How to Change the World for the Better: David Allis from Better World (#11)

How to Change the World for the Better: David Allis from Better World (#11)

Dennis Kamprad

Publish Date:November 21, 2023
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How to Change the World for the Better: David Allis from Better World (#11)

Have you ever wondered what effective altruism is and how it can help make the world a better place? Then you’ll really enjoy our conversation with David Allis from Better World!

To be on a journey of making a difference in the world, you’ve gotta get people around you that have the same interest and same heart, and they can be hard to find.

David Allis, Better World

Three Key Points From This Episode

How intentionally living in a poor neighborhood helped David start a journey of effective altruism…

How he locked himself into using his business profits for the greater good…

How he committed to giving half of his money away during his lifetime…

About David Allis

Picture for David Allis

David Allis is a passionate advocate for supporting individuals and organizations that are making a positive impact in the world. He successfully founded many businesses that he now uses as a financial vehicle to change the world for the better. His main focus lies in seeking out such initiatives and offering financial support, as well as encouraging them to go beyond their current efforts. David thrives on finding opportunities that are counterfactually true, those where his involvement is vital for their success.

About Better World

Logo for Better World

Better World is a charitable trust in NZ involved in areas of justice, education, poverty relief, and religion. They have supported various charitable and not-for-profit organizations around the world. The trust has also researched relevant alternative technologies for use in poor countries – including hydroponics, worm farming, timber milling & technologies for the provision of clean drinking water (wells, solar cleansing, etc).

Links and Additional Information Discussed

Find out more about Better World and their project on their website

Connect directly with David and Better World as a fellow philanthropist

Follow Better World and their involvement in effective altruism, community development, or any of their other projects

The Full Transcript

Dennis: Hello, and welcome to the Impactful Ninja Show. I’m your host, Dennis Kamprad. And today, we are joined by David Allis from Better World. David, welcome.

David: Hi, Dennis. Good to be here with you.

Dennis: Well, a pleasure having you here as well. Now before we get started to telling your journey, give us a brief overview what is Better World and what you’re doing there.

David: Yes. So Better World is a terrible class based here in New Zealand. It’s just a tool. It’s a vehicle. It’s, a means by which we’re trying to make an impact on the world. We’re trying to change world particularly for the poor and the marginalized, in various of justice as well. So it’s a a mechanism for us for that.

Dennis: And to to make it slightly more concrete, what are the the main programs that you’re that you’re running them?

David: Yeah. So we do a little bit ourselves, But our main focus is on finding people or organizations that are doing really good things In areas that we like and we get behind them, we provide funding and also we try and encourage them to do more than they’re actually doing. And one of the things that we look for is things that are counterfactually true, and we were looking for Before I even have heard of counterfactual, but we’re trying to find stuff that that we can make a difference with where if we weren’t doing it, It wouldn’t happen. So an example for this, let’s say, I knew someone who was a a great lawyer and then he became a teacher. And I saw an article in the newspaper about what a wonderful teacher he was, and so he probably and rightly thinks he’s having a wonderful influence on those Children. But arguably, the impact he’s actually having himself with that career change is the marginal difference between him And the next teacher that wanted the job that he’s got. So he might be 10% better as a teacher. So arguably, his change in Korea has added 10% Well, value to those children.

David: And if you look at it another way, he could actually have stayed as a well paid lawyer, earned lots of money, and paid For teacher aide, teacher support, and could have had a far greater impact. So we’re looking for things that are effective, But also that are kind of actually true that that if if we didn’t do them, they wouldn’t be happening. And it’s kind of a tough space to find things in sometimes.

Dennis: Beautiful. The concept of additionality.

David: That’s it.

Dennis: Nice. Before we go into a little more detail, Let’s rewind a little bit more and kind of tell us what did you do before and what was your background?

David: Yeah. So I’m a mechanical engineer Originally, so I worked in the companies making washing machines was one of them, automated production lines in the early days of computers. Then I left that. My wife and I lived in Calcutta for 3 years trying to do development work in the slums there, and then I worked for not for profits back here in New Zealand, but always had an interest in starting businesses. So I, I started some businesses. Sorry. Before that, we’ve Started some alternative education schools for long term truants here in Auckland. Then I, yeah, started a business, started selling uni It’s a really odd one, but that was my 1st business was selling unicycles.

David: My kids got into unicycles, and I thought, oh, here’s a chance to learn about business. And then I started making games And then kind of developed from that. And now my main business, I sell barcode numbers for retail products. So I cover 2 versions of that business, Yeah. I’m a backward salesman.

Dennis: That’s quite a wordy experience between, like, working with some NGOs, working in the slums of India, And starting businesses, seeing some opportunities where you can go into doing barcodes and also working on with Better World.

David: Yeah. I think there’s a couple of common things. Sorry. This one is, I like solving problems, so I think my engineering taught me to figure out solutions to problems. And then the business thing is, I think it’s sometimes your problem and you find a solution to it in in business that can become a business. And so that’s what happened in a in a sense with the unicycles.

David: We had trouble finding unicycles. Therefore, we started selling unicycles for games. We bought a game for our kids for Christmas, and it wasn’t what we expected. And we thought we can make a better version of this type of game, so we did. And some of the barcodes, I needed barcodes for my games, and they were horrendously expensive and hard to get. And so I found an alternative, and then I turned that into a business. So it’s Kind of, you know, business solutions to problems that become businesses.

Dennis: That’s beautiful because it seems like you’re you’re picking up on What kind of what is missing? What is wrong? What should be better there in the world? And trying to develop a solution and probably figured out that if you are ever having this problem mean, you can develop the solution for yourself. There might be other people out there.

David: Absolutely.

Dennis: Also in reflecting to a lot of Kind of pictures from from startups and organizations. There’s so many like the the saying is like, well, that’s a solution in search of a problem, And it feels like for you, it’s completely the other way around starting with the problem and going ahead from there.

David: Yep. That’s right. And I probably I look back, and I probably had 50 other business ideas, And some of them could have worked and most of them might not have worked, but, yeah, in the end, finding something that you can get the leverage with the momentum with. Yes.

Dennis: Before starting Better World, was there also some kind of specific problem that you encountered on your way?

David: I guess Poverty is the issue that’s confronted me for a long time. So I remember when I was a university student, reading some books and becoming highly aware of the state of poverty in the world and the responsibility that, we richer people have About it. And I and I actually did remember 2 thought experiments even before I’d ever heard of what a thought experiment was. And one was, you know, I was Born in a in a good family in New Zealand. I was being educated. I was healthy. But if I’d been born and say the slums in Calcutta, I realized that I would be stuck there. I wouldn’t get out.

David: I wouldn’t you know, life would be really, really tough. And so the lucky me, the blessed me, the benefiting me is It’s no nothing I’ve done to deserve being here, and, so it made me realize that I had some responsibility. The rich SME had a responsibility towards the Kolkata slums SME to do something about making that at a bit more level, a bit more just. The other thing I, I thought experiment was realizing that if there was a poor person at my doorstep, I would do something about it. And you you take them a few 1000 miles away to, somewhere else and I don’t do anything about it. And is the distance Enough reason to justify that lack of doing anything, and I realized that it wasn’t. So I realized that, in a sense, You know, I was my brother’s keeper. I am a neighbor to those people these days.

David: And since then, I realized that, the world has changed. We can do so much more now than we could Even 20, 30, 40 years ago, there’s there’s so much more potential to make a difference in the world. And so I guess that’s, you know, it’s the right time For us, this Better World, we can we can do stuff that we couldn’t have done previously.

Dennis: It’s it’s crazy to see how Oh, how stark the contrast is between just 1 one place and the other and just being lucky enough to be born into 1 society versus some completely other one. Also Yes. I worked on a project in India as well. I was in in Bangalore, and I was just, yeah, it was just a completely different world if you even there, if you go from one area, it was like an city where all the where all the IT people are working, and then we went to the slums of Mumbai as well. It was just such a different experience, such a different world.

David: Yeah. And it gives you a perspective on life, I think, and, I mean, I was fortunate that, just after I finished university, I met, my wife to be, and she had the same direction in life, the same values. We both tried to go and work in India. We both wanted to do about the poor. And so we’ve been on a journey together, which is it makes a big difference. If it, you know, if I had neither with me, if it would have been someone else, it would have been quite different. But she’ll say things like, you know, don’t forget the poor kids at the window. You know, that they’re they’re they’re that close in a sense and it has to shape our lives.

David: If it doesn’t shape our lives, there’s there’s something wrong with us.

Dennis: Yeah. Can you still remember like what time frame roughly that was? Like how much how much time ago was that when you were thinking or was it when you at the time you were in Calcutta Did you thought, like, oh, you you want to do something about it, and what were the concrete first steps that you were taking?

David: Yeah. Yeah. So, so I guess in my late teens, I was wanting to do something about it, and it was late twenties by the time we went To Calcutta, I think I was 27 when we went to Calcutta. No. No. 30, actually. So I think it was all it was all preparations. We got involved with an organization, and they kind of said, well, if you wanna help the poor overseas, you should help the poor in New Zealand first.

