Episode Description

New Entrepreneurs are often given money and told to sink or swim, figure it out. Those projects are likely to fail, we don't want that. David Kiewlich from BADASS Labs joins us to share his passion to ensure every good idea has the best possible chance to reach the marketplace.

{01:35} David’s food reclamation project

{05:25} How David became passionate about science.

{07:23} The specific area of science that piqued David’s interest.

{09:16} Getting through Harvard with two jobs in three years, while working multiple jobs

{11:00} The person who influenced David.

{19:00} Science and Art.

{23:00} Naming the lab

{27:14] The model of David’s Lab when it comes to helping entrepreneurs

Resources and Links:

Connect with Tom Finn

Episode Transcript

Welcome me friends to the Talent Empowerment Podcast, where we share the stories of great humans. So, you are inspired to lift your organizations, your teams, and your community. I am your host, Tom Finn, and on the show today we have a Harvard graduate, a Bay Area scientist, and an entrepreneur. His name is David Kiewlich

Dr. David Kiewlich Welcome to the show.

Thank you so much, Tom. It was an absolute pleasure to be there.

Here we are. I am thrilled to hear your story and get to know you just a little bit better.

David has been in biotech for 28 years, mostly in oncology therapeutics and cell-based therapies, and in 2017 he founded BadAss Labs. And currently plays the roles of CEO and President, but don't worry; he still does science if you don't know BadAss Labs. They're a nonprofit biotech incubator. David now worked two jobs to pay his way through Harvard University and earned his Ph.D. in three years. He was a strong supporter of the arts and was recognized by the state of California for his community service instead of the typical 5 to 7 efforts.

In 2019 he led a food reclamation project, moving nearly £500,000 of produce to dozens of nonprofits throughout the Bay Area, and provided hundreds of computers for low-income students right before the pandemic. That was critically important in his community. I am so fired up to talk about the intersection of science and startups.

But before we go there, you're a pillar in the Bay Area community. Let's talk about your philanthropic work. Tell us about your food reclamation project and why it was meaningful to you.

Sure, well, thank you so much for the opportunity. With the food reclamation, one thing that I noticed is that quite a few of our local food banks were always struggling to find sufficient produce, and the goal for them was to constantly have to fundraise to be able to afford to purchase it.

Due to the large number, I noticed that there's a large, shall we say, distribution center in the local area of Jack London Square, which is just outside of where I live. And this is one of the largest food products. There are production areas, and they distribute for supermarkets, etcetera, etcetera. They get new products every week, so if it isn't sold by Wednesday, they have to dump it. And so, this ended up in what is typically the garbage because Oakland, CA, charged more for composting than they did for regular trash, so they ended up throwing this all out.

So, I went to them, and I said, "Look, let's figure out a way so that we can get this produce, which is only three days old, to the Food Bank and distribute it around," and they were extremely excited about it. And within about a month we were moving about £10,000 and a week of food, and shortly thereafter we had recruited nearly all of those groups, which is about 30 different distributors in that one hub, and this then expanded. The distribution is a benefit to pretty much the entire Bay Area.

So, at one point we—you know, I was bringing food. to about 26 different nonprofits throughout the entire Bay Area. From Martinez in the north to San Jose in the south, and then to Brentwood in the east. So, you're looking at a couple of hundred miles. You know the square miles of distribution, and this was all done by myself and my Prius.

At the end of it, we had moved something like 500 -1000 pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste had become useful people could. Eat, and so this was a great opportunity to introduce these nonprofits to this resource and give them the opportunity now to engage them directly in a way that they wouldn't have done otherwise.

And so, this kicked off an effort that is continuing even today.

So, thank you very much for your contributions to your community. I mean, this shows all about empowerment and lifting people, and my goodness, what a show of heroism in your community to take something that was being wasted. And an asset was getting food and fresh vegetables to people who needed them. So, bravo to you, and thank you for the work that you're doing in Northern California to support your community.

Thank you. Very much.

So, I love it. I love that it's sustainable too, right? If you didn't hear it, the last thing he said was that it's still going on today, and I think that's so important. And when we talk about business, ethics, and doing the right thing, all of that has to be long-term.

It can't be just a shot in the dark; we've got to move on from those one-time efforts. I want sustainable things. And in the spirit of sustainability, David, you've gone into the area of science, which is very unique, and you are helping a lot of people around the globe with the work that you've done.

How did you get into science, and what was exciting about that when you were kids?

Well, I've always had a calling to science. I think that's kind of the way you can look at it. Even when I was quite a young idea was that it wasn’t just shelled on the beach; it was learning more about the animals that were in those shells and why they were created. And it was always that extra step. Well, what is it about this that makes it possible to more fully understand how the world works?

When got to High school, every available science class was just something that I craved, and, you know, this was, you know, a great deal of fun for me, and I really, truly enjoyed it. I look at science and medicine as if they were two sides of the same coin. I look at medicine as directly hands-on, you can immediately help individuals, which is fantastic, but the idea is you might only be able to interface with, let's say, 10,000 or 20,000 people over your career. If you're doing science and you create something capable of really supporting very large things like, let's say, the vaccines that we're all enjoying right now. The goal is that one person now has influence and impact. You know, maybe tens of millions of people, and so that just amplifies how much you can do for the world by engaging in science.

And so, I switched from sort of looking at being a veterinarian or a doctor to being a scientist somewhere around high school. And the idea was that this would allow me to further magnify what I could do for my community and the world.

Yeah, wonderfully said, and was there a specific area of science that piqued your interest as you were going into your undergraduate studies?

I've always had a love of biology.

I find biology to be very much like detective work because you frequently don't understand exactly everything that is going on. Cells, as you are aware, are the simplest version of living things, and they're so amazingly complicated that we're still learning more about how they function.  

Even if you look at something as basic as DNA, which is how all of the information is stored and transmitted from one generation to the next, we’re learning more and more almost every year about how complicated that system is and how nature has figured out ways to store even more information in it than we ever imagined before.

You know, initially, we thought of it as it's just a straight You use this as a code, and you produce a single protein from it. We are now learning that nature frequently places things in unexpected places and shifts in the code so that you can get multiple versions of proteins out of the same sequence. You can read it backward and get even more information there. Areas around it can be used for regulation. in a multitude of different ways.

And every time we look, we find that it's way more complicated than we thought. thought it was. And to me, that's exciting because it's just the beginning of our understanding of what's going on in the natural world. We're barely scratching the surface, and as we look deeper, it becomes so much more exciting.

Yeah, well, I've got to ask this question. You're very well versed in the space sciences, but the fun question for us non-scientists is, "How on Earth did you get through Harvard with two jobs in three years to go and get an advanced degree?" It just seems either impossible or that you are the ultimate grinder.

Well, I didn't get an advanced degree from Harvard. That's the first thing. So, this was an undergraduate degree, so let's just be fair on that.

But at Harvard, yes, I did a work-study at a biology lab at Children's Hospital in Boston, and that was about 40 hours a week. And then I did overnight shifts at a large, high-end hotel doing their front desk work, so I would usually work from about 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. when I was doing those shifts.

Harvard was a very intense experience because I was also playing football on top of it all. It's all true. Yes, that is exactly what I called the Crucible. It burned out all of my bad habits and taught me a lot. How I manage my time very, very efficiently, but I also manage my resources in a lot of ways.

This was an extremely valuable opportunity, for the community to teach me how to run a business. Because it's all about resource management. It's all about what I have right now and what I can get out of those resources to maximize them.

And so, I had to push as hard as I could because, ultimately, I was sending money home to support my mother. I was also paying for my brother's education, so this was an opportunity to teach myself how to be the most efficient version of myself.

It's a very mature stance David for you to take at a young age. Was there somebody that influenced you to think that way when you were in this kind of 18–22 zone?

I will say that while I was in school, I didn't have a lot of inspiration. There was one sort of mentor that I looked up to. He was an uncle—actually a great uncle. He was a self-made man. He was a lawyer. He passed the bar, and I believe he passed in 11 states, so again, that's somewhat usual. His goal was to support the community in every way shape and form. And it was just amazing to see how much joy he could bring to everyone with his efforts. And the goal was to see how I could emulate that and make sure that this was something that you knew I could do because that's really what it was about how much you could improve everyone's condition.

It's not just about what I can do for my business, it's what that business can then do for everyone around me. And this is why there's so much community service. This is why my kids and I, for example, do it every day of service every week. His name was Tom, and he was very inspirational. You don't look at what you can do for yourself. You look at what you can do for everyone, and so that was the goal.

And yes, the school was very difficult. I'm not going to argue with you on that, but it was the idea. If I could shovel snow for the community home, I would, and if I could, you know, provide meals and support, I would.

At Harvard, The Safety Patrol was formed, and people who wanted to walk home late at night with someone. To be safe, we were on call until 2:00 AM, and so the idea is that no matter where you were on the campus, you could call us and our team. I would send someone there who could walk with you so that You would be, safely walking in the middle of the night.

Cambridge was an extremely safe area, but still, people wanted to have the knowledge that they had somebody there, so we created that system so that that could happen. would be available. for them to access if they felt they needed it.

And we'd get it usually, you know 10 to 20 people every week. Who would be interested in letting someone go, and walk home? So that was a really exciting thing, so it's again, with every effort, how do we make it better for everyone around us?

And it sounds like you made it better for a lot of people while you were studying and doing good work for yourself. During your time at Harvard, you had an impact on your family as well as the community in Massachusetts.

I've got to switch gears here. What made you interested in oncology, therapeutics, and cell-based therapies? Was that a thrilling experience for you as a scientist, and where did it lead you in your career?

Sure, oncology is the study of cancer, just so everyone knows. And for me, cancer is a unique disease because unlike infectious diseases, where something is coming to you like a virus or a bacterium, cancer is part of you that has gone wrong. And now you're fighting yourself, and that is a fascinating event because we typically sort of work on the assumption that your body is always on your side, that it's there to support you, and that every part of you is designed to be part of your survival, and now you have a part of you that's actively working against that, and that makes it very, very challenging.

Because oftentimes what makes a cancer cell different from a normal cell is very small. So, finding those individual variations that we can then target with therapeutics is quite difficult. Another issue is that we tend to group cancer. However, it is a collection of approximately 3000 diseases, and thus this is why people say, "Well, why is there some sort of magic bullet for cancer?” We're attempting to develop therapeutics for 3,000 different diseases. It's unlikely that you'll ever get one that's going to work for every single thing.

But again, it's that detective work. It's understanding how this happens. Why is this interesting? What can we do about it besides constant sort of pulling back these layers and finding out, "Oh, there's more to the story?" And maybe there's something that people have overlooked, and that's why I got into oncology.

Secondarily, cell-based therapies were sort of a natural extension for me. My Ph.D. is from the University of California, Davis, and it's in cell and developmental biology with a cancer focus.  I've worked with cells my entire career, so cell-based therapies were a natural extension of that. We can make it therapeutic for you to give someone you know every.

Let's say every day or every couple of days, potentially for the rest of their lives, and that will manage their disease. But what if we could engineer cells in such a way that they did the work for you, and you didn't have to worry about it again? As a result, patients were no longer considered patients, they had become people.

And that was the idea of these cell-based therapies, and I think so. that they have. This a huge opportunity to change how we think about therapeutics; the challenges, of course, are that whenever you put cells from another person or even your cells back into you, you must manage what the immune system does.

That we've been doing this for so many years. You know, if you think about it, many decades have passed in the form of organ transplants, where you're taking tissues and organs from a different person and putting them into somebody else, like a kidney transplant. This is a natural extension of that as well, where we're just taking individual pieces of those organs. That's problematic, so the ultimate goal is to figure out how to make these therapies easier for patients, last longer, and create fewer burdens for them so that their lives are no longer defined by their condition.

They've become just average people. And so that was the goal of that, and we're still working on that. I'm In addition to the incubator work, I'm also the CSO of a company doing autoimmune disease therapy through a cell-based system. So, we're looking at a bunch of different options, and I still love to do science. But really, the goal is: how do we make it better for everyone involved?

Yeah, I love the way that you think about the universe and your place on the planet, which is how I can help others first. Helping others comes back to us in droves, creating our success and emotional ties to our local communities.  So, I'm grateful and appreciative for the way that you look at the world and the way that you have helped people along your journey and your life.

So, let me ask you this question: Is science in any way like art, or are science and art completely different?

Well, as a big supporter of the arts, you know this is a fun experience because I think of science as a version of art. I think of scientists as coming in kind of two flavors.

You have what I call the analytical scientists, and those are people who, when you give them something complicated, can break it down into its parts and understand how all of those parts work much the same way, like if you had a watch and could take that watch apart and look at how all the gears interface with each other and understand how it works.

You also have what I call artistic scientists, and these are individuals who can. Conceive something that doesn't exist yet, and then work to bring it into being in a lot of ways. That's exactly what we're talking about in an artist. A sculptor, for example, would take something like a block of stone. and then creates something that doesn't exist yet.

If you look at it, you'll notice da Vinci, the idea of Creating was an artifact of just that, and being is a vision capable of seeing things that others did not exist, but Leonardo da Vinci was fundamentally a scientist, right? He was an engineer, and we find his notebooks filled with just dozens, if not hundreds, of different machines that use technology that simply did not exist at the time that he could conceive of. They were, and we are still in many ways building some of them today.

He created a musical instrument that is roughly similar to a piano but instead of a piano where it hits the strings. This is something that draws a bow across the string. So, imagine a piano that works more like a cello, and it did. just something that could. not have been built in his time. And yet he can conceive of it, and we are just able to make these things today.

And so, this is the idea of the artistic scientist being able to conceive of things that aren't real yet and saying, "I want to find a way to make this occur." And this is where the breakthroughs occur. This is where people come up with novel ideas to address problems that are critical in our environment in sustainability, clean energy—you name it. All of those things don't exist as solutions right now. Somebody has to conceive of them, and then somebody has to make them real. And that's where the artistic scientist is incredibly valued.

I love the idea of the artistic scientist, and as I'm listening to you, the way that I'm thinking about this is leaning into entrepreneurship. I mean, the artistic scientist is an entrepreneur in the purest sense. Finding a challenge and creating a solution to overcome such a challenge that impacts 10 people or 10,000 or 10 million individuals around the globe. So far, I've heard scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs, is that correct, or am I a little off the mark?

No, absolutely. I mean, if you think about what an entrepreneur is, an entrepreneur is someone who has a vision and has a belief that they can create something, whatever that is. Is it a business?  It doesn't matter what the product is. They can conceive of that, and then they work to make it real, and ultimately that is a version of art.

It's just that in that phase, the medium could be the business. The way that sculptures the medium might be stoned. So, the entrepreneur is someone who believes that they can create something. That doesn't exist. And then work towards it.

And that's why I want to create an environment that facilitates that, because ultimately, creating things that don't exist has the opportunity to change how we view the world. And how it has a significant impact as a result of those. Things are new. And they have the opportunity to make changes away like that if an existing product or an existing service could do so, it would have done so already.

Well, I love the way you think about this, and we're talking about science, art, and entrepreneurship. And you've combined those three areas into a new business that is scaling to make an impact for so many others.

The other company is called Bay Area Disruptor and Startup Support Labs. Or if you are taking Notes: It's called BadAss Labs, which I love.

I believe everyone recognizes the name. It gets you with the humor. And it means something else, too. The local community talks to me about it. First and foremost, how did you come to be? Who by that name were you sitting around with? Some buddies are having dinner and thinking, "How can we make this fun?" Where did BadAss Labs originate?

My wife and I came up with it, and the idea was that we wanted something a little bit because, because, when you think about an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur is somebody who wants to say that they can do something that no one else has to do.

Oftentimes they are met with people saying they can't do that or they’re not good enough or they don't believe in them. That is the common refrain that almost every entrepreneur has had to deal with. And the only way they overcome that is through pure self-confidence. And when you think about it. What is the definition of a self-confident person? It is a *******.

This is somebody who will look at the world and say, you’re going to try to knock me down; you're going to try to say that I can't, but I believe I can, and I'm going to prove it to you. And that is the idea behind encouraging people to think of themselves in powerful ways so that they are more capable and capable of doing all of these things.

And it's truly by reinforcing their self-confidence that they are the best at what they can do. But they still are learning, or do they still require assistance? They still need all of these things because nobody does this alone, and so that's ultimately the way that we've set this up. It's up to us to create an environment that says we believe in you because you deserve support.

But we're going to create all of those to support you so that you can be the most amazing version of yourself as a businessperson and as an individual and as a scientist.

Well, thank you for coming up with such a fun name, and kudos to your wife as well for having a big part in the think tank of coming up with this So, for example, the Bay Area disruptor and startup support labs or BadAss What do y'all do? I mean, what does it function as in our communities?

Sure, well, we've hinted at it a little bit. But it is a biotech incubator, and if you are trying to start a new biotech company, this can be an extremely expensive endeavor. The equipment is very difficult to come by often, you're looking at six or seven figures for the equipment, you might need to just do a Start.

The permits and the government oversight are very extensive because you're working with dangerous things that they want to make sure are done safely. I understand that, but it does create a tremendous amount of regulatory burden to which we need to pay attention.

The spaces themselves are oftentimes somewhat rare and hard to find, and so ultimately what an incubator does is create the environment where these companies are supported in much the same way an incubator for an egg creates an environment for that egg to develop and eventually hatch.

So, you can think of these brand-new startups as being that egg in this environment that is being nurtured and supported so that they can grow and develop into independent entities that then move up and out of the incubator into their own space when they're ready to do so.

Yeah, so I'm thinking about the word "incubator," and I've been on an entrepreneurial path and journey myself for the last five years. And every time I hear the word incubator, I think that that group of humans would like a percentage of my company. They would like me to come and study with some advisors who would like to value my company at a certain level, and then, of course, they would like to take a piece of it for embarking on some level of knowledge along my journey.

And I've always shielded away from them, primarily because I didn't want to give up equity with… a guarantee of giving up equity… without a guarantee of some sort of return for the business How does that fit into your BadAss labs model?

So that was One of the biggest things that I wanted to address when I set this up, I've been using incubators for many years with all the various companies that I've started. I've also run them to a certain degree.

But the idea was that I've had a lot of experience in them. How these places have traditionally been run, and the challenge is when the incubator or accelerator has an equity stake. It can make It is very difficult for these companies to then raise money in the future.

And so, what we did was set this up as a 501(c)(3). Three public charities So it's a non-profit, and by definition, those entities cannot own equity, and they cannot own IP. So, this is a critical factor that I think is very distinct because every company has it.

When they come in, they have absolute assurance that all of their success is theirs. We don't own any of that success. We don't try to take a piece of that, to create some sort of portfolio for investors or whatnot. The idea is that this is truly the customer-centric side. How do we do it?

Helping these companies be the best possible versions of themselves is important, and one way we can do that is by not taking a chunk of them just for the honor of being in our space.

Yeah, well, thank you for doing that and leading the way. I think I speak for many entrepreneurs when I say thank you, and we appreciate you doing the right thing by supporting the start-up process but also leaving the equity and the IP with those that are generating it.

This is not an online business. This is not a virtual model. You've got real locations where people walk in the front door and have access to all of those expensive tools that we talked about a little bit earlier.

So, help us understand what that looks like. You have five locations; you have one location. What does that look like today?

So, we currently have two locations in the San Francisco Bay area: Alameda, which is an island in San Francisco Bay, and San Francisco. These locations are about 25,000 square feet each, and they are stocked with somewhere in the neighborhood of about a million and a half or so dollars for each piece of equipment.

The idea is that when companies join our space, they have unlimited use of all of this equipment, which allows them to get started. Essentially, the vast majority of our companies are doing science within two or three days of joining this.

This allows them to not have to worry about a capital budget right off the bat which is important because oftentimes they have either a single grant or possibly just a small seed fund, and our goal is to help them extend to whatever possible reach we have by increasing that run. Anyway, and so one of the things in addition to providing all of this equipment and all of this space is that we do all of the purchasing on behalf of our companies, and this allows us to negotiate as a very large entity, which allows us to then push price concessions that we pass on 100% to all of our companies. We don't charge a fee for any of this.

So, the idea is that in many cases, they save so much money on their purchases that the time they spend is free because it all comes out in the wash. And so, this is a critical factor, and as we get larger and larger, we're able to negotiate harder and harder on behalf of all of our companies.

So typically, we'll do something on the order of about $200,000 worth of purchases on behalf of the companies every month. This is a significant benefit for them because it works out to be about a 30% discount.

Another factor that helps them is that I would rather spend an hour with customer service figuring out how to place an order or where an item is done by my team rather than the companies. I'd rather they focus on their science and their critical path mission because ultimately that's how they become stronger.

Let us do all of that work to support them so that they can focus on being scientists, creating the data, and showing that their idea is phenomenological. Well, that is better done by allowing them to focus on what they're good at and allowing them to develop as businesspeople at a pace that they're comfortable with, which varies quite a bit from company to company.

I love what you're doing, David, because what you're doing is creating a back office for these great scientific minds to come in and just do what they do well without having to think about purchasing equipment, materials, or supplies.

And you do it in your unique way. According to my understanding, that is a flat fee-based service in which they come in and pay you a fee to do this, but they have access to all of these different components. I think I heard you say 25,000 square feet per unit here, and that's what we've got two, which is a massive amount of real estate. This is a big location or two big locations. So they come in. They have access for a set fee for everything, they get you to do all the heavy lifting in the backroom and the negotiations. Is that right?

Exactly, and the idea is how do we make it simpler for them, right?

Many of these companies are either first-time founders or they've been doing this maybe once or twice, or they're commercials or spinoffs from a university where many of the back-office jobs were performed by the university.

And so, our goal is How do we take those burdens off of them so that they become the best versions of themselves at their pace? We could just sort of dump it in their lap and say, "sink or swim." You'll figure it out, and a lot of them will. They would make a lot of mistakes, and it would be a very painful process. And some of them couldn’t figure it out, and those projects are likely to fail here, but we don't want that.

In the end, every company fails. An idea is lost. And fundamentally, that is the goal of our space. BadAss Labs' job is to make sure that every good idea has the best possible chance to reach the marketplace because only when it reaches the marketplace does it make a change.

If the company stumbles before it gets there that idea is lost. And it may be that no one ever picks that idea back up again, and that is the one thing that I do not want to have to happen, so our job is to facilitate these companies to every extent possible so that they don't stumble.

And so, you know, we're adding more spaces. We've got sites 3–4 and 5 in negotiations. Right now, we're going to be moving through most of California, both northern and southern, as well as several U.S. states, the Western United States. These spaces are hard to come by, so in the San Francisco Bay area, the vacancy rate right now is between 1 and 2%.  That makes it hard for a start-up company to be able to do anything because there just aren't spaces for them to start. And then, if you want a great space, those are even harder to find. Many of these options are converted warehouses that only provide what you could do in your garage.

So, the idea is that we want to create more of these to further give people the opportunity to create these ideas and not see them lost because they simply give up because they can't find even a place to be.

Well, you are certainly empowering others in the life sciences and biotech space to push forward.

And I think what's interesting is that you're doing this in the Bay Area, and I think for many around the world that listen to this podcast, we tend to think of the Bay Area as technology and, naturally, due to the growth of some very large companies over the last couple of decades.

When you look under the hood in Northern California and start analyzing and looking at the markets, you can see the growth of the bio com, biotech, life sciences, and space industries. Specifically, it's explosive. I mean it is really growing, and we are seeing a ton of new companies pop up, and they're leading to success very quickly. And for those of you in the business world, they're actively growing.

But fundamentally, the industry—the biotech industry—was born in the San Francisco Bay area, in Genentech and some of the other large entities, and we forget that this is a big challenge because it has a very high infrastructure. cost because it has a lot of very specialized equipment and space requirements.

There aren't that many buildings for it, and so this makes it more difficult for biotech to get that explosive. The growth tech companies have is because, if you think about a tech company, they can fundamentally produce a product that they know is incomplete, that they know is broken, and they can put it in the marketplace, where they can get information from real customers and figure out what is working and what is not and then they pull it back. They create version 1.5, re-release it, and thus have the opportunity to make this over and over again. Are biotech and pharmaceuticals superior? You do not get the opportunity to put a product that you know is incomplete or fundamentally broken on the market. That is not to be allowed in the marketplace, you have to make the final product that is going to be produced, and that means that you're very slow.

The way to look at it is to Imagine if software could never be updated. Whatever you produced had to be the final form, and it could never be changed again. Tech would be murderously slow. But that is the fundamental problem because you cannot put a drug on the market that you know is incomplete and will not help. And so, what we need to do is remember that despite their many similarities, technology and biotechnology are not the same things. Which means that the horizon is very different.

In biotech, It's a 10-year profit versus an 18-month process. And this explosive growth that we It might be that way. more if we had more spaces for these companies to be able to start. And that's where we're trying to add these locations, because fundamentally if you're looking at 2% availability and vacancy rates, that's not going to create jobs or a lot of growth. You need more options for companies so that they have that ability, and we need to work on this

Well, David, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.  Thank you so much for the work that you do for the Bay Area Disruptor and for starting up support labs, or BadAss labs. We appreciate the work you're doing in the communities, which has been a part of you and your character for a long time.

If somebody wanted to find you and reach out and connect with you. How would they go about doing that?

Great Yeah, so again, thank you so much for the opportunity to have this discussion. I appreciate it. You can find us at badasslabs.org. We also have a fairly significant presence on LinkedIn, both as Badass as well as me, David.

I welcome any interest, and our job is to help people even if they don't join our space. I have no idea how many there are; it must be a large number. In the multiple dozens at this point of groups that have come in, we still help them even when they're not part of our space, and that, I think, is a critical factor in how we facilitate groups to be better.

It's up to you to do the things that you can need to do regardless of whether you get a return from that effort, kindness should be sort of the key factor for everything.

Well, Dr. Kiewlich. Kindness is certainly the key for you, and we appreciate you and the way that you are. You're approaching your business and the world, and I'm grateful for joining the Talent Empowerment Podcast.

Thank you so much, Tom. I appreciate it and am again very grateful.

Well, thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment Podcast. I hope this conversation has lifted you so you can lift your teams, your organizations, and your community. Let's get back to people and culture together.

See you in the next episode.

Tom Finn

Tom Finn

Podcaster & Co-Founder

Tom Finn (he/him) is an InsurTech strategist, host of the Talent Empowerment podcast, and co-founder and CEO of an inclusive people development platform.