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Attitudes to absorb from one famous business punk

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Business For Punks
James Watt
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 6 minuuttia.

Business is mostly about attitude. Philosophies, mindsets and ambitions guide our actions every day through every little decision we make. I feel like there’s not enough understandment of how much those things that lead our minds affect also our businesses. Attitude, see, is one thing that you can always control. If you learn to do it, many catastrophic cases are easily  avoided. Why is that? Well, because you know what is a beneficial way to react to things. You know what kind of attitude gets you through stuff. And that’s something great businesses need, because there will always be obstacles. With great attitude you will go far.

So what kind of attitude is it that you have to posses to make your business bloom with it? That’s a good question. There isn’t one right way to do business and many different people with totally different attitudes have probably succeeded. There’s still something about those businesspeople with bold thoughts and goals to me. Those types seem to make their own rules and do business in a very unique way. Lately I’ve actually been reading the thoughts of one brave and different business man, James Watt. His book business for punks is totally full of attitude and it has got me thinking how I could absorb some great mindsets from him and make my own business bloom. 

I hope this essay gets you thinking about your own attitude and how it affects your own business and success. I introduce you now to 5 attitudes to absorb from James Watt, the co-founder of Brewdog.


  1. Cynical optimism

Watt says in his book that life is a bitch. He couldn’t be more right. Things get tough anyway (Watt, 2016). Even if you prepare to face some challenges there will be new ones around the corner. It is always good to stay optimistic and believe in yourself, your team and your mission unwaveringly (Watt, 2016). 

This however doesn’t mean blind faith (Watt, 2016). If you want to succeed with your business, it cannot be this cheery optimism you see in commercials. Your confidence can’t trick you into being oblivious to real issues (Watt, 2016). I see what Watt has in mind with this one. You can sometimes forget that you have to fully accept and recognise your challenges and not just trust that everything will go perfectly. It can feel a bit tiring to always keep in mind what kind of problems do you have in your business. But the key is to retain the belief in what you do whilst having the self-discipline to confront some ugly truths (Watt, 2016). 

”Pair buoyant optimism with brutal pragmatism” – James Watt, 2016

Take your challenges out happily. Write them down and don’t let them make you feel overwhelmed. Be optimistic about it that you will tackle them. Take on the attitude of being happy about it that you are able to recognise the problems and then turn them perhaps even into opportunities. You need to master this blend of complete confidence and pragmatic realism when it comes to your business (Watt, 2016). It makes sure your business is developing and you are still staying happy at the same time to take it even further. 

”Keep the faith and front up the issues!” – James Watt, 2016


  1. The problem is never the problem

Let’s take an even closer look on the problems. A person’s attitude towards problems will tell you a lot. It is often said that you truly get to know someone when things get tough (Watt, 2016). That is true. And if your attitude is shitty when things get a little rough, your business won’t make it. That’s why your attitude towards problems should be right.  So that you could build up a business that stands time. 

The approach you need towards problems is simple. Seek out for the real cause, and don’t chitchat about the effects of it. You need to understand  the heart of the why and the what (Watt, 2016). Why is the problems happening and what is causing it? Get to the root and fix the problem (Watt, 2016). If you can’t get to and change the why which anchors the the problem, you can never really solve it. And guess what that means? If you cannot solve problems effectively, you can’t effectively lead your business either. So the right attitude towards how problems should be solved is also very crucial to you. 

Actually you shouldn’t even think of problems as problems at all (Watt, 2016). The only problem is your thoughts about it. The problem isn’t the problem. You are just not capable of seeing it as an opportunity to shine and do things better (Watt, 2016). So if you see problems as problems, check the first part again and absorb some more optimism and confidence into you before you go on. 


  1. Networking is for fools

Despite the fact that networking is a hot topic and on everyones lips all the time, business is not about who you know (Watt, 2016). Business is about how good and passionate you are. Businesses that are built on networking are destined to fail (Watt, 2016). I see what Watt means here. I’ve wrote a whole essay about the topic and networking really often seems also to me to be just about clinging to the fantasy that you are important and also somehow more gifted than others. It’s of course just one way to network, but I agree on it, that you shouldn’t count on networks. Don’t waste time on those events. Who you know doesn’t matter anymore.

So whilst the ”fools” are feeding their egos, you should be planning how you can make every single aspect of everything you do better, stronger, faster and more brilliant. If you are talented and smart, people will know about you. (Watt, 2016). Those networkers, only thing they are specialising in is talking and delivering nothing. So absorb the attitude of first improving you and your business and then letting the talking happen on its own. That’s how you will make it. 


  1. Make your noise count

As you shouldn’t be using your energy on talking about yourself all over the town, you should instead concentrate on being a communication genius (Watt, 2016). The problem is, almost everyone thinks that they are a good communicators, but in reality few are. Things almost every time sound better in your head. You should make sure that everything you say makes perfect sense to the person you are saying it to also. Always.

Trust in clarity (Watt, 2016). Your business will live much longer if it doesn’t stumble on misinterpretations. People will also listen you much more closely if you communicate clearly and it seems that you have put thought on what you want to say (Watt, 2016). So let your attitude towards communication be a little careful. Not strict or stiff, but little shy. That’s always better than to be bragging about yourself. And at the same time you make sure, people actually listen to you, when you have something to say (Watt, 2016). 

This thing is also valid in the moments when you have some complaints to make. ”Don’t shout too often, so that you can make sure it truly counts when you want to roar” (Watt, 2016). Be wise and let your voice be heard when it is beneficial. 


  1. Win win win

Last but not least, your attitude towards negotiating decides a whole lot of your future. Negotiate everything like your life depends on it (Watt, 2016). ’Cause your business’s life sure does. The basic outlook on negotiating is that you get the other one to do what you want. But all this does is provide short-term gratification (Watt, 2016). You don’t get as much that way, than you could. Understand that. Negotiating has changed a lot and it’s not about tearing other party apart behind closed doors anymore.

Win win situation has so much more to offer for both of you. It sounds like you just have to settle for something but actually with right attitude, you can even win ”win win” situations. See, cooperation and mutuality in terms of the benefit is the name of the game (Watt, 2016). Your mindset should be that you try to make them want to do the things you want from them. Make them feel like they are getting the deal of century (Watt, 2016). 

The biggest win in negotiating situations is when you get the other one as passioned about your business as you are (Watt, 2016). So keep your mindset friendly and remember that if you do good, you get good things. This way you don’t have to be renegotiating all the time and you can actually advance your business. 



What is the most important thing to internalise according to James Watt is the fact that you have to put everything on the line for what you believe. And that’s where these mindsets and outlooks on the things above have arised from. That’s the root of it all. So before you absorb anything from anyone, make sure you have your own thing going on. 

You shouldn’t follow rules of others (Watt, 2016). But the things I introduced in this essay are actually good ways to start learning to trust in your thing. It makes it easier to break the rules. These mindsets actually appreciate everything ordinary and going your own way. So with no worries you can start to live by these. 

Thanks for reading!






  • Watt, J. 2016. Business For Punks. UK: Penguing books. Read 8.4.2020. Referred 12.4.2020.

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