We’re going to put a lot of accountants and lawyers out of business with this one ;)
After a recent fund raising trip to the US I’ve gotten interested in the SEIS (Small Enterprise Investment Scheme) being run here in the UK (announced in the last budget).
The scheme runs for only 4 years, but offers what has been described as the best tax incentive scheme in the world! And it’s available to all UK tax payers and UK startups!
If you’re interested in the details of SEIS please head on over to the about SEIS page on SEISMarket.co.uk
One of the things I love most about startup life is having a positive effect on communities, and SEIS Market is definitely along that vein.
We’re going to kickstart British startups by helping them become super sexy to UK investors. We’re giving this away for free, and we’ve worked hard to make it as easy and human-readable (i.e. not accounting or lawyer language) as possible.
Speaking of accountants and laywers: I think this may be quite a disruptive service, since we’re doing for free what they typically do for £500+.
My aim is to get every startup in the country SEIS approved and out there fund raising up to £150,000 each. I’d love to help them get to a million £ valuation! The Million Pound Club! Yeah baby.
Wow, that’s been an amazingly busy few years.
This blog has suffered for that. It’s way out of date. In fact, this current design dates back to 2006, according to Wikipedia, makes this the oldest page on the Internets.
Starting last night I’ve drawn up some sketches for a new, simplified, typographical focused design which will allow me to feature my more 2012+ relevant skills. Expect to see lots of CSS3, responsive design, tablet friendly layouts, webfonts, and if I can fit it in, a smudge of Canvas or WebGL animation.
It’s good to be back!
My startup, BackChat.io, is on the look out for some good people interested in dealing with big, low-latency, real-time data, and who can work in languages like Scala, Java, JS, ruby.
For all the details please check out the BackChat.io’s blog post over at http://blog.backchat.io/post/8350551928/developer-wanted
I love the BBC. I may have loved it since I was born.
I’ve had what some may consider to be an unusual upbringing. My parents were brave and adventurous. I grew up in the tiny pacific island nation of Vanuatu; a land of volcano’s, cannibals, cargo cults, sacrificial pigs, Pentecostal bungee-jumpers, tree-houses and jungles, sharks and reefs.
Amusingly to friends today, I was the lone white kid in my class. I played my Ni-vanuatu friends after school, in their homes made from tin, cinder blocks, and sacking.
I cannot imagine a better way for a boy to spend a childhood.
One of the side-effects of such a remote upbringing was a lack of contact with the outside world. There was the odd cruise ship entering port, or the yearly VHS recording sent from family in New Zealand (which explains why I can recite Star Wars word-for-word), but not much on a local scale.
The sun rises and sets with precision timing and surprising swiftness that near the equator. My fondest boyhood memory is waking up, right on schedule, to the sunlight streaming through our bedroom’s wooden shutters, the illuminated dust dancing and glittering in the solid steam of light.
In the kitchen we’d hear the table set for breakfast. A bowl of 2 Weetbix, UHT milk from a box, a glass of orange cordial.
My Dad, sat at the end of the table, would turn on the radio, and on the hour the iconic beeps of the BBC World Service would herald in the morning news from around the globe. Beep beep beeeeeeep.
Just hearing those 3 simple beeps takes me back to that breakfast table. I can see my Dad’s still-black beard. It’s warm and sunny outside.
Almost 20 years later I arrived in the cold, dark UK. Originally contracted to a small startup company, one of my dreams of my stay here was to work for the BBC.
So when my initial contract finished, and I was presented with a chance to work for BBC WorldWide I jumped at the chance – 1/3 pay cut be damned! I was working for the BBC!
It’s been a great year and a bit; I’ve had the honour of being a lead developer on the BBC’s homepage, and as a developer i’ve been full of purpose knowing my work will effect the lives of millions of users each day.
Sadly my time at the BBC is coming to an end as of today. I turned 27 years old a month ago and decided it was high-time to start chasing my own startup dreams – so, in a romantic display of independence, dressed in my Birthday Suit (I wear my suit 1 day a year) I handed in my notice and announced I was leaving.
