WordPress rocks

Ok, not the most insightful blog post title/topic but having seen the WP2.2.1 upgrade a couple days ago, and remembering the weirdness I had with my config.php I was putting the whole thing off.

Anyway, just downloaded the new files, followed the 5 Step upgrade – and low, the blog is upgraded.

Now to go through and switch those pesky plugins back on and we’re sorted!

Chinwag Big Summer Party

I’m going, are you?

I first saw the news that this was happening on Sam’s Vecosys blog and signed up right away. Things seem to be gathering momentum and the event promises to be huge.

Chinwag's Big Summer '07 Networking party - 5th July 2007 @ Imperial College, London

-Updated title-

Killer productivity tool

OK, this is coloured significantly because I’m currently working with a company in Canada, not strictly a start-up since they’ve been going 3 years (and not strictly working as I’m not getting paid, as Sam keeps reminding me 🙂 ). That time has been the founder boot-strapping his way towards the point where there’s a compelling business case to be made. So I’ve joined (informally at present) to round out the concept and put it into investor friendly format.

The link with productivity is that he’s in Toronto, I’m in Bristol and there are 5 hrs between us (which is why I’m writing this at 10pm just as he’s finishing his formal working day). We’ve just been working on an elevator pitch to be sent by email to a potential door opener that’ll get us a long way to the strategic partnerships that we’d like. What would have taken several days by email and I dread to think how much by mobile phone international dialling, was completed in a couple hours and document exchanges.

The fact that Skype is a free download, and broadband is a flat bundled cost, means neither of us think anything of pinging the other for a chat about whatever the current priority/crisis/wtf moment is. The 21C equivalent of leaning across the desk and tapping him on the shoulder for a chat over a coffee (WhittardsCo-op Libertad Heredia Valley, Costa Rica).

Now on to the other partnerships, raising finance, licensing, cash flow, finishing off the business plan, firming up the technical infrastructure………

Canadian start up story

This is a cross post from my personal blog John’s Musings.

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front, haven’t even been tagging so much on del.icio.us mainly because two new projects has rather taken up a lot of time. The first was setting up a new company jbsh LLP that actually took a lot less cognitive effort than I’d expected. This post (and a few others) will be cross-posted. If things work out (how often does that happen?) this will become more of a personal blog and jbsh will become my professional / work musings.

So the other thing that that’s taken my time has been helping a start-up get through the business plan writing and raising finance process. They’re based in Canada which has led to rather more late nights (thank God for Skype) than is probably healthy but a fantastic business proposition so worth it. Actually there’s a third project looking at a new innovation / funding support network mechanism in Bristol (oh and applying for jobs in case the previous 3 don’t pay the mortgage)!

In working with Howard and the team I’ve given myself a crash course in Canada’s education system, their Provincial structure (and I mean that non-pejoratively) and also looked in some depth at different funding options. I’m not a financial advisor so I’m not in a position to tell Howard what to do, but I can read widely and offer perspectives so that when he does talk to a qualified advisor he’s already prepared.

Fortunately, in this day and age, there are loads of great resources and people that are sharing their experiences (as I will in the coming days/weeks/months). Wil Schroter has a great new blog / venture called Go Big! that has been a source of information and moral support. I’ve been a long time reader of Rick Segal and his thoughts, comments and notes on the Canadian scene. I’ve recently found (through Rick’s blog) Suzanne Dingwall Williams and her Venture Law Lines blog. Nivi and the team over at Venture Hacks have been another fantastic source of Term Sheet Hacks that have been chock full of ideas, comment and humour.

So I’ve got a draft business plan, an executive summary / pitch proposal, some financial spreadsheets and a digital address book of contacts. Lots of meetings (virtual for me, face-to-face for Howard) and with a fair wind and following sea we should be working up the full product for release next year. There’s a hybrid version that should be ready for the end of this year to kick-start the revenue. More to follow…

Entrepreneurial support

Pretty much since leaving University I’ve been involved in supporting business change, either from within or as an external agent. Universities have always been pretty central to that change process (either as sources of innovation and entrepreneurial activity, or as expertise engines to support change in businesses). More recently I’ve become increasingly interested in the start-up and highly dynamic micro businesses that have so much potential.Around Bristol there is a genuine wealth of creativity and innovation around the digital media sector. There are good historical reasons for this (the BBC, HP Labs, two strong Universities, etc). There are also strong cultural aspects of Bristol that means many great companies and individuals are, or like to think of themselves, as outside the main stream.  Some of this cultural aspect was undoubtably reinforced with the music scene over the last 20 years where Bristol has produced many underground stars (some of whom went above ground for a bit e.g. Portishead).

What this has left is a highly dynamic, innovative, technology enabled city that doesn’t like (or sometimes want) to be mainstream. Which is fine until you try and build high growth start-up businesses with investment support.  There are of course lots of networking events, there is lots of investment capital, there are business clubs, there is beer; unfortunately they haven’t quite come together as positively as many (including myself) believe they could/should.

So over the next couple of months I’m going to be working with as many people as will put up with me to link up all these great attributes of the city/region.

If you’re an entrepreneur, investor, business builder, inventor, etc, drop me a comment. Lots of stuff will be happening over the coming weeks most of which I don’t know about yet but stay tuned and we’ll find out together!

We are incorporated

Just got the official letter in the post.

jbsh Limited Liability Partnership (Partnership Number OC328773) is incorporated this day 04 June 2007.

Now to read the 75 booklet on the Act and filing, accounts, etc… 🙂