Lunchtime learning? 10 video resources to get inspired & learn something new!

Need a break from emails, reports and spreadsheets over lunchtime? I believe it’s important to ‘switch off’ from work, stretch your legs and step away from your desk. When I’m taking a break (and eating lunch), I like to watch a video, perhaps learn something new or be inspired. If you do too, then check out my curated list of video resources to get you learning over lunchtime.

This isn’t a complete list – and I’ll be adding new finds, but here are a few of my recommendations for lunchtime learning.

Enjoy!

1. Google Ventures Library

Google Ventures have released a great resource for startups and founders, including interviews, case studies and How-To tutorials.

2. How to Start a Startup

Last year, Sam Altman, from YCombinator, partnered with Stanford University to share ‘everything we know about how to start a startup, for free, from some of the world experts.’ Lectures include  Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal & Investor, on Competition is For Losers,  Aaron Levie, Founder of Box, Building for the Enterprise and Reid Hoffman, Partner, Greylock Ventures and Founder, LinkedIn on How To Be A Great Founder. Bookmark and watch this series now!

3. What’s it like to work at…

Have you often wondered what it’s like to work at a high-growth startup? This series features ‘interviews with engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders in different high-tech companies such as Facebook, Factual, AirBnb, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Palantir.’

4. Silicon Reel

I’ve mentioned Silicon Reel before, who also produce a great podcast. This is the vodcast version of interviews with London tech entrepreneurs, investors and influencers. You can watch highlights and full interviews on the website.

5. The Day Before Tomorrow

With technology rapidly changing, what does the future hold? The Drum Studios takes a look at ‘the technology that’s changing the world today. And about how different areas of business are dealing with it.’ Each episode focuses on a different area of innovation including health, education, entertainment, retail, finance and smart cities.

6. Hot Topics

Hot Topics brings together senior executives and industry influencers, to share the experiences of the world’s tech leaders and inspire the next generation. The channel is part of the 360 Leaders group, which ‘is transforming the global tech industry through a community approach that combines executive search, development, investing and media.’

7. LaunchPress

LaunchPress is ‘the first interactive mobile app dedicated to help people navigate their way through the London tech scene.’ The online channel features interviews with founders and entrepreneurs based in London.

8. Creative Mornings

CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. On their YouTube, you can watch ‘our entire archive of talks from founders, makers, photographers, designers, and artists around the world.’

9. giffgaff Happenings

giffgaff Happenings also focuses on the creative community and shares key learnings from TV producers, designers, illustrators and musicians.

10. How It Started

How It Started is an online resource which features ‘stories of how people turned their visions into reality.’ Perfect for some lunchtime inspiration!

Share your favourites in the comment section below, and I’ll them check them out! (TIP: I’ve been using Dragdis as my favourite drag’n’drop bookmarking tool).

The Death of Your Inbox?

Since the rise of social media and online collaboration tools such as Yammer and Huddle, there have been cries that email will eventually become extinct! But there are several reasons why transactional emails and promotional newsletters will remain part of your marketing campaign and become key drivers of your inbound and outbound sales funnel.

Email is not dead!

Firstly, email isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the number of email accounts created every year are continually rising. According to research conducted by Radicati in 2010, there were there were at least 2.9 billion email accounts. This figure is predicted to reach 3.8 billion by 2014.

Secondly, in a study ExactTarget, 77% of us want to get marketing messages via email instead of SMS texts, Facebook or Twitter messages. Consumers prefer to receive company promotions via direct mail and newsletters rather than social media channels and notifications.

Email communication can sometimes be consider as an archaic disruption to your workflow, but it’s also an effective way to speak directly to your customers and collect valuable feedback about your product or service. With email, it gets personal.

3 Reasons Why Email Won’t Die

1. Maintaining a direct relationship with your customer

This should be the number one reason you should be sending emails to your customers. Whether it’s a transactional email i.e. a Welcome Email, Survey, Password Request form or a company newsletter and community update, this direct communication with your customers can set the tone for the rest of your company. Using Twitter as a customer service tool is great! And an excellent way to respond quickly to incoming requests. However having their email address means you can move this conversation away your social media platform and speak to your customer direct.

2. Starting your business with just a mailing list

Building your mailing list is a great way to secure potential leads and customers. Before launch, many startups have a landing page, with a call to action for visitors to leave their email address. Not their social media profile account. There have been many successful startups who initially started as an email first up such as Timehop, iDoneThis, Thrillist, AngelList, Sunrise and The Fetch. Using email marketing is a simple yet effective way to spread your message and by signing up for your weekly newsletter, your customers essentially giving you permission to get in contact and hear news from you.