David: I don’t know if anyone else That that we certainly did, and we went and lived in, the poorest area of Auckland. We spent 5 years living there, and it was a good sort of partway step towards Calcutta because we live in a good a good suburb now in in Auckland. So it was good training. We Had a friend, who was in jail. He came out of jail and came straight, lived with us, you know, so we kind of we worked with that risk youth. We learned about trusting and and being careful with what you trust about. We learned about things are messy no matter how good you’re trying to do things, things will be messy. I guess, I think that’s made me less critical of organizations we work with.

David: I know things are not gonna be perfect. I know they have to work things out as they go. And if you can find good people with a good heart and and good systems, then there’ll still be a bit of mess in the mux at all, but you’ve you’ve got to Trust them that they’re gonna do the best they can because they’ve got the right intentions.

Dennis: Sounds super interesting, especially going into, like, Poorest neighborhood, that you were able to find to to live there for a couple of years, did you find anything special, anything different there? Because why I’m asking you as well, I lived in some Some places where people didn’t have much. And what I always find is that the difference between those, let’s call them quote Poor people and us is just opportunity. They were good people. They were arguably even happier than us even though They had less. They just didn’t have the money. Was it also some kind of realization that you had or was it like completely different situation over there?

David: Yeah. No. They were and and there was a good sense of community and a and a sense of pride and some and some of them for for being there and for being part of it. Now they were they Good people. It was, but they were it was a shame as well that came with it. I remember I was working on a production line in a factory and I talked to a guy who’s working with me, and I said, where do you live? And he just asked you, South Auckland. And so which was a general area. It wasn’t wasn’t enough.

David: And then I told him where I lived, and he goes, oh, it turned out he was in the same suburb, but he’d been too embarrassed to tell me the suburb to start with, know, it was a good friendship because, you know, we were living in the same area and and that was, yes, it was it was good.

Dennis: Oh, wow.

David: So, yeah, I think there’s there’s something, and you learn from it. You learn, You know, you might be lucky, but, you know, they’re our brothers and sisters. Mhmm.

Dennis: So basically, from the starting point of trying to change poverty in New Zealand living in the poor one of the poorest suburbs there. What were your next step into taking it, like, on a more global level as well?

David: Yeah. So I guess things have have slowly developed. We had, 6 children. And our 3rd child was born there, and then we had 3 more children. So they took a lot of time and energy and And it’s probably only in the last well, since I started the barcodes business and that started doing well that we’ve had the resource to to do a lot. Kelly said that we’ve been doing stuff all along, so I think a key thing is, you know, if you’re if you’re passionate, then you’ve gotta keep doing it. Even if it’s only doing small amounts, you’ve gotta be involved because It’s too easy to, to fade out or to get distracted or to, you know, to be distracted by success and materialism and and wealth and those sorts of things. I knew people in my when I was in my twenties who were ready to die for a cause, And yet they haven’t managed to live for the cause.

David: They’ve kind of faded away from the cause they were committed to over that time. And so I think for all of us, if we wanna be Effective in the long term, we’ve got us keep ourselves passionate, but also live at a level that’s, sustainable in the long term as well. So yeah. So doing something. Thing yeah. Things have accelerated for us. You know, my businesses make good money, and we’ve got, you know, money to invest in it. I’ve realized that I’d love to be a person that starts things.

David: I’d love to invent something cool, some cool technology to help poor people, and I’d love to an organization and, you know, have hundreds of people in it, but it’s not who I am. I think I’m good at earning money and giving it away. It’s kind of a bit sad really, but it’s actually quite And my wife and I, we just love giving money away. When we’re doing it, we say, you know, our friends send us out on this This is just so much fun, and people don’t realize the joy that comes from from doing stuff. We’re both Very quick adopters of ideas. We can sit down and have a conversation and come away from it with some new thing that we’re gonna do that’s quite high commitment, but we’ve made a decision Fairly quickly to do that sort of thing. So, yeah, we’ve had the space in the last dozen, 15 years to start to do much more with with Better World, and it’s it’s kind of really nice space to be in. Nice.

Dennis: So now you mentioned already with the last kind of 15 years of Better World, when when was it roughly that you that you started? Was it also 15 years ago?

David: The terrible customer started 25 years ago.

Dennis: Oh, wow.

David: But it yeah. Yeah. But it was it was renamed about 10 years ago and about 15 years ago, we started to get more money able to come into it through my through my businesses. One of the things we did, the the there were 2 barcodes businesses. 1st one I started, it was doing well, and I realized that we didn’t need all the monies that it was making, and that our kids, We’ll look after our kids, but we don’t need to make them rich. They they need to make their own way as well, but we’ll do the right thing for them. So there’s this concept that we make better decisions for our future selves than for our current selves. We do discounting for the future.

