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.

My Magazine Theories

1, Subscribing to more than 10 magazines is too much. Devour the ones you have. Subscribing to more magazine means you will pay less attention to the ones you already have. Optimum number is between 4-8.

2, Pick some magazines that you wouldn’t normally pick. Random ideas don’t come from keeping the same old interests. The 80/20 law is good: 80% from what you are interested in. 20% from odd things you wouldn’t normally pick.

3, Scrapbooks are cool. Scrapbooking stuff that has interested you is important. Remember, you can’t remember everything. Just cutting something out and sticking it into a scrapbook means you are already paying attention to it. Scrapbooking will help with ideas, even it is not clear quite how just yet. Let ‘later on’ work out why this daft article will be of any use to you in the future.

4, If you subscribe to a magazine, you have to find one article each time that you want to scrapbook. If you go 3 editions without finding an article worth Scrapbooking, you should un-subscribe.

5, Always be looking for fresh new magazines. Print is alive and kicking right now. The best ones marry great design with great content. Don’t be seduced by just great design.

6, Getting a great deal on a subscription isn’t the reason to get a magazine. But great content is.

7, It’s a good idea to find different magazines from different countries. It gives you a different viewpoint.

8, Don’t always pick the ones that agree with your view of the world. Don’t pick easy. A magazines job is to inform, entertain but also to challenge you in someway too.

9, Keep on browsing. Just because you have made your magazine selection, doesn’t mean you can’t spend hours in newsagents just to confirm you have picked the right ones.

10, The measure of a great magazine is how hard it is to throw the darn thing away.

Optimism is a friend

There are no guarantees given to an entrepreneur. No guaranteed pensions at the end of their years. There may not even be a salary at the end of the month. Optimistic isn’t just a nice thing to be, it is a necessary thing to be.

When you start out on a new business, there are more people to persuade you that it’s a dumb idea than there are that it is a smart idea. Your bank will not get it. (Almost a rights of passage.) Your friends will try to put you off. Even your most loved ones will seek to persuade you against it.

And yes, you have talent on your side. You will experience on your side. You will have passion on your side. But where you are going, you will also have self-doubt.

That’s why you will need optimism to slay the 'Resistance' that self-doubt wants to put up. 'Resistance' is a big enemy but optimism has the special powers to defeat it. When your business is not working as planned, what makes you keep at it? Trust me, it’s not logic or common sense. When things are going bad, they want to wave the white flag.

But optimism fights them back. There is a power at work with optimism that goes beyond the rational and the logical.

Optimism is informed by knowledge and instinct, for sure. But there is a little bit of the unknown about optimism. It's like magic. It doesn’t provide you with hard evidence but instead it asks you to trust in a higher power. And that’s hard. It asks you to trust in your beliefs even when there is no sane reason for doing so.

To some, indeed to most people, this is too much to ask. To trust in the unknown, to trust in a gut instinct, to keep thinking things will get better when all the evidence says the opposite, is just too much to ask.It’s why entrepreneurs are freaks, loners and misfits. They have something missing that allows them to be blinkered to what the world is telling them.

They are not just risk takers, they are believers in the unproven, untested, and the unlikely and they are willing to trust in their ideas when the crowd keeps telling them they are just plain-crazy.

Sometimes optimism is their only friend.

Meet The Makers - Factory Open Day - April 5th.

Twice a year we will have a factory open day. 

You will get to meet the Grand Masters.

You can find out the art of cutting denim.

You can find out what our plans are for the coming year.

You can tell us how to get better.

You can buy our latest cuts.

You can also buy our factory seconds and returns at a crazy good price.

So come along, we will put the kettle on.

Don't blame me for the choice of music, it's beyond my control.

Meet the Makers Day – April 5th. 10am -1pm.

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.