david hieatt

12 posts categorized “new company”

Maybe the way you always do it is wrong.



  20150204 Hiut - Mwnt Pano 72ppi (3 of 3)


Two years ago I tried to update my Typepad blog with a card, it just wouldn't work

So, I got busy. I tried again, and no matter what card I used, I couldn't get it to work.

Just now, I tried it, and it worked fine.

What was I doing wrong? Don't know. But I was doing something wrong, but I kept on doing it.

The result was I didn't write a blog for two years.

Another example was some mornings I would bake some eggs for my daughter.

I would use baking paper so the eggs wouldn't stick to the dish.

They would always stick.

Then I run out. I tired to buy some more, but I bought the wrong one.

I got parchment paper.

I thought about sending it back.

Then i tried it. And it didn't stick.

I was stuck using a way that didn't work.

There is saying about walking in dumb each day.

It is a mindset that gets you to question about why you are doing it that way.

Especially, if it ain't working.

But even when it is working.

But could work even better.











The rounding of the pebble.



Erosion works over time.

Yes, there are big storms and the process is speeded up for a short time. But by and large, erosion is just the sheer monotony of the normal. Tide in. Tide out.  Multiplied by a million, trillion times.  A subtle action repeated to give an extra ordinary smoothness to what started life as a jagged rock.

In life I think we all start out as jagged rocks. But unlike erosion, I think it’s the big storms that knock us into shape.

Each big event takes another edge off of us. Until one day, we are fully rounded. And we are then at that time, the very best of what we can be. No edge can get any smother.

When I heard that Steve Jobs had died, I felt another edge fall off of me. A hero of mine had died. My first computer was a Macintosh. And I have never bought any other computer other than Apple.

I loved the simplicity. I loved the fight against the status quo. I loved that there could be another way. I loved he wanted to change something.

And his story of dropping out of college and having to leave the company he started struck a chord with me, because I went though that too.

And for me, he became my role model of how to bounce back. He inspired me to think that the pain of failing was something that I could put to good use.

I believe Steve Jobs left Apple as a creative man and returned as businessman and a creative man. The pain of those big events, well, they were some huge edges falling off of him. And yes, they were the making of him.

His convergence strategy changed music, and then phones and I am sure it will change Television next. And it will be where everything comes together, where music, film, apps, email all merge quite beautifully and simply together for the first time. And it will be his last piece in the jigsaw. It will be his masterpiece. And you and I will think why didn’t someone do that before.

So I would like to thank Steve Jobs for showing that the John Sculley’s of the world don’t win. That one man’s vision is better than any committee. And that you can come back stronger after failure.

My thanks to him for teaching me those things.





Love + Purpose

(Transcript LCC Talk – Jan 14th 2011)

Good morning, thank you for asking me to come and speak. I would like to talk to you today about a two words. They are ‘Love’ and ‘Purpose’.

I believe if you can bring these two things together into your work, they will help to bring you success and happiness. Together they are a much more of a powerful motivation for you than either one is on its own.

Firstly, I want talk about ‘Love.’ I want to start by showing you a film by Mickey Smith. He is a surfer, photographer, and filmmaker. I am hoping he will be speaking at this year’s Do Lectures. It’s a beautiful film, both in how it looks and what it has to say.

I could be wrong, but I think Mickey has found something he loves doing.

If I can only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping. — Mickey Smith

If you are lucky enough to find something you love doing, you are at an incredible advantage in life.

For you, work will never feel like work, no matter how hard you work at it. You will never look at your watch, and think ‘not long now to home time’. You’ll never have a Sunday where you dread the Monday. And all those hours and hours you’ll put in will come from a hunger to learn and you won’t begrudge a single second of it.

Without wishing to be too morbid, it’s good to remind ourselves that we will all be much longer dead than we are alive. And if we could choose, it would be better to do all the boring things when we are dead. And keep those things that we love for the short time when we are alive on this mortal coil. The choice of what we do is indeed ours to make. But sometimes we forget that.

I think you owe it to yourself to, by hook or by crook, to make sure that you do ‘Your Love’ for a living. There’s always a way. Don’t listen to the excuses that you give yourself. Start at the bottom. But start at the bottom of something that is related to your dream. In the beginning it won’t make you rich, but it will always make you happy.

Here are a couple of role models of mine. I recommend you find one or two of your own to help motivate/lead you/to show you the way.


Jake Burton runs one of the most creative snowboard companies in the world. His mission statement to himself is to spend 100 days a year snowboarding.


Yvon Chournard, founder of Patagonia. I recommend everyone to go and read this man’s book. It’s called ‘Let my people go surfing’. He has made a business and life out of bringing his love and purpose together.

Talent is the desire to practice – Malcolm Gladwell

This quote is from Malcolm Gladwell who believes it takes 10,000 hours to become good at something. 10,000 hours is a short time to spend at something you enjoy, but an eternity if it’s something you have no love for.

Two Kinds of Passion: Hot Passion. And Cold Passion

I think it’s helpful to understand passion. I believe passion can both help you enormously and hinder you too. I believe there are two types of passion. One is ‘hot passion’. It is all heart; the head is not being called upon to think. And that means sometimes things can go wrong. Hot passion is a bit like infatuation; it burns brightly, but fades quickly.