David: So if someone asks us what movie we wanna watch in a week’s time we’ll choose a high quality thing. Someone asks us what we wanna watch now, we typically choose junk. So we discount for the future. If someone Can you speak to this group in 6 months’ time? You go, yeah. Okay. Whatever. That’s fine. You wanna do it next week? Well, actually, I’m busy, and it’s gonna take me time to prepare and stuff.

David: So we discount for the future, and you can use that to make good decisions, to lock in good decisions for your future self. So we transferred the ownership of the market’s business into a charitable trust into Better World initiative so that all the profits have to be given away. So instead of it making money and that money coming to my wife and I and then us having to reach into our pockets and give money away and make choices Between, you know, do we pay off some more mortgage or do we give them, you know, whatever. So instead of having to make those choices, we now are pre committed To giving the money away to charitable purposes, to using it for charitable things. And so it makes it’s much easier for us, and it’s kind of a fun it’s a good space to be in. So, yes, it was that’s what we did. That’s that’s we were at

Dennis: the sense. Sounds beautiful. Yeah. It’s awesome. I’m thinking about the the business world or Charitable world, it’s it’s a lot of times that is like 1 pays the bills and the other 1 is like the passion what you really wanna do. And For a lot of people, it’s really like the choice between either or, and it seems like you were nicely able to integrate them together.

David: Yeah. I talk to people, you know, young people. They’re looking for jobs that they love. Mhmm. And I say, well, actually, I love 10% of my job. I hate 10% of my job, and 80% is It’s gotta be done.

David: So, I mean, other people are fortunate enough to love their jobs, absolutely, which is great. If you’ve got that, then wonderful. But for me, it’s doing Administration is thinking about I enjoy growing a business. That’s the I love the challenge of that as a problem and how do I solve it, but I love the effect of what I’m doing. I love The ability to earn money and to use that money to support a whole bunch of of worthwhile causes. That’s the reason I do it. Hello.

Dennis: Yeah. Beautiful. Can you still remember the first project that you that you did with, well, with Better World or the previous name of Speed World. Organization?

David: I know. We did a whole lot of stuff in New Zealand that was sort of small stuff. We, helped Unicycles into schools that kind of tied in with our business. We got, our our local Maori language resources into schools again, but through one of the games that we made, we help fund teaching resources for New Zealand sign language teaching. So we did a lot of smallish Projects like that, but, again, we’re typically all in the space of they wouldn’t be happening if we weren’t funding it or initiating it. Yep.

Dennis: I like it how Are you integrating the businesses again? They are sort of the unicycle with the games to, yeah, to really use business for good?

David: Yeah. Yeah. We still do that with with our second business, it’s a franchise type business. So I’ve got partners in 60 countries. We sell in a 100 and something countries. And in some of those countries, the people can’t pay us, So it’s very hard to get foreign exchange. So we then look for a charity that we like in that country and they Gift the the license fee they would pay us normally, they pay it to the charity. We put it through our books, and so, you know, they get to sell barcode in their country.

David: The charity gets to do its good work, and and we don’t get anything from it apart from, you know, that’s kind of fun and it’s doing a good thing. So, yeah, again, that’s Integration of business and and the and the shareable works.

Dennis: That’s a beautiful beautiful way of receiving some kind of money and donating it at the same time. Now

David: Yes. It works well.

Dennis: From the 1st project to to kind of where we are now, can you walk us through, like, a little some of the the ups and downs of what you’re doing?

David: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So the the big stuff that we’re doing that we love, we got involved in effective altruism. That’s a global movement. I came across Peter Singer’s writings and went to a conference in Australia about 6 or 7 years ago, I think it was. Met up with some some New Zealanders there, and we decided to start an effective altruism, terrible trust in New Zealand.

David: So that’s another trust that I’m involved in. And so we’ve seen that grow. It’s That’s getting about $1,000,000 a year in donations now. So we were we were funding a lot of it in the early days, and now we’re just a a part of it. So effective altruism focuses on 3 areas, poverty, suffering, which tends to be animal suffering, and risk, the things that might be harmful to humanity. We personally overlap it with the with the poverty thing particularly, and the trust New Zealand is poverty related because that just the laws in New Zealand. So that funds things like highly effective charitable interventions Like, anti malarial bed nets through AMF. So for $3.50 US, you can buy a bed net It’ll protect 2 2 kids for 5 years with about a 50% effectiveness rate.

David: So it’s a highly effective, Active and, easier to scale type charitable interventions. So we’ve got behind things like that. There’s, deworming initiatives. So one of the best ways to improve education for children in poor countries is to deworm them, when they’re at So a single tablet once a year can get rid of worms and increases their nutrition, increases their attention at school, and it can make, I think, a 13% Difference overall in their lifetime earnings. So it’s quite simple. You know, a dollar a year does that one. So There’s some some pretty cool interventions and new ones coming out. Some bright new ones coming out.

David: They’re working on and these are different charities that kind of lean into the space, But they’re working on fortification of milk in India, so putting essential vitamins into starting to flower in India and then also vitamin supplements for pregnant women and, yes, bunch of bunch of areas like that. So we got involved in effective altruism Mhmm. And Have enjoyed it particularly because one of the objections from people that don’t wanna be involved in terrible stuff is, well, I don’t know where my money will go or it’s Too much is used on overheads. You know, there’s all sorts of other objections. I often think they’re excuses rather than genuine objections, And so effective altruism tends to cut into that sort of stuff. Apart of that, we’ve been giving away copies of Doing Good Better, a book by Will MacAskill, Professor at Oxford, we’ve given away 2,000 copies in New Zealand, because it’s a it’s a good book for helping people that they can make a difference in the world. So that’s the that’s the sorry. That was the 1st biggest area we pushed into.

David: The second one came, my wife’s idea. One day she said to me, we should buy a village. And I go, what do you mean buy a village? Okay. You can probably buy Cheap towns in Outback America for, you know, a little bit of money, but whatever. So she was really saying we should adopt a village or sponsor a village. So you can sponsor children through Oxfam or World Vision or whatever, but this was a step beyond that. And I’ve a video of a of a company in New Zealand called Karma Cola. They make a cola product, and the guys that was behind it I’d realized that the cola the bitter taste of cola comes from a cola nut, so they started they’ve got in touch, got in contact with a a village in Sierra Leone, a poor village, and started buying all the colon nuts this village could produce, and then they sell the colon nuts to other places.

David: And they from every drink into a foundation in the village, plus they’re buying the colon arts. And this foundation in the village has built a road into the village sorry, a bridge. They’ve built a school, a medical center, and so this business in New Zealand is quite involved with that village in Sierra Leone. And I thought that It was really cool. It was that involvement. So one of the problems with effective altruism, it’s fairly dispassionate.

David: You know, you give Thousand or 10,000 anti malarial bed nets. It’s it’s nice, but how do you stay motivated? And I want to do the maximum good I can over my lifetime, so that means staying highly motivated to do these things. And is good with the numbers, But it’s not kind of doesn’t get your heart as well. So this idea of engagement with a village was it felt good, but how do I do that with a barcodes business? It doesn’t kind of Fit in the same way. So then we started looking at, organizations where you could sponsor or adopt a village. I found a couple and I kind of did quick maths, and one of them was prices and one of them was realistic prices. So one was at like $100,000 US a year, and I’m going, that’s a huge amount of money in a poor country. What are you what are you doing with that? And the other was sort of 15 to 20,000 US Ellis.

David: And I thought that’s much more realistic if you are hiring a local worker to be involved in helping the that that kind of made sense. So we got involved with him. We had Conversations, we met with people from it, and we’ve ended up sponsoring some village development teams. So we did some initial work in, Vietnam and in Tajikistan, and then we’re also now we’re sponsoring 2 teams in Indonesia, and 1 in Myanmar and 1 in Egypt and a slum in in Cairo. And those Projects, they were all sort of sitting waiting, the Cairo and the Myanmar one we just started sponsoring in the last year. They were both they had the workers ready to go. They didn’t have the funding for it. So they were ones where if we hadn’t done it, they’d probably still be waiting to start the work.

David: So we’ve got involved in those, and that was yeah. That’s been fun as well. For another initiative with them, so it’s how I we can push the other way and influence them. I know the current leader is based in Thailand, and so I messaged him about a year ago and I said, what limits your growth? I’ll give you a choice of money or people. Those are your 2 choices. And he came back really quickly and said it’s money. He said we’ve got people, But we’re limited in growth into new areas, new villages by money. He said we get good workers, but we don’t have the funds to get them working full time to kind guarantee that we can keep them working and so on.

David: So that led to a discussion, and I said, well, how about if we had a a new worker fund for you. You could, you know, hire a new worker with a fund and then get involved in a village and then package that village project up to sort of Sell to other sponsors and then they could go on to you know, then you can use that work of fund for another new worker. And he said, great. So that kind of grew into it’s become a a 6 year area so we can potentially fund 6 new workers, at once and it’s a 5 year fund. So, they’ve got funding for new workers for the next 5 years. So now it’s up to them to, you know, okay, you said your problem was money. We solved that problem in that area. It’s up to you to to use this now.

David: So that yeah. That was that was good.

Dennis: Oh, wow. So that sounds like 2 really big parts with a different focus that you’re that you’re working on with with Better World. On the one hand side from The effective altruism part, you’re able to effectively help a lot of people all over the world probably. Might be more scattered. Might be more anonymously. You know you’re helping these people but you you can’t really put any faces behind. And the second part is would you start above Helping 1 village. If I count it correctly, it might be 6 or if the with the new addition, it might be 7 villages even now.

Dennis: Yep. But you really can see, like, okay, this whole area and all of these people living there, that’s the growth that you’re able to do. That’s how you were able to help them You really put some faces behind and not sure if you already visited them, but seen before and after pictures or going and speaking to people and Getting to know how grateful they are, and it must be a completely different experience.

David: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen I mean, it’s you don’t necessarily see how grateful they are because Yeah. You just because so careful going in as a foreigner and so on, but I’ve visited the team and one of the teams in Indonesia and seen what they’re doing. I’ve visited a village where the work is finished and the village has Graduated, and it’s so cool. And one of the workers there come from one of the villages that’s been impacted. She saw the impact. Therefore, she wanted to work with the organization and this carried on.

David: The organization is called Global Hope Network International, GHNI, and they work on 5 areas. They do what’s called TCD, transformational community development. They work on food, water, wellness, Education and employment jobs type stuff, so those 5 areas. And sorry. Along the way, I’ve I did a postgraduate diploma in development studies. So when I came across GHN, hi. They were speaking the right language for where development is at at the moment. They kind of it it all gelled. They’re doing it the right way.

Dennis: Beautiful. What’s what’s your plan for for the future for Better World? How how are you going to scale? How are you going to continue?

David: Yeah. I’ve always had an interest in water and water projects. We had some involvement with some well drilling in Bolivia. I met up with an American that was living there with a Bolivian wife, and they had a well drilling teams and so on. And so more recently, and that’s how I came across Impactful Ninja was looking at, yes, resources on water. We’re now connecting with an organization called WHO LIVES, which stands for water something rather, etcetera, and they We set up well drilling teams in Africa, typically, a few other countries as places as well. They use a thing called a village drill. It is such a cool thing.

David: I mean, it’s my engineering background coming out. So it’s a hand drilling well. So then they got this drill designed, So they kind of provide one of these drills to a team. They teach the team how to use it to drill wells, and they get them going in an area. And because A hand well is portable. They can put on the back of a pickup truck or they can put it in a a boat to take it up a river or whatever. It can get into places where wells can’t be drilled normally. And so they have a system where you can fund individual wells.

David: They’re sort of 4 or 5,000 US dollars for a well. It just seems to be what it costs Build a well or you can fund the setup of a well drilling team. And so that’s what we’re talking to at the moment. I think we’ll fund a a well drilling team and just and see how that goes. So that’s happening. We’re just negotiating, you know, where and and how much. Another one I’ve just come across, I guess I enjoy technology. So I came across A company in New Zealand that had made a rocket stove.

David: It’s a stove that’s highly efficient, burns wood, but it’s highly efficient, and they They are shipping them to refugees in Syria, and they in fact, they flat packed them now. So it’s made out of stainless steel. It’s flat packed, and they’ve got a sheet metal roller in Syria So they can roll the shape of the stoves and then send them out. So they’re not shipping air. They’re just shipping flat pack stoves. And here in New Zealand, they’ve tied in with a Charity called Relief Aid, I think it is. And, so we’re just talking to them as well about what they’re doing. In fact, the guy at the moment is in Gaza.

David: We’re looking at their relief efforts in Gaza, so he’s quite involved, but you can sponsor these stoves or you can they sell them. You can buy a stove for $100, and they’ll give 2 to refugees in So, again, that’s a sort of I like that sort of smart technology. It’s business getting involved in poverty alleviation type So you will keep looking for things like that.

Dennis: Super inspirational. It sounds like we we should all, as a society, be super happy that the barcode business went to you and not to Tell everyone else.

David: Yeah. Yeah. It should be. I think it’s yeah. I’ve seen these where a lot of people had the same problems I had with needing barcodes, and it feels Fortuitous. I’m, yeah, we’re very happy.

Dennis: Yeah. Beautiful. Is there any normally at this point in time, I would Would ask, like, if there’s any way how we consult support you as well, but it sounds like the barcode business is supporting you and for us, it would be following along your journey.

