If you innovate, you will be copied.
It’s like a rites of passage.
If you have a patent, you are more protected.
But it’s not bulletproof.
Dyson had a patent and he got copied by Hoover.
How do they sleep?
They sleep just fine.
They don’t have your code of honour.
It’s dog eat dog for them.
You can be angry.
You can be right.
You can be hurt.
But you won’t change them.
Yes, you have protection like Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights.
All of them afford protection of your way of doing things. All of them are important.
But maybe the best protection is this:
To create a culture of ideas, to never stand still.
That way they will never catch up with you.
And you get to win.
Recently we sent out our first paper mailer at Hiut.
It was designed by Nick Hand. The illustrations were by a young talent.
It was printed on Nick Hands letter press. Less young talent.
We hand folded them. We hand stamped Hiut on each envelope. We put each address on. We even de-duped by going through each pile.
In a digital world, isn’t all this just a pain in the ass? For sure, it took us some time. And the late nights by the team just sticking labels on to envelopes has been something. (Thanks Naomi, thanks Rob)
But something tells me that digital needs analogue.
Now and again we just need something to arrive on our doormat that we look forward to opening.
Print is still magic.
It smells. I have never smelt an email.
It feels good. I have never stroked an email.
People collect great print. I don’t know anyone who collects emails. Well, not on purpose.
I know the importance of Digital. I am building Hiut Denim Co by learning how to use these powerful digital tools. And am loving the learning.
But something tells me that they both need each other. Yup, Digital needs Analogue.
Like your right leg needs your left one.
The Multiplier is a theory that small actions can give you big results, if you find what your multiplier is? The multiplier enables David to beat Goliath. It enables you to maximise your day. It helps you get much more done than others.
The Multiplier doesn’t rely on out-spending anyone or working longer hours than others either, but stems from learning to use your energy, your time, your insights and your ideas to their full potential.
Take the example of your energy as a Multiplier. How do you look after it? How do you increase it? How do you maintain it over the long-term in? Sleep is a Multiplier to your energy. A long-lasting one. Coffee is a temporary one. So what can you do to sleep better? What are the tricks and the techniques to get you a good night sleep?
Also, you need to understand what robs you of energy: Stress and worry are great stealers of energy. They act as the opposite of the Multiplier. And so, learning how to manage them is important.
Exercise, although uses a great deal of energy, gives you energy. Exercise is a Multiplier. It also puts stress and worry in its rightful place. It provides context to them. So therefore lessens them.
Multipliers are all around us. And lots of them are free. Take trust. That comes without a price tag. If you are building a team, and if you build it with trust, then it can fly. Yes, you will pay more attention when you hire. And that is no bad thing.
One example, there are no contracts between Do USA, Do Australia and The Do Lectures Wales. It’s a loose network bound together by trust. Again, it is stronger for it. Tina, (aka @swissmiss) said it best: Trust breeds magic. The golden rule here is find the right people, and when you do, trust them. Let them fly. Don’t clip their wings.
And the notion of a Multiplier can be used in business too. I am building Hiut Denim Co, and my aim is to get 400 people their jobs back. Far from easy. Far from impossible, too. I need to tell the world we are here. And I have no money for marketing. The good thing is the tools to tell the world are mostly free.
One of them is Instagram. How do you get to be big on Instagram? Well, being first is one sure way to achieve that. Hiut Denim Co, was not first. So we missed that Multiplier. So we have to find other ways to stand out, and therefore grow. Again, you have to understand the tools you are using. Instagram is 95% based on beauty. Beautiful photo after beautiful photo. Stunning. Can we stand out by trying to out-beauty them? I don’t think so. So our insight was to combine beauty plus ideas. We love ideas. We love writing. So we conducted a simple experiment.
We had an idea to make a black frame and get people jumping in it to show off the flexibility of the Tech Jean. We cut some wood, painted the frame black. And bought some bolts. It cost around £20. And then Jim Marsden took a photograph of it when he was down. Then we posted it. It became our single most liked photo on Instagram. It showed us that beauty + ideas was the way for us to stand out. That was the Multiplier for us. No more energy expended, but a far greater result.
Mark Shayler and I are going to conduct a number of experiments over the next couple of months in order to see if there is anything in the Multiplier. They will be experiments on sleep, diet, exercise and much more.
A bit of fun. And, hopefully, lots of insights on how to achieve more without out-spending anyone or staying up all night working either.
Always be experimenting.
We are all busy. But change doesn’t require much in the way of time. Out of each day, give yourself 30 minutes. Just for you. Make it something that matters to you. Then invest 30 minutes each day in it. Just plug away at it. Not for long. But often.
30 minutes is small enough amount of time for most people to find. But long enough to make a big difference over a period of time.
Getting fit is a great investment in ‘You’. Doing yoga is a great investment in You. Reading a great book is an investment in ‘You’. Meditating each day is a great investment in ‘You’. Learning a new skill is a great investment in ‘You’.
Mostly these things require an investment of time, and not money. So these are open to all.
Last year I got asked to write for Do Book Co. It was difficult to say no, as Miranda, who runs Do Book Co, knew I wanted to write a book at some point. Also I wanted to support Do Book Co as I had encouraged her to do it in the first place. (It publishes books from speakers at The Do Lectures, which I had co-founded along with Clare). So I said yes.
