People Come First

I remember the first time I heard about Karel; I was doing an edit and was slightly frustrated by the limitations we were experiencing.The idea was presented that we could (should) have a specialist look at the work. “A specialist?” I said. Up till then we had always been generalists.

As it goes, Karel and I met unexpectedly a few weeks later behind the backline (surfing) and struck up a conversation. A month later we met in my small home and he casually showed me some of his work. I was immediately struck by the deep underlying genius of one particular piece. A few weeks later we were eating warthog sausages from a recent hunting trip while having an ‘interview’ of sorts. It was far from a normal interview. I shared my dream and he carefully listened. His memorable response was “it feels good.”

That’s how it started for us. Two talented humans who chose to work together because it ‘just felt good.’ There was no boss vs employee hierarchy, just people with different skills choosing to work together bound only by love and mutual respect.
I have always managed people. School, church, work; that’s just who I am. The amazing thing is, compared with my other experiences of ‘leading’ people, working with Karel, and others, has been so different. In truth, it’s been a beautiful but scary, scary journey. See, there are no contracts (initially) or rules, our aim is simply to protect each other and see our mutual dreams come to life.

We get that horribly right and horribly wrong meaning that there is sometimes a mess which means we have to say sorry, work through it and talk away the tension.
I don’t know if it is the right way to run a business... I oscillate in my opinion, especially when I feel scared and vulnerable. But, what I think is right is that Karel is stronger for being allowed to be himself and not having to live within the confines of being an employee and obviously, we (Tomfoolery) are stronger as a result.

The other advantage is that people are not just numbers to me, they’re people. I care deeply about them and that affects virtually every aspect of our daily life in business together.
I don’t yet know if this makes business sense but somehow I think it makes Tomfoolery sense. This is what we signed up for – community within business, people connected freely by love, a place where relationships matter more than what we do

With so much love