60 seconds with... Guy Douglass
What was your first job?
My parents ran a pub so I was washing up, serving behind the bar, prepping in the kitchen (and practicing darts when the bar was closed in the afternoon) from my early teens.
Who’s most influenced your career, and why?
My Dad. He’s a great listener and isn’t afraid to ask questions if he doesn’t understand something. Dad doesn’t say anything that doesn’t need saying, but when he speaks it’s worth listening to.
How has this influenced my career? Don’t be too proud to ask questions, listen more than you speak and be a nice bloke.
What’s your greatest business achievement?
I like to think that my greatest business achievement is still to come, but the successful launch of a major own brand for a big four retailer, where incremental sales paid for the entire redesign in under four days, has to be close to the top so far.
What was your worst mistake – and what did you learn?
When I worked for a very large corporation in the early 90s I stopped being myself for a while to fit in. It didn’t work. Be yourself! If it doesn’t work out, move on.
What gadget can’t you live without?
I hate to admit this but my smart phone is invaluable. Keeping in touch with family and friends when I’m all over the place during the week keeps me grounded.
How do you describe your job to your mates?
We design landfill.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
For best before end see base of pack.
And the best?
Never drink in a pub with a flat roof.
Which one person would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Jonathan Porritt, ex-leader of the Green party, environmentalist, founder of Forum for the Future, passionate about saving the planet (in an inclusive, collaborative, realistic way).
Or if I was feeling like a nice relaxed evening I’d invite Eddie Izzard.
What luxury would you take with you to a desert island?
My spectacles. A blurred existence would be a nightmare.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A tree surgeon; being paid for climbing trees!