Of course, I was too busy to write a book. I was building the Hiut Denim Co from nothing, and in the early years that takes a lot of pushing. Plus, we were busy shaping The Do Lectures and setting it up on our farm. My days were already full.
So I decided the best way to do it was give it 30 minutes each day. The bulk of the writing for it was done by getting up early. I would write from 6.30-7.00 am. Then I would stop. And go and make breakfast for the family.
I had to create a new habit. I had to find 30 minutes to invest in me, so that is what I did. The editing stages involved me putting time aside on the weekends, too. And that took more time that I had figured. Granted. But without putting those 30-minute chunks aside, my book would have never been written.
My biggest learning was a big project like writing a book when you don’t have time to write a book is best approached by breaking it down into small more manageable chunks of time.
You don’t miss 30 minutes out of your day.
You don’t have to do much each day, but you have to do something.
Twitter could only do 140 characters because it was designed for a text service. Technology was its restraint. So when you look at the restraints that you face, from budgets to geography, maybe they are the making of you.
If you can look at an obstacle and think of it as providing an answer for how you go forward, it will change your mind set. And start to provide answers, and not just problems.
The difference between a problem and an opportunity is how you view them.
Ryan Holiday wrote a great book on this: The Obstacle is the way. It's an inspiring read.
Photo by Andrew Paynter. www.andrewpaynter.com
A super tanker takes 21 miles to turn. And 16 Miles to stop. It’s good to know that because we tend to spend a lot of time talking about how much bigger our rivals are than us. But, if you view their size as their weakness, then you take a different view of your competition. And start to think how vulnerable they are to you, if you play to your strengths.
Their size makes them slow. And this world is speeding up. So play to your strength that you are small. Small means fast. Small means responsive. You don’t have to put your ideas to the board, you don’t have to put them into research, you can put them into action instead.
The world is changing fast. And it will be those who are most nimble that will do the best.
Yup, be a speedboat.
Photo by Andrew Paynter. www.andrewpaynter.com
I don’t think we lack talent in Wales. I don’t think we lack a good work ethic. What I believe we lack is a belief in ourselves. In our ideas. And so we don’t pursue them. And we don’t make our ideas happen.
We make the assumption, and it’s a mistaken one, that other people are smarter than us. And if we tell ourselves that lie enough, it becomes a truth. We start to believe it; we start to live that out in real life.
But it’s a truth that other people do have more belief than us. They have more confidence than us. And it’s the job of parents to change that. It’s the job of schools, that breeding ground of inferiority, to change that. It’s the job of well-seasoned entrepreneurs to take a startup under they wings, just to tell them they can fly.
I love how we are humble as a set of people. We don’t like big heads. We don’t like arrogance. But believing in ourselves, in our ideas is neither of those two things.
We must learn that self-belief is a beautiful thing. It’s as beautiful as Welsh National Anthem being sung before the game today. Every bit.
If it’s too late for our generation to change our mind-sets, then lets make sure the generation below us don’t make the same mistake. It will be our job to tell them these words: That no one is smarter than them.
Our ideas are as good as any ones. Our spirit is of a warrior. We are a small giant. And it’s time to realise what is the most possible for us.
The biggest waste in Wales is the dreams of our young entrepreneurs when they fail to fulfil their potential. Our biggest gift to our children isn’t an iPhone; it is to tell them their ideas can change the world.
When they fail to start because they fail to believe in themselves, we all lose.
Don’t play small.
Photo by Andrew Paynter.
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. It teaches you how to look at the fundamentals of companies. It tells you their methodology of discovering the rule breakers. And it teaches you how to look at what the future markets for these rule breakers is likely to be. It encourages you to invest while these companies are still unknown by most.
Yesterday, I listened to a podcast Motley Fool put out about driverless cars. Its view is that they are going to happen. And when they do, there will be losers and winners. The losers will be the insurance companies. Why? Well, the number of crashes will be dramatically reduced to almost nothing.
The cars of the future will be computers with 4 wheels. So the winners will be the companies who can develop the chips that are capable of processing all this data to enable them to drive without you and I. They think they have spotted this company. A company who has developed a processor that can process all that information 10 times quicker. And so making the driverless car just a matter of time rather than if.
What is the Motley Fool? They are a lamppost. They allow you to see things early. They detect movement of a different kind. Once that movement has been spotted, it shares that knowledge. It is then up to its subscribers whether to act or not.
If the buzzard was down at ground level, it would have no overview. And therefore, it would eat less. Also, if it were constantly flying around searching for food, it would use up too much energy to sustain itself. Lampposts provide leverage by providing an overview. Lampposts allow buzzards to eat more.
A lamppost can be anything that allows you to see things early. It can be a book you read. A talk you listen to. A conference you attend. A holiday you go on. And yes, a subscription newsletter.
When you are up real close, you can’t see the context, you can see what’s around the corner, you can’t see what is coming.
Lampposts are important. They help you see things early.
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 perfect.
He didn’t have to warm the cups, he didn’t have to warm the teapot, but some people just think about the customer. Maybe he thought we had another 200 miles to drive. Maybe he thought we looked tired. Maybe, he just made the cup of tea that he would like to have been served.
When you hire, find people who think like a customer. Find people who care. Because they will never make a bad cup of tea.
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 day they are going to hear that short, sweet, beautiful word: Yes.