What are some traits that lead to success? In this “Ask Us Anything” segment, Tom and Tracy Hazzard discuss their unique habits that lead to their success in business. From an intricate eye for design to an insatiable appetite for reading, they encourage you to think out-of-the-box about what makes you successful in your field.
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Hazz Habits For Success
Our topic is business mentorship.
We have our mentorship finalists that wanted to know what kind of habits and what kind of personal interests we have. It’s good to point them out in terms of how our habits lead to the success of whatever it makes you in your business.
We’re partners in business and life. In business, we have different functions and different talents and some common ones as well. How does it all work?
It would be more fun for us to say something about each other. It’s hard to be introspective and say, “I do this. That’s cool.” Instead, I’d like to point out something that is an interesting hobby for you. It’s also what I think that mindset is what makes you successful. You have a 1972 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia. That was your grandmother’s. Did she own it the whole time?
She bought it second hand in 1974. It was only 1 or 2 years old.
It’s been in the family the whole time. You have it and it’s garaged a lot because with babies, they don’t fit in it.
You can’t put a car seat in a two-seater Karmann-Ghia. It is a bad idea.
Your interest in it and what I like is you appreciate classic design in any way, shape or form. Whether it’s in an automobile or an Eames Lounge Chair. That’s your favorite and that’s where you work every day. You appreciate that. There are a lot of people out there who have a strong appreciation and roots for design. They like classic or modern design or whatever it is that their bent is. There are a lot of people out there, but you don’t hold it to a high regard that you’re not willing to improve it. Your dream is to take that Karmann-Ghia and turn it into an electric vehicle using the solar.
I want to make it electric. There are parts and kits you can buy to take out the gas engine and bolt an electric motor to that transmission.
I’m sure the classic car guys are cringing that you’re going to destroy a 1972 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia.
I’ve been riding around this thing since I was a kid. My grandmother used to drive me and my sister around in the back of it. We had no seatbelt on. We were sitting up on the top riding on Route 128 in Massachusetts, which is a highway going to do all sorts of things in the summer. I’ve ridden in the car my whole life. I’ve had it serviced ad nauseam with classic VW mechanics and it’s a wonderful car. I’m not trying to make a museum piece, but it’s time to modernize it.
That’s something that makes you successful, that nothing is sacred. There’s always something that can be improved and better and that’s your process for design. That’s your habit for success. That mindset all along, whether it’s your hobby or how you approach it, that’s what makes you successful. That’s what I wanted to point out about you.
Industrial designers have a hard time learning the lesson. You can always improve any design, anything that’s being produced. It can always be improved. The tough thing you have to realize at some point is you’ve got to put a stake in the ground and build something and might as well sell it.
That’s why we like 3D printing because every time you print it, it’s new. You can make a lot more changes. That can also be dangerous for those people who will never settle and never put a stake in the ground and produce it.
There’s a balance. Something can always be improved. You need to produce it, but 3D printing gives you the opportunity to make running changes a lot easier. You’re not locked into expensive tooling. A lot of people don’t know about you, the secret to your success and our success as your mind comes to the table with everything that we do. I’ve never met anybody else who reads as much as you do. You read voraciously. It is ridiculous but you read 300 books a year. I know all of you reading this, you’re like, “How much can she retain everything that in the books?” Honest to God, she reads every evening. Thank goodness you already have Kindle because we have this library of books we’ve been carting around with us in our entire marriage. Those boxes are big and heavy when we move them. I’m glad you use a Kindle because the library has stopped growing as much, but that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped reading. You read a ton of everything from technical, reference books to novels for entertainment.
I had to say that technical and reference books are my least favorite. I love to read. It is always been my thing. Part of it started in South Africa where I grew up because I was nine and we had no television. I didn’t have access to a lot of books in English because we go into Johannesburg on a couple of weekends a month and we would buy a few books then. My parents didn’t have a lot of money. It was a few books, few and far between, but my dad had a library of books that he brought with him. I read a lot of classics at that time and re-read them. At nine years old, it was eye-opening to me. It’s my escape, but it’s also my learning process.