David: Yeah. I mean, I think if people wanna have a look at the organizations we’re involved with, they can get involved directly with those Organizations, I mean, the effect of altruism community is really, really good, and there are, you know, local it’s not an organization as such as the movement, But there are local branches as events, you know, throughout the world. So, it’s really good and good people to be involved because I just I went to a conference in Australia a few weeks And I just came away inspired partly by the presentations, but by meeting the people. These are typically young people. I’m I was one of the old people there. I’m there to kind of remind them that they should be passionate about it all when they’re old as well. So but I just love their energy, their commitment, their Enthusiasm, the the thinking. So, you know, I think to be on a journey of making a difference in the world, you’ve gotta get people around you that have the same interest and same heart, and they can be hard to find.

David: To find your tribe is quite difficult. Yeah. So effective altruism is a pretty cool place to be. Global Hope Network International, they’re always looking for people to villagers and get involved with what they’re doing, who lives the well drilling that’s you know, it’s all available to be you know, for people to get involved with. I mean, if people look love good ideas, but I don’t really want people coming and saying, hey. Give us some money for this Yeah. Particular thing. I’m quite good at finding stuff myself.

David: We do have a few other people that put money into a Better World initiative, And that’s really good. You know, one of the villages we’re supporting is being supported by other people who bring the money in, and I like that. We’re doing that kind of leg work for figuring out the organization and making sure it all works And they just put, you know, good amounts of money in to make it happen. So there’s those sorts of ways to be involved. But I think bigger than that, Better World is not the important thing. The important thing is Being committed to making a difference in the world and to, you know, to use your resources for the sake of a better world.

Dennis: And all the initiatives that you are able to start through Better World as well. Yeah.

David: Yes.

Dennis: We’ll make we’ll put the the link to better link on the screen and in the show notes as well. Before we go into the final part of your personal reflection. Is there anything that I forgot to ask you that you wanted to share about Better World and your work, Bastille?

David: No. I think you’ve covered it pretty well. It’s a nice easy conversation. Thank you.

Dennis: Well, thanks to you. Now let’s take a little step to your personal, well, personal feedback, personal input. How has your work for the past was it, like, 25 years roughly?

David: Yes.

Dennis: The foundation change your personal life besides giving away your business and the business profits into the fund?

David: I guess They all roll together so easily. There isn’t a big distinction between, you know, my work and the chatable work and our personal lives. For a long time, the barcodes business was on the top floor of our house. I had a friend who was working for me was arriving at 6:30 in the morning and creeping up to begin work in that office. There was you know, part of it was having low overheads for the business. Any business, I reckon you wanna have really low fixed costs. If it doesn’t work, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg. Now my office is next door to my house.

David: It’s really, really handy. I can have coffee with my wife at sort of 10 o’clock in the morning and we talk about life, but that life includes, you know, poverty and what we’re doing about it and the terrible work and the business work. So they all overlaps. We’ve got one daughter still living at home, and she gets sick of these in-depth conversations we have because we’re trying to talk about meaningful things. So I’m in my early sixties. It’s A time when people my age are starting to, you know, create their bucket list or take things off their bucket list and plan for their retirement and and so on, and I can see the working a bit less or whatever, but bucket list irritate me because it’s about what do I as a rich person do to Get some more memories that will be gone when I die. It’s kind of it’s it’s pretty meaningless, and I think people should have some sort of bucket list that Involves changing the world and helping poor people and and stuff. You know, when you think about what we do to look after our kids, we pour huge amount of time and energy and money into our kid that was So what about someone else’s kid that is sick? They’re you know, what are we doing about that? So yeah.

David: So it all overlaps with me, and I think, you know, we’ve just been blessed in in what we’re doing. I wanna keep working. I can think I’m gonna keep working till I’m 70 probably because I can do it and it’s not onerous, and I Just love the outcomes of that work.

Dennis: I love it. Especially the connection between what you talk in your personal life and you see all These issues happening and then not you have a vehicle as well to directly address it instead of just it becomes some some conversations everyone agrees that something has To change you all see you’re actually changing something.

David: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s easy to be an armchair radical, but I think everybody can do something. One of the mentors we’ve had for a little while is can we give more to the poor than to the rich at Christmas? So Christmas coming up, and we would tend to give our kids gifts. And so, you know, and we’re rich, so can we give more to the poor? Well, how do we do that? We can probably give a bit less to our our kids Add a bit more to the poor, or we can buy gifts that are ethically made as well, and so they’re helping the poor in the process. And I think anyone can, you know, have that sort of conversation. We run up, with a friend, run a ethical market in our local suburb at Christmas time, so it gives people a chance to Buy ethically made goods that are also doing social good for the poor overseas. So it’s a very clear focused market.