Whereas ‘cold passion’ is calm, considered and long lasting. Both the brain and the heart are working together. Emotions have been taken out of decisions. And decisions are given time. And looked at from all angles. Cold passion is much more effective at getting results. Cold passion is like a lifelong love. Once decided upon, it’s almost impossible to stop loving.

It’s good to be aware of the difference between the two.

Find something you can’t live without.

I was lucky, I discovered what I wanted to do for a living early on. I wanted to have my own business: A sports brand.

At 16 I quit school and with £500, which was all of my dad’s savings, I started a market stall selling sportswear in what was then the coal mining towns of South Wales. It was a tough place to learn about business, but a great place.

There would be days that I would spend all day on the market stall and sell nothing. And because I hadn’t sold anything, I wouldn’t have any money for petrol. And because my car’s petrol gauge was broken, I knew I would run out petrol, I just didn’t know when.

That car taught me more about the importance of sales than anything else.

Just 6 months after starting I had to close the business and put my dream on hold. I had too many days on the market stall without selling anything. I had lost all my Dad’s money.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but failure was a good teacher. I didn’t have the skills I needed to run a business. I would have to go and learn them. I spent the next 15 years working in advertising. I learnt about ideas, brands and how to tell a story. I also learnt I still wanted to do my own thing. The dream had not gone away.

So we (Clare and I) started howies in 1995. Of course, my first shareholder was my dad. Along with his money he told me this: ‘wherever you go, go with all your heart. With that advice ringing in my ear, we wrapped our whole philosophy and values about life into it. For 6 years we did not pay ourselves. The love of it kept us going.

We got banned from The Mountain Bike Show, we got banned from The Malvern’s Bike event, we got sued by Levis, we saw our favourite band wear our t-shirts, we argued with Banksy, we won awards, we got voted one of the best brands in the UK.

It wasn’t always fun. But it was never work.

(The audience are asked what their love is, and then one by one they stand up and tell everyone.)

I now want to talk to you about purpose.

In 2006, howies was growing too fast, and we needed some more investment. We were lucky in as much as we had two companies who wanted to invest. In the end, we decided to sell to the ‘current owners’ as they understood the importance of Wales. The other deal was much more lucrative to Clare and myself but was more focused on California than Wales.

A year or so after selling to the ‘current owners’ I was in a meeting in Boulder, Colorado. I was told that I had to move ‘this bit’ of the business to this country and ‘this bit’ of the business to this country, or they would ‘spin us off’. I had to ask what ‘spin you off’ meant. (It means to sell you.)

Those kind of meetings are called ‘Dream Breakers’ for good reason. I emotionally left the company at that meeting.

On my return, I tried to buy the company back, but it wasn’t to be.

I will keep my thoughts about the current owners to myself, but I also had to look at myself and ask some tough old questions. And the uncomfortable truth was if I had been smarter at running a business, I would never have had to sell it to anybody. The mirror is a hard place to stand in front of sometimes.

Looking back, I could see that I had learnt how to build a brand, but not how to run a business.

So in October 2009, I left howies. The pain of leaving something I loved was less than the pain of staying and watch it turn into something I didn’t love.

For 3 months, I wrote a business plan for a jeans company. I felt it was a good idea. I knew I could fall in love with it. I had plenty of investors wanting to invest in it. But something was stopping me from doing it.

There was an element I didn’t want to run around the same track again. I was tired. And I was a little bit heart broken, if truth be known. So I just shelved the idea.

Instead, I put all my efforts into The Do Lectures. I had always wanted to do something world class, and there it was and right under my nose all along. It had a magical setting in fforest. (I will speak more about the importance of luck later.)

The Do Lectures was getting millions and millions of views. It was attracting great speakers, more than we could possibly cope with. And its reputation was quickly spreading. It was voted one of the top ten contemporary events in the world. It was a remarkable event for remarkable people and I was very proud to be a part of it.

All the time I would go running with my dog. Not really to get fit, but more just to try and forget about everything. A year later, with many miles run, I re-read the business plan for the jeans company. I loved it, still.

Then one day, after a conversation with the old designer from howies, I worked out what was stopping me starting the new company: I hadn’t worked out its purpose.

You see, as well as love, you need a purpose to really motivate yourself, and therefore succeed. You need to understand the ‘why’ you are doing something.

This video is of a company over in America called Raleigh denim. They are a good example of a company that has a purpose. They wanted to make things where they lived. They wanted to revive an old industry. I wish them the best of luck.



It was the same for me. I wanted to bring jobs to this small town called Cardigan. I wanted to make stuff here. That was the purpose I was missing. Lucky for me, Cardigan was a small town but it had an odd thing going for it.

Luck can only get you so far – JK Rowling

You can’t just rely on luck, but oh boy, sometimes luck falls into your lap. And when it does it makes life an awful lot easier, I can tell you. Having a World Class venue like fforest on our doorstep, well, that suddenly makes The Do Lectures exceptional.

