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24 Hours With…Hotheads’ Stu Lloyd

24 Hours With... spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Asia’s marketing and media landscape. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Stu Lloyd, head of Hotheads Innovation

5am-ish. No alarm needed, because I’m a morning person and my Thai missus is from a military family so she’s ready to hit the day, too. I spend around 200 days annually on the road so waking up at home in Chiang Mai is a bonus.

Depending on what I’m writing (eight books published on travel, military history, beer and bullshit, etc), I’ll grab a cup of coffee and make the most of the peace, quiet and coolness to crank out an hour or so of my manuscript. Currently writing BIG T Thinking – the Creative System that’s Rocking the New Economy. Otherwise, I’ll watch Rico Hizon’s Asia Business Report on BBC, and surf the Sydney Morning Herald.

7am. Weekdays, breakfast is always oatmeal loaded with fresh berries and fruits from local farms, and homemade yogurt.

7.45am. Walk to the gym, get the endorphins flowing, and get myself mentally primed.

9am. Although my companies, Hotheads Innovation and CatMatDog are Hong Kong based, I choose to live in Chiang Mai because it’s at the geographical crossroads of Asia and its where I’ve lived for 30 years. My office overlooks the usually misty mountains. It’s inspiring for my research and writing, but also gives me a valuable detached objectivity on the world of my clients, mainly Fortune 500s around Asia Pacific.

Email time. Love the surprise of what the inbox holds each day: Adobe want me in Sydney for a storytelling workshop, Adidas want me in Hong Kong for a creativity keynote, Intel want me in Shanghai for a design thinking forum, Citibank want me in Singapore to coach sales/marketing teams on persuasive presentation skills, etc. What a buzz!

There are the delightful distractions of various blogs that I might dive into, such as WIRED, Fast Company, Mumbrella, Seth Godin, etc.

I co-ordinate with my assistant on ‘admin shit’ plus scheduling and logistics, to make sure I’m in the right city on the right date with the right message.

10am. With a mug of steaming hot ginger tea, I flick on the “Busy Being Amazing, Please Come Back Later” light. With around 90 workshop experiences to design and deliver each year, a lot of preparation and customisation is needed. 

Mapping out edutainment experiences to create a satisfying deep-learning event is equal parts fun and frustration. Lots of crossing out, crumpling up print outs, and juggling. I will often finesse up to within a couple of minutes of stage time, because I have a very simple new business strategy: Make My Next Show the Best One Ever!

12pm. Lunch is a lavish feast of a can of tuna and kidney beans. Some days, like today, a wonderful soup with fresh organic tomatoes and garlic. Time to play with the Labrador pups, Scarlett and Scofield, and beagle pup, T-Bag. We also have two Persian cats and two crayfish. Our home is nicknamed “Zootopia”.

1pm. Second coffee, more emails, maybe some LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter action. Elon Musk has just followed me! Really?

2pm. Research time, cunningly disguised as an afternoon nap. Harvard Research shows that people are up to 33 per cent more creative after a power nap. I read over 50 books per year, especially biographies of musicians and creative mavericks.

3pm. Continue with designing and development work and rehearsals. The program suddenly snaps into shape. Phew!

I pride myself that our programs are absolutely cutting-edge because I’m passionate about the neuroscience of creativity and persuasion, and our ongoing “refresh cycle” means that if something comes off the research wire today I can build it into tomorrow’s program.

Liaise with assistant on props, materials, etc, needed for upcoming workshops.

Recently launched a podcast, C4 Creative Conversations: Cool People Doing Cool Stuff. Do some editing, and line up some victims for future interviews for the podcast or book. Mid-afternoon protein hit of yogurt, nuts, fruit. More dog time.

5pm-ish. A final check of emails, WeChat, etc, make sure no fires are burning.

Might try and round up some friends and head off for sunset at our favourite beer garden – literally, a couple of landscaped acres of lawn with tables, and a killer fridge full of Belgian and German beers.

7pm. We’re spoiled for dinner choices around our village: Mexican, Japanese, Barbecue, Italian, Thai. But to me the best restaurant is home. My partner is a passionate and creative cook, who does Asian and Western dishes equally awesomely. Along with a few glasses of red, plus more planning for our upcoming 4000km motorcycle odyssey to Sapa, Vietnam.

8pm. Watch some entertaining vids, like Britain/ Australia/ USA/ Thailand’s Got Talent or a Nat Geo docco. Gorge on Lindt dark chocolate, my last remaining vice.

9pm. In the bath, reading and unwinding, scribbling notes.

10pm. The last thing we do after we hit the sack is list the three things that we’re each grateful for in that day. Often, three is not enough.

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