The Experience
Teach at Jolt

This company changed the way we think with 4 words

Graeme Dart
January 2, 2020

Share more. Waste less. That’s how food-sharing app OLIO describes its business. An elevator pitch in four words. Just four. 

When you’re a new brand giving people the answer to a problem they haven’t articulated before – single-mindedness is ev-er-y-thing.

OLIO started in 2015, reacting to the frightening fact that between 33-50% of ALL globally produced food is never eaten. That’s $1 trillion worth of waste. The answer – a food-sharing app where total strangers and local businesses connect to share perfectly edible items, instead of throwing them out.  

It’s a lightbulb idea.

But how does the brand help people get their own “oh yeah” moment? After all, OLIO isn’t a different product in a familiar market. It’s asking people to behave in a totally different way. 

It all goes back to simplicity. And lots of it. “When did sharing food become weirder than wasting it?” that’s from OLIO’s recent marketing campaign. It gets across the brand’s purpose AND takes on one of the biggest questions around the app (the potential weirdness of sharing with strangers). And it does all this in ONE sentence. 

The result of all that single-mindedness is positive. OLIO says that 2,753,127 portions of food have already been shared. That it has over 1.5 million users and counting. And remember – it’s promoting a different way of thinking not a new pair of shoes.  

The point is – if your messaging isn’t clear and simple, how will your audience get it? Chances are, they won’t. And they won’t hang around to wait either. Telling clear stories and developing simple brand messaging is an important part of any business. The good news is that it’s something that can be learnt. 

In business today, you can’t rely solely on having a good product. As consumers continue to close the shutters on all types of advertising, it's becoming increasingly important to have a clear and concise message. By keeping things simple, businesses can be powerful and disruptive in order to reach more people with less resources. At Jolt we teach the startup methodology which includes how to create content consumers care about.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.


"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

Taken by over 18,500 people; Calibrated by 100s of tech employees

By taking this 10-min test I can set myself up for success

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