Posts Tagged ‘Huddle’

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.


I’m calling a ‘time of opportunity’ for London/UK internet startup industry

July 15, 2009

I’m getting very bored of being told we’re no good at Tech startup’s in the UK. I’ve calmed down since reading Paul Carr’s I’m calling a ‘time of death’ for London’s internet startup industry” Guardian article, so this post won’t be a rant.  Admittedly Paul’s post is amusing , however he paints a very negative and bleak picture. If Paul is to be believed there’s no future for London/UK Internet startups. However, I believe there is hope and the UK Tech startup industry has great strengths.

Paul’s a journalist who once lived in London and is now housed in Silicon Valley. He believes The London internet industry is increasingly, and terminally, screwed”. If Paul is to be believed shouldn’t we just give up! Why bother if  there’s no hope. While we are here lets cancel the 2012 London Olympics because the Beijing games were exceptional. There’s no way London could be the same. Just as we’re not Beijing, we are not Silicon Valley.


The Awesome Beijing Olympic opening ceremony drummers!! (Image source)

The investment funds sloshing around The Valley are huge compared to UK/European funds. The VC’s and Angel’s in the UK/Europe also tend to be much more risk adverse. Although these factors are changing  in the US with the credit bubble bursting. The UK’s limitations doesn’t mean we can’t produce a wonderful Olympics or make world class profitable web apps, we can. Huddle is a great example. Their ranked as one of the globe’s top 50 startups. Bebo is an excellent example of a very healthy trade sale. Sage a global leader was once a UK startup. The list of great UK startup goes on. Mike Butcher of Techcrunch Europe did a splendid job of correcting Paul on London’s startup profitability.

I and  many others agree that the Web 2.0 bubble is coming to an end. But the end is not death, it’s change. The Internet continues to deconstruct entire industries: advertising, music, newspapers etc. This change brings new potential innovation opportunities for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs alike. The Tech community has always been about and embraced radical change.  We are more adept at change than many other industries including Paul Carr’s Newspaper sector which Mike Butcher also pointed out.

The underlying Internet market continues to grow strongly. Ecommerce sales growth remains healthy even in the recession and the use of web applications are forecast to increase massively. The future of software is going to come from Internet based SaaS services and Open source. Again we have world leaders in the opensource sector with UK companies like Canonical and Alfresco. As entrepreneurs shouldn’t we take advantage of change to bring new opportunities. Or as Paul suggests should we give up hope and all the strengths that we have in the UK.

Aware Monitoring: The startup formally known as Viisys

May 22, 2009

When we set out on our startup journey we didn’t know what we were going to make. So we named our company Viisys, which is an abbreviation of Seven Systems (seven being in the roman numerals VII). The seven (vii) means the 7th step of enlightenment and Sys refers to Tech systems. Seven is also a lucky number but who needs luck?

Moving the clock forward  we have been enlightened and our new website monitoring app, Aware Monitoring will be released later this year 🙂 We’re now ready to change our name to reflect what our service does i.e. monitoring. We will now trade and be known by our product name, Aware Monitoring and not Viisys. This change of identity is not unusual. Our good friends Andy and Ali at started out as Ninian Solutions and now trade as Huddle.


Simon, my co-founder, recently posted that its really exciting to see our branding coming together. To complete the brand switch over I’ve now changed company name on my LinkedIN profile and email footer to Aware Monitoring. I’ve also removed the ‘About’ page on this blog and updated the ‘Who am I’ without reference to Viisys.

These changes have also been a chance to update my ‘about/Who am I’ as they felt a little ‘corporate’ and unfriendly. A summary bio is now also on the front page. Hopefully you’ll agree that the new blog bio is more straight forward and friendly.. Here’s the old version:


Innovations including the internal combustion engine, electricity and the Internet have radically changed our lives. I am interested in one thing and that is change, love it or hate it change is inevitable.

Market innovators and entrepreneurs drive business change through marketing strategies. We can only speculate on what the future holds, so join me on this journey to uncover how new software technologies may change the way we work and live.

This blog is for for marketers, technology innovators, fellow entrepreneurs and anyone else interested in new social media technologies and how they are affecting businesses and organisations.

The blog was formed by Nick Barker in 2008. If this is your thing subscribe to the feed and stay in touch.

Who am I

Having worked in the IT industry for 20 years I have seen many innovations and much change from the very early days of the IBM PC through to the growth of global outsourcing and today the rise of social media. My experience ranges from working in small owner manager firms to global software giants in a variety of sales, pre-sales and product management roles.

Today I run a start-up, Viisys, technology company with my co-founder Simon Oxley based at the University of Nottingham incubator facilities. We have just released a central website,, to inform firms of the value of Enterprise2.0 technologies. For more information check me out at LinkedIN or my firm Viisys at

And you can see the new one over to the right..