Sunday, 31 August 2008

Creating Something From Nothing (II)

13 months ago I finished writing my first book, ‘Leap!’. Here’s how I described it in the blog in July 2007.

I have just finished writing ‘Juggle!’ (right now).

‘Leap!' took a while in its gestation.

‘Juggle!’ has been rapid. The proposition changed as I wrote it. It’s been 'bloody hard work' (and that’s the censored version).

I have given my all (any less would not have sufficed).

Here’s the stats:

From 1 idea to 40,572 words.
Via 87 chapters in 4 sections.
With 9 interviews, written in 4 cities, in three countries.
76 days from first scribble to today.
69 days from first word typed to last word.
68.25 hours of screen editing (in addition to paper edits)
527 revisions.

I’m knackered.

Good night x

Friday, 29 August 2008

More About 'Juggle!'

'Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim your Life’ is my new book, out in January. 'Juggle!' shows people how to carve out a work life that goes beyond a job title; where The Work You is The Real You/ The Best You; where you can mix up your passions and celebrate your multi-dimensional talents. Where there are no limits to what you do, and where you mix up work and play to get the most out of life.

The book reveals the insight of leading Jugglers with contributions from Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi; Mike Southon, Financial Times columnist and best-selling business author; Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine entrepreneur and Internet celebrity; Roxanne Darling, Hawaii-based coach, speaker, new media advisor and video blogger.

Juggle! is for anyone searching for fresh ideas and solutions to re-frame their worklife.

Watch the latest trailer here and you can pre-order the book here (just be a bit patient if you order it now, because ..ahem... I haven't quite finished it yet).

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Introducing Kevin Roberts

Yesterday afternoon on the roof terrace of the Publicis building at the top of the Champs-Élysées in Paris I met fellow Chief Juggler Kevin Roberts. Kevin is the New York-based CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi - one of the world’s leading creative organisations with a team of over 7,000 people across 83 countries. He is also sits on the Publicis board, he's the inaugural CEO in Residence at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, he’s Chairman of USA Rugby, a trustee of the Turn Your Life Around Trust & a Sponsor Governor of Lancaster Royal Grammar School as well as a bunch of other stuff. He blogs, he’s the author of ‘Lovemarks’ and ‘The Lovemarks Effect’. Now a New Zealand citizen, he has offices and homes in Auckland and New York, and homes also in St Tropez and Grasmere in the UK. So you can see why I chose him to feature in my book as a Juggler – he does SO MUCH stuff! This guy is truly nomadic; from Paris it was back to New York, then off to Peru, Mexico, Miaimi and Brussels – that’s just the next week.

It was great of Kevin to find time in his schedule for a chat, especially when he’s suffering from a broken arm from a bike fall. The vista from the roof terrace was stunning - a close-up view of the Arc De Triomphe. Our filming was briefly interrupted by a procession of the French Olympians returning from Beijing in a fleet of open top buses.

Our chat was filmed for the video series of ‘The Juggle Interviews’ that will be released later in the year. Also, much of Kevin's insight and approach to life will be featured throughout my book 'Juggle!' when it's out in 2009.

A huge thanks to Steven Mayatt for his work yesterday on stills and video.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Introducing The Juggler T-Shirt!

Hot off the press, an exclusive Juggle t-shirt!

I say ‘exclusive’ as there are only two in existence at the moment so it’s only a limited edition but we are going to be creating some other designs featuring a range of other Juggle slogans that will be available later in the year for purchase from the new Juggle website.

A huge thanks to Paul and Sheena at meandhim for pulling out the stops and getting these done so quickly. Cheers guys…

The Importance Of Luck

In my first book 'Leap!' I talk about the importance of luck in business. There’s lots of ways luck can help you achieve your goals. I talked about the example of when you’re early for a train, grab a copy of a magazine you wouldn’t normally pick up and find THE article that has enormous value to your business or will earn you kudos with your client. It’s happened to me a few times.

This week I got an email from a reader of the book who has decided to quit his job to set up a new business; the book had given him the confidence that he is on the right rack and has the right attitude to make it work.