If you were going to start a jeans factory in Britain, then Cardigan would probably have to be top of your list. That’s because it used to have the biggest jeans factory in Britain. Right here. Slap bang in the centre of Cardigan.

And most of that highly trained, highly skilled workforce were still in the town. That’s just down to luck.

So this Spring I am going to offer some of those people their jobs back. We are going to set up a jeans factory and then start making jeans overlooking Cardigan Bay.

I hope we can bring together those two words of ‘Love’ and ‘Purpose’. I hope I can make this town proud of revitalizing the jeans industry here. And I hope I have learnt all the lessons of the past. I can’t wait to get making again. Wish me luck.

For you, sitting in your seats right now, I have just this last piece of advice. Don’t worry about how many followers you have on Twitter or Facebook, but the thing to really follow is your heart.

Try and find something you love, and do it.

It will reward you in so many ways.

(The audience are asked what their purpose is, and then one by one they stand up and tell everyone.)




Time to go again


I took a look around to see which company I could call my jeans brand.

And I couldn’t find one.

So I am going to start a new jeans company in the spring.

I like quality. I like design. I like utility.

I like trying to change business models.

I like working for my customers.

I like working with talented enthusiastic people.

I like it when a company is striving to change things for the better.

I like being David in a world of Goliaths.

But I didn’t want to run around the same track again.

I wanted to do it differently this time.

So how are we going to do that?

Time, as they say, will reveal all.

User manual - Do Book Co (3)



3, Don’t underestimate the importance of lady luck.

Even with a great product, a noble purpose, a new business model, a team that all want the same thing for the business, you need luck on your side too. It is an odd thing to write in a user manual, but without it a business can fail. However if the stars are shining on you, you can ride most storms. 

It is an important to know the difference between your talent/vision giving you a good result and where you just rode your luck for all its worth. We shouldn’t kid ourselves that we have all the answers. We don’t. We never will.

There are ways where you can garner good luck, like lucky charms or not walking under ladders. In my experience these can often prove to be unreliable.

The best way to try and get luck on your side is to work hard at what you love doing, be honest with people, keep your word, treat people with good manners, and sometimes do things for people without expecting anything in return.

The other aspect to this is to try and see where the market is going even if no one else can see it. Look at a thing that doesn’t exist yet. Or at least ask yourself the question what would happen if it did exist. If you can see the trend before others, you can use the prevailing wind to blow into your sails.

Seeing where the market is going before the rest of the market is a skill. This has little to do with luck.

User manual - Do Book Co (2)



2, Like a tree, be happy to grow slowly.


What a business needs is a lot of patience. It needs to be given time to grow slowly so it can grow strong. We have to realise it can’t go straight from acorn to fully grown tree.


Most businesses are forced to grow more quickly than they would like because their costs are higher than they can afford, or they have taken on a lot of debt to start the business.


We know we have to keep our costs low and we will not take on debt to start the Do Book Co. Instead, we will raise money for working capital by selling shares in the company.


No loan to repay. No bank to answer to, just our customers and our shareholders.


And we will welcome debt into Do Book Co just like a tree would welcome a chainsaw.



User manual - Do Book Co (1)

1 of 20


1, Understand the importance of each penny spent.


We produce guides that make it easier to go and Do stuff. That is what we Do.

If we do it well, and by that I mean better than most, we will stay in business.


An important part of doing it well is making sure we keep our costs as low as we possibly can. In other words, we need to watch those pennies.  We need to spend each penny like it was the last one in our pocket. And we need to think long and hard about whether spending this money will bring more back to the company. If the answer is yes, then we should spend it. But if we are not sure, we should keep the penny safe in our pocket.


This should not be our mantra just for the early days; it should be our mantra for all the days. In the same way, you shouldn’t just brush your teeth well on the day you go to the dentist, but you should brush them well every day. (Guess whose been to the dentist today)


The good news is if we can be the masters of our costs, it will leave us more time and more money to work on making a great product. And making a great product is the best way I know of how to turn a penny into a pound.


Dear Jon,


Dear Jon,

I thought I would write my ‘Dear Jon’ letter at the

start of our relationship rather than at the end.

Next week is a big week for you and for The Do Book

Co: You start. There will be two of us in The Shed and it will

feel like the beginning.

But before you start, I have some thoughts. Last month, you were 

on the front cover of Wired Magazine.

It’s a real honour, especially if you are a geek.

My challenge to you is don’t let it be the last time that you appear on the front cover.

If we go and change how people read books, if we

can bring them to life like they have never lived before, you will appear on it

many times more than once.

See you Monday.


The Do Book Co

Oh, forgot to ask, how good do you want to be?









Humbling stuff


Just to say a thank you to everyone who has got back to me about investing in The Do Book Co.

I am not counting my chickens in anyway as the plan is still being written, but as of today we have more people interested in investing than we have shares to sell.

There is a great responsibility in having shareholders, just like there is having chickens.


Ownership is important. No one washes a rental car




Investors wanted -The Do Publishing Co

1, a great business is built with long term thinking

2, your ability to contribute a skill set as well as money is a positive

e-mail me for more info: [email protected]

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