Our first podcast of 2021 featuring David Donde, CEO Founder of Minimalist Chocolate and award-winning Truth Coffee. Read Full article >

David Donde is the Founder of Truth Coffee Roasting, which specialises in sourcing and roasting some of the world’s most exclusive coffees. Truth Coffee was named the world’s best coffee shop by MSN Travel in 2013 & again by The Daily Telegraph in 2015 & 2016. In 2018 the FNB Coffee Magazine Awards nominated Truth for Best Café Design and Excellence in Coffee. Their steam-punk interiors by lauded designer Haldane Martin won a Golden Loerie award in 2016.

With their well-known adage of “no sugar required”, David has applied his team’s combined expertise in coffee roasting to chocolate making with his most recent endeavour, Minimalist Chocolate. Minimalist chocolate contains no sugar and relies on the roasting process to bring out the sweet flavours in the cocoa beans.

On the question of how he began Truth Coffee, David tells the story of how he needed a new income and was down to his last 15 bucks, and on his way to get some fast food he received a phone call from his first investor. From there on, he focused on strategic brand building and figuring out what it was that made Truth Coffee different from others.

“Brand without culture is worthless, and vice versa.”

Their culture strategy is to win hearts one customer at a time, and David firmly believes that culture cannot be driven by HR or some kind of “culture team” — everyone in the company is part of the culture team!

Moments of genius hardly happen in the office.

Timestamp notes:

0:10 — Introductions

1:08 — How David got into coffee

1:56 — How David built the Truth Coffee brand and created a successful business in a crowded market

2:35 — Does brand and company culture go hand-in-hand, and how do you ensure employees buy into the culture?

4:33 — Making company values more than words on the walls

6:13 — How South African cellular provider CellC got it all wrong with their Trevor Noah campaign

7:37 — Learnings through the process and what David would have done differently

8:55 — David’s experience working at an “extremely autocratic” company

10:00 — Advise for hiring

13:00 — How to become the best waiter in the world? David reflecting on Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence

14:15 — An average day for David

15:10 — On productivity and ‘busy’ culture

19:23 — On the function of middle management and their role in building the culture

20:43 — What David’s been reading and listening to: The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

23:17 — How to reach David: Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram

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