That’s the thing because you’re well-read and you continue to do it, you learn a lot. You have a vast amount of knowledge. It’s always expanding. I think that is a huge help to our business.
In today’s world, we get overwhelmed with all the information and I find people like to share links. They like to repost, but I promise you, if I shared a link, I read it all the way through and luckily, I read fast and that helped.
Unlucky for me that certain key books that you think are watershed books or things I should be reading, you point them out to me and I get to speed through the few books that I can read. I don’t read as quickly as you do for sure.
I was a real Kindle hold out for a while. I like books. I like the feel of books in my hand. I like owning them. I know that sounds crazy, but I know we were getting too many and it was getting overwhelming. I was traveling too much to China because I read so fast. I could read five books on a thirteen-hour plane ride. It is too much to carry so my mom bought me that Kindle for my birthday and I have never looked back. I don’t buy books that I want to own and have a copy of that are great. I do go through about 300 books a year and it’s costly.
It’s not like you’re skimming them and you’re reading excerpts from them. You read the books.
You were saying about retaining information. How can you retain information? Not every book is worth retaining information on. I’ve discovered quickly that you can read some of these books that they’re pumping out there and they’re badly written, but there are 1 or 2 pieces of worthwhile information in them. The great part about my Kindle is that I can highlight that and with a quick, easy reference, I can come back to it. I love that everything is like your library still exists there. That is one of my favorite parts of it. It’s not so hard like, “Where did I read it? Did I give it away? Did I save it?” That’s always been hard before.
The modern technology of the Kindle is helping you read even more and make it more relevant.
Our friend used to work for Amazon and I used to joke that I paid for his salary from my book habit.
Fortunately, books don’t cost that much.
They’re cheap and Kindle Unlimited helped that too. Our habits for success are nothing sacrilegious in terms of design. We have antiques and we appreciate that we have classic designs. You have to take and learn from your past to inform the future. That’s how you approach it.
Everything can’t be that precious. One more tidbit about the Karmann-Ghia was when I was younger, it was sacred to me. As I’ve aged and used it for many years, I realized how lucky I am to still have it. That car could have easily get in a car accident many times and been destroyed. If you know Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia at all, it’s a unibody construction. If it gets in an accident, it’s done. It’s not going to be able to be saved. I’m lucky I’ve had it this long. I’m trying to not have it be that precious and what great new things can we do with it?
My reading habit, I think the more information you have when you can look at five different viewpoints on something to inform your decision, it makes a better decision. One of the things I learned from my dad about it, because my dad is such a big reader too. When you read things that are not specifically trade-related, let’s say you want to learn about doing business in China. There are a lot of books out there.
The World Is Flat book.
There are a whole ton of books out there about doing business in China. I read things that might be story-based as well. It might be novels about what it was like when communism took over in China, what it’s like for women in China and things like that. When you read that, you get a better viewpoint of the people you’re dealing with and what they think.
I remember when you were reading a book about a Chinese dynasty, you learned some things about the Chinese culture that you shared with me that helped us do business in better ways with the Chinese people and understanding their culture a little better.
It informs you. I like to read 1 or 2 business books, but I’ll read three books about the general topic in a different type of format, more of a novel type of format. I think arts and literature in general inform more information about what the time was like, especially when you look back at history. That’s the way I like to read. It is broad.
It’s served us well. Many things are keys to our success and this is only a couple of them. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed these tidbits. Let us know and reach out to us through our website or on social media @HazzDesign if you found this interesting. Maybe in the future, we’ll do a couple more because there are many traits and characteristics that contribute to our success and that will help some people.
We appreciate that you want to know more about us. I always appreciate that and we’ve loved your comments. We’ve had funny little Twitter chats and stuff with lots of fans. I want you to know that we do answer it. It’s us. If you want to reach out to us, go ahead. We want to hear from you, email, tweet, Facebook us.
Send us a voicemail on our website at HazzDesign.com.
We will listen to it because we want to know what you think.
Thanks for reading.
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