Impact at Scale was joined by Manish Sethi, a Founder of Rescued Glass and currently employed at Thrust Carbon. Rescued Glass upcycles glass bottles from landfills into decorative and usable household items, endeavoring to make a meaningful difference, one bottle at a time.

Some of the topics that Manish discussed:

  • Attending NIST International School in Bangkok and the concept of Service Learning
  • Graduating from Kings College in London and working at Thrust Carbon
  • The importance of education in creating awareness and impact for sustainability
  • The challenges of building a remote team and the role of mentorship
  • Bringing learnings from his current job back to Rescued Glass

Other titles we considered for this episode:

  1. Taking Glass Waste and Transforming It Into Something Beautiful
  2. Having a Long-Term View Helps
  3. I’ve Drowned a Few Times
  4. Continuous and Constant Feedback
  5. People Love to Sell Dreams
  6. It Will Take Me Ten More Years

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:09
Okay, let’s go. Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to Impact at Scale. Today we are joined by Manish Sethi, the founder and the CEO of Rescued Glass. Manish, thank you so much for coming on the show. How are you doing? By the way? Where are you?

Manish Sethi 0:26
Thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here and very honored to be on the show and to learn from you and share my story as well. I’m actually based in London and yeah, be well, thank you. How are you?

Michael Waitze 0:36
I am super duper. Before we jump into the main part of this conversation, can I get a little bit of your background for our listeners just for some context?

Manish Sethi 0:46
Yeah, of course. So my name is Minnie Sethi. I was born and raised in Bangkok there my whole life, studied in NIST International School, graduated in 2019. Then when he goes study in King’s College London for my undergrad, studied Business Management, graduated. And while studying and whilst in high school, I started a project called rescue glass, which is all about class recycling, which we’ll talk about today. But after graduating university, right after uni, I worked in nightlife and events management in London, I had some experience in Thailand, hosting gatherings and parties and things like that. So I did that nightlife and events management in London for a few months, and then transitioned this recently to a new job in climate tech. So I’m working in business business development right now in a climate tech startup in London, which has been really great so far.

Michael Waitze 1:27
That sounds awesome. You went to NIST you graduate in 2019. That was four years ago, you’ve already graduated from university.

Manish Sethi 1:36

Michael Waitze 1:36
That’s amazing. So when I first found out about rescued glass, where was it? Were you still in school then?

Manish Sethi 1:43
I was in university, I think it was first year.

Michael Waitze 1:47
We’ll talk to me about this. NIST is one of the best international schools in Southeast Asia. Talk to me about what CIS is and just about the point of that class, because I want to establish something first to see what it’s like being in that educational environment, what they’re teaching, and then what you learned, because those could be two different things. Yeah. So go ahead and let me know what that was all about.

Manish Sethi 2:08
Yeah, definitely. I completely agree with you. I think this is an amazing International School. And one thing I’m grateful for, and I didn’t really realize is how good of a school it is as you leave as I was there since year two to year 13. So I didn’t have any other experience or any any insights or other schools. Where

Michael Waitze 2:23
can I tell you a funny story? If I shared this with you, but one day, one of my daughter’s friends came over for dinner. And remember, Kyla went to international school in Tokyo and then went to NIST as well, not from two to 13. But I believe from can’t remember anymore, your 10 No, it has to be more than that. I don’t remember. But they were sitting around the table and one of her girlfriends was going back to United States. In a way she was like, similar to you. Although she was American, right? She was not born in Thailand, but spent most of her life here and she was going back to the States. And she was like, Oh, I gotta go back to America. And my parents are putting me into a private school. And I was at dinner, and I just said to her, what do you think NIST is?

Manish Sethi 3:06
It’s a private school, a private school, but

Michael Waitze 3:08
but it’s a really interesting point, right? Because if you’re there from year to until year 13, it’s your only educational experience. And what it probably means is that your brothers and sisters probably go there and all your friends probably go there. And if not the other kids with whom you’re interacting, went to Patna or went to Ramadi, right, or went to ISP. And what that means is it’s a similar experience. But it’s not public school. Right. And you’re right, I think part of the thing is that you don’t realize how different it is until you get out into the bigger part of the world go to university and realize that there’s this massive mix of people out there as well. Anyway, please go ahead. What was the CIS thing?