3. Write an email courses to share your expertise (and up-sell your product and services)

Another way to use engage your users is to write a short email course and share this content exclusively with your subscribers. By sharing your knowledge, you will be positioning yourself as an expert in your field and building an audience of potential customers. You could post your course to your blog and share this content via your social media channels, however using a mailing list is great way to distribute your course and earn your customer’s trust.

The future of email?

Although social media is also a great way to engage with your fans and source potential sales leads, transactional emails and newsletters can often seal the deal. Therefore it’s worth spending time developing your email marketing strategy and how this fits in with the overall tone of your company and how your staff deals with customer service inquires.

In the next few years, we’ll see a continued trend of email integrating with social media channels, such as Rapportive. For example innovative startups such as Paperfold are changing the way we use our inbox. Paperfold is an email client for iPad that brings your inbox to life and allows advertisers to play videos within the app. Secondly, the co-founder of Product Hunt, Ryan Hoover, has used Twitter Cards to directly engage with his readers via social media and invite them to sign up to his newsletter via the platform. These are just a couple of examples of how social media and email marketing can work together and ultimately build your audience and drive sales.

To recap:

  • Signups for email accounts are continually rising and most consumers prefer to hear about promotions via email newsletters rather than social media notifications

  • Using email is a great way to build a direct relationship with your customer

  • When starting your business, creating a mailing list is the quickest and simplest way to capture potential leads

  • Newsletters are an effective tactic to exclusively share your knowledge i.e. distributing a short email course to engage and educate your readers

  • In the future, we’ll see a continued trend of email marketing integrating with social media channels to consolidate marketing messages and increase sales and drive growth

Listen to London’s Hottest Tech Podcasts!

Recently I’ve noticed that podcasts are getting ‘cool’ again and few of London’s tech movers and shakers have kickstarted their own online shows inviting founders and startup folk to share their stories.  So I thought I would round up my favourites and post their most recent interviews. In no particular order:

1. SiliconReal

Silicon Real is the video podcast dedicated to the people of the London technology startup scene. Hosted by Brian Rose & Colin Pyle, guests have included Gary Jackson Founder of Hailo, Jon Bradford of TechStars, Roxanne Varza from Microsoft Paris and Jeff Lynn of Seedrs. Hear about new episodes here and send your feedback via @SiliconReal

2. Founder Magazine

Andy Hart interviews founders from awesome businesses and startups. Specifically, they ‘salute the ones who ship!’ They even operate a Jiu-Jitsu belt grading system for those who are invited onto the show. Are you a White belt or Blue belt? You can find out here 🙂 Listen to a recent interview with Deepak Tailor from latestfreestuff.com (Purple Belt) below. Find out more via @FounderUK

3. The Art of Biz

The Art of Biz podcast explores the intersection between business, people and technology in the UK. Hosts, Matt Stafford and Nick Levine, invite a variety guests onto their show, including Stefano Marrone of Nucco Brain and they talk about events and best practice for networking, recruitment and creating opportunities through changes in regulation. Follow along via @artofbizpodcast

4. The Shedcast

Hear all the latest news from Makeshift via their very own podcast studio called The Shedscaper! The first episode, featured Stef Lewandowski, Co-Founder of Makeshift, interviewed by @CBM. They have even been so kind to offer the podcasting studio to other startups who want to try producing their own show & content. If you are interested, hit them up on twitter @shedscaper.

5. Philip’s Polymathic Podcart

Hosted by Philip Su, the site director of the Facebook engineering office in London, ‘Philip’s Polymathic Podcart’ is dedicated to software engineers on design, careers and life. Philip moved from the US to London last year, and has interviewed Laurence Holloway, CTO and cofounder of Lovestruck and has even captured Slawek Biel, an engineer in the Facebook London office who was brave enough to demo the Hövding, an auto-inflating bicycle helmet that deploys only when needed, much like an airbag. Watch the fun below!

Listen to Philip’s advice on how to be a great mentor here!

I’m curious to know, are there any London tech podcasts missing from my list? Send me a note in the comments section below or via @ThatGirl_Chloe

How to keep up-to-date with the London tech scene

It’s hard to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the London tech scene every week, so see below my top 7 newsletters that should be in your inbox!

1. The Fetch London ~ A city guide for professionals.

2 Google Campus Newsletter ~ News straight from London’s tech hub at Google Campus.

3 3460 Miles ~ Where the New York and London tech, design, and social good communities meet.

4 TechCityNews ~ Dates for Your Diary includes a carefully handpicked list of recommended things to do, including networking, pitching and learning events.

5 3beards ~ A weekly dose of news, jobs, blog posts, and info on our upcoming events in London.

6. Startup Digest London ~ Weekly events digest for London.

7. PickEvent ~ A free weekly email digest with the best events in London.

This list was originally part of a post I wrote for PublicBeta which you can view here.

Are there any newsletters I am missing? Let me know via @ThatGirl_Chloe or in the comments section below!

Making friends over good food, wine and conversation!

FetchLondonDinner

Photo credit: Taken at The Fetch London Dinner, courtesy of Kate Kendall.

I attend a lot of events. In London there are usually two – three events, workshops and launches going on each night. If you wanted to, you could spend your entire week at a different event each night, Monday through to Sunday.

I love meeting new people, hearing about their ideas, and what makes them tick. However at busy events, sometimes these interactions can become fleeting moments. Recently I have been attending dinners which allows for deeper discussions, usually moderated by the organiser or a community member and wanted to share a few of my favourites with you.

1. The Fetch Dinner Conversations

Recently I stepped back from my role as the London curator for The Fetch, and passed the baton to Louise Potter. However, not before the inaugural The Fetch London Dinner Conversation happened, to celebrate The Fetch’s founder and CEO, Kate Kendall’s brief return and to meet other members of the community. The theme was based around the state of global startups, and the evening included an informal discussion over dinner. I’m obviously going to keep my eye out on the next one!

2. 9Others

I love the concept of 9Others dinners, and although I’ve only attending a couple, I’ve enjoyed the dinners organised by Matt Stafford and Katie Lewis. The format involves introducing your ‘problem of the week’ and everyone around the table discusses how these challenges can be solved. After the dinner, contact details are shared as well as detailed notes – which is really helpful!

3. TableCrowd Startup Engine Dinner

TableCrowd is run by, Kate Jackson, and I was lucky enough to be invited to their recent Women in Tech Dinner which included a mix of women working in technology sector plus invited guests from the media. It was a great mix of attendees and format for the evening.  Apart from hosting your own dinner via TableCrowd, Kate also organises regular Startup Engine dinners usually including an invited guest and other TableCrowd members.

4. Ladies in Tech London

Co-Organisers Courtney Boyd Myers and Amanda Foley have kickstarted a new group called Ladies in Tech London and are hosting their first lunch on Sunday 22 September 2013. It’s worth checking out and meeting other ladies for tech talk and everything in between.

5. The Hub Supper Club

Organised by freelance journalist, Rachel Hills, The Hub Supper Club is a new bi-monthly extravaganza of good food and meaningful networking. Take a peek!

6. Ben Southworth’s Supper Club For Stressed Startup Souls

If the description below is anything to go by, Ben’s event sounds great! I’m definitely interested in hearing about the next one…

So, there’s loads of stuff for “People interested in Startups” ( I know because I helped set em up) and loads for “People who may have a startup/idea/no clue”. (I know because I go to them/set them up). But, there’s very few for “I am a funded startup, with investors, employees and stress”, so why don’t we set up a night that helps everyone by talking about the pressures, problems and solutions of being a CEO over a glass of something?

In permanent beta: PublicBeta Dinners 

Also, as I have just joined PublicBeta I’ll be organising upcoming dinners for founders, entrepreneurs and investors in the near future.

As I am yet to organise these dinners, I wanted to throw it out to my followers and find out what their expectations would be of such an event plus what price they would be willing to pay? I had £35 + VAT per person price point which would include two or three course meal plus half a bottle of house wine. What do you all think, too much or too little? I would love to know in the poll below. I’m also interested in any ideas around the format…

Are there any regular networking dinners that you attend with a startup/founder/tech focus? I would love to add them to my list! Please let me know in the comments below or tweet me @ThatGirl_Chloe.

Two more additions 

Wok + Wine  40 people, 40 pounds of jumbo shrimp and 40 bottles of delicious wine!

Design & Wine 8 people round a table, 90 minutes of design discussion, 3 glasses of great wine (added by @lewisflude )

London is one of the loneliest cities in the world

friends

When you grow up, life tends to runaway with you. You move out, get a job, chase a career or do what I am doing, run a startup.

In a city of over 10 million people, London can feel lonely sometimes. Have you ever felt that too?

