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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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I see it everyday. The buzzard on top of the lamppost just sitting there. Waiting. Watching. Listening. Still. Silent. Working smart by doing next to nothing. When there’s a movement, it swoops down. And has lunch. For the buzzard the lamppost serves two purposes. It gives it a vantage point. And saves its energy. When it flies, it is to hunt. It is not flying around in hope. It is flying on a mission to eat. Movement equals food. For years I have subscribed to the Motley Fool subscription service. It’s an excellent service. Probably the best there out there.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2015 at david hieatt
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Yesterday I zoomed up to Dublin for a quick meeting. On the way back, we stopped in a food market called Avoca. It’s impressive. The attention to detail. The sourcing. The variety. The way it was all displayed. After an hour or so, we decided to hit the road back to my sisters. But before we did, we thought we’d have a quick cup of tea. The place was pretty busy, but the guy who served us took time to warm the cups, and the teapot. I watched him pay attention to getting it right. The cup of tea was... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at david hieatt
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No. No. No. No. No. No. Try doing something new, try raising some money, try being ahead of your time, and you are going to hear this word a lot. I mean, a lot. Entrepreneurs hear this word more than most. What makes the entrepreneur is how they react to it. How they use it give them strength. How it spurs them on. Entrepreneurs keep going. Entrepreneurs develop a thick skin because they have to. They learn the art of the hustle. They learn to pick themselves back up from the floor. Time after time. Because they know that one... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at david hieatt
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I used to think networking was some kind of dirty word. But, I was wrong. If you can 'find the others' who are are trying change the world, it will help you just to be around them. They will help with optimism, with belief, and with contacts who be able to help you. They will share problems, and answers to similar issues to what you will face. What industry they are in doesn't matter as much as how they view the world. And what they think it could be. You need to hang out with them. Learn from them. Argue... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at david hieatt
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Where these two circles overlap is where you are now. It’s called today. And today is your biggest gift. You can’t change the past. It is done. Learn from it. But don’t live there. Yup, the future is exciting. But it will be shaped by what you do today. How hard you work at something today. How much you try today. How much you learn today. The future is decided by what you do today. My Next Do Workshop -How to build a great brand with very little money'. March 6th Wales. My workshop in London April 24th. My Book.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2015 at david hieatt
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Where these two circles overlap will be where I will have my biggest successes. And my biggest failures. But it will always be where I am most alive. Charlie Engle is an ultra marathon runner. He ran across America. He ran across the Sahara in 100 days. I asked him to write a piece for the YearBook that we do at Hiut Denim. He said he would. On one condition. That I had to promise to give the factory everything I had. Like everything. And not to hold back. And not to spare myself. His words haunt me. I will... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at david hieatt
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Before I start a project, a business, I draw three circles. One is: Does this interest me. Does it interest me enough to fuel the bad days. There will be bad days. Trust me. And that is when most people quit. They don’t have enough interest in it to keep going when logic says it is going to fail. Then I ask myself, do I have a skill that will enable me to make this successful? Can I make it work? Can I find an edge here? And lastly, what have I seen that others haven’t? Can I get a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at david hieatt
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Sometimes the best way to start something is to keep your day job, and start it as a side project. I have some experience of this. I started howies from our spare bedroom in 1995. In 2001 we got our first salary cheque. I started The Do Lectures back in 2007. Neither Clare nor myself have taken any salary from it. Sometimes in order to get something off the ground, that is what has to be done. You can’t do that forever, I know. But it sure is one way to start. 99% of all businesses fail because they never... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2015 at david hieatt
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I live in a house that has never had central heating. It has an open fire. And two log burners. Each morning I light 3 fires. And each night I light 3 fires. All winter long. What I have learnt from lighting fires is the importance of every detail. Good wood is important. Seasoned. And with moisture content below 20% is best. But no matter how good the wood is you can’t start a fire without kindling. The job of kindling is to easily light and transfer that heat onto the logs so the fire takes hold. But kindling needs... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at david hieatt
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We have had our battles. Some you won. Some I won. I have learnt a lot from you. I learnt always to respect you. I have also learnt I must never fear you. Because that is what you want. Fear is your weapon. It’s the seed of doubt that you plant. And once planted, it just grows. That’s how you win. I take that knowledge with me to every battle now. I am a football fan. And I am always intrigued by who steps up to take penalties. And who misses. The most talented players don’t always make the best... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at david hieatt
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1, If you find something that you want to change, you have two options. One, is to talk about the change you are going to make. Or, two, stop talking. And begin. 2, Avoid easy deadlines. Deadlines serve you best when they are short, hard and, at first glance, impossible. Urgency gets things done. 3, All teams want to be part of history. Have something big that you want to change. Your strength of purpose multiplies the teams stubbornness to get this thing done. 4, Focus on the task. If you are doing something that isn’t pushing the task forward,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at david hieatt
At the Do Lectures this year was a guy called Rohan Anderson. He is a grower, hunter and gatherer. He wrote the very successful book and blog: Whole Larder Love. He did an amazing talk at The Do and silenced everyone listening, which doesn’t happen too often. After speaking to him I could tell he was on the edge of doing something that was incredibly important to him. But like all dreams that we keep to ourselves, sharing them with others is scary. Because we are vulnerable then, we can be judged and criticised. And we can fall flat on... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2014 at david hieatt
