaanvanRossum #CEO #FlexOS #Dreamplex #Dr.RameshRamachandra #TheBigJumpintoEntrepreneurship2.0 #CrisisReadyMindset #TalentLeadershipCrucible #Thriving #AgeofDisruption #hybridwork #futureofwork #employeeengagement #employeeexperience

Ho Lai Yun  00:00

Hello and welcome to Thriving in the Age of Disruption.

 Have you ever met someone who just looks like they are having the time of their life every day? Someone who bubbles with a contagious energy and yet contains a quiet conviction within? That person has something that most don't - They've found a direction and purpose that are aligned in their work and personal life. 

Today, Dr. Ramesh meets with one such entrepreneur, Mr. Daan van Rossum, whose ASEAN-focused start-up helps companies manage hybrid teams and offices with a focus on employee engagement.

Daan shares how he had jumped into entrepreneurship young, worked hard to achieve success in his corporate career and have now come a full circle to creating his own dream job to pursue his "ikigai" (life purpose) of helping people find their purpose and design their everyday work life towards it.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  00:55

Welcome to the Thriving in the Age of Disruption podcast series. Daan, I'm so excited to have you here. I'd like to start off by inviting you to introduce yourself, you can tell us what you do professionally for a living and also personally.

 Daan van Rossum  

Sounds great and thanks again for having me. I'm Daan. I'm originally from the Netherlands. I currently live in Vietnam, where I run two companies. One is Dreamplex, which is a network of co-working spaces here in Vietnam. And the other one is FlexOS, which is a company that focuses on employee experience in the hybrid world of work. And for that one, we target the broader region. 

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra

Great and a little bit personally? 

 Daan van Rossum  

The much more important stuff. I'm married. I have a son. I met my wife here in Vietnam. We got married five years ago. And we have a beautiful baby boy who just turned two last month. So it's a lot of walking, talking. Very energetic.

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  01:51

That's right. And what brought you to Vietnam?

 Daan van Rossum  

Yeah, so I was in Singapore, before Vietnam. I was working for a marketing agency called Ogilvy. I had spent with them already, at that point, about seven years between Amsterdam where I'm from, and then New York, Chicago, and then eventually Singapore. And there I had a regional role. So, I was typically traveling like every other week or so to one of the Southeast Asian countries. I would spend a lot of time in Manila, Jakarta, KL, Bangkok and also Chi Minh City in Vietnam. And whenever I was staying in Ho Chi Minh City, I felt so much more at home and enjoyed myself so much more than when I was in Singapore. At some point, I just asked my boss, “Is it possible if, I have a regional role anyway, to do that based out of Vietnam, rather than out of Singapore?” And that was approved. So I eventually made the move, kind of expecting that similar to the other countries I've lived, I would spend maybe one and a half, two years there, and then move to the next spots. I was thinking Korea, Japan, something like that. But eight years later, I’m still here. 

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  02:52

Wow, something compelling must have happened.

 Daan van Rossum  

Yeah, may have something to do with the wife I mentioned earlier, 

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  

Yes, excellent.

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  02303

I'm going to talk about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial mindset and I think the two things are a little bit different. An entrepreneurial mindset, it's probably the best kind of mindset to have to cope in today's world of disruption. And it is essentially one whereby we are being resourceful. When I say resourceful, it means that we deal with setbacks and problems, we first are able to define the problem correctly so that we can then solve it. Number two is that we are able to manage risk and uncertainty. And lastly is to create value for ourselves and for others. That's the entrepreneurial mindset. Of course, with entrepreneurship, it is about having that idea, and then going in starting a business and managing it. 

So you've made the transition from being a corporate high flyer to being an entrepreneur, what was the tipping point?

Daan van Rossum  

Well, I'm not sure about the high flyer part, but definitely very corporate for a long period of time. The real tipping point came in when I was already in Vietnam, I was doing the work that I have been doing for quite a while, which is on the strategy side of marketing and advertising. Typically, in that work, you're really trying to uncover some kind of human insights that you can then use to sell more products that people probably don't need. I would spend a lot of time in focus groups and doing a lot of research. And being in those focus groups, I really got to know more about the young people in Vietnam, that was my target audience that I had to sell to. So I would kind of hear about their daily lives, what motivates them, the difficulties that they were encountering, and there was this one theme that kept coming back and back, which was this idea of living in between two worlds, especially for young Vietnamese, they felt like, “When I go to work, I'm this like, really cool, young, modern person or when I'm on social media, that's kind of my life. But then when I come back home to still very traditional parents”, it's all about, “When are you getting married? And when are the babies coming?” and kind of feeling trapped in between two different worlds. I wanted to explore that further. And so I decided while I was still in my corporate job to start a new company really focused on helping people find their purpose, live towards that purpose and create a happier life for themselves. That started taking off a little bit more. At some point, I just decided to stop the corporate side and just focus on that company alone. Still not sure if that was a good decision.

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  05:35

That's interesting, because I'm sure even when you used to work in advertising and marketing, you were the kind who was always looking at a situation and you were able to solve the problem, so to speak. Now you created that business around what you're passionate about, which is to support other people to live a life of purpose and to be happy. Obviously, it also is meaningful for you. 

What other projects have you done, which have been entrepreneurial along the way?

 Daan van Rossum  

I started pretty young in terms of entrepreneurship. So actually, my first company, I started was when I was 15. At that point in time, we launched an online food ordering service, which was a good idea, but probably was very bad timing. Now it's very normal, obviously, to open up Grab or another app like that, and order the food that we want and get it delivered very quickly. But at that time, people just had desktop computers, they didn't always have the internet, nor would they really feel comfortable ordering food online. So it was probably a little bit too early for that idea. But that was the first time I really got to build something and sort of like see all the parts of entrepreneurship. And that kind of mindset didn't really leave me when I first started in a smaller company and eventually joined a larger company and marketing agency. I think, at the end of the day, to your point, there are a lot of things that you can apply your entrepreneurial mindsets or passions to. To me, it's really about taking charge, being an owner, being a creator. And so definitely a lot of those lessons I've applied in the corporate career as well.

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  07:16

Wonderful. How many years back was it when you started this online food service company?

 Daan van Rossum  

25 years ago now.

 Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra   

Wow. It's almost like my own journey. Because exactly 25 years ago, we were running a technology company, which was doing online data collection of what people were doing online, what they were buying. We had a loyalty program, we were way ahead of time. At that point, we didn't have the critical mass. But when I look at loyalty programs today, I'm like, “Kkay, been there, done it. What do I do next?”

Daan van Rossum  

Right, yeah.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  07:53

Let's move to the next conversation about dealing with setbacks. Crisis happens to us either, because we are dealing with a setback and at that point, the support structure and coping mechanisms that we normally can use are not sufficient, and then we go into a crisis mode. And if we don't do anything about the situation, what will happen is that we come to a turning point. Either we can die, or we take the right decision and we move on to what we need to do. Could you share a crisis that you dealt with personally, and what did you see about your ability to deal with setback? Is there some kind of daily practice that you do? 

Daan van Rossum  

Well, this obviously is going to be the very cliche answer, which maybe you'll hear for a few more years on the podcast and beyond. It’s COVID, right? I think COVID was definitely the biggest crisis that I've ever encountered. I think it was very much like a personal crisis, business crisis, a financial crisis, a crisis on every single front. So during COVID was actually the time where I took over the CEO role at one of the two companies that I'm running today. And we had been planning that for quite some time, we knew that that date was coming up. It was kind of planned from the beginning of when COVID started breaking out, you know we had this idea that by the time that the transition actually would happen, we would kind of leap back into the swing of normal things. 

Daan van Rossum  

But actually, right at the time that I took over the company was the time when COVID hit Vietnam really hard. It was the first time that the country really locked down for an extended period of time. And so you can imagine that when you're selling office space, a lockdown is not really the thing that you want. I'm still recovering from it. I still have some PTSD from that time. But my first weeks and months were really focused on making sure that the company would survive, to your point about not dying. That was really the only thing that we were working on. But at the same time, we also had to deal with all of the people in our team and how do we keep them safe? And how do we make sure in Vietnam, there were quite a few people who didn't have food security during that time, just because you couldn't access the food, because the lockdowns were so strict supply chains were disrupted. So it was just problematic and traumatic from a lot of very different perspectives. And having to deal with that obviously took up a lot of my professional, but also personal bandwidth because at the same time I was also a person going through COVID myself, with a very young son, who really grew up during the big COVID time. Having that sort of 24/7 stress of trying to get this company through the COVID time and then having to deal with everything that was happening to us as a family, that was really, really a lot to deal with. I really hope that that will be the biggest crisis I'll ever encounter. It was a lot to handle.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  10:47

So what was the thing that you did to keep grounded? Because here you are in your home with your wife and your little son, then you're worrying about what's happening at the workplace, and you can't necessarily go out because it was a lockdown. So how did you create space for yourself?

