Why the best entrepreneurs are ‘Charlie Sticks’?

Learning from a simple roof build.

We go through life trying to show everyone how indispensable we are. Then something happens to show us that we are not. And, it’s a tough lesson to have to learn. But, as painful as it is, it’s an important life lesson. Because once you have learnt it, everything is different after that point.

Instead of building businesses around you, you start to build them around the central thing you want to change. The job of the charismatic entrepreneur is to build a team around the mission.

This is the real job of the entrepreneur. They have to find the right people. And, then go and get them on board. The future team have to be inspired to leave what they are doing. They have to feel that they are about to do their ‘life’s work’.

The whole success of the mission will depend on who joins the team, and just as crucially, why they are joining it. Because a team built around a strong desire to change something is a hard one to stop.

The best entrepreneurs build teams. They build them around the thing they want to change. And the team knows how to stay true because everyone on the team knows what true is. And ultimately, the best entrepreneurs build teams so strong that the business won’t fall down when they leave.

Indeed, The best entrepreneurs are ‘Charlie Sticks’.


An example from the building industry.

A reciprocal roof is a beautiful and simple self-supporting structure that can be composed of as few as three rafters, and up to any imaginable quantity. Reciprocal roofs require no center support, and they are quick to construct. They are extremely strong. So they are perfect for round buildings and for living roofs too.

To start building a reciprocal roof, you will have to first install a temporary central support that holds the first rafter at the correct height. The first rafter is called ‘The Charlie Stick”.

The ‘Charlie Stick’ supports the entire structure. Each new pole rests on the last for support. Then, once the last pole is in, the ‘Charlie Stick’ can be very gently taken away. Your roof will now bear its own weight.

The ‘Charlie Stick’ did its job.

Some learning along the way.

1, Don’t follow.

2, Don’t seek consensus.

3, Trust your instinct.

4, Look for what isn’t there. But should be.

5, Ideas make you stand out. Great ideas make you standalone.

6, Ask dumb questions. They may not be that dumb.

7, Most great ideas have difficult births. Who would have bet on the caterpillar turning out so well?

8, Inform your ideas from what you see, what you hear, what you feel. Output needs input.

9, You already know your co-founder.

10, Remember, ideas are plentiful. People who make them happen are not.

11, Don’t let your idea down: Execute well.

12, Find the very best people you can and work with them.

13,Timing is more important than you think.

14, Love what you do. Or don’t do it.

15, Answer common problems. But do it uncommonly well.

16, Build something that you wouldn’t sell.

17, Some ideas look good on paper and suck in real life. And some suck on paper but work in real life.

Don’t be quick to judge your ideas.

18, Change something that bugs you. Chances are it bugs lots of people.

19, Failure is temporary. Get back on that darn horse.

20, Hire optimism as well as talent.

21, There are no short cuts. Do the work.

22, Enjoy the ride. It may be the best bit anyhow.

23, If you are going to try, go all the way.

A gobstopper has layers. So does the best selvedge.

As you suck a gobstopper, it reveals the next layer underneath. And as odd as it sounds, so does the very best Selvedge denim. That’s because the best selvedge is hand dipped many, many times. Alas, not all Selvedge is born the same.Some are dyed with a chemical dye. It’s quick, efficient and cost effective. There’s nothing wrong with it.

But one rule we have at Hiut Denim Co is work with the best. So we persuaded the iconic Japanese mill ‘Kuroki’ to supply us. They are world renowned for their ‘Genuine indigo dyed’ Selvedge. Our Kuroki Selvedge is dyed no less than 10 times.

Natural indigo dying is an extremely laborious and costly process. The cotton is dipped in the indigo prior to being shuttle woven. And it is dipped repeatedly. The more dips it has, the darker the cotton will be.

And after all that painstaking hard work, when you compare a natural dyed jean and a synthetic one, there would be very little to tell them apart. But under the surface, the story is different.

A machine dyed indigo dye only “clings” to the surface of the cotton yarn (leaving a white core). But a bona-fide indigo hand-dyed denim cotton deeply penetrates right down to the center of the yarn. As a result, hand-dyed denim will not only fade more slowly, but more beautifully.

Its layers will be revealed over time. Like, you know what…

Stop. Pause. Log-off.

This is one busy world. 

Distractions are at home and at work.

And everywhere in between the two.

You don’t have much time to do some clear thinking.

And without it, you won’t change much.

Change comes from looking at a problem from a different point of view.

Change comes from connecting odd things, events and behaviours.

Change comes from quiet pondering and quick prototyping. 

So somehow you will have to find time.

It’s not difficult.

Each electrical device we own comes with an off button.

30 Minute Rule

If where you are right now isn’t where you want to be, well, you can change that.

And it doesn’t take much doing.

But it does require consistent doing.

There is no trick. There is no short cut.

Only short bursts of hard work.

Quick sprints each day can make great change overtime.

You sprint. You rest.

Then you come back and do the same tomorrow.

You commit.

And you keep committing.

You can get fit this way. You can learn a language this way. You can write a book this way. You can start a company this way.

You have the ideas.

You have the talent.

Commit some time to them.

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If you like ideas, it will inspire you.