Manish Sethi 3:45
No, definitely completely agree with what you’re saying. And it’s so eye opening? And to answer your question. Yeah, CAS CAS stands for creativity, action and service. So so for those who don’t know, NIST is part of the IB program, the International Baccalaureate program, and one of the requirements is cast. So you have to do a minimum amount of hours every year and make sure you’re involved and have your own cast project.

Michael Waitze 4:04
But what does that mean, you have to create the products out of from scratch or you go participate in some of the projects that somebody external to the school has created?

Manish Sethi 4:13
Yeah, so there’s a minimum amount of hours they have to do for creativity, action and service. And then the cast project where you have to get involved in some way or form work on a small project or something like that. Whereas rescue glass was a cast project back in 2017, which was crazy to see well, how far we’ve come and to see it’s been amazing to make the impact we have so far. So what was the idea? Yeah, definitely. The idea was really just taking glass waste, and finding a way to transform it into something beautiful. We’ve seen so many different, like, different beautiful alcohol bottles, and I’m like, Wow, it’s so beautiful. Why would just throw it away and wasting it when we can transform into something beautiful. And we’re trying to find a way to how can we create impact to what we do?

Michael Waitze 4:52
Yeah, and when you were a 17 year old, you come up with an idea, you pitch it to your friends, you pitch it to your teachers, maybe even pitch it to your parents. What was the risk Ponce, you got I’m super curious about this, right? Because, you know, sometimes adults would be like, don’t do that thing. And other times are like, Give it your best shot. And maybe like, did anybody think you were insane? Or people like, hey, you know what, that’s a really great idea for a Heineken bottle to make it into a glass.

Manish Sethi 5:15
Yeah, and I definitely like a give a little bit more context about how we started in high school. So my friend told me about this idea out, and he’s actually one of the co founders, and he’s not as involved with the project now. But initially, in 2017, he was very involved. And he was the one who really came up with idea. And I started with him, like, Oh, this is an amazing idea. I’ll Dinshaw. Like, let’s do something about this. Let’s bring it to school, you’re doing this as a passion project, let’s find a way to collaborate and bring it together. And we didn’t think much about you’re like, Okay, let’s, it’s a great idea. Let’s get some students together, lead some teams in schools. And you know, in this what we try to meet for 30 minutes after school, and everyone be laughing around and trying to be serious, and which credits, Fairs and things like that. But that’s how it really started. But the moment it grew was when I came to university, and then I was like, You know what, let’s put some more time and effort I see value and what we can do, and we can create,

Michael Waitze 6:01
were there things that you learned at university that not taught you, but that informed you about how to take this to the next level? If you know what I mean?

Manish Sethi 6:11
Yeah, well, to be completely honest, I had a, you know, like, for me, I was, I think, last time we spoke a few years ago, I was still in uni, and I was quite stubborn, naive, as a first time founder, I was like, Oh, wow, you know, rescue is gonna pop off. And it’s gonna grow very quickly. But in reality, I learned it, I want our system successful will take me 10 more years and a lot more hard work and have to be patient. And I think that’s one thing I wasn’t, I wasn’t patient. And I was quite naive and stubborn. And I’ve learned a lot along the way. But University definitely gave me a good foundation to meet people and learn through the entrepreneurship program, different societies have been involved with, which supported me, I’m not sure that the academics directly impacted and helped me as much, whereas a network helped me a lot more than the experiences I had in university.

Michael Waitze 6:50
So this is a great insight, though. Can you talk to me about this a little bit more this idea that, like, the classes maybe didn’t help as much as the network that you created? And was that network just students? Or was it also people that were outside the university that were peripherally related to the students that then gave you insights into how to run business?

