Do Lectures Start-up - Wales, April 2013

Well, a week has passed and I'm still trying to absorb the experience that was the Do Lectures Start-up. It was a whirlwind three days full of inspiration and great people, all in the amazing setting that is Fforest. 

I won't revisit the details of the event itself, but rather talk about the take-away messages I was left with.

It's no longer acceptable to run a business that doesn't try to make a positive impact beyond the bottom line
We all know that there are huge problems facing the UK and rest of the world. These problems cannot be solved by governments alone, and yet so few companies take their responsibilities beyond the bottom-line seriously. CSR remains a box-ticking exercise for most. This is simply no longer good enough - we need companies built on values that truly drive their actions, and that scale their social and environmental impact along with their bottom-line growth.   

Surround yourself with the right people
There were people of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and areas expertise at Do. What bound us together was our desire to contribute, our open minds and our passion to keep learning. Surrounded by people like this, anything is possible. 

Place matters
The location of Do was a huge part of the whole experience. There is simply no way that the vent would be the same run in a hotel or conference centre. The shared experience of camping, eating and drinking beer together by the light of fire-pits lifted the whole event from the simply amazing to the truly magical. 

Big problems can be solved by small solutions
Our groups were all set big issues to address - lack of housing in the UK, kids not spending enough time outside, lack of jobs for young people in rural areas. Without exception each group made progress in developing a solution that would help solve the issue. There were no magic cures here, just realistic, practical and imaginative solutions that would help. With enough of these, we can make real progress in solving these huge problems, step by step. 

Understanding the 'why' is as important as the 'what'
People buy from people. They need to understand what you stand for, and why your are doing what you are doing. Your values and motivations are at least as important as what you're doing, and allow you to build genuine connections with all your stakeholders. 

You can do a lot in three days!
In the space of three days the 80 delegates heard talks from 21 inspirational people (ranging from teachers and chefs to inventors, designers and entrepreneurs), started 8 ventures (3 of which got funded) and raised £40k in an auction for the new Do School. There was time for plenty of socializing, but not much time for sleep….a short period of focused time can go a long way!

The combination of place, people and time make this a truly special event, and one that will always live with me. 

Time to start Doing. 

My top speaker quotes

  1. "navigate with your values" - Andy Middleton
  2. "think better not bigger" - Owen Rogers
  3. "sell your pursuit, not your product" - Collyn Ahart
  4. "be humble - your brand will never be as important as the culture it's a part of" - Collyn Ahart
  5. "making things is messy" - Mark Boulton
  6. "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing" - Michael Acton Smith
  7. "ask for forgiveness, not permission" - Michael Acton Smith
  8. "do something you love with people you love" - Adil Abrar
  9. "the character of your company is in the mind of the consumer" - Tim Little
  10. "think big, stay humble" - Jenny Fielding
  11. "people don't buy what you do, it's why you do it" - Amy-Jo Martin
  12. "get comfortable with being uncomfortable" - Amy-Jo Martin
  13. "no-one has all the answers" - Damon Collins
  14. "it's all about vision, focus and people" - Damon Collins
  15. "find something you love enough to spend 10 years on it. This is your market" - Kathryn Parsons
  16. "make work feel like play" - Zach Klein
  17. "build the company you wouldn't sell" - Zach Klein