Daniel Lind. He joined us for The Arc Lisbon 2017, and I remember well how 5min after he became nominated for The Arc my phone rang and a very assertive and surprisingly determined voice asked: “Hi. I’m Daniel. Do I still need to apply?” “Well.. euh.. Can you describe the social impact that you are aiming to have?” “Ok, so I founded three social ventures. I am developing a platform to enable fair trade for small scale farmers, a food waste transformation company and a foodhub to help social projects within foodtech. What happens next?” Oh sh…. I thought by myself. What on earth is a smart question I can ask about foodtech now? Luckily, Daniel jumped in first with more enthusiastic explanations – marking the beginning of what would turn out to be the biggest surprise of summer 2018. Here’s his story.– Interview by ASTRID SCHRADER
The Arc: Daniel, at first sight you come across as this ultra-assertive and pretty rough guy. On facebook you even called yourself “an angry person, a furious person and with an aggressive energy”. What is a side of yours that rarely anyone knows?
Daniel: I’m actually super friendly and loving, my greatest wish is to have a wife and kids that I can share all my love with unconditionally. I’ve just been hurt too much to show it to people immediately. It’s easier to run than to face things.
The Arc: We met you as this serial social entrepreneur with a ridiculously intense drive to bring things forward. What is your story? Which experiences have shaped you in your life and pushed you to build what you are building?
Daniel: I grew up as a Diplobrat (parents worked for the embassy) and then Eurobrat (parents worked for the EU). So I was spoiled as hell, I didn’t work hard and still I was given everything because of my family, the colour of my skin, our financial status etc. I was a Swedish child of a diplomat and then EU functionary, how could I ever be suspected to do anything wrong? I didn’t appreciate university as a matter of fact I hated it and only went because social convention states that you should, I would have much rather given that spot to someone who wanted and deserved it. So my life was and is still relatively easy, I have I don’t know how many safety nets to fall back on no matter how badly I fuck up.
I didn’t appreciate university as a matter of fact I hated it and only went because social convention states that you should, I would have much rather given that spot to someone who wanted and deserved it.
Then you travel outside of Europe, sometimes even just down the street, and you see people busting their ases just to survive. How could I possibly – being as lazy as I was – go through the normal rat race in Europe and earn money at a job that I have done nothing to deserve or even worked hard for when there are people who literally work themselves down to the bone for scraps. Watching Hotel Rwanda was a tipping point for me and that is when I realised that if I don’t want up every day with a purpose of giving a chance to those that deserve it and giving everything I have until they can do so, my life is not worth living. Since I was 15 I was searching for my social calling, I finally found it 10 years later first in Malaysia then Portugal working with sustainable food, as food is the source of all life and the economy.
The Arc: Amongst our crowd in Lisbon you were the person who gave pep talks to everyone! At The Arc we always say that healthy anger can lift up people tremendously and help them to feel powerful. Yet, anger is an emotion that so often is thought of as being just “bad”. What advice can you give to people who struggle to access their anger?
Daniel: I’m gonna quote Elsa and say “Let it go”. Explode, tell your boss to go fuck themselves when you want to, own the feeling, you have a right to be pissed off sometimes, anger is not only negative it is a clear way to mark that you are not ok with how something is and you are expressing it with a fierce reaction because it makes you that angry. Repressed anger is much worse and harmful that expressed anger.
I’m gonna quote Elsa and say “Let it go”.
The Arc: And what would you tell people who want to live their passion and make money with it – how can they make it happen?
Daniel: Just do it. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” is the tagline for a large majority of the population. Being comfortable is undeniably comfortable, throwing yourself off a cliff and flying, is pure ecstasy. Everyone else is stuck on a hamster wheel hoping to get a bigger wheel, by leaving that the globe is your wheel and you are free to live and do as you please, on your terms and conditions.
Being comfortable is undeniably comfortable, throwing yourself off a cliff and flying, is pure ecstasy.
The Arc: You participated in The Arc Lisbon 2018. How would you explain what happened on this event? Feel free to freestyle.
Daniel: I was broken and rebuilt. It’s like taking a sledgehammer to a line of glass walls and knocking them down one by one until you come out at the end as a new person with tools to smash down any other obstacle in the way.
The Arc: Last but not least: In 30 seconds – who do YOU dare to be and which IMPACT do you wanna stand for?
Daniel: I dare to be a force to reckon with, something governments and corporations have never seen before. The impact I stand for is equality, equal opportunity and eradication of poverty and hunger in the world through empowering the common person.
The Arc: Holy moly. Thanks so much for the interview. Big times!