Posts Tagged ‘Aware Monitoring’

My Startup lessons learnt

March 1, 2011

After three years, burning through a pile of cash and God knows how many work hours, here is my startup story from:  (1) Finding an idea and sticking to it, (2) Getting a commercial product out the door (3) And  then iterate/pivot to a product-market-fit (a must have product).

This video was recorded during a ‘Opportunity recognition’ lecture at Nottingham University and kindly filmed by my good friends at Skeleton Productions. These video’s are nicely divided into six easily digestible sections. If you only watch one, see PART3 – ‘Finding the perfect new business idea..’

PART 1 – About Nick Barker, Opportunity recognition and a quiz on famous tech startups that pivoted

PART 2 – Overview the three Opportunity recognition and development challenges. About Aware Monitoring

PART3 – Finding the perfect new business idea, lack of time and search for customer value proposition

PART4 – Building out a product, funding and pivoting the service

PART 5 – Competitor differentiation, lean startups and getting to product-market-fit

PART 6 – Continuous process of iterating and pivoting a product. Learn more about Nick Barker


My latest Pitch

February 8, 2011

Here’s my latest startup pitch (kindly recorded by Lucy Hewlitt of – its only 2:40 seconds long. My elevator pitch has got alot better over the last year and a half.

I talk about what our service does, how we are different and how our service has been received. Lucy also asks me how we are funded.

After pitching our service 100’s of times its got much better but there’s always room for improvement 😉

We won!!

July 9, 2010

How awesome it that – we won the Nottingham Post New Business of the Year 2010!! It was an absolutely fantastic evening. Not just because we won our category, but because so much effort was channeled into the event. It was an incredible atmosphere.

Aware Monitoring’s Nick Barker & Simon Oxley accepting the New Enterprise Award
Source: Nottingham Post & Nottingham University Business School

We were greeted with a champagne reception at the wonderful historic council house in Nottingham and then enjoyed a marvelous meal. All the finalists had short video’s shown on their companies before the winners were announced. The winners and finalists were:

Well done to the winners and finalist for all the blood, sweat and tears put into their companies. For me the event shows the outstanding innovative companies we have in the area. It was especially great to see so many web and IT related companies in the finals.  It ‘s also  interesting that companies like  Bunches Florapost are maximizing the Internet with 70% of their revenues coming through the web.

We need to thank all sponsors and British Business Awards Association for making the event happen and the Nottingham Post for pulling together the awards for the last 26 years.

In the end, my evening went onto the wee hours in the morning celebrating!!

Going for Business & Tech Awards

June 30, 2010

There’s lots of local, regional and international Business /Tech awards around (Ernst & Young, Red Herring, TechCrunch50, UK IT Industry Awards, etc). Some cost alot to enter and some only a little. But are they worth winning? And how do you win ’em..

If you not heard my startup Aware Monitoring is through to the final of a local Award competition – Nottingham Post New Enterprise of the Year 2010 Award. We’ll know this week if we’ve won.

Simon & I in the papers (click here for full article)
Source: Nottingham Post & Nottingham University Business School

I recently met David Atherton, the founder of, an ecommerce IT retailer. Dabs  went for a whooping 800 awards and won 200 of them! Dave said ‘they were a great low-cost form of PR and marketing.’ Most people I’ve spoken to who’ve won awards say they are worth winning because they bring:

  1. Immediate press attention – The awards organisers and sponsors tend to promote the finalists and winners to the press. Its great free PR.
  2. Knock-on press attention – Other publications will take attention if your company wins an award. They’ll want to write about you too!
  3. Confidence – The feel good factor is extremely valuable for the founders and  employees moral. Everyone is recognised for  their hard efforts.
  4. Success – Everyone wants to be a success. To be finalist or a winner shows your company is succesful, even if it’s not aways the case.
  5. Credibility – Prospects and customers want to feel they can trust their suppliers. Awards seems to bring confidence in companies.

In a talk by Doug Ashby he felt that the Awards got in the way of selling to prospects and customers. Doug has won several awards before exciting well from his Mainframe hardware maintenance business. Doug felt the awards bloated the winners ego to the extent where they take their eye (focus) of their business.

