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david hieatt
Cardigan Bay
Curator for The Do lectures. Co-founder of Hiut Denim Co
Interests: Businesses that change things. Ideas that change things.
Recent Activity
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Hire Slowly. It's a great mantra for success. Make the interview last longer. An hour is not enough. You will get to know more about them by setting them a live project. Give them a short deadline. See how they get on. It will tell you much more an interview* ever will. Take it out of the office. Go for a run with them. Have a beer with them. See them as people. If you can’t spend time with them, do you really want to hire them? Remember, a crazy amount of your management time will be spent on a... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at david hieatt
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Your company is only as strong as the people that work in it.

The people are only as strong the culture that exists within your company.

And the purpose of your company, its reason to exist, will define the culture. Teams build a business. But culture builds a team. So your culture is pretty important. Culture is a funny thing to talk about.

You can't see it.

You can't feel it.

But when it's not right, you can both see it and feel it.

Culture is not a big thing. Just lots of small things.

 Patagonia let their people go surfing when the surf is good.... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at david hieatt
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Your purpose will define your product. The culture of your company. The people you hire. Even your customers who buy from you. And ultimately it will define how successful you are. But perhaps the most important thing that your purpose gives everyone in the company is a clear understand of why the company exists. Everyone in the company understands what it is that you are going to change. Change is your secret fuel. People want to be part of change. People want to be part of history. Teams gather around ideas that will change things. That’s why your purpose matters.... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at david hieatt
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There are probably lots of people out there like you. So if you have a need that no one is meeting, you may not be alone. Designing and making for yourself as the target market is no bad thing. You know the research groups are going to be quick, free and honest. So you can iterate quickly to get something that works. The next thing is try it on close friends. If your product solves a need for them too, well, you know at that point you are on to something. Blogger, Twitter, Vitamin Water and a bunch more products... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at david hieatt
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In a perfect world everybody will love what you make. They will say nice things, tell their friends, and write letters to say just how much they love you. (Those things can and will happen, by the way.) The reverse is also true. No matter what you do, there will be someone out there who will hate what you do. It’s going to happen. So get used to it. And remember because you stand for something, there will be people out there who will stand against you. The more you represent a new way of doing things, the more some... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at david hieatt
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Some may think Amazon’s product are books and just about everything else, but maybe it is more than that. Books, plus all the other stuff, are what they sell. But its product is speed. Speed of finding what you want. Speed of ordering. Speed of delivery. That speed and ease is what we remember even though we can’t remember what the last book we bought from them was. It’s the speed and the super easiness that keeps us coming back for more. So really understanding what your product is, is important. But it may be different to what we think.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at david hieatt
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Be always testing. Be always pushing. Be always tinkering. Never, ever-ever, stand still. Be always asking your customers to improve what you have developed. Innovation is what separates the leader from the follower. But, more than that, it is the hungry innovator that keeps ahead. This stems from a deep-rooted curiosity about how it can be done better. Once you stop asking that question, then you are relying on what the company did yesterday. Most companies only change when they have to, and that is already too late. Their time came, and went. A culture of staying in beta is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at david hieatt
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Your job isn’t to be cool. Your job is to be useful. Your job is to make product that answers a common need, and to execute it uncommonly well. Its cool will stem from its utility. How much easier it makes our lives? How much simpler it is than the old way? How much more information it delivers to us? And how that information can help us save time, money etc. Now and again a product comes along that is so useful and so simple to use that you just can’t imagine how you managed before it. It creates a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at david hieatt
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Nope, didn’t think so. There aren’t any. Zumba didn’t need advertising. The aerobic class he came up with was unique. So each class he took, people would go and tell their friends. From simple old fashioned word of mouth, it just grew. Now, there are 12 million people weekly taking Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 126 countries. And it all started from Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez forgetting his music for a class he was teaching. So he had to improvise. He took the tapes he had in his backpack—consisting of traditional salsa and merengue music – and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at david hieatt
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And insight will come from you being the end user. You have to be the target market. Design for your need, for your frustrations, for your desires. You can’t imagine this out of thin air. You will have to be one of them. Nike were runners before they were businessmen. Patagonia were climbers before they started Patagonia. Apple were coders long before apple existed. It’s your job to make a great product for your customer. It’s also your job to understand what they are needs are before they know what they are. You have to have an uncanny insight in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at david hieatt
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Don’t be a little bit better than something that already exists. Don’t be a tweak. Tweaks don’t make a huge change. Tweaks don’t make history. The real measure of “innovation” is the change in human behaviour that it makes. The reason to have ideas is to create change. Small tweaks make a small change. A driverless car will create more change than a new improved turbo diesel engine. So before you sit down to design your product, work out the change that you want to make. You will design differently when you have this in mind. People will buy your... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at david hieatt
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Ever been to a great restaurant where the waiter was just plain not interested? Ever been in a famous shop when the sales person chatted to their mates on the phone for your entire time in the shop? Ever been to a 5-star hotel and the service was darned awful? It doesn’t matter who you are, if you hire people who don’t care, they will do their very best to reveal it to your customers. And all that work you have put in gets crushed. So when you hire, ask yourself this: Are they passionate about what you are about?... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at david hieatt
