Welcome to our ‘Conversation Starter’ series, that aims to introduce you to more business owners around you, and to help get to know each other better.
Through these questions, we want to learn more about you. Not just your challenges and what you’ve experienced along your entrepreneurial journey, but the person that you are, beyond your business…about what makes you, you!
We realize that work does not always define us and things may not be what they seem. Often, we tend to work with people we know and trust. Most work partnerships fail because people hold back and don’t openly speak about what they want, and think.
As business owners, we have to show up and make ourselves known, if we want our business to grow. For some people, it is easy. For others, the idea of networking and social gatherings is not something they look forward to. In a world where people ask you right away, ‘What do you do’, what if it were more about who you are and what your story is?
How fun would it be to first encounter people without knowing what they do? Just meeting them and finding out what you may have in common and what you can learn from each other. Work and business opportunities could come second, naturally.
Here are a series of icebreaker questions answered by the people that inspire us. We believe the answers to these questions can help start conversations in a different way.
1. As business owners, we’re constantly networking and meeting new people. Let’s say you’ve just met someone for the first time. What’s the first thing you’d like to know about them?
What kind of books they read.
2. We know you’re super busy – as all business owners are, no doubt – but when you’ve had the time to squeeze in some TV-watching, what’s the last thing you watched? What made you choose that particular show?
The Game of Thrones world captivates me. I’m reading the books now. I want to know everything there is about every character and every place!
I’m also really enjoying Chef’s Table. The way it uses cooking to present a greater story. We don’t live in isolated fields of interest. Everything we are permeates into anything we do, and that makes every person’s story fascinating. The show’s artistic direction reflects this individualism so well!
3. Before you decided to go solo and be your own boss, you must’ve worked for someone else. What advice would you give your previous manager?
I was fortunate to have a manager who truly knew how to take care of people. If I am in any way close to being a good manager, it’s because I uphold her as my standard.
4. A koala bear jumps in through your window, and he’s looking at you. Why is he here? And what does he say to you?
I’d prefer to do that to him. Jump into his fragrant eucalyptus forest habitat.
5. A resume can only tell you so much about someone. Often, the most interesting things about that person can’t be learned from those pages. What do you think is the most interesting thing about you, that your resume wouldn’t tell us?
I want to live closer to the wilderness and co-exist with animals, plants and geological formations. I can be on the coast or forest or mountain, but preferably not polar climate!
6. What gets you out of bed every morning? What is it that excites you, or is meaningful to you?
Other than the idea of a delicious breakfast? The chance to be better, even a small bit.
7. We’ve all got different talents and skills. It’s what makes us unique. What do you think you’re amazing at? And what are the things you’re not-quite-the-best at?
I notice beauty anywhere. The curve of a ceramic bowl and the delicate grains of rice inside. A withered tree against a storm cloud. Insects scuttling in activity. It’s a superpower because I’m never bored.
I wish I developed the skills, coordination, and grit to do sport!
8. Building a great team takes time. It’s not easy to find the right fit – like, the people who share the same work values, have the same vision for your business and have a sense of humor. If you were granted a wish to hire any 5 people – people you know, celebrities…anyone – whom would you bring into your team?
My father – his thought process is always unconventional.
9. If you woke up one morning and found yourself on a deserted island, which three things would you want to have with you? Why?
Pen. Journal. Knife.
10. Inspiration can come from anywhere…a picture, a bike ride, the lyrics of a song, a pet, or even a gorgeous sunset. But people have the power to inspire us like none other! There is always someone we look up to, someone we admire. Who has inspired you in your life, and in what way?
Carl Sagan shaped my zest for life. The way he saw the interconnectedness of fields – tunes of a cosmic symphony. Humanity’s humble yet noble place in the greater scheme of things. And much more – read Cosmos! He put his insights into words so stirringly beautiful…they become a permanent part of me.
11. What’s your spirit animal? If you haven’t ever given it a thought, the time is right now!
The sea turtle.
12. What characteristics do you admire the most in a person?
13. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try? What’s stopping you from doing it?
Given more free time, I want to learn to dance!
14. We’ve all been impressed by someone’s skills and wished we could have them too! If you could have a new skill at the snap of your fingers, what would it be?
To speak better in public.
15. What’s your idea of a perfect day?
An early start, prayer, healthy food, a workout, and an enriching book.
About Denise Taojo Kaur
I run a rugs and homeware store in Singapore called Living DNA. I source our pieces from artisans when I travel and get involved in designing and styling them for modern interiors.
Now that you know a little more about Denise online, you could make things more interesting by connecting offline!
You could contact Denise here: