You don’t learn to walk by following rules.

Richard Branson once said “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

While YO! Sushi and YOTEL have thrived, other ventures did not work out so well.

YO! Japan lasted three years with the wonderful Alan and Katherine Strang but wasn’t really right, so we closed down the shop and the range.

The YO! Below bars in Soho, Clerkenwell and Edinburgh I was particularly proud of, with their on-tap beer at every table, smoke-extracting ashtrays and singing waitresses, but Robin Rowland rightly closed them down to keep our focus on what we knew best, the restaurants.

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We prototyped transforming apartments for YO! Home. They were fully developed and we had a site in Manchester which eventually got knocked back on planning. I’d had enough and pulled out with my head hung low, after sinking several million into it.

And YOTOPIA, the island in the Bahamas, was too difficult every step of the way.

To win it, you gotta be in it. Just never be late to quit or cut bait.

Felix Dennis

It took more courage to get out of all those ventures than to get into them, having invested and shot my mouth off bigtime on each one. But I avoided greater losses, and as things worked out it was exactly the right thing to do.

Soon after ditching YO! Home, YOTEL came to us wanting to do the same thing, so we extended their licence to YOTEL PAD which has gone on to enormous developments, tied into hotels everywhere, from a Utah ski resort to Miami, Dubai, and Brussels and Atlanta opening too.

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My head came back up and the team there has developed a product better than mine.

All the YOTOPIA infrastructure was sold and the value of the island had doubled, so that worked out. It has been a lesson in patience and also humility, leading to a healthy form of pride!