Education for the Future - James Potten, MD Red Academy


James Potten is the Managing Director of Red Academy and has been a personal mentor for years.

He was previously a professional windsurfer and set up the student windsurfing association as well as being the first person to cross the channel windsurfing. He ran Ecosurety for 12 years which he grew to multimillion revenue.

James has real insight into how teams work and how to really accelerate learning and get the best out of people. We discuss his current project ‘redefining education’ with Red Academy as well as life lessons along the way.
From scaling businesses to Kitesurfing on Necker Island, James has learnt a lot.


Top Tips

1. Get Advice from Others

Use Mentors and coaches for what you trying to achieve. In your business get a non-exec no board and don’t think you're so smart to do it all yourself. There are always things that you can’t think of yourself and you just open yourself up to mistakes by thinking too highly of yourself.

2. Focus on Soft Skills

Whether hiring others or improving yourself its the soft skills that are crucially important. I heard a good point saying the future of work is about the 3 C’s - Communication, collaboration and Creativity. These are the skills you need to have in yourself and in others to be able to work with them. As James says, “you get hired for hard skills —> fired for soft skills” so you must learn to take feedback and value it.

3. “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”

If you want to live an interesting life where you take on challenges and have big successes you need to step out of your comfort zone. Embrace the bigger risks and you will be more likely to succeed in it than if you don’t commit and don’t have the fire under your arse to make it happen.


Yuval Noah Harari - 21 lessons for the 21st century

Amazing book about what we should really be focusing on and it just opens your eyes into new ways of thinking about things. Highly recommend

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

We also mention the 10,000-hour rule which comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ which is definitely worth a read. He’s a great author and does an amazing job of explaining concepts in a nice way that really gets you interested in it. The book explains the coincidences in scenarios that lead to incredible performance.

James Links

James Potten -

Red Academy -