Brewer's behaviour

BrewDog boss James Watt diagnosed as autistic

James Watt
James Watt: ‘I was a bit of an odd fish’

BrewDog co-founder James Watt, who was embroiled in a dispute with staff over his behaviour, has been diagnosed as autistic.

Mr Watt said he sought specialist advice after a journalist described him as a “semi-autistic former deep-sea captain”.

He has now been diagnosed not only with High Functioning Aspergers (which is on the autism spectrum) but also ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

“I had always thought I was just a bit of an odd fish, very introverted, very happy in my own company and far more capable analytically than socially,” he said in a social media post.

“I have always struggled with anything emotional and I am terrible with social cues. I have always needed significant amounts of time by myself to be able to function well as a human.  

“I would often be more terrified in simple social settings than I would be facing huge storms in my days on the high seas of the north Atlantic.

“I have always accepted these character imperfections and viewed them as a kind of trade off with other characteristics –  my analytical ability, my work ethic and my ability to focus on tasks like a demented mother f*****.

“It’s just how I am’ is pretty much what I always thought.

He says that as a CEO and business leader his not alone in being on the autism spectrum – Elon Musk has Aspergers and there has been speculation about Mark Zuckerberg, too.

“The diagnosis gives the me opportunity to continue working with an amazing specialist on fully understanding the implications of my own neurodiversity and specifically on working hard on the associated blind spots (such as reading social cues or expressing empathy) whilst sharpening the gifts that also come with autism and ADHD such as focus, creativity and analysis.

“Understanding the condition also means I can build practises into my daily life which help me better manage occasions, settings and experiences that I may find more challenging than others.

“I am still in the early stages of my journey here and I intend to continue sharing thoughts and insights that may help other neurodiverse business leaders and entrepreneurs on their journeys too.

“I am confident that working with fantastic specialists I can work within the confines of ASD and ADHD to continue to improve how I approach the leadership of BrewDog as well as how I approach life overall.”

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