We have created the Making of a Hoodie podcast to celebrate the heroes of the world who have gone out and have done phenomenal things either in small ways or huge ways. We talk and design a hoodie, the story of their life, the story of what our lives can be. And, this hoodie will continue to help fire the work of AIME and the systems around us that can be so much better if we work towards better relations with nature and each other.
Welcome to the Making of a Hoodie podcast. This is episode zero…
…a conversation with AIME Founder and CEO Jack Manning Bancroft and ethic Co-founder Johny Mair.
At AIME we've been obsessed with trying to work out how to create unlikely connections to network the world differently so we can try and use our imagination to get unstuck, and then develop ideas that don't exist yet and create a fairer world.
Johny and Jack have been hanging out for a couple of years now and exploring how to change the way the world works and how to think differently about what investment can look like.
Johny explains ethic as an asset manager or an investment manager. They create investment portfolios primarily through public equities or companies that are traded on a stock exchange. But what they really do is incorporate not only the financial factors that you have to look at normally, but also sustainability or externalities of what these companies are doing. So, they are looking at how companies not only look at what shareholders care about, which has traditionally been just the financials and the stakeholders of those companies, and looking more into the impact on the environment, consumers of the product, the workforce, all of these other factors.
From an early age Johny was always interested in building stuff, pulling things apart, putting it back together, how using a mixture of creativity and engineering and followed those paths. But he kept thinking, where am I going next? He never really had a plan, never had this like, oh, I want to be this, Johny just followed the path of what made sense to him.
He studied engineering, but following that path realized that he really enjoyed the design aspect of it, but not a lot of the where you end up within Australia, in terms of the mining and resources and maintenance engineering. This lead to him thinking about these skills of problem solving, where can I apply it to?
Enjoy a few of the magic moments from the conversation below and how it lead to the making of this hoodie.
How the heck do we get to a place where we can value a return on relations and how big is that prize for the world?
I think that the part of being in relation and I think not being transactional, I think, is the thing that I really connect with. When you start to connect with people, we start to think about them from an aspect of not what can be produced, but what can you create a relation with, the work and what you can actually achieve becomes so much more. Everything's not outcome focused. It's more about enjoying this journey along with the team.
If we start to treat things more about doing it together, it's not about the transaction, but it's more about enjoying this journey. Then life becomes so much better and happier.
“I find, as someone who really, really values imaginative thought, it is really, really, really hard to think imaginatively because of the pressures around you to not, because an imaginative idea isn't necessarily linked to something that already exists.
Tyson Yunkaporta and I hung out with Fritjof Capra last year, and we explored this processes of emergence. And it's crazy what happens when you're in leadership and you go, actually, I'm not going to try and control everything, I'm going to let it come.
Tension of control versus letting it come is crazy.
If you've got strength in your belief and that energy flow, it can come, which is wacky.”
“We sometimes fool ourselves by thinking that we can somehow control the outcome. And I think it happens a lot with experience, but when you start to realize that these things aren't in control and you open yourself up, it allows you to look and see and find other avenues.
It's similar when you travel, it's interesting, when you travel, you go, oh, when you go to another country, it's like, oh, everyone's so friendly and open and talking to me, but actually it's probably got a lot to do with the state that you are in. You are more open, you are willing, you are putting that energy out there.
Same with imagination and ideas, a lot of us are so fixated on that transaction or getting a task done that we're not allowing ourselves to go into that state to be even open or aware to that connection that can happen.
How can you create states that allow you to change into different patterns to be open to change?”
“If the world we live in has a future, it is going to have to be people that have to have imagination and creativity to be able to fix a lot of these problems, we need a bigger pool.
And then it's like, what do we actually value? And so, as we start to think about where we're investing, I think we look at where capital is distributed, if you look at a normal portfolio, it's really in companies. But actually everything that we do is built upon nature, but we don't invest in it.”
“I think the investments that people make into different investing in terms of creativity, imagination, and a few of the items we've been talking about here, and then also with nature, I think it's going to be really different knowledge. And I think that's where the world has to go, so we have to put capital towards that.”
“That's the laziness of like, we must protect and conserve a natural park. Oh, sweet, okay, cool, so we put more gates around it. You idiots, just walk in there and literally look at the way the rings of these trees are moving and you can change your whole way your system of businesses work, including your retail outlets. And you can make more money because the answers aren't in what we already know, they're in different systems. And that's the same with... Which I love about how we've been working together with the indigenous systems knowledge labs on all the systems labs, with Tyson Yunkaporta and Dr. John Davis and Dr. Charles Marshall and the gang, they're gathering there. There is the prize and the opportunities to take the intelligence of systems, which have very, very, very old wisdom in them, and then to weave them into these systems that were designed in the Friedman era and before, which were quite reductive in their frames for a small group of people, and in some areas brilliant within that space, within the framework. But as you said, if we want to access the potential of human intelligence, it's outside the margins of their existing ecosystem of human beings. And it's at the edge of the network that we're going to find that intelligence.”
