Today we’d like to introduce you to Tom Weissferdt.
Tom, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in Germany in the 80’s and to us the US was always this magical place where expression and freedom shaped the place. I know today that is definitely true and beautiful. America has so many wonderful qualities, some that are hard to find in Germany – even today.
But hey – there are always two sides to the coin of course – but having lived in the US for 20+ years now, I still cherish this openness many Americans approach life and people with. Here things are possible before they are not. Here dreams still become reality. Yes, I am still having a love affair with America in many ways – even though I will admit – it’s been harder than ever right now.
My journey of opening up and dreaming big started when I went to film school at Emerson College in Boston. After having suffered through studying Business Administration back home, on the first day at Emerson our professors asked us to make a film. Just like that. Make it. That’s what got me hooked. I wanted to create, ideate, produce.
Today I run a production company that not only makes commercials and documentaries but also an inspirational show for kids. It’s been an amazing road and continues to be challenging. In a good way. And this country and its people made it all possible. Just do it – Right?
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh no. Struggle is the road to success – right? I have doubted myself many times over and have run into roadblocks. From leaving business partners to weathering recessions and throwing parties nobody showed up to.
It’s funny though how the world seems to always throw you a bone if you just keep at it. It’s like they say: to be really good at something you have to do it every day. That’s what I have been doing. Just not giving up.
And you need a good support system to lift yourself up. In my life, it’s been my “silent business partner” and real-life partner – all in one person. She doesn’t like the word wife, so I call her my girlfriend. She has been an amazing inspiration and advice-giver to me for over 15 years. She is sort of my one-person “Board of Directors”. She is that smart person with the slight outside view on my work and can clearly tell me all the really hard choices I have to make. Having a sounding board like her has been so essential to me to overcome obstacles!
Please tell us about All The World.
I am most proud of a project I started a little while ago. The idea is to help make the world a better place through understanding and empathy. I believe with more self-awareness and tolerance us humans might actually be able to live in a more just and peaceful world. That’s what we all should be striving for – and the rest will fall in place.
Well, of course, that’s a lofty goal and getting there is really hard. But I think that if we just started chipping away at it, we might make an impact in the long run. Right?
I wanted to start at the beginning. Where the groundwork is laid. During childhood.
So, I created a show called ALL THE WORLD for kids 4-10 years old that teaches them about the world we live in and focuses on social-emotional growth. And I wanted the show to be solidly rooted in reality and widely accessible.
All the videos we make are shot in live-action with hosts leading the kids to learn about everyday things, while at the same time understanding more about their own emotionality and social interaction. Now, we want the kids to love these videos! So we make super creative and visually intriguing videos that have a quite calming quality and tone. And we pick topics that allow us to mix the emotional growth into an engaging story. Like understanding how horses communicate with us and each other, how twins look the same but can be quite different, how frustrating projects can be turned into something beautiful, how anger is often masking an emotion we were not aware of, but also fun experiments and silly stories – like how to make music with car doors. You got see it to get it…
To make the show widely accessible we offer it in what 70% of the world’s population speaks: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korea and Japanese. And we made it very affordable at 99 cents/month with an annual subscription or $ 1.99/month with a monthly subscription.
All The World is available on the app stores and we give a portion of the subscription payments to the charity Children International.
Check it out – it’s free for 14 days. Please support us if you can.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Oh man – luck is such a big part of it all – isn’t it? It starts with who your parents are. And my parents paid attention to my sister and me growing up. They supported us and instilled in us the mental and emotional strength to trust in ourselves. To get back up after we have failed. See – again – having emotional intelligence is so important to how your life will unfold.
And trusting your gut feeling is huge. I have a hunch that luck and your own gut feeling work together somehow. They know one another. What do you think?
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All photos by All The World