Archive for May, 2010

Starting-up: Community not just location

May 19, 2010

There’s no doubt that location is an extremely important factor for startups. But what if you’re not based in one of the great startup tech hubs e.g. Silicon Valley or Boston – do you move to one or make the most of where you are? The benefit of any location is the local supporting community and locality of your target customers. To be a success focus on the nearest and best resources to your location.This even applies being in the greatest startup hubs. There are no guarantees of success!!

Paul Graham said, when referring to great startup locations:

“…that’s where the experts are. Standards are higher; people are more sympathetic to what you’re doing; the kind of people you want to hire want to live there; supporting industries are there; the people you run into in chance meetings are in the same business.”

No matter where your startup is, you  are competing on a global playing field. Your product has to be world-class to survive! This means startups can start anywhere, if you are committed to competing with the best. However startups aren’t easy and they need lots of friendly help and support. This can be derived from a good location, strong local support and a willingness to travel.

Two friends of mine – Adam Bird (CTO, co-founder of Esendex) & Andy McLoughlin (Strategy Director, co-founder of Huddle) recently packed their bags for Silicon Valley. Their two successful companies are proof that tech companies can make it outside the valley. But why are they heading for the USA? The US is a very big market and customers there expect a local presents, preferably a founder and The Valley is the centre of tech in the US. Esendex and Huddle made the most of their local community eco-system and local customers before branching out to the States.

At this years SXSW Ross Kimbarovsky and Mike Samson, the founders of crowdSPRING based in Chicago said if you want to succeed as a startup outside the existing ecosystems in Silicon Valley, etc., then you have to invest in your local ecosystem.” Both Adam and Andy have made significant efforts and impact on their local communities. Andy/Ali setup DrinkTank and Adam started Nott Tuesday. They were focused on their local startup eco-system. These guys have also been very supportive to other startups, like ours.

Just because you are located in a startup hub like Silicon Valley or Boston it does not mean your startup will be successful. What really matters is attitude, just look at Skype from Luxembourg,  MySQL from Helsinki and Bebo from London. Startups have to make things happen wherever they are and they need to help create a support network around them – this is what really matters.


Aware Monitoring Employee number 1!

May 13, 2010

It’s been a heroic effort by my CTO co-founder Simon Oxley in building our website and web app monitoring service. Over the past year and a half we’re engaged with development companies, freelancers and students to help us build our app.

We’re now on the market for our 1st full-time developer to help take Aware Monitoring to the next level 🙂 It certainly will be an extremely exciting and dynamic place to work. Our employee numero uno will have the chance make a real difference in the company and to the world!!

Slide not included (Google’s Zürich offices)

If you are looking for an extremely exciting, challenging and rewarding role look no further! Ideally we’re looking for developers with some Django and Python experience. Its OK if these skills are in there infancy. What we really need is individuals with a solid work ethic and the desire to learn!

If you have some of the skills we need and want to find out more drop us a line at

Getting by with a little help from friends

May 4, 2010

I’m in ore at the support we received from our friends during The Internet World exhibition. My startup, Aware Monitoring, had at booth at the show. During the three-day exhibition we were visited by other startups, press, and customers who’ve been following our progress. Thank you so much for all your support and help 🙂 We really appropriate it!!

Jonathan English from Skeleton Productions

I’d especially  like to thank Jonathan from Skeleton Productions for spending an afternoon helping to man our stand. We had a real buzz with three of us working on the booth. At one point we had eight people around the stand! It’s a real shame Simon my co-founder was not there – he was busy with his wife having a baby. Alex Witkowski, a 3rd year philosophy student supplied by Model Students, did an outstanding job working with me on the booth for the three days. We wouldn’t have had such a great show without Alex’s help!

Alex Witkowski and I on the Aware Monitoring booth

Nick Walker came down from Nottingham for the show and took some great photo’s of us – thanks Nick 🙂 As always it was great to see Glenn Shoosmith and Gregory Bockenstette from the awesome BookingBug who visited our stand! And finally not forgetting Josh Rathour for dropping by. I also made some great new friends and acquaintances throughout the show.