Productivity hacks: Meditation

I’ve been getting more into meditation recently and I think it’s helping me feel calmer and less stressed, and hence more productive. I’ve noticed that when I’m overloaded I slow down overall. If there’s too much in my head it’s tricky to focus. I first tried meditation in a pre-app age but tech has helped me get back into it. I was a little bit sceptical when my friend Rohan started talking about the crossover between mindfulness and tech years and years ago but he was absolutely right of course. It’s now become a bit of a tech industry trend ...(Read More)

Good things this week #1

Watching the Tour de France go past our office window. Very quickly. The Chicken and Tarragon sausages at the the Southbank Centre Real Food Market. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring – Saw it 10 years ago but still brilliant. 2046 – the loose sequel to In the Mood for Love, really odd, especially the sequences with the android on a train. Quench from Pilgrim Brewery – lovely light golden ale Les Dauphins Cote du Rhones Village – good hearty red for under seven quid. Glug. Party by Tom Basden on Radio 4 Extra The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross ...(Read More)

Google Ventures comes to Europe

I think this might be some of the best news for the European tech scene in a long while. Sure the new Google Ventures Europe fund isn’t the biggest, but having seen how they work in the US, I think it’s going to really change how investment works over here. There will be no thick carpets in Mayfair. No investing in stuff that doesn’t have the potential to change the world. No trying to screw founders over with funny terms. Even better GV is truly about ‘more than money’ which I think is sorely needed in Europe and will hopefully ...(Read More)

Does ‘tech that matters’ matter?

Yesterday Marc Andreessen kicked off one of his now familiar tweetstorms about whether Silicon Valley is working on stuff that matters and whether that, erm, matters. “make trivial apps” vs “do things that matter” are not actually in conflict-there’s plenty of room and plenty of money to do both. If you’re A16Z then there is plenty of room to do both and to be fair A16Z do invest in tech that matters. Look through their portfolio and you’ll find Koru and NationBuilder but you’ll also find Zynga and apps for helping you choose shoes. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s yet ...(Read More)

The BGV house rules

Today is one of my favourite bits of BGV – Day 1 of Week 1 when all the new teams come in to start their three months with us. This will be the fifth cohort of BGV so we’re up to 42 teams supported over the past two and half years. One of the things we try to do in the first week is create a safe, collaborative space for the teams to help one another and this time we’ve written down a few house rules for the first time. Everything that happens at BGV stays at BGV. We want ...(Read More)

Tricky business: closing a seed investment round

(Also posted over on the BGV blog) When people have said ‘yes’ to investing in your venture and you’ve agreed on the basic terms, you’d imagine things might get easier. Unfortunately it’s usually trickier than that. Seed rounds can rumble on for several months before you actually get the money in the bank and start building the business. There are a few reasons for this, each of which you can do something about to help speed things along. Not everything is in the term sheet – when you go from term sheet to the actual documents that will be used ...(Read More)

Two revolutions

Occasionally I get to go on some fun days out for work. Yesterday Virgin Media Business invited me to help them think about the future of social enterprise for the morning. The spin was that we were going to do it on the London Eye – six of us in a pod with an hour (twice round) to think through how social business might change over the next 30 years and then explain our thinking to Richard Branson. From where we are now, it looks like social enterprise/ventures/business will be a much bigger thing in 2044. There’s been a rapid ...(Read More)

Taking a step towards the ball

I’m sure this isn’t an original thought but but it’s struck me over the past few weeks how much easier it is to work with people who make an effort to be easy to work with. That sounds daft but there’s a real difference between people who are a bit prickly about getting things done and people whose immediate reaction is ‘how can I help?’ . In my schoolboy basketball days we were always taught to take a step towards the incoming pass. You soon find that if everybody in a team does that, more passes are completed and the ...(Read More)

Gadgets I’ve had for a while: Aeropress

I struggle to function in the mornings without a cup of coffee. To be honest, it also has to be a good cup of coffee. Instant just doesn’t cut it. A few years ago my little stovetop espresso pot gave up and I had to find an alternative. I think I stumbled upon the Aeropress by seeing it in a posh coffee shop (maybe Prufrock) but had also seen lots of friends mention it online. It cost about £25 and comes with a nice case and various attachments, all of which are pretty useful. The basic idea is to mix ...(Read More)

The yeast in the local economy

I’m up in Derbyshire this week and having a bit of an explore. While I don’t think you could say the economy is booming, there are some really interesting things going on. Yesterday I popped into the excellent Thornbridge Brewery which is on an industrial estate just outside Bakewell. The estate is a ramshackle collection of buildings some of which date back to 1777 and Arkwright’s time but you can tell that it had its heyday in the mid twentieth century. There are the tell-tale corrugated metal half cylinders of a wartime battery factory – now being used to make ...(Read More)