Simon Woodroffe founded YO! Sushi in 1997. He was a ‘dragon’ on the first series of Dragon’s Den, too.
I heard Simon speak at an event about 15 years ago. A story he told about seeds changed my life.
I’ll not relay this story perfectly. But here’s how I remember it.
Simon Woodroffe is a big Ian Dury and The Blockheads fan. Ian Dury died in 2000 and shortly after that Simon Woodroffe called The Blockheads.
(I don’t know how he found them. But it’s easier than you think to reach pretty much anyone in my experience).
Anyhow, in the phonecall Simon told The Blockheads how much he loved them, how sad he was about Ian Dury’s passing and also that he’d cobbled together a song in their honour.
Then he sewed a seed.
Simon asked if he could send them the song. They said OK.
Simon sent the song. And that was that.
A couple of months later, so Simon’s story goes, he was wandering by the vegetables in his local Tesco. As he picked up an aubergine, his phone rang.
He answered, and a voice said, “Simon – how does this sound?”
For the next three minutes or so Simon stood open mouthed, aubergine in hand as his heroes The Blockheads played their version of his song down the phone.
The seed had grown.
So he sewed another.
He asked if he could record the song with them, Simon singing the lead vocal that he’d imagined his hero Ian Dury would have sung.
They said yes. Soon after the song was recorded and released as a single.
That seed grew too.
Simon went on to explain how he sews seeds like this every day.
Most fall of fallow ground. But some don’t. Some grow into amazing things. Like these seeds did.
My lesson was this:
Until you ask, the answer is no.
Nowadays, I ask lots of questions. Each question is a seed. Some grow. Most don’t. But I keep on asking and I keep on sewing.
Because whilst I have no idea which seeds will grow and which won’t, there is absolute surety in the fact that if I choose to sew nothing – I grow nothing.
Tomorrow, in Part 2 of this story, I’ll let you know some of the questions I’ve asked.
I’ll let you know about the seeds that didn’t grow. And the seeds that did.