November 2019


Paint a masterpiece.

Paint something amazing.

Something original.

Paint something truly, truly beautiful.

So beautiful that people stop along their way.

So that they stop and stare.

And gasp.

And smile.

Paint a masterpiece.


A true masterpiece is arresting.




And surprising.

A true masterpiece is something no one will have ever seen anything the likes of before.

A true masterpiece inspires for generations.

It will outlast you.

A true masterpiece can, in fact, live forever.

Painting By Numbers.


There is an alternative.

There is an alternative to the beauty and the surprise and the adventure of creating a masterpiece.

And that alternative is painting by numbers.

Painting by numbers is far, far easier than painting a masterpiece.

And safer.

Because there is absolutely no risk.

You have a blueprint telling you what to do.

So you know what you’re going to get.

And everyone else knows what they’re going to get, too.

Because you are simply following what someone has done before you.

There is an alternative to the beauty and the surprise and the adventure of creating a masterpiece.

And that alternative is painting by numbers.


Paint your tomorrow.

And choose your approach, too.

Either the safety of painting by numbers.

Or the beauty and the surprise and the adventure of creating a masterpiece.

But do pick up your brush.

Choose carefully.

And paint.

75 of the top 100 grossing films.


In history.

So that’s 75%.

Or three-quarters of the top grossing films ever made.

Have one thing in common.

They’re remakes or sequels.


Originality is important.

Being pioneering is important.

And it’s exciting too.

But sometimes.

A thing that was served to one generation.

In one way.

Can be better served to a new generation.

Or a new audience.

In a new, interesting and amazing way.


I suppose DJ’s are doing this all the time.

Or at least most of the time.

Serving up other people’s music.

Reacting to a crowd.

Being spontaneous.

Creating an experience.

Building mood.

And emotion.

With other people’s tunes.



Done carefully and well.

Can be amazing.


You know I’m a fan of Antony and the Johnsons.

And I quite like that John Lennon too.

So when I realised that Antony Hegarty (now Anohni) had covered Lennon’s finest tune.


I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.

And whilst it’ll not be for everybody.

I love it’s rawness.

And it’s bravery.

Do Your Thing.



Make it yours.

Just do it really well, OK?

Do your thing with it.

Have a listen:


One of the hardest lessons that I had to learn in business.

Because it’s counter intuitive.

(And because I was quite young when I founded my first business.

So I was naive.

And daft.

And stubborn).

Was not to chase the money.


In fact.

And this is true.

The times when I have made most money.

Have been the times when I have not been chasing money at all.

I’ve been focusing on the change I am trying to make.

Or obsessing over quality and telling the story of that obsession.

Or being innovative.

Or having fun.

Or doing something truly pioneering.

All of this with one eye on the core business of course.

But I was definitely not chasing the money.

The Reason. 

And here is the reason why chasing the money is the wrong thing to do.

(A neat sentence coming up, if ever I saw one).

Is because the turnover and the (hopefully) resulting profit are simply a lagging indicator of your success.

I’ll say that again.

Money is a lagging indicator of your success.

I like that.


So there you go.

Don’t chase money.

That’s boring.

Chase the change you are trying to make.

Inside the framework of a sensible business model.

And the money will come.

I don’t think that attention is diminishing.

I think attention is evolving.

Choice and Noise.

Businesses and brands can still get attention.

Of course they can.

Even though choice and noise is so expansive.

All you have to do is to do things.

And say things.

That deserve attention.


With businesses that I’ve created.

And businesses that I have helped others to start or scale-up.

One of the best ways to get attention.

Is to have an opinion.

And to explain that opinion colourfully and consistently.

That’s one of the things that all great brands do well.


People want to engage.

They are just more discerning about what they want to engage with

So if you are a brand that is feeling ignored.

Think about what you think.

Think about the change you want to make.

Then create better content around that change.

And keep going.

Because if the change you are trying to make matters.

Then eventually.

They’ll get it.

In brand building.

Story is gold.

It’s all about story.

And how it is told.

But it has to be your own authentic story, of course.

Because that’s what true and enduring relationships are built upon.


Here’s how strange one of my current ANGELFYSH clients is.

And by strange.

I mean brilliant.

Because he’s so strange.

That he doesn’t realise how brilliant he is.


A big part of my job as a brand builder.

Is to help people to find and tell their story.

And it has to be their version of their story.

Not mine.

Look Closely. 

So I have to look closely.

And I have to listen hard.

Because that way.

I find the good stuff!


Here is something that a client of mine actually said last week.

This is almost word for word.

And it is solid gold:

Of course, I listened to advice about how to build and run the business.

Advice from accountants.


Other business people. 

But the vision that grew inside my own heart.

And inside my own head was much more personal.

So that’s the vision I’ve followed.

And I’ve managed to get away with doing things my way. 

I’ve managed to get away with doing things properly.

It made me smile.

Because it’s just so ‘him’.

So insightful.

And honest.

And funny.

And authentic.


In brand building.

Story is gold.

It’s all about story.

And how you tell it.

But it has to be your own authentic story, of course.

Because that’s what true and enduring relationships are built upon.

I’m not sure what you’ll think of this.

It’s a 1994 album.

Called ‘Showbiz’.

By a band called ‘Cud’.

Mark Shayler.

I bloody love this album.

And I think my friend Mark Shayler might like it, too.

Because Mark dresses funkily.

And because Mark’s head is filled with magic.

But I’m not sure what you will think.


The album is unusual!

(But then so is Mark).

Let’s see if you like it:

McNair don’t beat about the bush.

They say they make the best mountain shirts in the world.

And personally.

I don’t doubt it for a second.


My McNair shirt is red.

It’s this one:

The reason I mention it is because I am a big fan of the ‘Do One Thing Well’ ethos.

And McNair embrace this wholeheartedly.


McNair started because of an itch they had.

The itch, which led them to scratch their head, was this.

Why is it.

When I go up a mountain to ski or whatever.

That I have to wear an adult sized padded baby grow?

In pink.

Or bright blue.

Or both.

Then, they chose the best merino wool.

Harnessed classic design.

Upgraded it for the harshest conditions.

Yet made it practical for urban living.

And away they went.

A McNair Shirt.


McNair Shirts aren’t cheap.

But that’s as it should be.

When you do one thing well.

And you commit.

The results are generally superb.

And worth the investment.

And that’s what’s happened here.

Here they are: