Mike Dicks - Who's saying you can't do what you want to do?

Mike Dicks is an Illustrator, Designer, Author, Satirist and the man behind The Mayor of Trumpton, The Brexit Comic, Mike & Scrabble. My particular favourite can be found on Linkedin where Mike describes himself as the CEO of Camberwick Analytica. But Mike's third career has been borne out of necessity. Mike was a very successful TV & Web guy whose bleeding edge technology and bleeding edge thinking had clients queueing at his door but he needed a job he could do from home in his pyjamas because one day Mike received a diagnosis of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL or Cancer. Mike had no choice but to slow down. Mike's story is about energy. For the first 50 years he had it in spades and used it to good effect. He's been one of those people who consistently spots something new and translates it for the rest of us. When we see a new-fangled technology, Mike sees solutions and opportunities. An early career in computer sales (when most people hadn't ever seen a computer) lead to a career in TV, which lead to a career in website development (when most people thought a website was an electronic brochure), which lead to a part-time career training and then Mike was forced into a career as a designer, author, cartoonist and now artist. These days Mike's work is delivered through his series of Avatars. The whole idea of using pseudonyms as a lubricant for creativity and in Mike's case thoughtful, important, purposeful creativity seems obvious when you hear Mikes story but it wasn't obvious to me before this conversation so thank you Mike. At the very beginning of this conversation, Mike suggests he doesn't bring out the real Mike Dicks ever. I reckon he got pretty damn close during this conversation. If you're vaguely interested in the idea of spending your precious time doing what you want to do - I'm pretty confident you'll enjoy this. As Mike says "Who's saying you can't do what you want to do?"

In this conversation we explored:
  • Why people often apologise for the work they do
  • The stories we tell ourselves and how they can limit our development
  • The inevitably of the ups and downs in our lives
  • Why he eventually got expelled from college
  • His first job selling computers at Dixons
  • Meeting Sir Clive Sinclair
  • His expected life trajectory of marry, kids, mortgage 
  • His problem with authority 
  • His ability to translate the features of technology into the benefits for humans
  • The moment he realised his employer was trying to trap him
  • Why it's important to expose your kids to people who live different lives
  • Why Mike leaves things to the last minute
  • The healthy discipline of deadlines
  • Careers 1, 2 and 3
  • How a career in TV lead to a career developing websites for Channel 4
  • Why people try so hard to see something new as a minor variation of something old when in fact it's so very different 
  • How Mike got TV Producers 
  • Why Mike and authority are not comfortable bedfellows. 
  • Why he's the captain of his own ship and how he takes full responsibility for it.  
  • Mike's Beatles moment when he turned down the opportunity to develop the Big Brother website because he thought the whole Big Brother idea was a stupid concept
  • Why Mike operates at the bleeding edge and why it doesn't make financial sense
  • What happens to cool ideas when the money men arrive
  • Edisons idea that the best use of the telephone was to broadcast the opera directly into peoples homes  
  • The importance of vision versus the dangers of being wedded to it
  • Would you want to be Elon Musk?
  • 3D printing and space exploration as the bleeding edge technologies of now 
  • Wanting to be remembered for something
  • Why Mike changed his story from 'I've had so many bad bosses' to 'I shouldn't have a boss'  
  • Why pilots died when the designers designed for Mr Average 
  • The moment Mike was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • How Mike's fatigue facilitated focus
  • How Mike managed to treat his Cancer as a selfish creative Cancer
  • Mustard Gas = Chemotherapy
  • The importance of white blood cells and why they're like aged skinheads 
  • The importance of managing energy when you have the CLL cancer
  • Why you should have a blood test if your neck starts swelling up and your energy levels are low   
  • The importance of doing things that make you or the people you love happy and not the things you feel compelled to do
  • The importance of dealing, living and dying gracefully with cancer
  • Why people stick with work they don't enjoy when they could stop and learn to live on less money 
  • Why Mike got a rescue dog and how Scrabble taught him
  • The unexpected consequence of UKIP taking offence to one of Mike's tweet
  • Why he watched every single episode of Trumpton
  • Why it's important to say what he wants and if the audience reacts well he explores it further 
  • His search for a lovely publisher
  • The joy of negotiating a publishing deal through his dog
  • How Greta Thunberg talks truth to power
  • The rough and the smooth of changes to our DNA
  • Poo powered rockets
  • The joy of seeing his art on someone else's wall
  • What it's like to live day-to-day

A few nice quotes:

"Whose voice is it telling you that you shouldn't do something you want to do?" Mike Dicks   
"I love deadlines, I love the whooshing sound as they pass me by" Douglas Adams
"Why do we work so hard to impress the people we so dislike?" Cameron and Rob
"Neil Armstrong left a poo on the moon" Mike Dicks
"Every 24 hours you get another chance to have a good day" Mike&Scrabble
"How can you release yourself from the trap of money?" Mike Dicks
"There is a dog for everyone, if you don’t have one it’s because you haven’t met enough dogs yet" Mike&Scrabble

Mike's Shop
https://www.young-enterprise.org.uk/
https://www.sketchup.com/
Peter Dawe
BPS Space (Elon Musk's Prodigy) 
99 Designs
Scrabble & friends on the Number 25 bus
Greta Thunberg - full speech
The Brexit Comic

Twitter
@mikedicks 
@Trump_ton
@TheBrexitComic
@TheLastIceberg
@mikeandscrabble

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© 2019 Neil Witten & Ray Richards