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We live in a very busy world. We have the same amount of time as before, but there are so many more things competing for our attention. What gets it? The things that stand out. Average sinks to the bottom. Fast. Average viral films don’t get shared. Average Instagrams don’t get liked. Boring tweets don’t get re-tweeted. Social media takes no prisoners. It’s binary. You either have our attention. Or not. It’s ruthless in sorting out the good from the bad. The good thing is this: Excellent costs no more than average. In fact, you can argue that average costs... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at david hieatt
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"The Hiut Denim Co was started to get the town making jeans again." A brand is a story. And you have to tell it well. The good news in this connected world is great stories travel fast. And, these days, they travel for free. So there has never been a better time or a cheaper time to start something. Big companies no longer have a huge advantage. Your website can make you look as big as them. Your Instagrams can make you funnier than them, your Tweets can make you look more human than them. The tools at your disposal... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at david hieatt
Emotion is powerful thing. Mostly becuase companies are scared of using it. They rely on facts, facts rarely make us feel something. They make sense, but not change. The best brands not only change something, they also have a great innate ability to communicate their purpose well, so it matters to their customers. You have to make your customers feel something for the change you are making, or you will change very little. Understand what is in their hearts. Logic is a blunt tool in this regard. It makes perfect sense, it ticks all the boxes, but it changes very... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at david hieatt
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How many senses does your brand use? A brand should appeal to all your senses. But most brands only appeal to sight and sound. They leave touch, smell and taste alone. And yet they can be very powerful. Abercrombie and Fitch spray each catalogue with their perfume: it acts as a reminder when you walk into the stores. Jawbone, the portable speakers, sound like a futuristic space ship taking off when you switch one on. If you want convincing that they are state of the art technology, just turn it on. It is quite something. The chef Ferran Aria believes... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at david hieatt
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If The Polo mint didn’t have a hole, it wouldn’t be the same. Of course, you would have around 25% more mint. But the magic would have gone. The Polo would no longer be The Polo. It’s often the case of what you don’t do, don’t have, don’t say, ends up defining you. Take The Do USA as another example. It’s special because of the bit in the middle. Of course, the talks are inspiring. And yes, the attendees are the most progressive and driven people you could ever wish to meet. But those things alone don’t explain the magic.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at david hieatt
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Your voice can be many things. It is much more than how you speak in your ads. A quick story to make the point: I sat down for a coffee with Richard, one of the founders of innocent, and he told me his taxi story. He was taking a ride back to work I think. Anyway, as all taxi drivers do, he wanted to make conversation. His went along normal lines. What do you do, mate? Richard replied, I help run a smoothie company. Oh yeah, which one? Innocent. Nice company. But it’s not the same any more. Richard was... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at david hieatt
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Dear the good people of Naim, Each day a battle takes place. The battle is between ‘Excellence’ and ‘Average’. Average has a huge army. Excellence has only a few. By rights, 'Average' should always win. Mediocrity should prevail. But ‘Excellence’ is fighting for a bigger fight than just for itself. It is fighting on behalf of beauty, on behalf of perfection, on behalf of 'How things could be'. So against all the odds, 'Excellence' wins more battles than it loses. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t win all the time. 'Average' has a huge following. In fact, the vast majority... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at david hieatt
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The first clothing company I started had made a reputation for making excellent merino base layers. The margin wasn’t the best, but we never had to go to sale. We couldn’t get enough of it. But a buyer had seen the margin – and wanted to improve it. The first clothing company I started had made a reputation for making excellent merino base layers. The margin wasn’t the best, but we never had to go to sale. We couldn’t get enough of it. But a buyer had seen the margin – and wanted to improve it. Their way of improving... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at david hieatt
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This is a story I was told about Ralph Lauren. It may, or may not, be true. Anyway, the story goes like this. He spent millions building his ranch. Every detail considered. The builders and the architects had a tough old time of it. It was redone a couple of times. After it was finally finished, they were super happy. But, for Ralph, something was missing. Something wasn’t quite right. The builders had to come back because the door was too perfect. It didn’t squeak. And everyone knows old ranches always have a squeaky door. So they had to put... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2014 at david hieatt
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I get asked this a lot. And there is a surprisingly simple answer: You have to love it the most first. That’s it? Yeah, that’s it. This is a ‘Labour of Love’. And you’re the ‘Labour’ they are referring to. You have to sweat each detail. Over and over again. Relentlessly paying obsessive attention to the littlest tiny weeny bit. And guess what, your customers will notice. They will see that you have poured your heart into it, and they will love that you care that much about them. At every stage you will have put the customer first. Always.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at david hieatt
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Some people think once they have a name and a logo for their company, they have a brand. What they have at that point is just a name and a logo. No more. The job of the brand is to make that name and that logo stand for something. To live its founding principles each day. To stay true. How do you do that? Well, by making a great product, giving a great service, and by using your company as the tool to change the things that you said you would. It’s not difficult. Just hard. Of course, a good... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at david hieatt
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1,Is it a good idea? 2, Is it a new idea? 3, Is it scalable? 4, Will people want it? 5, What change will it bring about? 6, Is it investable? 7, Does it matter to you? 8, Does it matter to your customer? 9, How do you know? 10, How big is the change it can make? 11, Is it good for the planet? 12, Is it good for the human? 13, What is your niche? 14, How big is that niche? 15, How will you test it? 16, Is it a common problem? 17, Ask yourself, does this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at david hieatt
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Ideas need someone to make them happen. Ideas need doers not talkers. Ideas require your total belief in them. So before you cross that line, just make sure you are 100% into it. Businesses can fail for many reasons. Perhaps the founders don’t quite believe in the idea, or one of the partners loses his or her nerve when the first test comes at them. A lack of belief can be much more damaging than a lack of funding. In Football terms, this is the equivalent of not fully committing in the tackle. And when you are half-hearted in the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at david hieatt