A friend of mine, Adam Harris, won the IoD (Institute of Directors) Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008. Adam said ‘that you have to put the time and effort into the application to win.’ Sounds obvious, but Adam said ‘most people leave completing the application until the last-minute and rush it.’ Like an important proposal  take your time and get the  applications right. Of course, you need a great story, a business with some strong successes and good writing skills to be noticed.

I took Dave & Adam’s advice and we’re through to  a local award final. Whether we win and it then goes to our heads (ego) is yet to be seen 😉


We won! Amazing!! It was a truly fantastic evening. We did well to win our category against stiff competition. For our ‘Aware Monitoring wins Award’ company post on the win, click here and for the full Nottingham Post write-up click here.

Growing up!

June 1, 2010

Our startup, Aware Monitoring, is moving up in the world – we’ve relocated desks from our old hot desk facility to our very own desks. This event may sound trivial but it’s not. It’s a significant milestone in our evolution.

We’ve now got our own phones, our  very own sign at the front door and permanent desks! This move is  happening just as we are looking for our 1st employee. These really are exiting times for our startup. I’ll miss the old office but it will be great to have our own space. I’ve not had my own desk since leaving employment way back in 2006.

We’ve been using The Nottingham University UNIEI incubator hotdesk facility since September 2008. The new desks are still in the same building. Nottingham University have been good to us. They’ve  supported our startup and helped us grow. I first posted about our website monitoring startup idea – ‘Our new software baby is on its way’, back in January 2009 with baby Jack-Jack imagery (The incredibles, Pixar). We’re now growing up  😉 It’s great to be moving onto the next level.

Next stop – break-even and our very own offices!!

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

Awesome: Aware Monitoring 2nd on Google search

December 4, 2009

I’m pleased as punch – our startup Aware Monitoring ranks 2nd place on an organic Google ‘website monitoring’ UK search. That’s Awesome news!! Not sure how we did that but we have 🙂

Only one place to go 🙂 Interestingly non of the sponsored result companies provide pricing on their website – they’re all a call us service and speak to the sales guy.

New Aware Monitoring blog: One v.small step for man, one giant leap for us

August 7, 2009

Here at Aware Monitoring HQ we’re moving rapidly towards the beta of our new website/web app monitoring service. We’ve been very busy building the app. It takes longer than you want or expect to develop a web app. But that’s  quite normal. We released our launchpage six months ago.  Since then we’ve been very quite.  That’s about to change.

Apollo Launch

An Apollo rocket launch

We’ve set-up a new Aware Monitoring blog to keep you upto date with our final beta steps and launching the app. This will be our fifth blog: this one (obviously); Simon my co-founders home page and the blog – our adventure into the world of Enterprise 2.0.  Exciting times ahead!!

Pitching 2.0+ : A clear, concise & complete message

July 8, 2009

It’s not as easy as you think getting your pitch/message down to a few very clear and concise words. I’m pitching our website monitoring startup again. This Pitch is part of a national Pitch competition. Click the links to see my last pitches: Understanding Pitching and Learning to Pitch. We’ve been short listed based on our application form. All the hard work we’ve been putting into our Website messaging is really starting to come through. Our message must be improving.

ChurchillChurchill. Good with words.

Like a marketing strapline a pitch needs to be boiled down to a very few key words. It says what your company does and what you stand for. This message is then developed into longer pitches to include more and more detail as required. 3 second, 30 second, 3 minute pitches, etc. Its a bit like a pyramid of descriptions with the shortest and simplest pitch at the top. This structure brings consistency and clarity. Ultimately the culture of a startup is formed around the principle messages and values formed by the founders. In this way employees, customers and investors understand what your company stands for.

How we get on today at The Pitch competition is important but its not critical. Its the journey that’s the useful part. Improving, testing and refining our message is the reason to pitch. Although the £50,000 worth of prizes would be nice. This practice is preparing us and our message for potential customers. After all The Pitch panel will not be buying our product, customers will. Keep pitching – practice makes perfect 😉

Got a Website: Our startup NEEDS YOU!!

June 5, 2009

Here at Aware Monitoring HQ development of our Website monitoring service continues at break neck pace. If you have a website that’s important to you this service will be of use. We are now rapidly moving towards our closed alpha and need beta testers to try out our new web app.


If you’ve already signed-up thank you. If not click here. All we need is your name and email. We’ll drop you a line when the beta is ready. Don’t  worry we won’t spam you or give your email address to anybody else. This is so exciting 🙂