Posts Tagged 'entrepreneurship'

Deep tech – Britain’s future in the diamond synchotron

Britain is good at innovation. From electric light to mobile telephony, from medical breakthroughs and the offside rule… as well as scifi fantasy like Blade Runner

I picked up yesterday on the Diamond Synchotron – Britain’s biggest scientific infrastructure investment for 40 years. Brilliantly futuristic name and major investment by some obviously brilliant British pioneers…

 Aerial photo of Diamond Aerial view of Diamond

This fabulous looking facility can create light that’s 10 billion times brighter than the sun. It will keep us at the forefront of research in medicine, genetics, environment and materials.

Great for Britain; great for Oxford and environs; one of those slow-burn investments that will keep cropping up creating world class impact again and again. I am sure I’m not the only one applauding some real deep science and great British visionary investment in experimentation.


Call to arms – from Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson writes extremely well about the emotions of business, the entrepreneur’s mindset and the value of capitalism to society.

Check out his latest piece in today’s FT. 

Click here.

I like the sound of: ‘Next year, the British government will be rushed in an electoral landslide of epic proportions, partly because it absolutely does not understand how entrepreneurs think or what they do’.

Not sure the opposition really have their act together yet to give Gordon a good bloody nose.

Find Luke here:

Luke Johnson Logo

Recession Graph 4 – Bathtub

Optimism required here. Previous posts have called the shape of this recession and economic activity as flat lines off an ‘L’ or wonky lightning. An analyst from UBS sees an uptick. In 2011 or 2012.

Meantime, we’re on the slope of a bath going down to the plug hole. We’re skirting the bumps of the plughole… flat, drop, swirl, clunk up, swirl, clunk up, crawl out, gradual ascent, Olympic climb up the back and out.

And, with reference to my previous post – amazing what you can find on Flickr… dead cat in the bath:

Ted Goes Nuts in the Bathtub by Geoff Penn

And, for those who want to start to explore Flickr’s photo library… this might tickle you… on a bathtub theme… here. (Which reminds me of a funny internet etiquette story, because some guys recently employed a German student as an intern and she thanked them, giving them a Flickr reference which put her demure nature in a whole new light. Do they ask her to return next summer? Where do they put their eyes)!

Cash, customers, confidence – forecasts has built a massive following by focusing on the Home Worker. They predict that 8 million people will, this year, do some kind of business from their home. That’s a big thing. 

But, I’m thinking… these businesses are all small, lifestyle businesses. 

At tonight’s EnterpriseNation launch of forecasts for 2009, I meet the founders of Balineum – a luxy bathroom furnishing specialist. Well, I’m thinking… that’s gotta be hit by the crunch. And, it’s gotta be tiny and lifestyle-y. And, surely, they’ve got to be thinking Bedrooms next, then Kitchens.

But, no.

And, here’s the punch. It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be (see book on subject). I know this from the book – but I’m knocked out by Sarah and Anneli who remind me that Zara was founded by a guy selling towels from his house 25 years ago and it’s now the biggest clothing retailer in the world. That’s me told to be small minded!

It’s chutzpah that grows businesses. Drive, energy, ambition.

They draw me in to the world of Turkish towels. Simple product. Not too expensive.I like this. But a splash of luxury amid the gloom of recession. For £45, I can buy an Anatolian sheet. Standard towels are 600 grams per metre, but Balineum’s are 820.

Wryly, I’m even told it’s the way to get laid: wife or girlfriend – if a boy buys an Anatolian sheet or two. 

So, I’ve got a feature and a benefit to take to bed with my wife for her birthday after a nice warm bath.

Here’s a pic I prepared earlier of my wife sporting her Anatolia mini… which convinces me that Balineum must be right:

in the Bathroom by Liberoliber

(And… cash, customers, confidence – these are the key fundamentals to focus on for 2009)

Recession watch – things you can buy for £1

I was amused to see an article last week in Rupert Murdoch’s thelondonpaper entitled ‘Things you can buy for a pound’. Given the paper’s rivalry with Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail Group, owners of the Evening Standard, this may have been a dig.

Thelondonpaper points to edible g-strings, lottery tickets and Ryanair flights. It didn’t headline it, but it did point out that a Russian oligarch has bought the whole of the Evening Standard for £1.

Another Quality Headline from The Evening Standard... by Big Marvin.

Graham Norton had a gag in this vein about their office secret santa presents – the limit was £5 and he managed to buy a whole street in Bradford for his PA for £4.99. He was surprised and delighted that she returned the favour and bought him the whole of the Woolworths chain for £1!

I gather you can take your pick these days of regional newspapers, buy-to-let blocks, premiership football clubs, bust dot.coms, mid-market fashion chains, gift shops, car dealerships, Michelin star restaurants and anything that’s been in a sector that got a bit frothy over the Noughties.

But, wait, the government will soon be paying you to take businesses off their hands: car manufacturers, steel firms, coal mines… My prediction that 2009 would be the year for the vulture is coming true. But, vultures are naturally lazy. Don’t jump off your perch just yet because things have got a way to go. Double L

VC Balderton raises $430million for start-ups

The guys behind Betfair, Setanta, Bebo have raised fresh capital. What a great time to be in the funds – and a mark of quality that these guys can raise money in the teeth of the crunch.

See Techcrunch comments on the European ‘Big Five’ – Balderton, Accel, Atlas, Wellington and Index Ventures- and I picked up on Fred Destin’s blog thoughts too.

Venturesome Economy – the secret of innovation

Was recently reading an interesting book review in the FT of a book called The Venturesome Economy – How innovation sustains prosperity in a more connected World, by Amar Bhide.

The thesis is well worn – that innovation will keep developed economies like the US and UK ahead of the marching hoards of the BRIC economies.

I’ve been quaking that India and China are each spitting out a million MBAs per annum and thinking that my kids will not have any hope in the 2020s because our world will be overrun by the brainboxes of the emerging nations.

Good news for them! And, it chimes with intuitive thoughts I’ve had about our more developed marketplaces… it’s not necessarily the innovation that has kept our economies ahead, it’s the fact that our consumers are more willing to embrace new technology and this ‘venturesome consumption’ which drives the market, which drives the innovators, which drive the economy.

So, here’s to the early adopters of the bleedingly trendy. Here’s to Tweeters on Twitter… to flashmobs, to Huddle, to Six to Start, to Oil Productions, to Velo Agency… to nonsensical fashions in Hoxton, or crazy artists in the Tea Building… it all adds up to a vibrant marketplace that tests, filters, champions.

And, creates progress. And prosperity.


Another blog post picks up the topic here. Saying stuff that I’d pick up – on the public policy context for innovation… should government help start-ups at all? which ones – the big near-successes or the myriad of small/risky?:

The Venturesome Economy

Amar Bhide channels Austan Goolsbee when he writes:

[…] there is little evidence of an “undersupply” or a need for public policies to stimulate the production of more high-level know-how or to subsidize the training of more homegrown scientists and engineers. Rather, given the realities of modern innovation, there is a good argument for reversing policy biases against the development – and even more importantly – the effective use of mid- and ground-level innovations. Public policies should stop trying to rob mid- and ground-level Peters to pay high-level Pauls.

Charlie’s Twitter status

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