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Agility

Here’s an article I wrote that’s just been published in Enterprise Magazine. Thanks to Rob and Dan for their insight. You can download the whole issue here, which includes a rather dashing photo of me! 🙂 And while you’re at it, keep up to date with tiptop news via their Twitter account.

It’s 5am and I’m wide awake. My mind is clearly more eager than my body to start the first working day of 2009. I’m thinking back over the last year and how I can improve over the next 12 months.

2008 was an odd year for me. I achieved a lot, bringing more people together through my networking events, and worked on some brilliant projects with some amazing people. Yet with my key “revenue generators” I often felt hamstrung by a lack of resources, both in terms of talent and finance. Needing to find people to carry out work for me, and sourcing the capital to pay for it all meant that things often seemed to move incredibly slowly. A lot of this stems from the fact that much of the work I do has the internet at the very heart of it, but I’m neither a web developer or designer. It would be technically impossible for me to build these ideas on my own.

I spoke to Dan Zambonini, technical director of internet development agency, Box UK. He thinks that being a solo entrepreneur isn’t the issue it once was. “Luckily, with the web now as it is, there are plenty of online websites that can match up idea people with doing people. Technical people love to do interesting things, so if you know the right people, you’ll often find someone who’s willing to help you out for the sheer pleasure of it.”

Dan believes that there’s a growing demand for smaller, smarter online services that do one thing well, rather than trying to do everything. The idea being to get them up online as soon as they work and improve them as they go along, using your first customers as your testers too.

“Especially now with online services….it’s easier than ever to realise sophisticated ideas with less effort. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr; all started off much simpler, and have added features as they’ve been demanded”.

For some, being agile isn’t a desirable quality but an absolute prerequisite. “Digital PR has to be lightening quick because that’s the way the web works – the window of opportunity in online media is so much smaller”, says Rob Mosley from boutique digital advertising and PR agency Nonsense. I asked him for a good tip on getting projects up and running quicker. “I think debate is the biggest enemy to getting stuff done quick. If you get into a habit of making decisions fast, so you can get on with making things, you’re 80% of the way there. Obviously our clients need to trust us a lot for us to do this, and they also have to accept that we’ll make the odd mistake… which is still better than missing the boat”.

So what are my new year’s resolutions? Find smart and quick people to work with who are keen to get involved in exciting one-off projects, turn my ideas around faster, don’t worry about them being perfect from the start, tweak them as I go along, and feel more fulfilled that I’m not constantly languishing in “development hell”.

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2008 creative entrepreneur Entrepreneurship future interesting los angeles marketing media san francisco silicon valley startup uk USA wales

Silicon Valley Envy

My ex-business partner Maf and his wife Tara came over from LA this week and it was fantastic to spend an evening with them reminiscing about getting drunk in various cities around the world and talking about the various business pursuits we’ve both been involved with since closing the record label down.
I had a real burst of “Silicon Valley Envy” (although it was strictly speaking “California Envy”). I’ve written before about the superior environment and attitude that exists for entrepreneurs in the States. And while I’m in the enviable position of having good contacts at the likes of Creative Business Wales, nothing really makes up for the general positive atmosphere that exists over there. I run a network for creative entrepreneurs and businesses in South Wales (new website being built as we speak!) and as far as I’m aware it’s the only one of its kind. And yet in pretty much any area surrounding San Francisco, Silicon Valley or LA that’s an equivalent size to South Wales there will be countless networking opportunities for those of us that sit outside the mainstream of business. I’m not a huge fan of networking (in the traditional sense) but, provided there’s an opportunity (online or offline) for people to get mutual support and ideas, I think it’s essential to business success.

In related news, Project Pinewood is “one of the most unique and ambitious projects ever undertaken in the UK for the creative industries. It’s a living working media community, set within a collage of permanent film and TV locations”. Apparently it will have permanent sets of all the world’s major locations. I just hope it fosters young talent and gives opportunities to up and coming film makers, and doesn’t just become a playground for the big studios. I also hope it avoids the curse of the beleaguered Valleywood. More projects like these (and smaller ones like the fantastic hub DigitalCity) are just what we need to keep the creative industries growing at a faster rate than the average for the UK economy.
p.s. The last Bond movie was shot at Pinewood studios, hence the Daniel Craig pic…. 🙂
Categories
2008 creative entrepreneur Entrepreneurship future interesting los angeles marketing media san francisco silicon valley startup uk USA wales

Silicon Valley Envy

My ex-business partner Maf and his wife Tara came over from LA this week and it was fantastic to spend an evening with them reminiscing about getting drunk in various cities around the world and talking about the various business pursuits we’ve both been involved with since closing the record label down.
I had a real burst of “Silicon Valley Envy” (although it was strictly speaking “California Envy”). I’ve written before about the superior environment and attitude that exists for entrepreneurs in the States. And while I’m in the enviable position of having good contacts at the likes of Creative Business Wales, nothing really makes up for the general positive atmosphere that exists over there. I run a network for creative entrepreneurs and businesses in South Wales (new website being built as we speak!) and as far as I’m aware it’s the only one of its kind. And yet in pretty much any area surrounding San Francisco, Silicon Valley or LA that’s an equivalent size to South Wales there will be countless networking opportunities for those of us that sit outside the mainstream of business. I’m not a huge fan of networking (in the traditional sense) but, provided there’s an opportunity (online or offline) for people to get mutual support and ideas, I think it’s essential to business success.

In related news, Project Pinewood is “one of the most unique and ambitious projects ever undertaken in the UK for the creative industries. It’s a living working media community, set within a collage of permanent film and TV locations”. Apparently it will have permanent sets of all the world’s major locations. I just hope it fosters young talent and gives opportunities to up and coming film makers, and doesn’t just become a playground for the big studios. I also hope it avoids the curse of the beleaguered Valleywood. More projects like these (and smaller ones like the fantastic hub DigitalCity) are just what we need to keep the creative industries growing at a faster rate than the average for the UK economy.
p.s. The last Bond movie was shot at Pinewood studios, hence the Daniel Craig pic…. 🙂