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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
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
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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 Sep 19, 2014 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 Sep 17, 2014 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