Manish Sethi 7:11
Yeah, no, definitely, I think it was both the students within the alumni beyond and also anyone who, you know, I met through university experience to other events I went to, I was actively involved with many societies, many projects, pitching all the time, getting advice, and getting feedback all the time. So that was very, very useful. Whereas what I learned academically, sometimes it was outdated. And it’s easy to be like, hey, I can this is how you start a business. But once you actually start a business, it’s like you’re facing problems every day. And I’m sure you can relate with all the experiences and amazing things you have in the last decade.

Michael Waitze 7:43
A laughing because I like to say that everyone’s an overnight success. 10 years later, right? Because the idea that 100% But don’t you think so? And it’s funny for me, because it took me until my 40s to figure that out, and you learned it in your teens in your 20s, which makes you street smarter than I am, which is not a big surprise. I’m curious about the CASP program. Can we just back up a little bit to NIST? Can you tell me again, it’s creativity?

Manish Sethi 8:13
What is it action and service action and creativity, action and service?

Michael Waitze 8:17
Right? It sounds like a very progressive class. Right. And there’s all this hullabaloo about the way kids are getting educated today. Was there any pushback from any of the other students in the class about service about the action? Do you know what I mean about going look like I don’t have time for this kind of stuff? Like why am I serving the community, this community isn’t served to me? Was there pushback? And how was it dealt with not just by the other teachers, but by the students as well, who are sitting there going? You have all these benefits? Why not give some of it back kind of thing?

Manish Sethi 8:51
Yeah, definitely. That’s a really good question. So one of the clarifiers. So Cass is it’s like a requirement, not necessarily a class would have like, you know, I guess the year, the year come together once every few months, or once every few weeks to meet the requirements. But like you said, there was some pushback, and I think what I’ve, the insights I’ve received is that many people didn’t take it seriously. And they just tried to get away with it, I’m gonna do the bare minimum to get away with it. But like myself, I really put my hard work and heart into, you know, creativity, action and service. I got so much out of it. So the people who make the most out of it, and I really, genuinely want to learn about it, make them make more of it. But like, sometimes people just, you know, trying to get it doing for the sake of doing it. So that’s what my island and my insights I’ve gained over the last few years.

Michael Waitze 9:32
So do you think that casts itself can be like a metaphor for the rest of your life, in the sense that you learned or figured out or thought early on in life? If I put something into this, I’m gonna get something out of it. Whereas some of the other students might have thought if I just kind of skate by no one will notice the difference. Do you know what I mean? And I feel like if you project 10 years out, 20 years out 30 years out that the skaters are always going to skate. You know what I mean? But that the people that took it seriously, maybe before their time are the people that are going to excel later in life?

Manish Sethi 10:14
Definitely, I completely agree with you. And that’s very eye opening and insightful. I completely agree. I think it’s about what you make out of it, you know, we all have similar, like, it’s about what you make and opportunity and experience you have. And I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned, and I’ve seen in my generation as well, is that we’re very short term. And I was also very short term thinking. But now I’m gonna think about the next few months and think for the next five years, 10 years, 15 years, and focusing on planting the right seeds now, to grow the growth of the plants in the next 510 15 years.

Michael Waitze 10:40
We joked around earlier about, you know, this educational experience at NIST. And, you know, in a way you were privileged right to be able to do that. And to go there from two to 13. It’s just an incredible, incredible experience. And I know that it changed my daughter’s life, I’m sure just by listening to you, it sounds like it changed yours, too. How do you transfer that knowledge and that experience to the people that maybe weren’t as privileged, you know what I mean, that that still should be interested in sustainability and in making the earth a better place, but didn’t have access to the information that you did when you were 16 and 17? And, frankly, 13? And maybe don’t have time for it now? Like, how do you convince them that the things that are on your website, right, the United Nations, the UNDP sustainability goals are actually the thing that they should think about, as opposed to an annoyance that they have to deal with?

