Whilst this site is aimed at providing my professional online presence, I have also included this blog as in my opinion it fits well within this remit.
After a career spent across farms, theme parks, oil refineries and universities, and qualifications ranging from avalanche skills training to a doctorate in biomedical materials, I have decided to move into the entrepreneurial world of ‘the startup’. So far this has encompassed many facets of my previous roles and has encouraged me to learn new skills and methods. As this journey is a controlled voyage into the unknown, I thought that documenting interesting/insightful parts of it may be useful to others who are looking to do the same.
Things this blog will not be
To me, this is very similar to a solution without a problem. You can normally get something of value out of a great solution, but without a real problem to be solved, it loses a lot of its context and usefulness. Content is the same. Something written for the sake of writing is not normally as valuable as something written because it was worth sharing. There’s value in consistency too, which does go some way to fill this gap, but for me, this feels somewhat fake and forced, so isn’t something I’m willing to entertain.
Things this blog may be
If someone has written an article that I think is great, then I’ll add a bit of context and share the link. I don’t see the value in re-writing it to claim it as my own. Firstly this would be needlessly time-consuming and secondly pretty underhand.
As projects in the real world don’t tend to be as neat as when we write them up at the end and this blog depicts this journey, it stands to reason that the posts here will be somewhat non-linear. I’ve provided a structured tagging system so that there will be an overall order, but if you want to read the posts in a chronological order, expect to see the real story of a startup rather than the neat story written at the end.
Information and stories from entrepreneurs about what helped them and the development they went through to fulfil their definitions of what a founder/CEO should be. Founders, like companies, are wildly different and so these posts will, I imagine, occasionally conflict with one another. I don’t believe that there is one type of person with a certain set of skills that is the optimum founder, but instead that there is a general commonality between founders that makes them succeed. Hopefully, these posts will help you find yours.
Insight into how to best work in and be in charge of a team. I’ll include different ways in which we have and are going to structure teams, arguments for and against big, geographically separated, similar and disparate teams. Software and social tools and possibly even just some common sense.
My trials and tribulations with developing a new product and getting it to market. Posts will be about different methods we’ve used, the ones that worked and the ones that didn’t. Different testing strategies, methods of construction etc.
Fundraising as we have experienced it and as we thought it was going to be. Unexpected events and hindsight as to how we could have done better. Out of all the tags I expect this one to be the least populated as we’ll have the least opportunities to try many different approaches here for obvious reasons.
My experience of engaging with customers and the public. Of all tags, this was the area in which I found the least transparent help with on the internet. I found many an article that informed me of a method that always worked or a referral that would get engagement, but very few that gave me the context, tools or insight to get me from where I was to where I needed to be. I hope that I will be able to add some value to the internet here.
Obviously, FreeUP will be present in many of my posts as my journey is with its development and scale-up. Rather than shoehorn it into my posts or trying to decouple it entirely, I will instead endeavour to post under the focal point of the article. Posts about FreeUP will appear under this tag meaning that selecting this tag will give you a view of a real ‘case study’ startup, insightful for you and shameless PR for me.
Due to my ongoing involvement with research and scientific activities, I needed to add this tag so that these posts didn’t end up with the more entrepreneurially focused posts. I have an ongoing love of science, the insight it can generate and the potential of this generated knowledge never ceases to amaze me. When this knowledge is encapsulated in systems and hardware (otherwise known as technology) the outcomes can be incredible, everything from spaceships to AI …
The posts will be sorted by the category, tag and time stamp of the post. This gives searching for the relevant post the greatest flexibility as so I hope the easiest way of finding the post you were looking for. These three sources of metadata are located on the right-hand side under the relevant titles.