Tell us about the work you do.
We wrote ‘Good is the New Cool’ to help inspire world-changers, those business, social and cultural entrepreneurs who want to use the power of brands and culture to do good. We spend our time speaking and doing workshops to help our community find new ways to use their talents to positively impact the world.
Bobby: In addition to my work with Afdhel on’ Good is the New Cool’ I am also the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Peace First, a nonprofit organization that provides young people with the resources and support they need to compassionately solve injustices around the world.
What issue inspired you to pursue your current path? Is this what you envisioned to do when you were younger?
Afdhel: I was always inspired by the creativity and power in marketing but I wanted to put it in service of something that was more meaningful.
Bobby: I started working in the field of youth marketing when I was a teen. I have always been inspired by the energy, creativity, and influential power of young people particularly in underground and popular culture. So, I always knew I wanted to stay connected to youth culture and I’ve done so throughout my career as an entrepreneur, executive and now as an author and activist. I realized in 2015 after a lot of introspection that my calling in life was to feed the good in young people and to help them feed the good in the world. That clarity put me on a path to working at Peace First and continues to guide everything I do including telling the story of how young people are making good the new cool in business and culture.
How did you get over your initial fears or barriers and take your first step?
Afdhel: We followed the mantra ‘clarity follows action’. The important thing is to take the first step and follow your intuition. The universe will figure out how to respond.
Bobby: I battle with fear, procrastination and insecurity as much as anyone but what keeps me going is a clear understanding of my “why”. I do what I do in service to others – its not just about me – its about doing the work I believe I was called to do. Throughout the process of writing the book and starting a new career, whenever I had doubts, I just reminded myself of why I am doing this and that clarity gave me the courage I needed to keep pushing. I also have a great support system that keeps me going, and Afdhel, along with my wife Renee, and others are a huge help.
Humans are driven by purpose, yet the advertising world (and even the corporate world as a whole) can’t seem to find theirs. Why is that?
Afdhel: I think its because we are stuck in an outmoded way of thinking – disrupting people’s lives instead of finding ways to delight them.
Bobby: I think corporations, like individuals, can lose their way. Most businesses, even the largest ones start with the intention of solving a problem in people’s lives or in the world but many lose sight of that. I’ve seen so many times where brands struggle to find their purpose and then they go back to unearth the story of the founders and realize the purpose and a great story was there all along, they just lost sight of it being overly focused on revenue and other less meaningful motivations
What is the most common form of resistance you face, and how do you overcome it?
Afdhel: Skepticism. Systemic inertia. Cynicism. These are some of the common attitudes. We try to overcome it by appealing not just to people’s minds but their hearts too. People know deep down in their hearts what the right thing to do is.
Bobby: I agree with Afdhel
What keeps you going?
Afdhel: Hearing positive feedback from the people we speak to, or who reads our books. Every story is inspiring to us.
Bobby: We are in some troubling times, to say the least. However, everyday I work with young people, professionals and culture creators who are all working to change the world for the better. Seeing their efforts and knowing my work is contributing in a real way to this movement for change is what keeps me going.
How can people support the work you’re doing?
Afdhel: By reading the book ‘Good is the New Cool’ available on Amazon here.
I’m called the Batman of Social Impact. What would be your superhero name?
Afdhel: Um…maybe ‘The Deadpool of Purpose’?
Bobby: I can’t top Afdhel’s. But according to my superhero name generator, I am Commander Janus. Otherwise described as a professional thief who’s just stolen a weird technological gizmo from a scientist – only to find that using the device transforms me in a bizarre and amazing way! I can now use my powers for good – if I can avoid being caught by the scientist responsible…I have the ability to generate up to six identical copies of myself enabling me to accomplish tasks faster and bewilder my opponents!