Manish Sethi 11:35
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think it really comes down to education. And we’re so lucky to have the insights, awareness. And we’re learning things both consciously and subconsciously, you know, going to NIST we had an international diverse students, we knew how to interact with different people. We had guest speakers come in with great alumni. So we had a really good, I think, network and exposure to so many great things. And one thing I’m trying to do with rescue glass, we have worked with a lot of international schools in Bangkok, in SPPs, ISP, St. Andrews, Shrewsbury, many of the main ones, but I really tried to move away and continue the impact we create in international schools, but find a way to help that local high schools, the public schools, work with universities, and really share what I’ve learned and learn from them as well and work with the tight community more to create impact.

Michael Waitze 12:17
I don’t think you can generalize from your own experience, but you have to deal with the things you know, first and then branch out. Right. So this idea that you went to Shrewsbury, you went to, you know, putting out you went to St. Andrews, which I missed on my list, right, and you went to the other international schools that were part of CSAC, or whatever they were right, transferring that easily to U WC. To going to Singapore, to Malaysia to, you know, to Indonesia to Japan, that’s relatively easy, not easy in and of itself. How good is your tie though?

Manish Sethi 12:44
Great question. So my tie in high school wasn’t the best. But literally now with my Thai team who and Juliana Mossad from Taiwan. I have been practicing Thai every single day. Awesome. And I went to a nice reunion yesterday is when I was practicing Thai as much as I can. So yeah,

Michael Waitze 12:57
but it’s important, right? Because language is power. And I learned this myself again, when I was in my when I was in my late teens and early 20s. Right? I speak Japanese like you speak Thai probably maybe even a little bit better, because I lived there, frankly, longer than you lived

Manish Sethi 13:08
in timeshare. If you think about it, that’s I’m sure, yeah,

Michael Waitze 13:12
no, but think about it, because you left when you were 1819 years old. And I lived in Japan for 22 years. And I was older. So fair enough. But this idea that you can branch out by going to other educational institutions, probably high schools, but again, you could go to middle schools as well. How do you do that? Because you’re in England still? Yeah. How do you do that? From there? How do you create the right impact from that faraway? Like and how do you build that team? Because that’s hard work, too. Yeah.

Manish Sethi 13:41
Yeah, definitely. It has been really difficult. And it’s been really challenging, you know, with the timezone differences, that in London, the clocks are switched. So it’s now one hour. So I think the timezone time differences, six hours, not seven hours, but I’m really I would stay up late at night, like on the weekend, I was staying up late to help, you know, do some emails and documents and this and that. So it’s definitely been challenging. But I’m so grateful to have a great team of Lieut student leaders in Thailand, who are, you know, very passionate and driven. And it just shows that if you if I support them, however I can, they’re really passionate, and they, you know, they lead their own teams, and that’s what I’m trying to do is mentor them and learn from them as well.

Michael Waitze 14:14
How old are you again? You said, 21?

Manish Sethi 14:17
I’m 21? Indeed, yeah.

Michael Waitze 14:18
21. And when you left, you were 17.

Manish Sethi 14:22
When I left NIST probably at 18.

Michael Waitze 14:24
Okay, so three or four years ago. The reason why I asked this right is because I look back on my own life. And I think, okay, the difference between 18 and 21 Feels like night and day. And as a percentage of your adult life. It’s almost all of it to be fair, right? Because you think when you’re 14 1516 like, you know, all this stuff, and you’re like, you don’t I mean, like you’re an adult and you kind of are. But now that you’re out in the working world, the level of maturity that’s required just to survive is just different. And if you’ve figured that out, that’s a great thing and it sounds like you have but then again, how do you take that to the other kids with whom you’re dealing that are still in high School and trying to get them to be as serious as you are understanding that there’s a 234 year gap between your life experience of their life experience.

