I want to share an addiction with you


Pascal has encouraged me to write more about what’s going on. So today I’m going to talk about an addiction I have.

When things were really tough a few years ago, and to manage my personal cashflow to as low as possible, I was living off two or three egg & cress Tesco sandwiches a day. I think that’s when I started to become intolerant to wheat but that’s another story, and so are the tough times.

What is important is that one day I came across these oat flapjacks which Sainsbury’s makes, and I got hooked. They’re great tasting, there’s no flour or wheat (they do have sugar, yes, but I can cope with that because it’s better then shooting something hard into my veins), and they are a whopping £1.69 or so for a packet. And this packet can sustain the average tech geek for a day, or half a day when there is exercise.

And so I started to buy them occasionally. Like 1 packet every few days. At the time, I had also developed a Kit-Kat habit, mainly because it was one of the things I looked forward to every day (52p Tesco, 55p Sainsbury’s, 70p at the off license, the thieves!), and because, well just because I was convinced that there were worse things I could do.

lembassmallSo over time I developed this real love for the flapjacks (and started doing less Kit-Kat), so much so that I started calling them “Lembas bread” due to their restorative powers – you know, like in The Lord of The Rings.

Shoot forward to today, and I no longer have the same desire I had for it, or the same dependancy, but I kinda see them as a all I need now.

Just last night I walked into Sainsbury’s, nodded knowingly to the guard at the door (his name is Simon), and casually picked up a stash of 4 packets, some orange juice and a slab of ham. Smash the orange juice and ham on the way home, then pop a banana protein shake and a couple Lembas bread to settle the stomach, and you’re away for the late shift.

All in the terribly exciting day of an entrepreneur fighting fires and pushing for growth.

Oh, and they’re healthy for you too…..


Are you an entrepreneur?


Great article from Harvard Business:
_ MBAs vs. Entrepreneurs: Who Has the Right Stuff for Tough Times? – Bill Taylor – HarvardBusiness.org

Ultimately, she says, entrepreneurs begin with three simple sets of resources: “Who they are” — their values, skills, and tastes; “What they know” — their education, expertise, and experience; and “Whom they know” — their friends, allies, and networks. “Using these means, the entrepreneurs begin to imagine and implement possible effects that can be created with them…Plans are made and unmade and revised and recast through action and interactions with others on a daily basis.”

Which one are you?

Checkout Grooveshark


So I’m in Tel Aviv, working at MyHeritage HQ, and Nils puts on some tunes from a site called Grooveshark. So I asked why he wasn’t using Spotify (he’s a Swede you see) and he says it’s something about tracking IP addresses for ad revenue (which I can understand, but people move their computers, right?), so he’s trying Grooveshark out and it’s workig pretty well…
_ Grooveshark — About

Music compels all of us–individually, in our own way. It fills our moments, our cars, our movies, and our thoughts. Grooveshark started with one question: how could we be enriched by changing the way we find and listen to music?

Our goals: To improve the connection between people and music. To change the music industry in ways they seem so unwilling to consider. To have fun.

We have a team of 40 passionate employees who wake up daily to live and work for the music, but what we’re really about is simple: you. We want you to help us grow, get better, and help us help the music. It’s the one thing we can all agree on.

Why I’m blogging it? Well, it’s a good looking site, with a clear purpose and vision, and easy to use, and it fills me with joy… along with Last.fm.

On a side note, apparently there’s this thing called the internet, where people talk to each other from all over the world… go figure Mr Music Label Executive…

Oh, and one other thing which I found funny from their site (see if you can find it):


Hat tip to Andrew Wise
(applies to life in general, girls in particular, and most definitely business)

It’s not about being the most frugal


Henrik comments on my Building a Startup You Love (is Hard) pdf / ebook
_ Henrik Torstensson’s Weblog: It is not about being the most frugal

Indeed, frugality is a great trait to have, in my humble opinion, when building a startup. You go and buy fruit and nuts instead of getting food delivered from the Ritz, you use online services with a cheap monthly subscription instead of buying in hardware / software, you start with interns and grow them into superstars instead of hiring FTE MBA grads… there are many examples.

However, I think being sustainable is more important. If frugality is living beneath your means, then sustainability is the bar you set to decide what your means are…. Does that make sense?

Would we be seeing the proliferation of services / apps everywhere, if they all had to make cash from Day 1? Probably not.

We’d be the poorer for it, and have less gimmicks to play with during lunch, but I also think we’d get better quality, and more attention to what is actually useful, as ultimately that is what people will pay for. Anyways, that’s another rant.

Henrik – thanks for the plug ;-)

TECH4FRICA conference postponed for 2008


I’ve been delaying this blog post in the hope that one or two avenues would change things, but unfortunately they haven’t and so it’s time to face reality ;-(

In short, unfortunately I/we weren’t able to raise enough money through sponsorship to cover enough of the costs needed to make the financial risks tenable, which effectively means no conference this year. The majority of responses were along the lines of “we’ve already allocated our budget for this year”, or “it’s not our business focus so we won’t spend money on it”.

*** Please spread the word ***

So, the obvious course of action is to try get into next years budgets; and keep plugging away at people to get at least a yes/no. Based on that, it’s either a yes for sometime in 2009 / 2010; or give up on the idea having tried, failed and learnt from it. I’m not convinced that giving up is the only option just yet though!! ;-)

That said, a few good things have come from the efforts so far, and they are:

  1. a few people have stepped forward to offer sponsorship in the last week or two, unfortunately it’s not enough to cover costs, but it is a good sign.
  2. word seems to be spreading, I’ve been amazed at how many emails have come in every day, from all over.
  3. Most of the speakers have committed to staying involved, which means that we’re still able to speak to sponsors with such a great lineup

Bottom line:

  1. My sincerest apologies to you all.
  2. If you have any questions or comments, please comment.

You can read the blog post and comments here.

Thanks, and will be blogging soon with more news!!