Daan van Rossum  

I think it was really a point in time where the idea of thriving just it wasn't something to think about. It was really a period of survival. From every single aspect, professional, personal financial, the two worlds of work and personal life really blended together. It was really just about getting through it. Definitely, I was able to fall back on some practices that I had built up over time in terms of meditation, but it was incredibly hard. Again, everything happens at the same time, everything was so impactful, so all encompassing. So I definitely tried to find some space moments where I could step away from it to get inspired, and to not give up. But it was very, very hard. I once heard Tim Ferriss, who is all about life optimisation, say, “You don't meditate, you don't practise mindfulness, when you need it. You really do it for the moments where you can't live without it.” Right? To be able to sort of already have practised that before, then being able to tap into that in the moment you really, really can't live without it - I think that was key. But again, it was mostly just a survival skill at that point in time. 

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  12:15

That's right. But if we look at the fact that we have so much happening around us, and all we need to do is just to be present, to deal with whatever that's happening and be focused on that. So thank you for sharing your own recent struggle with COVID and how that had impacted you on different fronts.

You work in the area about the future of work. How do you see that developing? And in terms of how the new generation of people go to work, is it going to be tied to a workplace? Is it going to be from home? What's the future there? 

Daan van Rossum  

Yeah, great question. Building on what we were just talking about, this is sort of the good thing, the silver lining that came out of that COVID period. I definitely think it showed a couple of things. Number one is that just as we're having this discussion online, you don't really need to be anywhere in particular, to get the job done, for most knowledge workers, for most employees. And it also showed that people do take their responsibility. A lot of managers in companies, before COVID happened, before we were forced to work from home, still were very distrusting of their employees.

When we talk about a topic like productivity, for example, productivity was mostly measured by walking around and looking over shoulders to see are people working or do they have Facebook open?,right? And so I think that the COVID period showed that even when people are remote, they get things done. In fact, a lot of the research is showing that we have worked harder than ever before, because the time that normally we would have spent commuting, but we now spend working. And obviously that also has negative effects. Because we kind of lose our boundaries, we lose our work life balance, right? It's all about integration right now and work life blending. So those are really fundamental shifts that have impacted everything. Pretty much every organization either has or is really reassessing.

what is the right mode of work right now. And is that in person, online or fully distributed? Obviously, it depends on each organization on each leader to decide what is the way for them to do it, what aligns most closely to their company values, what they're trying to build and how they're trying to work. But definitely there has been some permanent shifts there.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  14:36

Daan, if you were to extrapolate that into entrepreneurship, what do you think is going to happen with the new kind of entrepreneurial activities?

Daan van Rossum  

Yeah, so this really goes back to what we were talking about before. Enterpreneurship really is about taking ownership and about being a creator, then this is the perfect time for people to be more enterpreneurial because in this new working model, where it's less about showing up for work and waiting for your manager to tell you what to do, you can actually really take charge. And I think companies will really reward and focus on the kind of employees that are very self-directed that are very proactive, go above and beyond or at least get the work done without kind of micromanagement needed. 

And I think a lot of that comes back to that theme of enterpreneurship. No matter what level you are, no matter how many years of experience you're having, no matter which role, can you basically take ownership of whatever the company or your manager is expecting of you and really create that again, without too much micromanagement. It's a better time than ever to have that entrepreneurial mindset. All the research we see right now around the top skills for the upcoming century, the upcoming decade, are obviously around that sense of creation and building something, being curious or delivering something that goes maybe beyond just the task at hand. I really think it's a great time for people to practise that entrepreneurial mindset. 

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  16:06

I was also reading  a couple of months ago about little sub agencies within a larger enterprise managed by three, four people in different teams,

Daan van Rossum  

I think definitely the sort of the skills-based model is something that we'll see a lot more of. Focusing on the skills, talents and passions that individual people have, and then linking that with what does the company need? I think it’s sad that we typically only use about 10% of all the skills and abilities that we have in any given role, because the original organisation really was set up with this idea of, “I need these kind of roles in my company.” And therefore I'm going to hire someone to perform this role rather than really to focus on individual people or groups of individual people and focusing really on their strengths. And how can we tap into those strengths as much as possible, which obviously should be usually beneficial for the company, because they get so much more out of someone than just the role itself. And also really, for people, because the moment that your sense of meaning, and your purpose can align with what the company wants to achieve, your job should be a lot more enjoyable, right? So I think, then you really go away from that idea of work is something that we just have to do, we have to endure it, but we can really enjoy it. So focusing on people’s skills, people’s passions, people's individual sense of purpose will really have a big place in the future of work. 

McKinsey published an article last year that said, “Align with your employee’s purpose, or watch them leave.” And I think that's really kind of like a rallying call for every organisation right now, how can we have that alignment between what we want and what employees want and find that win-win? And that's something that I'm passionate about working on every single day because life is too short to be doing work that, you know, is nothing more than exchanging my time, for some money, at the end of the month. There has to be more to this thing that we spend 80-90 to 100,000 hours of our lives on. So, I think that's going to be a really big trend for the future as well.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  18:07

That's really spot on. For the last eight years now, we've been introducing personal purpose work in our corporate culture change management initiatives. What we have found is that when an individual understands what their life purpose is, they can align very quickly to the organisation's purpose, which is usually the vision.

Daan van Rossum  

Exactly, these topics around productivity or motivation, it really comes down to, “Is there something that intrinsically I want to achieve? Is there an overlap between what I'm passionate about what I'm seeing as my purpose, as my values and then what the company does?” And the more that that's the case, the less you have to worry about engagement. And do people really work when I don't see them in the office because there is an alignment of values, interest and purpose. So it really should be in the organisation's best interest to focus on people as people and not as anonymous numbers on a spreadsheet or in an org chart. But at the same time for a lot of companies, that's one thing to say and a very different thing to do.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  19:13

 That's so true.

Where are you in your spiritual journey? And can you share that with us?

Daan van Rossum  

I'm probably at the very early stages of the spiritual journey. I wasn't raised religious, it never really had any kind of role in my life. And interestingly, it really took moving to Asia to start being much more open to it. I think you're more surrounded by it here. Generally, I feel both in Singapore and especially in Vietnam, it's a lot less individualistic. It's a lot less about everything in life is about work and money, which especially in the US, I felt was very much like the most important thing for people. So it's still fairly early, but being here, and especially getting married, where we spent the whole morning in a traditional Buddhist temple to get married there. 

To hear the blessings and to see the rituals there, it really kind of triggered my curiosity. And eventually, the two paths really merged. So this kind of focus, interest and passion around happiness and thriving, at some point, really crossed with the spiritual side, because I realised that a lot of the concepts that I was studying from a very academic perspective, in terms of the tools to build a happier life, they actually are very common in religion, especially in Buddhism, in terms of understanding true meaning and practices that will help you live that happier life where, again, it's not just about surviving and getting to whatever is the next milestone, but really focused on what truly makes the time that we spend here on earth meaningful. 

And one really big concept, as I started getting deeper and deeper into Buddhism, that really stood out to me is this idea of craving, and how it is the root of all of our unhappiness. The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh would always say, “If there's no mud, there's no lotus”, right? So we need to suffer in order to even be able to experience happiness. But I did realize that a lot of the concepts in the psychology of happier, living positive psychology were really around, what are you working towards? We're always on this sort of hedonic treadmill of we want to get to the next level, in terms of our love life, our professional life, our own personal satisfaction, we're always trying to work towards something. 