Manish Sethi 15:11
Yeah, definitely. That’s a great question. And yeah, I completely relate with you. I think when I was 1918, I was so naive, you know, I was like, I’m gonna change the world right now. Right now, right here, so much energy. And yes, now I serve energy. But I know if I want to change the world, it’ll take me 510 1520 30 years to create that. But how do I connect with the students? I think just coming from a place of how can I serve them? How can I learn from them? How can I help them? There’s so many things I learned from 1716 year olds, who were so driven. Yeah. And I learned from them, get that get that feedback all the time. But I’m also sharing what I what I what I’ve learned over my last four, five years, and I’m not what you want to learn today, let me give you a workshop. Let me teach you about this. And I’m really empowering them and try my best not to micromanage them. And if they make mistakes, I’m here to support them and guide them. So that’s what my leadership style is like.

Michael Waitze 15:52
Yeah, sorry. It’s really weird, right? Because what you don’t want to do is quash the enthusiasm. Tell me about your leadership style.

Manish Sethi 15:59
Ya know, for me, I’m always about like, How can I help others? And how can we I think it’s, it’s mutually beneficial. I think about things that when when it’s not that I’m getting better from you, and you’re not getting better from me, it’s how can I help you with your goals? And what you want to learn in university? What are you trying to achieve? What are you passionate about? How can I help you? And from that? How can you help me join us on our mission to you know, make the world a better place through class ways to education and things like that?

Michael Waitze 16:22
How much bigger is the is rescued glass today than it was when you left?

Manish Sethi 16:27
It’s coming, it’s come a decent way, thanks to the hard team’s hard work. But in 2017, were a group of 15 students at NIST. And now we probably work with over 150 students in around seven, eight international schools, a few universities around the world. So it’s common decent way, but it’s all volunteers and students, but really, we’ve made some impact in Bangkok, and in London as well.

Michael Waitze 16:48
Was your family. I mean, not was, but I guess it’s your family and business. You know what I mean? Like when you would go home after school, particularly as you got older. And again, I always say around the dinner table, but it’s more like a metaphor, right? Like when I was a kid, my dad would come home from dinner, and we would all have dinner together. I don’t know what families do today, to be fair, right? But do you look back now on those conversations, like if your family is in business, you look back on some of those conversations that your mom was having with your dad and your uncles and stuff like that, it just think like, now there’s context for this. And I think I actually might have learned something even just through osmosis. You know what I mean?

Manish Sethi 17:22
Definitely, great question. So my family is mostly finance and real estate. So they have great business acumen, I’m sure. But it wasn’t really an entrepreneurial background. So for me doing started my own business was very different. Okay, of course, I got the support from my parents. But the best analogy I gave, it’s like jumping in the ocean with no life like it. And I’ve tried it a few times. And I’m still learning and I have so much learned, I’m so free to things out. So that’s the best way I can answer your question.

Michael Waitze 17:45
But it’s weird now like, now, when you talk to your mom and your dad, do you feel like you’re like the playing field is evening out? If that makes sense, where like, you actually have some valid experience where you can share some of the stuff that you’ve learned from building something from scratch, which has to be one of the hardest things to do. Right? And to go from, like you said, 15 students at NIST to 150 people, it’s a lot 10 times bigger. It’s really different. Do you feel like you’re like more able to have that conversation with other people that are running businesses as well? Yeah, definitely.

Manish Sethi 18:15
And the 130 students, we have a total in the last two, three years, but like this year, we have 40 students last year 100 students, it varies to on urine, urine. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think just connecting with other entrepreneurs, and be able to realize, like, it’s so tough, it’s very tough. I wanted to give up so many times, I’ve done it myself so many times, but I haven’t given up in the last seven years. So I’m proud of myself and my team for staying resilient. So it’s definitely easier to connect with other people and entrepreneurs who want to create impact.

Michael Waitze 18:42
So how do you get through those times of doubt, where like, you’re sitting around and somebody said, we definitely want to work with you just send us the proposal, we’ll get back to you in a week and three months later, you haven’t heard from them, you followed up? And it’s just like silence? Like, literally, how do you deal with that?