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In terms of using social media to grow your business, we are all looking for the next new platform or app. We want to find that magic ‘Multiplier’ that gets our story out to the world. But there is a danger that by doing just that, we are ignoring the tried and trusted tools right under our noses that, well, just work. Take the simple newsletter. It is one of the best ways I know to build the community and culture of your brand. Like a tree needs roots, a brand needs to build its roots too. A great newsletter... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at david hieatt
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The days you will look back on will be the days that tested you. Business can be a rollercoaster ride. One minute you are up, the next you are down and out. How well you walk through the fire to quote Charles Bukowski, will say a lot about you. If the ride isn't going as well as you want, you have remember that it is your ride. And you chose that ride. If you can switch your mind set to think of obstacles as the thing that are going to make you different, refine your thinking and ultimately the very... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2014 at david hieatt
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Books. Purpose Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman Yvon Chouinard (Penguin, 2006) Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Simon Sinek (Penguin, 2011) Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big Bo Burlingham (Penguin, 2007) Brand The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler, Bill Rosenzweig (Crown, Random House 1994) Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography - Walter Isaacson (Little Brown, 2011) Product The Lean Startup Eric Ries (Crown, Random House, 2011)... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2014 at david hieatt
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Running a startup can soon end up running you. While you're finding strategies to beat the other guys, you will also need to make sure you develope a strategy to look after you. That is why sport is important. Whatever you do, take time out. Whether it’s a run, a walk, a bike ride, or daily meditation. The brain needs some rest. Work the body, and while the body is so busy doing its stuff, the brain switches off. You feel fresher physically and mentally. Feel the burn of sport. There are no emails to send, no bills to pay,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2014 at david hieatt
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When you are involved in a startup, life can quickly go out of control. If you allow it to. Yes, there will be times when a deadline means burning the midnight oil. And yes, adrenaline is the fuel of startups but mostly because it is cheap. But not because it is the best fuel to build a long-term business. So your job is to look after the team because they look after the business. So you have to make sure that those crazy times do not become the norm. You have to create a culture where people take their holidays,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at david hieatt
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Great businesses are built on huge amounts of energy. Even more important than huge amounts of funding. You can burn the candle at both ends for a while, but there comes a point where you get diminishing returns. You job is to lead. Your job is to make decisions. Your job is to be a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. It may sound boring, but if you are going to give your company its best chance of success, you need to get the amount of sleep that your body requires. There is no badge of honour for who is the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2014 at david hieatt
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The problem with your business is that it matters to you. And, oh boy, it can and will consume you. Every waking hour. Every sleeping hour. At home. At work. And the journey between the two. That’s the deal. But you have to find ways to look after yourself. Because you look after lots of other people, who depend on you. Accept that working through the night is a rite of passage, and working weekends goes with the territory. But also accept that these can’t become the norm. Tired? Go home. Come in fresh. Businesses are very good at running... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2014 at david hieatt
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They do it while their day-dreaming out of the window of a more fun job. Once they find one, they take the more conventional way of leaving a company - the door. People don’t leave companies for money. They say they do. But they don’t. They leave emotionally long before they leave physically. They leave because they are not valued, they are not being challenged or feel part of something that matters to them. A central plank to all this discontent is they have stopped learning. It’s your job to create a learning culture that will keep them emotionally connected.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2014 at david hieatt
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In Startup mode you can’t hire all the team you want from day one. But you know who they are, right? You’ve been admiring their work for years. So how can you get them on the team? Write to them. Show them pictures of their work in your scrapbook. And tell them your mission. And tell them the change you will make. What you have to do is to build a virtual team. That is what you have to do. Go virtual. Recently I was working with our graphic designer Nick Hand (Virtual Team Member) on the Yearbook for Hiut... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2014 at david hieatt
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Underfunded. No budgets for anything. Cash flow issues. You can't afford to work with the best. But then again, you can't afford not too. I agree with the Real Madrid chairman: Expensive is cheap. His point is that buying a £70 million player was better value than buying a £10 million player. The Galacticos (as he calls them) sold more shirts, got more press and did more for the ‘Real Madrid’ brand around the world. The £10 million players did none of these things, so he deemed them expensive. I am figuring you don’t have £70 million to burn on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at david hieatt
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In an ideal world you would have both these things in one person. Alas, that isn’t always possible. So if you had to choose, I would choose Hunger. Hunger is always keen to learn. Always trying to get better. Hunger is always putting the extra hours in. Hunger doesn’t get lazy. Over time Hunger works so hard at his thing that his Talent begins to shine above even someone with a natural gift for it. Hunger is normally insecure about his Talent. So continues to work at it. He never loses the Hunger. So just keeps putting the practice in.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at david hieatt
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Not every hire works out. And both parties know it quickly. Within three months you know that, well, it isn’t going to end well. And yet companies don’t act. The person isn’t happy. The team isn’t happy.* And that can last for years. Decades, even. Your duty is to the team, the culture, and ultimately to the purpose of the company. And, therefore, you have to do the difficult thing quickly. The person would be happier in another job. The team would be happier with another person. And life is too short for people to be miserable. People make the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2014 at david hieatt
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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 Sep 20, 2014 at david hieatt