Monthly Archives: July 2014

Quick Update

I may have a weakness for fresh cherries…

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum
  • It’s not really doing so well with the “less detail, more gonzo” plan, sorry Jacques.
  • Monday, day at the office, master class about share options, KS video meeting, pitch practice afternoon, got out of the office at 22:00ish, not proud of it, but it was time for our first London Burger King visit.
  • Latency from my desk to my personal (mail/web) server: 5ms – not bad.
  • Tuesday, Datacash meeting with Brian, teleconference about a project in Spain, we walked home, hipster food truck burritos at The Shoreditch Food Village, watched some House of Cards… getting pretty boring.
  • Mia went to visit her great gran in Somerset on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Pro tip: you generally want to avoid the Central Line (tube) – very congested.
  • “if that’s your geek?” — if that’s your interest/passion

  • Wednesday, Techstars master class about KYC regulation, interesting meeting with Susan from the Barclays Group Design Office, meeting with the ClickVid guys, deep dive session with Greg, Jess and Mark, walked home, (kinda meh) pizza around Shoreditch High Street, watched parts of Dexter while processing photos… can’t say I like it.
  • Watch this: Alice Phoebe Lou – Bigleap Sessions – I remember taking a few photos of Alice at a party in 2009.
  • Thursday, had lunch with Mia and Naulene at Blueprint Cafe (above the Design Museum), Mia and Naulene visited the Design Museum, Barclaycard meeting at One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf with Werner and Greg… impressive building, KPI (read: beer) evening at Techstars, Greg’s founders story… great story, Werner introduced me to Breaking Bad.
  • “One absolute rule: no assholes in my company.” — from Greg’s founder story

  • I suspect the general lack of exercise (other than walking) over the last six weeks is starting to get me down.
  • Friday, Mastercard Labs meeting, train ride to Hampstead Heath to meet Mia, Naulene and Olwyn – minor sense of humour failure with Naulene, finished a bag of fresh cherries with Mia, two hours of travelling to get back home, get our tickets, get dressed and arrive at Matilda The Musical just in time… brilliant show, Mia loved it – we had 2 of only 4 box seats in the theatre (last minute booking luck), we took a stroll through a lively and brightly lit Leicester Square and China Town with a late night snack – nice to get a little bit of rain after probably the hottest summers day so far.
  • Hampstead Heath was nice to see, but after taking the afternoon off to spend with Mia I was far from impressed with Naulene and her sister spending almost two hours with Mia in the woman’s only swimming area – and not answering her phone.
  • Three weeks later, still waiting for the bank to open an account for Gust Pay to get access to our Techstars funding. Yes, the fun does not stop at getting a visa, kids…
  • Good read: My startup failed, and this is what it feels like.
  • Nice read about “Fintech”.
  • “We’re not always open, but we’re always doing business.” — The line I use when Jacques complains that I seem to never work.

  • “Praat kak met die diere.”– about conversations close to the edges of the bell curve of truth.

  • Saturday, some morning cartoons, fresh blueberry and blackberry breakfast, Portobello Road Market with Mia, some vegetarian food for lunch, a bag of fresh cherries and crepes, frogurt in Notting Hill, the Victoria and Alfred Museum… impressive, Sensational Butterflies exhibit, National History Museum… the express tour till closing time (it was very busy earlier in the day), we shared a pizza around South Kensington, taught Mia the months of the year on the train ride home, some packing for her trip home.
  • We skipped Lego Land and we never took a boat ride on the Thames, but I think our tourism adventures were pretty successful over the last two weekends. One iPhone charge is not enough for a touristy day out navigating London… compass and a willing accomplice.
  • “A pound in money or a pound in weight?” — o/h at the Portobello Market

  • “TV is old fashioned.” — Mia, about TV vs. computers

  • Sunday, up early, a few sad goodbyes and some tears, Mia and Naulene took a mini-cab to the airport (Mia’s first ride in an electric car) and took the day-flight to Cape Town via Amsterdam, a day at the office, got some supper from Tesco without any humans behind the check-out counter, read through my RSS feeds for the first time in a while, watched some Top Gear – Polar special.
  • Self checkout is actually pretty cool – even better with tap & go / contactless payments – the future is here…
Big Juicy British Cherries
Big Juicy British Cherries

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Getting our geek on at the Science Museum…

The London Eye
Top of the London Eye
  • Monday, started using wristbands for access control at the office, mentoring and pitch practice afternoon, Thai green curry around Whitechapel with Greg and Werner – long day.
  • “nerd catnip” — about Arduino and similar devices.