Manish Sethi 19:00
Yeah, it’s easy. It’s definitely not easy. I think, just really focusing on what we’re trying to do with rescue glass. We’re trying to, you know, create impact learn make an impact to everything we do. So I always prided myself, you know, I haven’t read Simon cynics book yet. Start with Why, but it’s always on my list. But really focusing on why we started what we’re trying to achieve. And sometimes I take time to reflect like, oh, wow, how far we’ve come in the last six months, we’ve come a long way. And you know, we have to be persistent as well. We have to follow up. We have to, you know, wait for the right time, even with the start been working in London in the deals won’t come in, in one month. They’ll come in after six months, one year, two years. So I think a long term view kind of helps.

Michael Waitze 19:36
It’s so hard to explain this feeling, right where you work on a particular partnership or a particular client, even a particular supplier and they’re almost as excited as you are. And like I said two months in three months in they’re just gone. And yet four months out five months out and maybe six months out, they come back and go. Hey, Manisha, remember that conversation we’re having in February. Where do we send the class? And you’re like, because you spend so much time at the beginning of every business, thinking, did I? Did I do the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? Was it me? You know what I mean? You have all these doubts, and you sit there and you talk to yourself about how can I get myself through this thing? And then when it comes in, and I’m talking about this, because this actually happened to me today. But you don’t I mean, all the doubt kind of disappears, and then you feel like a superpowered person. And it kind of just like, eases off. Do you have the same feelings? You know, I mean,

Manish Sethi 20:36
I think for me, it’s always about trying to get feedback. And it’s hard. And I think that’s one thing I learned as an entrepreneur is continuous and constant feedback. If I go to a fair or selling class, I’m like, hey, what do you like our products? And sometimes we were like, are your products are trash? And I’m like, You know what, thank you. I’ll take that into consideration. I don’t know how to attract ask questions. Why don’t you like it? What can we do to improve? And I always get feedback from everyone I work with. So I think it’s becomes easier. But it’s always hard when it feels good to come through and doesn’t come through. So you got to stay like persistent.

Michael Waitze 21:02
How do you balance this idea of then going to work for some other company, but that’s also a startup or you mentioned you work for a climate tech startup? Can you talk a little bit about that? And if you had, and again, like you haven’t been doing this for that long, but still, as a six year old or 17 year old? Did you see your life being outside of finance and real estate? And in the sustainability space? Or did you just see yourself following your mom and dad’s footsteps?

Manish Sethi 21:28
Yeah, great question. I think I’ve always considered myself an entrepreneur, you know, I was doing personal training in high school, bringing people together always trying to do something. So I’ve always seen an entrepreneurship in me, and I’ve always had that fire. So I’ve always seen that, but maybe in the future are going to find that in real estate beta as well. So it’s always been learning and trying different things, as you know, since I was young, and I’m still so young now. Yeah,

Michael Waitze 21:47
I mean, 21 is not it’s the beginning, not definitely not close to the end. What What kind of climate tech startup do you work for?

Manish Sethi 21:55
Yeah, so we, the company is called thrust carbon. And we are essentially a emissions intelligence platform to help companies report, reduce and remove the travel emissions. So I’ve just joined here for two months now, it’s been great so far, learning so much. And it’s great to join a company that’s at a much larger scale and rescue class. So I can learn from the people processes and things like that, and really create impact to what they’re doing.

Michael Waitze 22:16
So can you take those learnings from what did you call it? Thrust carbon? Can you take the learnings from and bring them back into rescued glass? Do you know what I mean? Do they know you’re doing this thing as well? They must support this right?

Manish Sethi 22:29
Yeah, and I got so lucky. You know, the, the CEO of the company, one of the directors was my mentor for rescue glass. And he told me recently, the reason he hired me, that was because of what I’ve what that what myself and my team build the rescue glass, and the passion I have. So they know what I’m doing. They’re very supportive. And I do it during my lunch time that weekends. That’s why it was hard for us to get to get a schedule in. But yeah, it’s been amazing. So far, they’ve been very supportive. And I’m learning so much from them. And it’s been incredible.

Michael Waitze 22:54
What type of people are do you get to work with at your new company, meaning at the climate tech startup, and how big is it?