It’s not that I don’t have amazing friends around me, but it’s hard to keep up. To stay connected. Which is ironic because it’s not like there is a lack of social networking sites these days.

I feel guilty. There are a handful of friends that I have lost touch with. There are people I’ve had real connections with, but we’ve just lost touch. Not because we intended to. It’s just that life got in the way. My focus is elsewhere.

But I know, deep down, if I send them this post, just as a link in their Facebook inbox, they would know the reasons why and wouldn’t hold a grudge…and neither would I.

You see I have this theory:

friendship

And as the saying goes:

If you can count on one hand five true friends, then you are very lucky indeed.

Can you email in five sentences?

I have a problem.

In all my years being a professional ‘Logistics Queen’ I’ve rarely been able to email anyone without telling them my life story first.

Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but one of my biggest communication fails is that I do tend to over explain myself.

However, since I am starting from a clean slate I’m currently analysing my work flow (using tools such as Draft, Trello,  Buffer) to stream line these processes and take away from the ‘noise’ in my inbox. Even updating my Trello boards feels like a ‘to do’ task but I will try and get better at writing shorter and snappier emails.

I’ve heard of many founders using five.sentenc.es as ‘a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less.’ In all my emails, I have never seen the ‘five sentence rule’ written at the bottom of anyone’s signature.

The inventor of five.sentenc.es, Mike Davidson, VP of design at Twitter, was inspired to follow this rule because:

‘When faced with an inbox of 100-400 messages, I usually find myself replying to the messages which are quickest to reply to, rather than which are most important to reply to. The end result is a continual paring down of my inbox until I have 50 really important messages to reply to which are then too old to take care of.’

But I was curious to know how other people have used this rule and to what degree it has been a success.

‘Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time,’ says Guy Kawasaki, Author of APE, and serial entrepreneur (via Entrepreneur.com).

Have you managed to use the Five Sentence rule?

How I was hired via Skype

It may not come as a surprise to many of my tech and startup friends, but I was hired as PublicBeta‘s Editor & Chief Content Strategist during my first interview on Skype. I was literally hired overnight. [The bit where I was hired shouldn’t be the surprise though ;)]

PublicBeta is a learning platform for entrepreneurs by other (very) successful entrepreneurs.

This is what I love about working for entrepreneurs and startups. They spot an opportunity, hire fast and take risks (and sometimes fire fast too).

When I saw the advert for PublicBeta’s first employee, I actually didn’t know too much about the founder Adii Pienaar, (apart from some Google stalking) but I liked the way it was written and shared the company’s vision to ‘work with some incredible and successful entrepreneurs, and share their knowledge and experience to empower the next wave of entrepreneurs who aim to make a dent in the universe.’

I’ve been working in media, communications and startup land for over three years (running Hermione Way’s video production company Newspepper.com) but I’ve been looking for my next opportunity for months (I’ll still be freelancing as a video producer on the side).

I used all the usual routes; asking my friends if they knew of any roles going, scrolling the startup job boards and seeking out introductions via Linkedin, but I believe everything happens for a reason and this new adventure means I can sink my teeth into this role and bring something new to the edtech table.

When I did send my application to PublicBeta, I tailored my experience around the role and outlined the four areas I thought I could bring value to the team and the company.

Adii responded within a week or two, and suggested the Skype interview after he got back from his travels. What I did do is set a reminder in my calendar to chase and followed up with a short and sweet ‘Hope you had a nice break, look forward to chatting with you this week’ email. This worked and I had my Skype interview a couple of days later.

Now I have heard of people getting hired via Skype before, so this isn’t a revelation about ‘the wonders of technology’ but I do think it is a reflection of the growing trend of a dispersed workforce. Now this is what I think is exciting!

  • Addi, who is based in Cape Town, SA, built a team of over 30 people across the world to run WooThemes.
  • Hermione runs her business from her laptop and travels the globe supporting founders and entrepreneurs via Startup World.
  • Kate Kendall, the founder of TheFetch.com (I’ve been The Fetch London’s curator for the last 18 months) has a community of city curators, ambassadors and supporters helping her grow her business.

So this is post a celebrate the next chapter of my startup life. I have sponged so much information over the years, that I hope to share my experience and perhaps teach a few lessons or two.

But mostly learn from this process and ask ‘How can I help?’

Event Review: Is TV dead? Royal Television Society Digital World Conference 2012

Is TV dead?

