Good things this week #4

A beautiful walk in the Peak District around and up Chrome Hill. I was amazed how much lycra and road cycling kit was on display as well – really glad Britain has got the bike bug. BBC’s Horizon on meat – convinced me that there’s nothing wrong healthwise with eating meat in moderation but that the environmental impact means we need to cut back a lot. Having a series of meetings that made me realise quite how far we’ve come with BGV since we kicked it off over homemade lasagne in Bethnal Green in late 2010. Flying to San Francisco ...(Read More)

Hacking inequality

Each week I have the pleasure of meeting quite a few founders who come and talk to us about their ideas. They want to find out more about BGV and I want to help them in whatever way I can, whether or not they go on to become a BGV team. It’s most intense just before our application deadline but we’re always up for a coffee, even when the programme is running. Recently I’ve noticed a new theme in the ideas people are coming to talk to me about. We usually say that we back ideas in health, education and ...(Read More)

Good things this week #3

Chris Hoy’s BBC ‘How to win gold‘ including an interview with his hero Graeme Obree The BBC documentary about the building of Crossrail – The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway Swimming at the London Aquatics Centre – feels like a massive privilege two years on from the game Getting into The Last of Us – wow, what a game The Hungarian Grand Prix – it’s the best season for a long time I reckon

Good things this week #2

Bit late this week but here are my highlights: All the pictures of the lightning storms. Running around the Olympic Park – it’s looking really good these days. TEA from Hogback – lovely caramel hit. Brunch at Mare and Beck – good eggs. 7 hour lamb shoulder at Great Queen Street – nom. Finishing Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson – such an amazing book, gives you a sense of what London would have been like in the late 1600s. Rewatching Delicatessen – over twenty years old but still fresh.

Tricky business: awkwardness

[Also posted over on the BGV blog] If you make the choice to go into startup life there’s something you should know – things are going to get awkward. You’ll have to have lots of awkward conversations as a team. You’ll have to talk about money, about who gets the credit, about whether people are doing a good job or not. You’ll think it’s easier to avoid these conversations but don’t – short term awkward is better than long term resentment. You’ll have awkward conversations with friends who just don’t get why you’re going it alone. They’ll nod politely and ...(Read More)

Reshuffle kerfuffle

It’s reshuffle day in the UK as Government Ministers get hired, fired and moved around. It struck me as I looked through the ups and downs this morning that it’s the first major one of this Government. A lot of Ministers have been in post for four years and quite a few held the same brief in opposition. Compared to the Tony Blair days, that’s a lifetime. Most summers would involve moving people around and the whole of the think tank world (where I worked at the time) would spend the day working out where it left them. Four years ...(Read More)

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)