Simon and I met at the Highly Flammable Wellington / Pledge Me Launch Party in early 2012. We had a great yarn at the party and were both excited about what we were each working on. The next day we went for coffee and I learnt about Simons interests and skills as a designer; among many other things. Simon first came onboard to help us create stunning proposals and upgrade our brand - our proposals become a point of difference that our clients LOVE.
Simon got more and more involved in Highly Flammable and eventually joined me as a business partner with an ownership stake. The adventures together since then have been numerous; stage managing crazy shows at Rhythm and Vines Festival, letting off pyrotechnics at all sorts of corporate events, pitching crazy over the top ideas to clients and even climbing Mount Doom with Mirrorman for an overly ambitions photoshoot. Our meetings generally consist of triple shot expressos, soy mochas and water being spilt everywhere due to our excited hand gestures over the 'next big idea'. Some of our mad ideas don't make it our of the cafe (Nomad Pirate Co-working space anyone?!) - but we are always proud to see many of the ideas brought to life including Mirrormaiden and Adventure Workshops!
- Logan Elliott, Entrepreneurs Adventures.
1) WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I'm Simon, I'm from Wellington, New Zealand. I recently returned from working from Hong Kong, which is where my SO is from, it's a beautiful city and was incredibly awesome to meet other social entrepreneurs over there.
My background is in design, where I've got a background in Industrial design, but have interests across all forms of digital design as well. My passion is for consumer electronics, and high-end goods that use sustainable manufacturing lines. I see the latter as an economic investment for any company producing their own products, I suppose that's why I've been interested in hacker culture for as long as I can remember, repurposing through modification to extend the life of products.
For more recent work, currently I'm a designer at Highly Flammable, and Co-lead at Lifehack in Experience + Venture Support steams, both of which are based in Wellington, NZ. I also do quite a bit of freelance work, currently as a sole trader/contractor but looking at other opportunities and potentially converting to a limited liability company. I've been spending a lot of my energy recently investigating the luxury goods market, especially within China - a place that is seeing unprecedented growth, and recent affluence.
2) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHY?
1. Sustainable manufacturing pipelines; because this is an investment in the people, who are the product.
2. Luxury goods; I have a visceral attraction to well-crafted objects. A 'thing' that is well-designed, produced, and has a enticing narrative behind it, heightens the perceived value for me personally. When I say that I am passionate about luxury goods, I'm referring to say a watch that has intricate movements, an incredible piece of engineering and craftsmanship. I have a real sense of respect for craftsmen/women who produce goods of such quality with care and attention to detail.
3. Adventure; I like to mix things up and get out of my comfort zone. Part of my routine is to change things as much as I can in a constructive and thoughtful manner. Change to change's sake is wrong, a waste of energy. Change as a part of a larger iterative process, with focus and direction, will yield results; start thinking in trajectories.
3) WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST BARRIERS TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
Yourself. The thing that stands in between this moment, and everything that you ever wanted is you. That's a hard pill to swallow, but it's true. Lack of knowledge will also stop people, which is why I'm so passionate in coaching businesses, that and I love asking questions. Forever curious.
4) WHAT ARE THE MOST EXCITING THINGS ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS?
The sense of reward, nice and cliche. Could also stick 'being a master of your own destiny' in there to top it off. But in all seriousness, it's great to be able to create your own 'thing'. From the perspective of a designer and creator, that's what really interests me! business is another level of creation.
5) WHAT DO YOU ASPIRE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?
Part of my 70 year plan is to be more financially stable with the next 5 years, also there are quite a few skills that I want to have built up within myself. A major part of where I'm heading though is to have a design agency set up, as well as a good brand, where I can design and produce sustainable high-end products. Would you like a gold-plated watch box?
6) ONE BOOK AND ONE PODCAST ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
The book that I love is the Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris. The podcast that I introduced you to as well Logan, and that I keep coming back to is TropicalMBA, featuring Dan and Bossman!
7) ONE TOOL?
Tools are so individual, I can't really pick a generic one. I love Trello for organising my life, but the thing that I use the most and have implemented in almost all of my workplaces has been Slack - brilliant communication platform for teams; communication is key.
- Highly Flammable Ltd: www.highlyflammable.co.nz
- Lifehack: www.lifehackhq.co