Before I launched Net-A-Porter I came up with a number of different ideas that business associates deemed ridiculous, and I ignored my instinct and lost opportunities. When it came to starting Net-A-Porter, I found strength in being a loner, initially, and then even more strength in finding and hiring people who shared my vision. At the beginning it’s better to have fewer people who are on your side than many people who want to change what you feel is right.
In our early days, instinct was everything. Slowly experience took over, and I’ve had to work hard to ensure that I value experience but allow it to coexist with gut reaction. My instinct has told me to hire people I trust—those who have strong belief in their own convictions and the experience to back it up, but not necessarily the relevant résumé. Sometimes I make mistakes, and with hindsight I can say those decisions were made when I didn’t listen to the voice inside. The priority is creating time for silence so we can process ideas, react instinctively to them, give them strong business foundations, and ensure they are in line with the idea that launched us in the first place.
• Massenet is the founder and executive chairman of the Net-A-Porter Group.