“I have just read the section on ‘Luck’ and we recently just happened to stop for a coffee in Portobello market, and started looking through the various papers on the table. I noticed an article about a couple who had done exactly what we plan to do and become very successful. They highlighted the hard work involved, which we are fully aware of & ready for. This article couldn't have come at a more poignant time in our planning”

As a result of seeing that article by pure chance, my reader emailed the couple from the article and they are meeting up in September. Just by chance, he’s met some people who might be very useful to his business.

Try and be lucky this week....

Friday, 22 August 2008

My 'Dam Week

I’m back from Amsterdam and 40,698 words later the latest draft of my 'Juggle!' manuscript is ready. One week of ‘polishing’ to go!

I really enjoyed the trip away, I spent many hours in the coffee shops (the ones where they serve espresso) and bars of the city.

My highlights: Café De Doffer on Runstraat for a club sandwich at cup of tea; Panini on Vijzelgracht for a late night bowl of penne and a tumbler of house wine; the lovely Cafe de Jaren for a cheese sandwich and a coffee or two. My true highlight was dinner at Sluizer on Utrechtsestraat, a really classic restaurant. Highly recommended.

I stayed at Hotel Orlando, not so much a hotel, more some rooms in a lovely old house. The Sunday Telegraph described it as "This discreet little pad, spread over three floors of a stately, canal facing house dating from the 1680s, feels like a rather swanky private home. The owner, an affable ex-lawyer, has furnished the bedrooms with great flair: bare oak floors, silk curtains, Philippe Starck lighting and big, bold modern paintings set the tone". It felt like my very own writer’s garret.

Above, some photos of my 'office' for the week...

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Heathrow T5

'Terminal 5 is working' run British Airways' new ads, championing the success of Heathrow's Terminal 5 after some terrible launch problems. Today I experienced T5 for the first time. As the glass elevators whisked us up from The Heathrow Express to Departures and I entered the building, I was impressed. Whatever the pessimists have to say about the poor impression the UK's airports give to visitors entering the country, T5 is a huge improvement on the rest of Heathrow. Great design, loads of glass, feels very fresh - if you can forget you are standing in a shopping mall. It was all going so well....
...until we came to Gate 10a and then the 21st Century experience ceased as a bus drew up to take us from terminal to aircraft. One fellow traveller quipped, 'We're taking the bus to Amsterdam?!'.

I guess this about capacity problems rather than shortcomings of the new Terminal, but a shame not to have to the experience I was anticipating.

But I guess I'd have to agree with BA, it is working (kind of).

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Deadlines, And What To Do About Them

'11 days'

I like deadlines. Where would we be without a deadline? Unfinished & undelivered. Or with products and projects that would never see the light of day.

When I realised I had just 11 days between now and the submission date for my next book, I knew I needed to take some drastic action.

What could I do in my schedule to create a focus to spend some time on the book? A focus free of business and family distractions in an environment to stimulate and inspire?

Answer = a trip away. I started the book in Nice, France and will finish it in the city of Amsterdam. I have always had a love affair with Amsterdam, I think it is beautiful, the canals and the architecture always inspire.

I leave Tuesday, with a mission: To mould 37,730 words into a masterpiece.

Choosing To Be In Control

I was talking a friend this weekend who has taken the Leap to work for herself, and I was reminded why so many people choose to go it alone.

To be in control.

Increasingly we want to take control of our lives, from designing our own homes to growing our own vegetables. So it’s no surprise people take the Leap! to be in control of their own destiny, to shape what they do, how they do it and where they do it from.

It may sound clichéd but when you start working for yourself you really can shape and create your own destiny. You need to ensure you make the necessary investment of ideas, enthusiasm and talent in order to create a success. It’s a direct result of what you put in.

When you start working for yourself the relationship between your personal and business self is very intimate, it’s intricately linked. There is no separation as you might have had in your old job, you can’t just say, ‘oh well that’s a work thing’ because business becomes a life thing.