David: The other thing that Firstly, we’ve done there’s a a billionaire’s club. I’m no. We’re near a billionaire. I wish. Club with, you know, Warren Buffett and Bono and stuff in it hoof, and they’ve all committed to giving away half their wealth before they die. So I remember coming across that a few years ago and thinking, oh, I wonder if a normal person could do that. Why do you have to be a billionaire to do that? And so my wife and I talked about it, and we’ve agreed to do that. So, that’s we’re gonna give away half our wealth, and we’re kind of Monitoring it, and, you know, if we die now, we’ve got more in assets than we’ve given away, so more has to be given away.

David: My oldest when I told her about it, I mean, our kids all know about it, and they’re all happy with it. They’re not they’re not arguing it at all. They know this is who we are. You know? Yeah. This is the sort of people we are. And my oldest daughter said, well, it’s gonna give money away. You should give it away while you’re earning money because it’s more tax effective because you can get, You know, text relief on your donations. Okay.

David: Yeah. That’s a good point rather than giving assets away, but, you know, kind of other people could make the same sort of it’s possible to do In fact, I’d love to find other people that are making the same sorts of commitments that then challenge each other. You know? It could be 60 instead of 50% of the money, it could be 70%. The problem is finding people with the same sort of passion, and I don’t tend to find them. So I’m trying to find people that are in a similar sort of space to spur me on as well.

Dennis: That’s all.

David: Yes. It all all overlaps.

Dennis: Yep. It’s also a nice call out to to anyone listening and being maybe in a similar situation or wanting to do more to get in contact with you.

David: Yep. Absolutely. Love to love to talk to people.

Dennis: Now for our final question, if you had 1 to share 1 tip with us to how we could Love live more impactfully. What would that number 1 tip mean?

David: Yeah. Okay. So I’m gonna combine some things into 1 phrase, but I think it is we need to Try to love our neighbor as ourselves effectively and counterfactually. Mhmm. So that to me, that Sums up what we’re trying to do. Loving our neighbor as ourselves, that’s a kind of phrase that’s in many world views and beliefs that’s kind of makes sense to go that person over there is like me if and I can do something to help them. You know? What would the poor me over there have the rich me do, and I can do it. But to do it effectively because we all have limited resources and we don’t wanna waste our time and our energy On things.

David: So looking for effectiveness and sometimes it’s only a ballpark effectiveness. This is seems fairly effective. You know, the village development stuff we do, I it Seems effective, seems like a good use of money, and it certainly has a good difference for the villages where it works in, so it’s it’s effective enough For me, so loving your neighbor, your poor neighbor, especially doing it effectively and doing it counterfactually. And to me, Part particularly is finding the things where you go, I’m making this happen. You know, this wouldn’t be happening if I wasn’t doing this. And I whatever Age and stage people are I think they can find those sorts of things. You know, you look at your website and your emails and and your podcasts, You’re doing something that wouldn’t be happening otherwise. And so I think to find that niche that fits for your talents and your skill set And where you are in life and the people you know and the resources you’ve got, but to be focused on making an impact, you know, not on doing you’re not doing a travel blog, are you? You’re not doing us Bucket list ideas for that, you know, you’re you’re doing stuff that makes a difference and your listeners will be, you know, I think looking for stuff that’s impactful.

David: And we can all find those things And particularly that niche where our involvement makes a difference and makes it happen.

Dennis: Beautiful. I especially like how you framed it with the empathy part poor me somewhere else want a rich me here to do really thinking about through the lens of the other person.

David: Yeah. Yeah. I think You’ve we’ve gotta have that perspective now because, you know, I had someone the other day said, oh, you know, the poor are happy, you know, talking about the poor and say Calcutta or whatever. And I said, They might seem happy, but would you swap places with them? Absolutely not. So, you know, you’re saying their happiness becomes an excuse for not doing anything. You know? Are they happy that their children are sick and malnourished or whatever? No. So yes.

Dennis: And, thanks thanks so much for sharing your journey. Thanks so much for all the initiatives and all the work you’re doing as well with Better World.

David: You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure, and and thank you for all you’re doing as well and and your listeners for their interest in changing the world. That’s Thoughts. Yes. Yep. Let’s change the world. Let’s make it better.

Dennis: Let’s do that let’s do that together. Well and thanks to everyone listening as well. Thanks so much for joining us today, and Stay impactful.

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