Insider Q&A: Kind Founder Lubetzky on entrepreneurship

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For Kind Snacks founder and entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky, kindness means more than kindness.

“If someone is nice, they don’t bully. But if they’re nice, they stand up to bullies,” he said. “Goodness requires the power of action.”

This is a lesson Lubetsky learned from his father, a Latvian Jew who survived the Holocaust. Lubetsky’s father was deeply moved by small acts of kindness, such as the German soldier who secretly fed him potatoes, or the caring shown by the Japanese-American soldier who liberated him.

Born in Mexico, Lubetzky is fluent in Spanish, French, Hebrew and English and has a passion for cross-cultural communication. One of his earliest ventures was PeaceWorks, which sold products made jointly by Israelis and Palestinians.This year, he helped fund scholarships for Ukrainian students to study in the U.S.

Lubetzky launched Kind in 2004 in honor of his father. The health-conscious brand helped transform the snack category; Lubetzky sold it to Mars in 2020 for about $5 billion.

Lubetzky has invested in new food brands like Somos Foods that aim to bring authentic Mexican products to U.S. grocery stores. He also founded charitable foundations and nonprofits, such as Starts with Us, to try to overcome political and cultural divides.

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Lubetzky spoke to The Associated Press about his career and what motivates him. His comment has been edited.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

A: I consider myself a serial social entrepreneur, which means someone who likes to notice how to create something in society that doesn’t yet exist that is both economically sustainable and socially impactful. I think this tends to be a common thread in many of the businesses I do: Businesses use business as a force for social impact and do it in a way that the product can protect itself and win on its merits. . First, it’s a business. But there is an additional reason. It’s not just about making money. It’s also about trying to have a positive impact on society, no matter how small.

Q: What makes a successful entrepreneur? Is it a certain personality type?

A. You must have a creative eye to identify an unsolved problem and come up with a creative idea to solve it. That’s the first. And then there’s the execution, the money, the guts and the guts, just get out there and do it. This is a very difficult combination. If you have the first but not the second, you can be an inventor. Inventors are great at coming up with ideas, but they don’t execute them either. If you have the second, creativity to execute but not create, you can make a great business manager. If you have both, you can become an entrepreneur.

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Q: You tend to tackle really tough problems, like the American culture wars or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Why?

A. The way we were educated, we were taught to handle and become factory line workers and become professionals. But we are discouraged from dreaming about what is possible and acknowledging our ability to do what people thought was impossible. We don’t know enough about Gandhi about bringing about the change you want to see in the world. We’re not smart enough about all of these socially critical approaches. What is happening in our country today affects everyone, and it will require each of us to be part of the solution.

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Q: You have worked with a lot of entrepreneurs through your incubator Equilibra and elsewhere. What advice do you have for them?

A: I do advise them to think in terms of how they see the world, what’s missing, and if they’re a social entrepreneur, do they want to address social factors, or if there’s a business opportunity, product, or service. What can’t satisfy them? What is missing? What is not doing well enough? And this is just the beginning of the journey. If you’re sure what’s not working, then you need to look at the root cause of why it’s not working. And then you need to say to it, “Can I do better?” It’s an incredible ride, but it’s a roller coaster. The highs are higher and the lows lower, and you need to be comfortable with that. You need to have a temperament that won’t give up easily.

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