When you hit problems, challenges or obstacles it may threaten your whole well being. You are your business and that means you can’t help taking knocks personally.

So you just have to focus on what you can control to resolve the problems. Being in control is such a positive force, if you control your working life, your working day, you can make a choice. A choice about how hard you work. A choice about juggling work with childcare; juggling work time with playtime. If you start work at 07.00, you can choose to finish early.

My father’s generation went off to work in the morning and came back in the evening. Work was pretty much separate from life. In the scrambled up world of work it’s all mixed up.

When I was a small boy I struggled to understand the concept of work. I thought workers like my father were given instructions at the train station each morning for what they had to do once they got to the office. I didn’t understand self-enterprise, autonomy or responsibility. I never could have imagined how things change and that no-one except yourself tells you what to do. That there is that freedom to manage your own time. Adjusting to that is an important discipline; you have to ask yourself if it’s okay taking a day off for your birthday; the holiday request forms go in your own in-tray.

That’s a lot of responsibility but at least you get to make the decisions.

These themes are much of the territory of my first book 'Leap!'; in 'Juggle!' I will show you the importance of choosing to be in control, whether you work for yourself or for a company.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A Huge Global Event...Going Local

I think the 2012 Olympics is great news for London so I was delighted to hear news this week that my local beauty spot Hadleigh Castle is going to be the venue for the mountain biking. Hadleigh Castle is 700 years old and has a stunning vista on top of a hill overlooking the Thames Estuary.

It’s great to have the Olympics on our door step and a great feeling when such a huge global event like the Olympics touches you locally.

See the press release here.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Don’t Forget Local

Whatever the merits of doing business online, huge global brands, trading globally, outsourcing, blah blah don’t forget the importance of ‘Local’.

Here’s our local fish-shop, where we bought Saturday night’s dinner. A fish merchants that has stayed the same for decades. It sells fish. No frills, no gimmicks. A huge central table full of fish. An aisle to the left to enter, an aisle to the right to leave.

Survival in business is sometimes about change; but here's a retail business that will hopefully survive without having too change too much.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

'What's Juggle All About?'

Here's a short video about the new book ...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

'Pioneering Spirit'

Here are some stills from last week's shoot of the 'Pioneering Spirit' videos for Courvoisier The Future 500.
Pic #1 I am interviewing Ian Burrell, restauranteur and rum guru; #2 is Sam Bompas, architectural foodsmith and Jelly Genius; #3 is technology expert David Prior ; and #4 Jennifer Williams-Bafoe, consultant to the fashion industry (with apologies to Neil Fairbrother - no stills available).
The videos are currently in post-production.

* Thanks to Amy Osborne for the photos

Introducing Chris Gould

Back in the ‘90s Chris Gould worked for me. Chris was a talented radio engineer who became a technical project manager. Then one day he started talking about new media and data and moved to work in digital radio.
Chris now heads up his own company All In Media and I’m proud to count Chris as one of my clients. The business is still young but already had successes in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Yesterday’s Business section of ‘The Telegraph’ profiled Chris and his business.
Read Chris’s story of why he took the leap to work for himself and what his business has achieved here.

picture copyright The Telegraph

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

My New Book Title

There are no tropical rainforests in my new book.
There are no swamps.
No tangled undergrowth.
No exotic birds or apes swinging from the trees.

So I had to laugh when I saw the listing for the new book on

They have it down as ‘Jungle!’


Introducing Gary Vaynerchuk…

For my next book, I have assembled a virtual panel of 'Jugglers'; people who have achieved success by being multi-dimensional. One of those is New Jersey-based wine guru and internet celebrity Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary runs his own wine business, presents a daily videoblog to 80,000 fans and commentates on new media and social networking. I am conducting email – and video – interviews with these Jugglers and their experiences and feedback will be used in the book.

There's an interview with Gary, 'The Wine World's New Superstar' in
yesterday’s 'Independent'.

Check it out, he's going to be BIG, and I'm chuffed he's featuring in my new book.