I’ve met some great characters here. There’s a lot of talent within this organisation, and they’re capable of amazing things. I hope they get the opportunities to make them a reality.
Even today I like to think that somewhere, in some desolately isolated part of the world, there’s a young kid like me waking up and marveling at the dust dancing in the light, hearing the beep of his Dad’s Macbook in the dining room, and rushing to sit on his knee as they browse the news on the BBC’s homepage.
That sounds egotistical. But I hope the BBC’s reach continues with all these new technologies for many more generations; I only wish I could have somehow snuck the beep beep beeeeep onto the homepage.
My first FOWA (Future of Web Apps) conference has just come to a close. What a nice way to spend a few days!
I must say, my enthusiasm tank (fuel tank for enthusiasm?) has been well topped up by this week’s workshops, presentations and chats with the presenters (I’m always so amazed by these smart people who manage to also stand up on stage and give an entertaining recital of their knowledge)
A summary of my thoughts
To me it seems like we’re currently experiencing what I believe to be a burst of innovation and excitement about web technologies. After a down few years of waiting for the death of IE6 and for the corporate adoption of Web 2.0 (whatever that is) all of a sudden there seems to be a bright light on the horizon, with the introduction of future technologies such as HTML5 in modern web browsers.
One exciting bit of tech presented at FOWA by Francisco Tolmasky (great name) was 280North‘s Cappuccino framework and Atlas IDE products, which radiates a heart-warming glow with it’s professionally pretty graphics and user interactions, promising to provide an easy web-to-desktop development path aimed at Obj-J and web developers.
If you’re not required to provide non-JS implementations of your work, then I’d suggest having a further look into Cappuccino and Atlas. They provide a nice toolkit for building complex web apps relatively quickly, and a big step forward in desktop integration.
Chatting with Bruce about the BBC’s (my employer) possible usage of HTML5 solidified my thinking; there’s lots of promise in the HTML5 spec, but it’s obvious it’s many years away from ready from production-ready usage. Great guy.
PayPal’s doing some much needed work to improve their APIs with x.com (how much must that domain have cost!) It’s all useless of course until they can provide me with a way to easily implement recurrent credit card billing.
Facebook’s recent release of their Translation Platform is very exciting for large multi-cultural players like the BBC. You can now simply ask your users to translate your site for you.
Facebook Connect continues to pick up steam, providing you with easier ways to distributing your content and linking back into Facebook’s social features.
Metrics for startup’s are massively important, AARRR, as we were told by Dave McClure in what must have been the ugliest slide deck ever (great content, it just felt like gonorrhea for the eyes). Google Analytics doesn’t cut it… but there doesn’t seem to be a suggested tool that does. Who’s going to build it?
And it was great to meet and chat to the Wine-o Energiser Bunny that is Gary Vaynerchuk. Packed to the brim with bravado, and telling us we’re all shit and all to blame for our own failings.
I challenged Gary after his talk about the validity of that statement; as a New Zealander, in a remote market geographically and financially, and the lack of community, how much of an advantage the average Yank grad has over the average Kiwi grad.
I’ve always thought that the reason for the lack of successful young NZ Internet entrepreneurs has a lot to do with the lack of local role-models and funding.
Gary assures me that if, like him, a kid in Jersey can self-fund a multi-million dollar business then so should anyone, no mater how geographically dispersed they are from the major world markets.
That’s all easy to say – he’s not on a NZ exchange rate, and is selling wine to a market of many times that of NZ’s – but I think for digital-goods and services that’s certainly true, if not becoming true.
So! Work hard, make something great, charge people for it. Simple.
The NZ Herald’s article this morning entitled “‘Tis the season to go hi-tech, fa la la la..beep” features Xero (I’m a previous employee and shareholder), the New Zealand based online Software as a Service accounting application, at the top of it’s list.
While the author notes it might not be the sexiest gift to give this year, it must be reaching the common perception that it’s at least cool, relative to other accounting apps anyhow.