ready to unfuck your head and your brand?

ready to unfuck yourself and your brand?

The medicine is right in front of you.

You’re just not looking hard enough.

Go on. Look harder. Little bit harder. Just there. It’s RIGHT there, mate.

Somedays my head is fucked. A swirling soup of worry. It’s been like this since day dot.

The stupefying feeling of you’re just not good enough.

School. Work. Sport. Managers. Basically everyone, bar my Mum and Dad, said you’re not good enough.

It’s my shadow. Birthplace of drive. Bulwark of grit. Fuel. Fodder. I need it. Love it. Just need to manage it.

So many founders I interview have this Messiah-Imposter Complex

Swinging from the Tree of Messiah “I can do anything” ……to the Imposter Tree of “fuck me, I’m useless”

Rambunctious to rudderless, formidable to feeble, courageous to catatonic.

“I can take on the fucking world, let’s GO”

“will this work?”

“I’m a piece of shit, this isn’t going to go anywhere”

“most businesses fail, will mine?”

“this a complete walk in the park mate”

Being a founder is HARD.

Recently, building HUNGRY. has been really, really rough mentally.

I am needy. I love people, people give me energy and life.

Since leaving my job where I was surrounded people all the time. Laughing all the time.

Now. I am mostly alone, thrashing away at a keyboard with the ghosts in my mind. Somedays I won’t speak to anyone. Other days it’s a vacant smattering on WhatsApp.

Loneliness is rough.

I say to myself “be grateful, Dan, you’ve got your dream job”. “How about we write down some gratitude things you silly little sausage”.

But I don’t feel grateful. Sorry to every Insta Life Coach from Clapham.

Loneliness is common in all founders.

This helped me, hopefully it’ll help you too.

From the dusty cobwebs of my mind, I remembered a quote by Bob Dylan.

“In nature there's a remedy for almost everything and that's where I go hunting for it”

he looks over the moon to be on a walk

Bob, bless him, clearly hasn’t been to Bognor Regis.

Things better than Bognor Regis.

  • pub crawl on Lime bikes with Tim Spector #Timmy-on-the-Tinny’s.


  • rock climbing with a gaggle of the Apple Genius bar team-who-like-wearable-tech-and-goatees #iStrapOn … (not like that, crikey, it’s Friday Morning.. you’ve a filthy mind)

So sorry for sounding like a sanctimonious Organicista. A Beth Green living in Bethnal Green. “Yes, your peaches and dungarees and nectarines are organic”. “But is your nose ring certy organic babes?”

But Nature really is Thy Medicine.

Starter: What would it mean to live at the speed of wood?

Found this on the wonderful Tessa Stuart’s Instagram “What would it mean to live at the speed of wood?”

Founders constantly live in the future. Rushing. Rushing. Rushing. Next listing. Next meeting. Next this. Next that.

Trees are stoic reminders for founders to slow down.

Trees around us RIGHT NOW have seen more than we ever will.

From the Battle of Hastings to WW1 and WW2 and they’ll be here for WW3 and 4 and 5.

As William Chase, founder of Tyrells says “Nature fills your mind with freedom”

On a walk the other day in Nature (obvs) I asked myself: “What would it mean to live at the speed of wood”.

It grounded my grubby Air Force Ones in Stoicism. Stopped the endless worrying. Endless beating myself up.

Reminded me of a quote from Seneca - “We believe these affairs of our are great because we are small”.

In the end, it’s all a load of bollocks. Don’t turn your imagination into worry.

So slooooooow down. Enjoy it.

The Sainsbury’s listing isn’t going to make you happy or solve all your problems.

It’s the walk to work.

The big raise won’t be the panacea you hoped of.

It’s asking how your employee that you really care about weekend was?

Slooooooow down. Enjoy it.

Main Course: Be a Gardener not a founder.

“Heyyy there, it’s Alan” #candid #bamboozledAlan

“Christ, I’m holding in a fart” #baffedAlan


A huge problem awaits you. A red eyed, green growth goblin with haggard yellow teeth who stinks of shite is hiding in the weeds as you strut down the road of scale.

The Principle Agent Problem.

The principal–agent problem refers to the conflict in interests and priorities that arises when one person or entity (the "agent") takes actions on behalf of another person or entity (the "principal")

Founder = principle.

Agent = employee.

In our challenger brand language.

Principle-Agent Problem - as you get bigger, the further the employee from the founder, the harder it is to get people to care as much as you.

Founder - really, really, really, really, really, really, really gives a fuck.

First 10 employees - really, really, really, really, gives a fuck. (good share options)

20 -50 employees - really, really, really gives a fuck

100-200 employees - really, really gives a fuck

200 - 500 employees - really give a fuck

500+ employees gives a fuck

How to solve this?

See growing your brand like growing a tree.

you, the founder (first embryo)

core team (nucleus)

senior management (roots)

team (branches)

employees (leaves)

As you scale be a don’t be a founder. Be a gardener, guard your brand.

First, water and nurture the Purpose Plant.

Second, cut out dodgy weeds i.e. remove dodgy hires or processes or meetings.

Third, shower it with the sunlight (the vision). Pour the vision on your team regularly.

Fourth, build deep, strong root through codifying DNA and brand values.

So many guests know the is the way to build a brand is to grow the tree.

You have to tell people and employees your story if you want to build your brand. But there has to be real DNA behind it if you want to be successful.” - William Chase, Tyrells”

Your role as a founder when you get bigger is to JUST HIRE, be a recruiter, feeding the DNA is like watering the plant.” - Stuart Forsyth, Minor Figures

“my role is simply to feed the machine with my DNA” - Greg Marchand, Frenchie.

We spent 3 months codifying our Lucky Saint Values, like Devil in the detail. Codify your DNA into core values - Luke Boase, Lucky Saint”

Dessert: the answer to your problem is hidden in plain sight.

Everyday is pain and something will break.

Delivery to Sainsbury’s goes walkies.

Morrison’s availability looks like a nightclub in Hull on a Monday.

Game investors, ghost.

Production issues. People issues. Personal issues. Palaver.

So many try to problem solve in meetings. Or zoom calls. Or on the bog-scrolling-on-the-Mail Online.

Problem solving doesn’t happen on Zoom calls.

Problem solving requires space.

Nature is space.

  1. “Nature fills your Mind with freedom” - William Chase

  2. “No problem is solved on your email or phone, you need deep and impactful, not shallow and busy” - David Hieatt

  3. “Creativity and problem solving requires you DO NOTHING and CREATE SPACERory Sutherland. Nature is nothing and space.

Want to unfuck your brand and your head.

Get off your lappy, grab your labby (if you’ve got one, otherwise just pretend you do).

Get out in Nature.

HONESTLY - thank you so much for reading this newsletter. Means the world to me.

Would so appreciate if you may please forward to a friend, share on LinkedIn - it all helps spread the Gospel #JAHBless

And, would so so love to hear from you, too.

What are you going through? What hurts? What sucks? What’s going well? What are you celebrating?

Am all ears.

Popey x