“And then for someone to go, well, actually I had this experience and this experience was so different, that you just go, hang on, that just changed my view on this problem completely. And then if you start to experience that in a few different ways, you can then start to actually then apply it, even when you don't have that diversity of thought in when you're solving something, go, actually, maybe I don't know everything to do with this.”
“Then there's putting yourself into places and spaces where if you want to design with intelligence, and human nature is one intelligence source, but the non-human nature and looking at the natural world.
Stardust creates planet earth, planet creates light on earth, life on earth. So, you see these moving arcs of circles, always moving, and that takes you into a powerful space of thinking, which is a space of abstraction and flow.
Ray Charles said, "None of us own the notes, we're just lucky enough to hold them for a little bit before we pass them on." And that's why the secrets being linked to capital success, secrets of the trade, holding onto your knowledge, that has been so harmful, I think, for us, because we're never going to get to that 10 billion level, but collectively we might. Individually, we never will.”
There's a lot of unintended consequences with creation. And I don't think the people that were starting a lot of these companies were there going, oh, I'm trying to ruin the world. I think in many case, these unintended consequences were like, I'm trying to fix something, but not having these design parameters that we have within nature, or not trying to do it to keep a company going, because that's the thing that you do. I think you can start to see how creativity and things can be brought into systems we have now and have huge results. Imagine if every company had an end date.
By going intentionally, you go, well, actually we're working towards this, then you release that and it's transparent and everyone's working towards a space. And so, for this podcast, for example, we just want to do it for 10 years. We don't want to make billions of billions of hoodies. We do 10 years, bunch of really focused projects, and we're setting ourselves a 10 year runway for all of the projects we're working towards, the nation we're going to build, we're setting a death point for it because then you get to move together, I reckon. And you get to move past that sense of a hidden agenda of like, well, what are you going to do in 10 years once you've got all this power amassed and all those things?
It's fascinating how with some of the systems we have set up, the incentives are so hard for you to make change. And a lot of that could be technical systems that you set up, which aren't adaptive, so they can't change. So, basically where the world is going, you can't actually move towards that because you've got this infrastructure that can't be moved.
Setting up these governance structures that don't allow you to change easily, or for you to change there's some legal ramification. Social structures that we have where it's like, oh, that person's like this because it's outside of those. And we even see it, for example, on the sustainability side, things that were never designed or to have that thing, but tax is real, is a structure that actually stops people from being as sustainable as they want. Because it's like, well, if I'm going to make a decision to move to towards a more sustainable company as a means, right now I have to sell, which means that I have to pay that particular taxing, which might be a large amount.
And it's like, well, I can't do that right now because maybe I don't have the money, there's all of these things where there's these incentives that are now stopping people, they go, well, I can't actually do that right now, but I want to. But for my own reasons, I can't. And so, there's all of these systems that are stopping people from affecting change, which is unintended, for sure.”
“For this project, we've got a design lab where we're going to try and make a hoodie. And with you guys, I think to kickstart it for episode zero, we're looking at helping you make a uniform for your team and then maybe over time exploring what we can do to create some meaningful hoodies together. But what would you love to see on the ethic hoodie that we could create or in the uniform that we help build for you guys?”
“When I think about ethic is, we're very, and I think we've been this from day one is, the people at ethic is really what makes it special. And it's the connection to through doing things the right way, the processes that we have in place for building, which is not about outcome driven, but more about enjoying the journey. When I think about who we are as a firm, from day one we were very intentional with the culture and creating an environment where people could do their best work.
And so, I think some of those is just some of the things we've spoken about, which is a group of people, that diversity of thought, different skills. We have lots of different... To do what we do actually takes a range, you have everything from people that are doing portfolio management, to trading, to data science, to creativity, to creative brand and design, user experience, all the way through to finance and financial modelling. And so, it's such a crazy group of different people with very different skill sets. On one, you might have someone who's a relationship manager who just loves people and loves sharing stories that way, but then you might have someone who's just like, I love looking for insights within data and just is crazy about statistics. And I think that we have such a different range of skills, but the common thread is that, and what we've tried to do, is create an environment where people can just be themselves. And that's actually something that, it's been quite hard for people to go like, oh, well, I don't have to wear a mask to work, I can just be a little bit weird and crazy and things like that. And as I think about what the representation of that is, I think that colour being such a good way of representing the differences. I think I mentioned, we had this tie-dye day at work and that somehow got taken and put out there. But that crazy feeling of just being so many different, so I think colour is a really good piece of that. I also think patterns as well, of process, we have both sides of being creative, trying to remove constraints, trying to be open, we can build whatever we want. But then we do really have structures and patterns that allow us to have scale and have impact and be to go over..”
“I'm almost visualizing that you could play a reversible hoodie. And so, you could have the two sides, which is, you could have the outside potentially a tie-dye world, and then inside maybe is more of that patterning and that interlink. And that one might be a black on black print, or it might be something that you guys know about, but it's really subtle. And when you get up close, you can see the patterns that are working underneath all of the colour and the life. And so, you can wear your New York black hoodie for some meetings and the tie-dye one and flipping it out. And knowing you guys, it's probably the tie-dye one's worn for the most serious ones and the more joking ones.
And the other thing which I thought was interesting was thinking about the individual story and a way that you might be able to play with that. And I was thinking about how business cards are gone as a currency, as much as there used to be name tags, or a chance to sketch something or a fabric pen that comes with it, or leaving a notice board or an arm or something where people could collage or build it, or a space to sew some stuff together. Or maybe it's a blank sleeve that's left, there's all the tie-dye stuff, and then there's just like, you sew on just a blank sleeve and that's up to everyone in the team to do what they want with it.”
“Yeah. That's cool. You could add in patches or things like that, that represent individual people's contributions.”
“Patching it together, I think finding that way to really, clearly wear your heart on the sleeve and it might be nice. We've been exploring a lot with sewing and exploring those ways to just get in touch with how things get created, which I think could be a really nice creative process for you guys as well, to go, actually, we're going to deliver it to you unfinished. Because that's the true cost of clothing and the time it takes to make something and someone somewhere is going to be sewing it. And for people that are really interested, as you guys are in how things get made and what's the cost of it and what's the process, that could be really nice. Sewing challenge for a month, to go, all right, we're all going to sew, let's find some patches and let's build that out.
Let's work out how we could dye it. If you want to dye it, dye it naturally. We can set some design parameters and make it ethical to recycle some old material. And yeah, that could be a cool. A bit about me, just have it on your sleeve.”
“Everyone cares about different components of sustainability or what your... You have different ranges, some people are very focused on climate and the environment, and so having that individual component of it. And we do that representation on our website through colour. So, we've got this switch in colour, which is like, everyone's different, so I really like that idea of it being very individual. I also think the component of exploring some of what is sustainability from a system point of view. And Tyson's done some great work and understanding around those components, but I think pointing to this sustainability, it's more about a process and a system versus being a thing. I think there's something very interesting within that. But I love the individual nature of the hoodies as well.
I like also with the team, on our team page, the team will have this, what does sustainability mean to you? And so, you could also see, potentially if it was for an investor or client, the people that they interact with or they met, those sustainability meetings or the patches they do, or the thing could be done by them.
That could be really cool. Yeah. Yeah. I also like just that stepping out and doing something therapeutic, like sewing, and getting that, I don't know, it feels like it's going to be very unique and be much different.
I think that's what's so exciting about just starting, is not knowing where it's going to go or not knowing each episode, the outcome or what needs to happen, could be completely different. So, it could be everything from trying to fund a project or it could be connecting people, or it could be starting something new, a whole new company could emerge from it.
I think it's such an important piece that it doesn't matter about the numbers or these vanity metrics that get done. It's more about the connection that maybe one person has with it, or multiple.”
And we're really excited to work with you and the whole ethic team to just let this Making of a Hoodie podcast emerge in a really joyful way for people. And over the next decade, hopefully this becomes a really rich lab for creating a lot of positive, rich connections and impactful change that we saw coming and that we didn't see coming as well.
Thank you for creating the space. And I'm really, really excited to see all the connections that we'll make and all the ideas that will come from it. And above all, just to really appreciate you and all the team there at AIME, it's such a great group of people and I feel very blessed to have you as a friend and to create with you.
Sooo, what about the hoodie you ask???
Well, the most recent vibes are above. We are going to get this one right so a few more modifications to go with the ethic team...doesn't it look rad though...
Make sure you listen to the whole podcast and read the blog to get the full story of how this design was formed.
...and...we hear ya ask...can I buy it???
Not this one - but stay tuned next Wednesday when we release our CO-CEO hoodie, it's going to be a cracker!