And obviously, that is the cause of all of our unhappiness, because if we don't enjoy, or at least live in the current moment, we're always focusing on something in the future, we're obviously never going to be happy, because the moment that you didn't reach that milestone, then you'll enjoy it for two minutes, and then you're moving towards the next milestone. And so reading those Buddhist texts and reading the work, especially of Thich Nhat Hanh, really helped a lot. Eventually I actually ended up finding a book that really brings those two worlds together. It's like a very secular view on the key teachings of Buddhism, and how to apply it in our lives. It's a book by a psychologist called Robert Wright. And the book is called “Why Buddhism Is True”. And it's actually tried to take out all of the religious side of it, and just really focus on the key lessons. So he goes into a lot of examples of what Buddhism was talking about 2-3000 years ago. Now with all of the modern knowledge that we have in modern science and evolutionary psychology, which is what he focuses on, now all proven to be true. We look at what we know today about how our minds, our bodies work, it really all comes down to those key concepts. So I'm definitely not fully enlightened. But I'm definitely taking continuous steps to get further on that spiritual journey.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  23:08

Wonderful. Thank you for sharing that what you pointed out around cravings. Another word for it is addictions, right? Addictions in terms of what we don't want, or what we want, is really the how we spend most of our waking moments focusing on, “Oh, I don't want this. I want this now”. It's that whole tension in our minds about how to manage that. 

Is it possible for us to live a simple life in today's world?

Daan van Rossum  

Yes. 100% possible. I think that's the good news. It's 100% possible.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  

Okay, and how can we do that?

Daan van Rossum  

Just remove everything that's not necessary. I think that's really where it starts. I attended a workshop with Nir Eyal a few weeks ago in Singapore, the author of a book called “Hooked”, which was really about how to design better products, and how to get people addicted to them, to use your term just now. Products have gotten really good at getting us to be addicted to them, right? So, anyone who uses any kind of social media app will know what we're talking about. Interestingly, his second book was about time management. He actually said early in the book that time management is pain management. What Nir is saying is that we tend to fill up our time, so it's not that we cannot manage our time. It's not that we cannot live with less, but it's actually all to fill a certain pain that we're feeling. And that's why we fill up our time. Knowing that that's the tendency that we have being aware of that, that we fill our days of our lives with a lot of things that we don't need, because we're trying to avoid something, because we're trying to fill this hole that we all feel burning inside ourselves. 

So if we're aware and mindful of that, then we can also get out of it. That really starts with like taking an inventory of our lives. What are we spending our time on? More importantly, what are we spending our energy on? And can we take away all of the things that at the end of the day are really not meaningful. Maybe it's super cliche to say the one thing I feel like I'm learning more and more is that life is really short. And so why would we waste it on anything that's not meaningful, like not to be hedonistic, not to just be pursuing pleasure all the time, or we want to 100% be happy. We need to spend the time meaningfully, that's at least the thing I'm landing on. You have a lot more experience than me. But that's where I'm landing on, where it's definitely very possible to live a simple life, if only we allow ourselves to sometimes feel bored or unsatisfied, to go back to Buddhist roots.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  25:49

That's very thought provoking. I'm someone who is busy with activities and to consider that I'm filling up my time, and what is that hole that I'm trying to fill up, right? And if I didn't have to do that, then how much more time will I have to pursue other things which are more meaningful, or even just to be present? That's something that I'm going to reflect on.

If you had to use three words to describe thriving, how would you describe it?

Daan van Rossum  

To me, thriving really is the opposite of just surviving. It’s the feeling that we get the most out of every moment possible.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  

Nice. Anything else? That's interesting, getting the most of every moment possible.

Daan van Rossum  

Yeah, when we're thriving or flourishing, to me it’s really that sense of it feels very rich. And it really feels like, right now, I'm the best that I can be, which again, is never about being perfect or being always happiest or the most balanced. But right in this moment, am I getting the most out of it? Do I feel like I can be the best version of who I can be right now? Then I'm thriving. But I do think, again, from studying positive psychology, especially there is sort of that fake sense of thriving that sometimes we pursue or to fake sense of happiness, where we're trying to just ignore all of our problems. And we're trying to pretend that all of that doesn't exist. But obviously, that's not the case. Like I have a cold right now, I really wanted to spend today on writing something. And definitely writing is the thing I love doing the most, well, learning and writing. I know when I'm in the flow that when I'm writing, I really feel like I'm getting the most out of my time, because I've learned something and through the writing, I can share that out. But today, I have a cold and I just cannot focus. So therefore, I cannot accomplish that specifically, but it doesn't mean that I cannot still try and spend my time meaningfully and still thrive, even though it may not be that super high.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  27:56

That’s right. 

