14 questions for Hill Impact founder Dan Hill

The politico and crisis wrangler on the hectic pace of high-stakes work and why it's nothing like 'Scandal.'

Morning routine
Mornings vary dramatically due to travel and what's happening with clients, especially in crisis work. I make time, even a few minutes for stretching and yoga, consuming news, and drinking iced Americanos—always iced.

First website or app checked in the morning
Twitter and The Wall Street Journal.

Most distinct aspect of your personal office
My headphones and art. I'm an audiophile and want to hear my music loud and in high-fidelity, especially when writing. Original art gives life to an office and is a must for my workspace. 

The thing most people don’t realize about starting your own agency
There are no days off, and every investment comes out of your pocket. 

Mentor
I had a few but one in particular was [politician, business executive, and columnist] John Dendahl, the smartest guy I ever worked for. He sadly passed a few years ago. John gave me my first shot and taught me so much, he really pushed me to be a stronger writer.

What TV shows get it rights about politics?
My views on Scandal are well-documented; in no way does it represent what it's like to run a crisis firm, or at least an ethical one. I'm not sure there's any show that really gets that right, even though it's incredibly exhilarating—no added drama needed.

The thing laypeople don’t get about working in crisis
Crisis work is often counter-intuitive; it's unfair to suggest that it's simply "PR on steroids." It's a tough profession on relationships because your life is rarely your own. You have to be willing to give up your front-row tickets to see your favorite band.

Favorite city to do business in
Toss-up between Rome, Italy, and Bogotá, Colombia.

Best career advice
Not to take career advice.  :)

Guilty TV pleasure 
I recently saw Girlboss on a flight and thought it was great.   

Biggest surprise on your smartphone
My music—100%—incredibly diverse. I'm really excited about Bonnaroo this year. Great lineup.  

Most recent book
I read several at once, but one is "1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga" by Dean Snow.

First job
I can't remember. Janitor or car washer.

Ideal day off
At my cabin in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, riding ATVs and hanging out on the Shenandoah River. 

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