Tom Carter, CTO and co-founder of Ultrahaptics, speaking at Tech Nation on Tour Bristol:

I don’t think the idea of universities is to deliver employees to companies. As soon as you’ve done a course, what you’ve learnt becomes out of date. People have to learn skills forever. University is about learning core skills, and learning how to learn. At our company, we have what they need to hone in and deliver work.

The so-called skills gap has been raised as a challenge by every cluster during Tech Nation on Tour. I think Tom hits the nail on the head here – it’s incredibly difficult for universities to keep up with the pace of change – so perhaps an alternative approach is required.

  • September 15, 2018

Kristi Hedges, writing in Harvard Business Review: (via @smartrich)

The reality is that most people are not set up to take advantage of development opportunities. Many organizations view learning as something extra, something to fit in on top of the regular work. But to create a culture that encourages employee growth, managers need to make learning an expectation — not an option.

Learning helps people keep a broad perspective. When we feel expert at something, sociologists have shown, the earned dogmatism effect sets in, causing us to be more close-minded and to disregard new ideas and perspectives.

For managers, suggesting that team members go to a training or take an online course isn’t enough; for many professionals, that’s just more work on their plates. Instead, managers need to encourage continual learning with supportive behaviors that, in turn, will shape their company culture.

It can be hugely beneficial to have a boss who encourages continuous learning, especially when moving into a new role in a different field. I’ve iterated on a learning system in the past two years that basically involves using Evernote to capture information from a number of sources: online articles; ebooks; podcasts; audiobooks; magazines and newspapers. In the organisations I’ve worked in, I haven’t seen a willingness to facilitate continuous learning across teams through the adoption of new tools such as Evernote, which seems something of a missed opportunity.

  • September 14, 2018

Sam Altman, the former head of Y Combinator, quoted in TechCrunch:

… a lot of founders end up pretty depressed at one point or another, and they generally don’t talk to anyone about it.  Often companies don’t survive these dark times. Failing sucks—there is no way to sugarcoat that.  But startups are not life-and-death matters—it’s just work. Most of the founders I know have had seriously dark times, and usually felt like there was no one they could turn to.

For whatever it’s worth, you’re not alone, and you shouldn’t be ashamed. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel just by talking to people about the struggles you’re facing instead of saying “we’re crushing it”.  You’ll also be surprised how much you find other founders are willing to listen.

Founders in Leeds (and beyond) can tap into Mindwell for mental health support.

  • September 11, 2018

Ming-Chi Kuo:

The new low-price MacBook may replace the position of the current 12″ MacBook. We expect this new model to support the Touch ID but it will not have the Touch Bar. Everwin Precision is the main beneficiary because it is the first time this company will enter the Mac casing supply chain and its shipments account for 20% of the new MacBook model’s D parts.

Any 12-inch MacBook replacement is likely to have Apple’s much maligned ‘butterfly switch’ keyboard, which doesn’t excite me. I’m only interested in a true MacBook Air replacement featuring the old tapered design, an upgraded Retina display and a scissor-switch (or much improved butterfly-switch) keyboard.

  • September 11, 2018

Great blog post on community by Robyn Vinter, founder of Leeds-based The Overtake:

The community is also much smaller than it seems at first — you run into a lot of the same people over and over and it’s not long before you realise most people you come across are a friend or a friend-of-a-friend. Almost all the conversations you end up having at startup events are problem solving, which means people who are cagey, secretive or not willing to share problems and solutions don’t get very far.

Success comes from different places and, in the real world outside of startup books written by wealthy VCs, we’ve learned that making friends and connecting with people is as important as testing and iterating. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with being owed a favour by the next Zuckerberg.

I resonate with the above. Joining any community can be a daunting experience, but you soon get to know people. The startup community isn’t a zero-sum game – it’s about helping each other out. And, though being kind is obviously great, the connections, knowledge and resources we share gives us all a better chance of achieving success.

  • September 10, 2018

What the ‘Startup Culture Canvas’ is, and why founders should use it:

It’s designed to help teams articulate a shared vision for the kind of company and culture they want to cultivate, and identify specific actions and strategies to achieve it. The Startup Culture Canvas is a template for using your culture as a more effective organizational operating system.

Continue reading →

  • June 7, 2018

Milestone alert: Yorkshire Startups has grown to surpass 500 members, around 18 months after I created the Facebook group. Of course, communities aren’t defined by the number of people in them, and it’s more important to me that people see the group as something that will bring them tangible benefit – whether that’s finding out about an event to go to, an accelerator to apply for or meeting somebody new. Continue reading →

  • June 6, 2018

One of the key takeaways in Startup Communities by Brad Feld is that startup ecosystems must be led by entrepreneurs looking to stay in the area for a long period of time. Continue reading →

  • June 5, 2018

Monday saw the return of the Mac – and I’m not talking about Tyson Fury. (Yes, I will be shoehorning jarring references to computers and boxers into these blog posts at every available opportunity. Sorry, not sorry.)
Continue reading →

  • June 4, 2018

Vayner Media’s Gary Veynerchuck, speaking about emotional intelligence:

A lot of you out there have probably heard me rant about empathy and the difference between EQ or IQ. For those of you who are unfamiliar with when I say “EQ,” I’m talking about my emotional intelligence—the emotional intangibles: empathy, gratitude, and intuition. Some of you have even asked which is more important when running a business. Based on my content, most people probably think I’m going to say that EQ is the most important.

I always enjoy Gary Vee’s interviews, and find his musings on emotional intelligence particularly interesting.

  • May 10, 2018