Startups this week

If you’ ve read this blog before you’ll be aware that I work in a cool place. Its called TechHub (@techhub) and is full of the most exciting, interesting and coolest startup companies in London. So far this week I have met with four businesses/ people that have stood out for me. Maybe it was because their business was solid or maybe because the people in it gave me confidence in them.

Early in the week I was in need of some help with my Google Adwords. Despite having £180 in my account I couldnt get them to show. I got on Yammer and reached out and a girl called Margorita told me to go and show her the problem as she had experience with them. It turns out it was a technical error (as in, not my fault for once) and she sorted me out with some contact details for their support desk. Her company was called Wheely and they made an app where you could turn it on and just tap on a map where you want to go and a taxi journey would be quoted for you- how much, how long. So quick, so simple. She was a smart girl and I reckon it will do very well. It makes peoples life easier.

Then came an Irish guy who, after selling his first software development to the Financial Times, is now making a Twitter app called Career Follow that lets people who are looking for job connect with companies posting vacancies on Twitter. This would give the searcher a head start and an early opportunity to connect as well as showing they are tech savvy. The app filters the huge data feeds of Twitter easily and nicely for the job seeker. Move over Monster..? Not only was it a nifty idea but the brains behind it, Joe, was an unassuming Irish guy with a brain the size of a planet.

The next fascinating conversation I had was with a guy called Kavin originally from South Africa. His company makes a face to face chat feature for apps. Like Skype but within apps. He told me some of his war stories such as landing off a plane in the US to seal a huuuge deal with Yammer, the day it got bought by Microsoft! Deal over. Another one was that he paid £50k for a key to some code which got made open source the following week! But his company was going well and they are looking towards a promising future.

And then today I met a guy for a code problem solving lunch called Phil who is making the most fun app called HelloKaraoke (@hellokaraoke). Not only did he set me on my way with my code, but is a super cool guy working on a great product that is the Draw Something of the karaoke world. I can’t wait for it to kick off for him..

TechHub is full of people on a mission where the goal could literally be a pot of gold (especially the Irish guy!). I did not mean to talk to these people I just bumped into them but no matter who it was the stories would be the same.. people on a mission to carve out some turf on-line and unleash their code made beasts into the war for the limited space infront of eyes and ears.


A Normal Day in The Office


I had cool day today.

I woke up late because being my own boss, I can sleep in if I want and I work better when well slept. So I did.

At 10am I walked in my shorts, shirt n flip flops to hire a Boris Bike to ride into TechHub in Shoreditch. After about 5 minutes of riding in for the first time since I moved flat, I came across a dedicated bike track called the Cycle Superhighway that took me 2 miles directly, away from traffic, right into the centre of London. I never knew such things existed. London was built for me!

I arrived into Techhub and booted up. Found I’d had 3 sales. Nice. My A/B testing is going well and traffic is building. After a couple of hours someone asked me if I wanted some lunch. Say what? Apparently a group of people often cook dinner for each other and they had some left over. I feel like I’m a newbie in the place but what the management team have done there is amazing. Not only is the place top notch and affordable working space in the middle of Silicon Roundabout, in super-cool Shoreditch, but they work hard to make it into a community. They put on events and drinks and encourage lots of participation. And I felt part of it. Which is great for a start up entrepreneur working on their own project which is a hard slog and no-one to share the burden with.

The network effect kicked in and due to lunch and meeting new people I found out that I could get a 1 to 1 meeting with a Google Guru the following day. Yes please! Perhaps they can tell me what is wrong (/or possibly right) with my website where we get 1000 visitors through search engines everyday and yet our top keyword only brings in 15 visitors!? How come we are not competing for bigger hitting search terms?

In the afternoon after a year of being frustrated with a technical problem with my Adverts, I put it out there on TechHub’s Yammer network, which is like an internal Facebook. 3 people with experience replied and it is now on the way to being fixed. It had taken me a year of frustration and their good nature and expertise fixed it in one afternoon. That network alone is probably worth the Techhub registration fee. There are some amazing people in the building and they are all so friendly.

I rode my bike home to Canary Wharf and the sunset across the water was so nice. Used 360 to snap it. Its above. It really needs to be viewed on the occipital website –

So just a normal day in the office really but London really has got it going on for start up businesses!!

Increase Sales with your “About Us” page

Increase sales with About Us page

I recently wrote a blog about how the price of your products should be lower when you first start out because you simply don’t have the case studies and the brand leverage to make you the “go to” company in your niche. Seth Godin promptly blogged (un-relatedly) saying there are many factors that should be looked at to better market and sell your products – lowering price should be avoided if possible. He made some excellent points.

The blog post can be seen here: Selling Peace of Mind

I have since been experimenting with my About Us page on the TimeMaps website (HERE). The differences between my original and my test was enormous! It was the difference between 1 or more orders a day and 0 orders per day.

It’s hard for me to show you what I changed because I deleted it, but by literally adding a couple of lines of text, people seemed to be turned off. When I removed those lines of text, people started purchasing again. This page is not even linked to from the sales page, only the website navigation menu at the top. But it shows so very clearly just how much investigation people do into the business, as much as the product. It also shows just how sensitive your website is and you need to be constantly tweaking and A/B testing EVERYTHING, to ensure it works towards its primary goal of making sales.

The ironic thing for me is that I tried to make the About Us page more “salesy” when it all went wrong. This  suggests that people do not want to be sold to on a sales page, they want to know your simply About You. Of course, this forms the foundation of a study..

I will now begin further tweaks:

– I will try adding a photo of our team,

– I will add more personal histories and how it all began,

– I will make it longer against making it succinct.

These kind of tests will help me learn more about what my user want on this page, and how it influences their sales decisions.

Comments welcome..