What: Royal Television Society Digital World Conference 2012

Where: The Barbican

Topic: When Worlds Collide: Beyond the Digital Looking Glass

Date: Friday 28 September 2012

Last month, I attended my first Royal Television Society Conference. With an impressive line up of speakers including Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, David Abraham, Chief Executive, Channel 4, Alex Balfour, Head of New Media, LOCOG, Tess Alps, Chief Executive, Thinkbox, Steven Moffat, writer of Dr Who, BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine and Richard Taylor from BBC Click plus a very special Digital Keynote from Will.i.am, I was excited to find out what innovations UK broadcasters had developed in an increasingly digital world.

The room was full of TV bods, marketing and media folk with many key influentials invited to the event ( i.e I spotted Tracy Forsyth VP Commissioning, BBC Global Channels at BBC Worldwide).

However, after attending the day, it seemed most UK broadcasters were asking ‘How can I make more revenue using new media technology with existing advertising models’? rather than ‘How can I innovate and develop new technologies to disrupt the TV business?’

The sessions covered everything from SocialTV, smartphone apps for TV shows, the Olympics in the digital era, gaming, social media and even a segment called ‘The Dragon’s Voice’ where startups had the opportunity to pitch to UK broadcasters and producers.

This was my favourite session of the day because not only was Jeremy Vine an entertaining moderator, it also revealed how UK broadcasters thought about new technology and whether they could spot an early opportunity to get ahead of the curve.

The panel included:

  • Julian Bellamy, Creative Director and Head of Production andvDevelopment for Discovery Networks International

  • Jeff Ford, Director of Programmes, Channel 5

  • Sophie Turner-Laing, Managing Director, Entertainment & News, BSkyB

They were also joined by two ‘acting VCs’ to provide an alternative view:

  • Daniel Waterhouse, Partner, Wellington Partners

  • Brent Hoberman, Founder and Chairman, mydeco.com

The format was a ‘blind pitch’ where entrepreneurs were invited onto the stage to talk through their startup, and the ‘Dragons’ i.e. (the UK broadcasters), sat in their chairs facing away and only turned around when they were interested in the product or service.

First to pitch was Dressipi, which is a free fashion advice and recommendation service. With already 100,000 people signed up and major deals with well-known retailers, the founders said they were now looking for a media partner to leverage their consumer base, using their technology and data. For example, their service could provide UK broadcasters an opportunity to tap into their user base while creatively listing what presenters and characters were wearing on TV shows.

As it turned out, Dressipi didn’t capture the imagination of the ‘Dragons’ (no chairs were turned) because they didn’t see the direct value of the service to their audience. Sophie Turner-Laing, of BSkyB, commented that ‘’It was hard concept to work with when producing a TV show such Britain’s Top Model on SkyLiving. The biggest issue is that they shoot their shows so far in advance that it would be a scheduling nightmare.’’

Next up was, TweekTV, which is a social TV guide and aggregates all TV listings, schedules and featured shows from UK broadcasters, plus other platforms such as YouTube. Again, the ‘Dragons’ didn’t see the appeal of such as service, which was astounding because in short, this can potentially drive ratings for particular TV shows. Jeff Ford, of Channel 5, questioned, ‘How does this work in a payTV environment?’. Although, Brent Hoberman of mydeco.com talked some sense, and suggested that the service was ‘’about social discovery, which is similar to Zeebox but with an added recomendation layer.’’

Finally, FanSauce, an app for fans to post their photos from live events and share them instantly, created the most excitement from the ‘Dragons’. All three chairs turned around and Sophie Turner-Laing saw the most value for their SkySports and news channels, as it allows fans to interactively become part of the show and create content. However, on further discussion, Brent Hoberman said that the service would need a better UX design and an added filter, so that they only show the best photos from the feed.

The last session include a special pre-recorded interview between Richard Taylor, BBC Click and Will.i.am about the future of TV. In short, Will.i.am suggested that the time is now for UK broadcasters to innovate and that their real competition is not each other, but those developing new technologies and ways of watching TV without the insitution of the TV channel. He recommended that TV producers and broadcasters attended tech conferences such as CES held in Las Vegas every year, to find out what is really happening in the digital world and new technologies.

And here is a handy hint for those UK broadcasters reading my review, check out a list compiled by Mike Butcher, TechCrunch Europe’s editor, covering the Best Annual Tech Startup Events in Europe.

Chloe Nicholls is the CEO of Newspepper.com, an Internet Video Production company, and is also the curator of The Fetch London. You can follow her on Twitter @ThatGirl_Chloe