Short version
My early career was eclectic … I started my first successful business at age 17, played drums for legendary songwriter Ray Davies (The Kinks), ran the England beach soccer team, and taught Mok-Ka kung fu after studying martial arts in the UK, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

For the last fifteen years, I have worked on leadership development and team dynamics. Clients have included huge multi-nationals you’ve heard of – and more recently, smaller companies you probably haven’t. I am also Individual Member #83 of 1% for the Planet, and a member of Acumen Next.

Long version
The first line of the short version is not the complete story: I actually started my first business aged 9, when I built a go kart and attempted to hire it out to my friends at 2p a ride. Unfortunately, I built the world’s slowest go kart and demand was not what I was expecting, so I don’t really talk about it.

Important lesson learnt.

In 6th form, I set up a sideshow on our local pier – this business worked. It involved attempting to shoot Chewits and Sherbet Dips off a couple of shelves using guns that fired corks. Demand was higher than I expected, making 17-year-old me rich [compared to his mates, at least].

Important lesson learnt.

[I sometimes wonder why I don’t still run that business].

17-year-old me also had a paper round, worked as a kitchen porter, and was doing his first paid gigs as a drummer.

After 6th form, I tried university for a couple of terms. Not for me.

Instead, I knocked about in London for a while … I sold phone systems for a few weeks [hated it] … became a luggage porter for a couple of months [was OK] … then worked in West End theatres for a year or so [loved it] …

Lots of lessons learnt.

The next parts of my life all overlap – I was rarely focused on one thing, but instead was doing some combination of:

  • Playing drums
  • Being a beach soccer promoter
  • Teaching at a Kung Fu academy
  • Running a music publishing company
  • Collecting other people’s rubbish
  • Travelling
 

After burning out in 2004, I spent a couple of years living and travelling in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Spain.

In 2006 I returned to the UK and began working as a facilitator for corporate team building events. For a decade or so, I loved it … until I began to get frustrated by the short-termism – “can you fix our team culture in one 2-hour workshop?” – and the constant search for shortcuts – “just give me the four-step process for leadership“.

It doesn’t work like that.

So, I wrote my Manifesto, update my journal, and now work with people who understand that the world is analogue, not digital.

Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …

Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …