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#075: Hustle, humility and heart – Dan Monheit of Hardhat

By Jordan Michaelides

Dan Monheit ( @DanMonheit ) is the Director of Strategy and Co-Owner at creative agency Hardhat, Co-Host of the Bad Decisions Podcast, MC of lecture series Real Big Things and a self-confessed sneakerhead.

Dan truly embodies the archetype that is “Chutzpah” – combine that with his need for incessant learning on cognition and you have one impressive media brain. From small beginnings lecturing at Monash University, to jumping straight into his own agency, Dan is full of that entrepreneurial spirit we see common amongst our guests. Couple that with running a podcast, a series of lectures with a fascinating premise and running the strategy of HardHat – you have an immovable force in a rapidly changing industry.

Michael Jankie was kind enough to introduce me to Dan a few months ago, and as you probably already know, I always sit up and listen when a former guest makes an introduction.

This was a great episode that included:

  • Curiosity, psychology and behavioural economics
  • Hardhat & ad agencies
  • Real Big Things and Bad Decisions
  • Distilling useful information and switching off

Listen to the episode

Watch the episode: 


02:23 – Introduction
04:37 – Sneakers and fashion
08:26 – Sneaker obsession, NBA
11:26 – Lessons learnt from his parents, his heritage
17:05 – Curiosity, psychology and behavioural economics
20:36 – First marketing job, starting a business
24:12 – Hustle, humility, and heart
27:48 – What he’s learnt from running an ad agency
29:57 – The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago
30:51 – How the industry has changed, starting ‘Hardhat’
36:58 – What will never change in the agency business?
37:48 – ‘Real Big Things’ and the ‘Bad Decisions’ podcast
45:58 – A ‘Real Big Things’ event that blew his mind
48:33 – Distilling useful information and switching off
53:20 – Principles: Gaining perspective, broadening context
58:32 – Daily routine and decompressing
01:01:48 – Best purchase under $200
01:02:20 – A book he’d gift someone
01:02:43 – What is difficult to find middle-ground on?
01:03:18 – If he could have a billboard anywhere in Australia