Manish Sethi 23:02
Yeah, so it’s relatively small, it’s 15 of us. I just joined recently, but the team has continued to grow quite quickly. My colleagues are, you know, from different backgrounds. I’ve worked in big corporates before. Some of them are startups and like entrepreneurship. So it’s really good exposure. And we work with great big companies. So like Toyota, and Novartis. So it’s great exposure for me to learn how to probably work with big corporates. And we have a lot of interesting things and exciting things happening in the pipeline as well. So it’s been great.

Michael Waitze 23:25
What has your experience been? I’m super curious what it looks like to you, right? Because I remember when I first joined Morgan Stanley, when I was 21 years old, and I felt like every day, at least in the first couple years that I was like, in the middle of a movie, you know, that I had been that was made in Hollywood, and I was just like a bit part player in big corporations are like, they’re different environments. So definitely different than they are from school. Do you know what I mean? So when you’re not, you’re in a startup still, when you work with big corpse, like, Can you feel the difference?

Manish Sethi 23:55
Yeah, definitely. And you know, it’s hard for me to say as well, because I don’t have any corporate experience yet. And that’s a big debate. I’ve always had to stay entrepreneurs for the last four years. So many my friends, I think, graduate from London, they’re all working in corporates. Really. I’m the one of the very few people are working in startups. And you know, there’s always pros and cons of both. And yeah, but I think when I work when we work with larger corporate, it’s so much more people involved it slower to the process to Daniel to talk to one team than another team and another team. But I’m still learning and I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Michael Waitze 24:24
So what are those conversations like with your friends, right? In other words, you graduated with a super cool group of people from nest, obviously, right. But at some point, everyone’s got to eat. Right. And I think the biggest thing that most humans want besides like food and shelter is some kind of stability. I just want to make sure that tomorrow, everything’s going to be at least the same as it was today, if not better, right? But when you talk to your friends who went to work for big companies, like what are those conversations, like, are they just like, Dude, what are you doing? And you’re like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe you have to work with 7000 other people. You know what I mean? Is there any meeting in the middle like how are those conversations

Manish Sethi 25:00
Yeah, no, that’s great. I think like, I’ll share one funny story. I think, you know, in university, like, a year and a half ago, my best friend and I were like, We’re never going to have a corporate, we’re always gonna start a business. And my best friend works at a large corporate, one of the largest in the UK, anything when you love it, you need to join a corporate now. I’m like, mate, I’m looking to startup right now. So like, you know, there’s this pros and cons of everything. And I’ve always been debating like, what the risks and bonds are. But I realized, I got very lucky with the opportunities I’ve got now. Yeah, in a startup. And I think for me, it’s all about learning as much as possible. And then hopefully, you know, in 510 years, I can figure out what I want to do. So

Michael Waitze 25:33
again, if you fast forward five years, and you’d look at rescued glass, where do you think it is? I mean, this idea that you can use stuff that’s already been made, right, and then sell it to people that they can use at home or in a restaurant or whatever, like, I think it would be the coolest thing in the world to get a Heineken and a Heineken glass. Do you know what I mean? It’s just superduper. Cool. I don’t know just the thought about it. You could get wine in a wineglass like it just seems super cool. Five years out, do you see this is way bigger? 10 years out? Do you see this as something that’s happening all over the world as well?

Manish Sethi 26:07
Yeah, definitely. Great question. So I would love to make it big, make more impact with it. But I feel like you know, I still have so much to learn. And the reason I’m joining a startup that is more established is to learn from them. And in hopes that maybe a few years come back and give my heart and soul again to rescue glass. Whereas right now, it’s more of a passion project, and just work helping students learning from them and creating impact. But definitely in a few years, I want to come back and put more effort and kind of scale impact much more as well.

Michael Waitze 26:31
Yeah, but in a quiet moment, right. Like on the weekends, when you’re not doing your, your climate tech job. Hopefully you get the weekends off. Do you sit down you think, I think we could actually turbocharged this, this could actually get quite big, because the making of beer bottles or wine bottles, or whatever your source is for glass not gonna go away. Right? It’s just not going to go away. And as the as the world gets wealthier, more and more people are going to need more and more products to you know, drink, consume, dinner plates, whatever it is, however, you can use this class, it’s not going to go away. Well, right, so don’t yeah, that’s gonna get much bigger. Isn’t this what you’re thinking about on the weekends and stuff?

