So excited by the new badges on DistilledU
That I just had to try out embedding one:
Puzzling over the Valve corporate structure
If you’ve followed the stuff I’ve written here and elsewhere, you’ll know I’m a sucker for academic exercises, game theory and business strategy. Combine the three and you know I’ll be hooked. It’ll come then as no surprise that I’ve been fascinated recently to read about Valve’s amazing corporate structure (TL;DR no management at all and an...
The Brixton pound: a ridiculous currency?
I just read about the Brixton pound (Google it) after seeing it tweeted by a local politician and it occurred to me that it looks like it was created by someone with no understanding of economics. They have reimplemented a currency without all the good bits. With no secondary market and no floating exchange rate, it strikes me as pure pr puff. If it had those things, there is a chance that...
Google's big announcement this week
Wasn’t the web of things. How do I know? Because Facebook’s IPO hasn’t happened yet. Every time recently that another big player has had major news, Google has rolled out a news-cycle-killer. It could be as simple as announcing that GM have handed their entire social budget to search (or to G+ advertising??). Or it could be something much bigger and more fundamental. ...
What I'd do with Bing if I ran Microsoft
I assume you’ve seen the river of red ink caused by Microsoft’s lengthy excursion into the search engine game: Here’s what I’d do if I ran Microsoft and was playing the long (5-10 years) game: Realise that I don’t need to win the search engine wars to thrive, but I do need to win at something new Choose my “something new” Do a deal with Yahoo! to...
Pinterest has a massive gap between its terms and...
Game theory in organisational design
Wow. That’s a boring title. Could I have come up with a worse title? You already know I’m a geek. Well, when I read Wil Reynolds’ recent post on issues with various bonus structures he’s tried, this was the first thing I thought about. You’ll want to read Wil’s post before continuing here in order for anything to make sense. At university, I studied game...
43% conversion rate? Thanks Launchrock
I have been hugely impressed by Launchrock. I initially thought it sounded like the perfect example of Feature Not A Company but I’ve been convinced that if what they have is a feature, it’s one that should be present in every email provider’s toolkit. In particular, I’d like Mailchimp to buy them please. Yesterday, we ran a “ship-a-thon” at Distilled...
Why I aspire to an MBA
It’s easy to feel the hate for MBAs - especially if you hang out in the startup or online marketing world (e.g. 1, 2). I have a very different viewpoint. After my undergraduate degree (pure and applied mathematics at the University of Cambridge) I stuck around in Cambridge for a one-year course entitled “part III” - effectively a one year masters in mathematics. Part III is...
Pushing flywheels hurts
Aside: if you have no idea why I’m talking about flywheels, go read this or this (or, ideally, this) I have recently been reminded of how hard it is when you’re starting out at something. When we started Distilled, it took us a long time to get any kind of momentum going (see the presentation I gave at my old high school over the summer). Recently, we have been the lucky...
The main thing you do
I recently got a new favourite coffee shop in Balham. It’s a little surprising, as I don’t think I’m really in the target market. It’s a boutiquey shop selling cute little trinkets. Not really my style. So why the love? They sell Monmouth coffee. Terrifyingly expensive, but totally worth it. The best coffee I’ve ever tasted. I say terrifyingly expensive. It...
Things I wish I'd known →
I recently gave a talk at my old high school on the subject of “things I wish I’d known back then”. It was part motivational, part educational, but I hope the slides will be useful to some…
Lessons learnt by a first-time investor
First, the big news: Distilled recently participated in an angel round of investment in Server Density, a cloud-based server monitoring startup. I wanted to write a little bit about the experience. Some background: I have recently begun writing down longer-term goals (partly shamed by Danny Dover’s amazing list, I have to admit). I have had some success in my personal “getting...
For future reference ;) →
The hardest hire in the world
I was reading Fred Wilson’s post on marketing for start-ups the day it was published. This morning I also saw Rand’s response. I started writing a tweet, but realised I had a lot more than that to say on the subject. Rand has done a great job of covering the counter-argument so I won’t rehash that here. My only extension is that I think startups often do a bad job of assessing...
Leaked AOL strategy →
Must read for content sites, whether you agree with their approach or not.
as a “top tier” school, if it’s not leading the way, how can we expect the rest...– Zach could as easily be talking about Cambridge.
For every person who comes in here talking about the team they’re going to hire,...– This post (via randfish - the “best post this year on entrepreneurship”) contains loads of the kind of advice I need to include in my talk.
Business advice to my younger self
It looks as though I’m going to be giving a talk to the ~500 or so students leaving my old high school this summer. I’m going to be talking about business lessons I wish I’d known when I left school. I’d love to hear others’ ideas for inspiration (one of the lessons is that using other people’s ideas for “inspiration” is fine after you leave...
This is why stackoverflow rocks →
A days-old question, updated because there’s been a code update that makes it even easier to do what I was trying to do.
How much does intelligence affect entrepreneurial... →
I’m fascinated by this stuff. As someone considered smart at high school, who discovered much smarter people at college, I’m interested in the common high school drop-out company founder vs. PhD (I’m neither). I value my analytical abilities, but I think I can have a tendency to over-think or over-complicate. One factor I’ve never seen well-addressed in these studies is...
Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside– Hugh Macleod (no idea if he came up with this, but I think it’s one of the best pieces of advice you can have).