A Week in My Life: Wayne Guthrie, Founder and Director, Fearlessly Frank
Wayne Guthrie, Founder and Director of innovation consultancy Fearlessly Frank in Shoreditch, takes us through a week in his working life.
What can a person say about Monday that hasn’t already been said, by everyone from the Bangles to Bob Geldof or the mighty Titus Andronicus? That said, I DO like Mondays, I mean, what’s the alternative? I tend to start the day not with meditation, but by doing something meditative. Usually stretching and light physical exercise.
As the physical (meditative) element in most vocations becomes increasingly rare, I believe there’s huge value in consciously replacing it. I like to continue this theme in the studio by taking a few beats to plan the week ahead. Like so many independent London businesses, our clients are based everywhere else in the world, which is challenging, but the team are accustomed to working across time-zones.
They, specifically my teammates, Axelle and Alexis, make it work. Alexis once told me a well-composed schedule is like a well-laid fire and should be just as useful and reassuring. I love Alexis, and by 11am, I’m inside the warm glow of my first call and the week is off to a great start.
This morning started with a beer. I was meeting a start-up in the FMCG space, who were keen to try our latest effort ‘Hellraiser’, a non-alcoholic craft brew that Fearlessly Frank have recently launched with our partner, Jeff Stevens of WellBeing Brewing Company in St Louis, Missouri.
The meeting was a success (they loved the beer too!) and I feel like, pending a round of funding, we may have a new relationship to celebrate soon. Following a management lunch with my co-founder Ben Little, I spend the afternoon with our creative strategy directors, Tom and David, reviewing WIP. Right now, the guys are deep into an exciting challenge in the FinTech space that’s helping inform solutions for one of our other clients, a global charity, which makes for a pleasant review.
In the spirit of my earlier meeting, David pops the top on another non-alcoholic beer, on the premise that its powerful isotonic properties will aid productivity - he claims the German winter Olympic team favour it over traditional sports drinks - and after a swift fact-check, Tom and I agree to join him.
One of the great things about Fearlessly Frank HQ is that, as well as the door always being open to our clients, we also share it with some of the businesses we co-own. So, spending the morning with Patrick Muir, CMO of Sherpa, our InsureTech startup, is only as complicated as coffee or tea? Patrick’s an inexhaustible well of wisdom, time flies whenever we meet, and I always leave with something surprising.
Another inspirational character I am lucky to know, via our association with the social network Vero, is Alex Thompson at CLASH magazine. He kindly invites us to regular shindigs at the Ace Hotel, so I swing by with a couple of clients to take in the scene before a working dinner (the older I get the more astonished I am by the wealth of youthful talent and energy there is in this remarkable city).
Awake later than usual, I take a call from Los Angeles on the way home to check in with filmmaker Max Joseph, an artist we’re supporting through Vero, which, along with the beer, is probably the thing I am most excited by right now, an advertising and algorithm-free antidote to Facebook? Yes please.
Having gone to bed thinking about Vero, I’m up first thing on the phone with the founder, Ayman Hariri. He is obsessed with product and detail and has a brain that works at warp factor nine, all the time. So early calls are not unusual, and as a happy consequence, often turbo boost the start to my own day in the best possible way.
Today was a sure-thing-win because Ben and I are hitting the road on our way to Dorset to spend the day with our great friend and partner Jim Cregan, of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. It’s dizzying how quickly even a start-up (seven years young and selling one iced coffee every five seconds) can get into a ‘business as usual’ groove that, while essential to success, won’t necessarily be the thing that unlocks the next chapter of the company's story - we regularly get together to muse on that very question.
The thing on our collective mind today is, now that we know we can make a profit, how do we make more of a difference? After a full day, we cook and eat together, and reconvene the next morning. It’s amazing what can happen over breakfast before the day has had time to percolate in our respective brains.
Ben and I take the opportunity on the drive back to switch gears from Jimmy’s into a Fearlessly Frank planning session. A lot of our best thinking happens in transit, planes, trains, automobiles, and if it’s really important - we go for a walk.
Rolling back into the office, Axelle directs me straight into a meeting with a creative team not long out of college. Meeting new people is crucial for us as our ambition is to be a place where talent can be properly nurtured. Meeting done, I introduce them to one of our strategists, Johanna, so they can get her perspective on life at Fearlessly Frank (as well as the benefit of her experience of getting here).
Taking full advantage of the efficiency created by Alexis’ ‘well-laid fire’ from Monday, I decide to head home early. My heroic wife, who manages to successfully work from home (I just can’t) has called to say my daughter is feeling unwell. Half an hour later I’m sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by the magical chaos of her art box, and when she asks me “do you have to go to work tomorrow?”, I feel a warm rush of adrenalin as I get to shake my head no. “We get to go on an adventure tomorrow”, I say. As she continues happily mixing colours, I sharpen pencils and wonder what that adventure might be.