What is sustainability for you?

Daan van Rossum  

So sustainability, it's such a broad topic, right? 

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  

We say that sustainability is the ongoing thriving of a living system. I'm interested to just find out what are people's views about sustainability.

Daan van Rossum  

I think about it a lot from the perspective of, “Can we keep doing this, whatever it's, personal or professional? Is this something that we can keep going?” I'm very mindful of the fact that sometimes I have to be very energetic, and I have to motivate people maybe work really long days, really long nights, going back to that COVID period, or similarly, last year, when we were going through the process of fundraising for our new start-up, there's so much work to be done. 

So you really spend a lot of time and again in that time, sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it feels like you're really getting so much out of life. And it's so gives you that sense of fulfilment, just because you can do it in that moment doesn't mean that it's something that you can keep doing, right? It's not sustainable to always work 90 or 100 hours per week, right? And so, to me then I really go back to, “Okay, I need to do that self-assessment to take an inventory of what I'm doing right now. Can I keep doing that?” Often the conclusion is, “No.” And then I have to start shifting, I have to go back to redesigning my days and weeks and months in a way that it is sustainable, that it is something that we can keep doing.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  29:28

Thank you for sharing. Daan, I had an excellent conversation with you. Thank you very much for joining us today.

Daan van Rossum  

Great to have been here. Hopefully, it was helpful. Thank you for having me on. And also thank you for writing that wonderful book, “The Big jump into Entrepreneurship”. I really enjoyed reading it. I think the reason for you wrote the book is that a lot of people still feel like they need to follow other people's directions, especially here in Vietnam, really the one thing you learn is listen to your manager and listen to the boss, do what they say that you have to do. And then that becomes life. And so when I was reading your book, it just reminded me again, for a lot of people, they may never have heard that sort of call to action of “You can take charge, be the driver, be the initiator”, right? You don't always have to follow. If that fits with you, whether you start your own company or you're more entrepreneurial within someone else's company, within a normal job, then you should do it. And maybe that's where our two kind of missions align, because from my perspective of, “Life is too short to waste on something that doesn't drive meaning for you, that's not purposeful for you”, that's where that call to action hopefully comes in really helpful. So I hope a lot of people can read the book and get inspired and motivated and then take action. Thank you so much, Ramesh. 

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandra  

Thank you

Ho Lai Yun  30:40

Thank you for joining Dr. Ramesh to hear from Daan today about how he’s pivoted towards thriving both at work and in his life, and that becoming an entrepreneur is very much at the heart of finding that engagement to have better work days and a richer, more meaningful, and happier life.

If you're interested to learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset, Check out Dr. Ramesh's book "The Big Jump into Entrepreneurship 2.0", simply click on the Amazon link provided in the podcast description. 

In addition, make sure you follow Dr. Ramesh on LinkedIn so that you’ll get her the latest insights from her and our amazing podcast guest speakers.

Next up, we head over to the U.S. to hear from Ms. Radhika Dutt, Author of Radical Product Thinking: The New Mindset for Innovating Smarter. Radhika is also a product leader and entrepreneur.

Bio
Mr. Daan van Rossum, CEO of FlexOS and Dreamplex

Daan van Rossum is the CEO at FlexOS, the platform that helps companies in South-East Asia get people together again in the world of hybrid work. All to help them with their key challenge: to attract, engage and retain the best talent in the market. 

He also does this as CEO for Dreamplex, the leading Workplace Experience provider. Dreamplex started in 2015 as a coworking space and has since transformed itself into the leading workplace experience provider; partnering with companies such as Tiki, Topica, PR Newswire, eBay and Samsung. 

He does this with a team of over 50 workplace strategy, tech, design, hospitality and employee experience specialists – including the GWA “International Community Manager of the Year 2020.” 

Prior to leading FlexOS and Dreamplex, Daan worked as a Regional Strategy & Innovation Director for marketing firm Ogilvy across their Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, Singapore, and Ho Chi Minh City offices, after which he ran his own startup.