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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
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 yesterday 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 2 days ago 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 3 days ago 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 3 days ago 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 4 days ago 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 4 days ago 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 5 days ago 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 6 days ago 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 7 days ago 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
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There may not be a formula for ideas, but there is a formula for change. It was created by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher. The formula provides a model to assess the relative strengths affecting the likely success of a project. Three factors must be present for meaningful organisational change to take place. These factors are: DxVxF R D= Dissatisfaction with how things are now. V= Vision of what is possible. F= First, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision. If the product of these three factors is greater than R = Resistance then change is possible. Because... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2014 at david hieatt
Dietrich Mateschitz went on holiday to Thailand and spotted lots of people drinking a native drink called Krating Daeng. He kept asking himself: ‘What does that mean?’ His radar was on. He didn’t invent Red Bull. It already existed. He just took something he saw on holiday and turned it into a whole new category. James Dyson wasn’t the only person to walk past a sawmill and see the extractor fan at the top.The answer was available to anyone who asked the right question. But he was the only one to go and make vacuum cleaners using that technology. Yes,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at david hieatt
Note: M & S is important. It’s like the BBC. It just needs to exist. I am not writing this to increase shareholder value, but to help ensure the biscuits stay good. Biscuits are important too. One way to do that is to make sure M&S make good profits, that way they will never skimp on the biscuits. 1, You have two businesses. Hire accordingly. One is food. The other is clothing. At the moment you have a food guy running both. He is very good at food, but not so good at clothing. But what the business needs is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at david hieatt
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Velcro works like this: On one side is a series of hooks going in lots of random directions. On the other side is a series of loops going in lots of random directions. When a hook meets a loop, they connect. It is in the connection business. It is the randomness of the hooks and the loops that make Velcro work, but they are also important to us if we want to be interesting. We need to have lots of random hooks and loops. If we read the same old books, we get to know more about the thing we... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2014 at david hieatt
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How will you stand out when the world rewards mediocrity? The best way is to not play by their rules. There’s a film called Mystery Train by Jim Jarmusch. In the film a couple of teenage Elvis fans take the tour of the Graceland Mansion. They walk around in awe. The boy has a camera around his neck for the whole tour, and yet doesn’t take a single photo. When the couple get back to their cheap bedsit, the boy starts taking photos of all the lampshades, the cheap furniture, the bad wallpaper. His girlfriend, slightly surprised, asks him why... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2014 at david hieatt
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Great ideas cost no more than rubbish ones. That’s nice to know. And, if you want to take the stress out of running a business have a great idea. Ideas don’t care about who you are, where you are, they don’t go to those with the most money or the biggest smile. They come to you in the bath, in the shower, while going for a run, when you least expect it, and when you need them most. But they will come to you. If you would only just listen. And that’s a skill you need to learn. Always be... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at david hieatt
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Great ideas often have no reference points. We have nothing to compare them to. They are original, and awkward. And so they are the most vulnerable to people trying to kill them. They do not conform to what exists, so they challenge us. So in order to keep the idea alive you will have to rely on your gut instinct, which sometimes is the hardest sell of all. You have to believe in it when no-one else does. The parent has to love the ugly duckling until it turns into a little beauty. We also judge ideas too quickly. It’s... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at david hieatt
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Pareto’s Law is named after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. It is also known as the 80/20 rule, which Richard Koch wrote about in his brilliant book. The thinking is this: If you run a business, 80% of your business probably comes from 20% of your customers. If you are a creative person, 80% of your awards/recognition/income will come from 20% of your output. So how can knowing this principle help you manage your time? Well, start by looking at your day. See where you spend most of your time. The likelihood is you will find out most of your... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at david hieatt
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We all want to get as much stuff done as we can, but maybe we are going about it the wrong way. An experiment in the 1940s measured men loading pig iron onto train freight cars at The Bethlehem Steel Company. Each man didn’t stop until they managed 121⁄2 tons. By noon, they were exhausted and could do no more. The next day, they were told to load the pig iron for 26 minutes. Then rest for 34 minutes. They rested more than they worked. At the end of the day, they had each loaded 47 tons. That’s almost 4... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at david hieatt
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f you are given a week to get something done, you will take a week. If you are given two weeks, you will take two weeks. Will the one that took two weeks be twice as good? I doubt it. The first week will have been spent sharpening pencils and tidying the office up. (You know it’s true.) The second week will be ‘hey, we got to get this down.’ So, both projects had a week of your time, if you think about it. I doubt there will be a discernible difference between the two. Except for the time taken... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at david hieatt
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They don’t start. The start line is the scariest place. Step beyond it and you can be judged. Step beyond it and you can fail. Step beyond it and you can no longer hide behind what might have been. Most people talk about starting something one day. But ‘one day’ doesn’t ever come along. They don’t get past the start line. Their ideas are probably good enough to succeed. But their belief isn’t strong enough. The patent office doesn’t hold the best ideas. They sit in the back of your head waiting for you to believe in them enough to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2014 at david hieatt
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There’s a point on a runway during take-off that a plane reaches V1 speed. Once it passes V1, it has reached the point of no return. The point where take-off cannot be aborted. It has to take off. Or crash. In order to determine its V1 speed every plane will factor in its weight, wind-speed, weather conditions, slope, length of runway etc. So although there’s not a physical line drawn on each runway, it’s there. But when it comes to starting a business, there’s no calculation to tell us when the right time is. No marker on a runway for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at david hieatt
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Treat distractions as the enemy. Luckily, each electrical device you have comes with an off button. Remember, your time is limited. But your ability to be distracted is infinite. If you want to get things done, you have to focus. And focus comes from blocking out that busy world out there. I am not good at email. But I am good at getting things done. I view email as a distraction from making things happen. I view getting things done as more important than having an empty in-box. I have bought all the apps to help me cope with email.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at david hieatt
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Each day you’re given 86,400 seconds from the ‘Time Bank’. Everyone is given the same. There are no exceptions. Once you make your withdrawal, you’re free to spend it as you want. The ‘Time Bank’ won’t tell you how to spend it. Time poorly spent will not be replaced with more time. Time doesn’t do refunds. Time is your biggest gift. Indeed, it is more valuable than money as you can make more money, but not more time. But there is one simple truth: Your time is limited. And one day you will go to the bank and it won’t... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at david hieatt