Manish Sethi 27:13
Yeah, definitely. And as you can tell, I’m still very passionate about wrestling, as I believe in it, and so much, but I think it’s about me finding that balance, where I’m very optimistic, but also not too naive and stubborn. So that find that thin line, but like you said, there isn’t going to be a never ending supply of glass bottles. One wedding one event, one per se, there’s bottles. And I’m like, Oh, my God, like, I’m gonna be talking about this. You know, it’s crazy.

Michael Waitze 27:35
It was. So that’s the only thing to I remember when I was in Tokyo working at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, right? Even when I was at Deutsche securities, I would go running with one of my buddies and I tell this story a lot. Now, I don’t know why it’s coming into my mind. But we go running right through Tokyo. And it was a running up and down the hills and down the streets and stuff. We’d look up at big signs, we’d be like, That’s a listed company. We traded that stock yesterday. That’s a listed company. Like it just seemed like our job was surrounding us. But you’re right. If you’re going to an event and somebody’s serving something to drink, there’s a bottle there. Are you looking at going? That’s a supplier? Do you know what I mean?

Manish Sethi 28:11
I go out and I click the glass and I look at it. And I’m like, what does it mean? What can I cut it? You’re like people, people, I’m always observing everything. I’m like, What’s this glass? I was this glass made with recycled was about recycled. So yeah, definitely.

Michael Waitze 28:26
Do you feel like being an entrepreneur at such a young age at such a young age has kind of forced you to mature in a way that you hadn’t expected. When you go to year two, you don’t have a choice, right? Your parents just wake up one day and goes, this kid’s going to nest he’ll get in, don’t worry about that. Maybe your brothers and sisters went there. When you graduate. The idea that you’re not going to go to university is like it’s a non starter at home. Right? Your parents like Yeah, great idea. But at least get a degree kind of thing, right? But you’re still in an environment that you’re not controlling. And your best friend, right? Who, who said, I’m never going to work in a big company goes to we’re going to be company, but against the same sort of infrastructure that’s in place. But when you do your own thing and work at a startup, the infrastructure is not there. So do you feel like you’re forced to mature faster? And can you feel it in yourself as well?

Manish Sethi 29:18
Oh, 100% I think yeah, I think I had to mature a lot and learn so much, you know, about the real world and you know, dealing with different characters, different personalities, different businesses, different you know, partnerships, and different a lot of selling people always sell dreams. And I’ve learned as well, like a lot of people in general would love to sell dreams. And now I’m getting better at selling being to differentiate different characters, intentions, people. And yeah, so definitely, I had matured a lot and learned a lot and you know, been shattered many times, but I’m learning and I have amazing mentors, and I’ve got a lot of supporting guidance for people. So I’m very fortunate and lucky as well.

Michael Waitze 29:52
Yeah, fair enough. If look, I’ll let you go after this unless there’s other stuff you want to cover, but I do want to know this. Again, if you fast forward five years from now, we come back and we do another recording. If there was one thing that you wanted to accomplish between now and then and you haven’t, what would that be? And why?

Unknown Speaker 30:15
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think one thing I’ve always wanted to accomplish is Find more ways to give back and started a community and more the Thai local community, because I think we’re so lucky to go international schools were so fortunate and blessed. But I want to find a way to reduce the inequality if that means learning what high schools work with the local government and just finding a way to learn from them, but also share what I’ve learned. So that’s definitely what I’m gonna do is we’re gonna hire locals in the Thai education system do great impact, however I can.

Michael Waitze 30:40
That is a killer answer. Manish Sethi, the founder and CEO of Rescued Glass. That was awesome. You should come back. We should do more of this. Thank you so much for doing that. I really appreciate your time today.

Manish Sethi 30:52
Thank you so much. It was an amazing recording.

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