  • Tuesday, mentor day, booked a flight for Mia to visit London, pitched Gust Pay to the Barclays Group CEOs, attended a very cool B2B sales master class, weird hitpster pizza with broccoli in Islington.
  • Techstars: Disney World for tech startup geeks. I get the feeling 3 months is going to feel very short by the end.
  • Wednesday, Naulene left me a voicemail message to say she’s not bringing Mia to London anymore, a bit late to get to the office – had to run the last stretch… to find out our first mentor was late, Naulene changed her mind (again), Skype chat with Mia, long day at the office.
  • “Adults are obsolete children.” — Dr. Seuss

  • “Lone Ranger time… 9:50.”

  • Thursday, the last Techstars mentor day – finally, ~80 x 20min sessions done in three weeks, fetched Mia from London City Airport and had lunch with her, haircut at a local barber – 13GBP (R240) but, A+ for attention to detail, KPI / “all hands” evening at the office, an evening walk along Regent canal with Mia.
  • After a recent conversation and a recent birthday – I’ve been thinking, it’s probably not a bad idea to have a new sense of urgency for getting a few things done – the usual suspects: career, travel, a few brothers and sisters for Mia maybe, and I might even have to resign my membership from the league of emotionally unavailable gentleman – and not to screw it up again.
  • Friday, very cool mentoring session with Brian – geeked out on learning about card payment networks (x25 payment protocols etc), three Skype meetings, Mia and her mom visited the Tate Modern and got some tickets for Matilda around Covent Garden, met Mia and Naulene around Holburn station, we ate a whole bag of huge cherries (yum), took a long walk along the North Bank of the Thames, lupper by Tower Bridge, quick visit from Olwyn and Milk.
  • UK prepaid mobile services suck, T-Mobile, Orange and EE all had issues when starting to use them.
  • Saturday, a hot summers day, Hamleys with Mia… all 5 floors from the top – the life size Stormtrooper Lego was pretty cool, a walk down Regent st… what happened to the National Geographic shop?, took the mandatory tourist Piccalilli Circus photo, Big Bus (open top) tour, ice cream, home made burgers with Werner.
  • Sunday, another hot summers day, London Eye with Mia… good fun, London Sea Life Aquarium, open top bus ride to South Kensington, Science Museum, took a photo of the first (NEXT cube at Cern) web server, scones and cream and jam snack, 3D IMAX movie (nerd catnip level 9) with a big bag of popcorn… “The Hidden Universe” – a pretty epic documentary about astronomy, open top bus ride to Marble Arch, Naulene fetched Mia, watched the soccer with Werner at a local pub.
  • Blog post from our last London Eye day.
  • Loom Twisters seems to be all the rage. Seems to even distract from taking in the views of the London Eye.
  • The cluster of (free) museums in South Kensington is awesome – would be easy to spend a few weekends there.
  • I have this theory that a fear of heights, fear of flying and the fear of public speaking comes and goes. My fear of heights: all time low after that 30m high crane at BST and London Eye), fear of flying: way better than about 5 years ago: fear of public speaking: probably increased over the last 3 years – or maybe I’m just starting to pay more attention to what it takes to be good at it.
  • Progress on (what Werner affectionately calls:) KPI No4 has been a bit slow this week.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Birthday week…

Hyde Park
Goose, Maverick and Ice Man
  • Monday, death by mentoring, we learnt about the “the bell curve of truth”, pitch practice session, loooong day, walked home and had pulled pork tacos along the way at Chilango, watched more True Detective – it grows on you.
  • Maybe a bit late, but this is a pretty cool fathers day video from Techstars.
  • Tuesday, moar Techstars mentoring, first meeting with the Barclaycard Contactless/NFC team, signed up for a bPayband, inbox zero (!, for the first time this year), left the office at around 22:00 (just before it got dark), True Detective.
  • I bit late, but I added a post to the Gust Pay blog about an Adidas event last year.
  • I’ve come to conclusion that Naulene is a simply bad person. I can’t work out any other reason for her not letting me communicate with Mia while I’m in London. It’s been three weeks and she can’t get her iMessage working or install Telegram. Mia has an iPad with 3G data and headphones. She has Skype and Telegram and she knows how to use these. Naulene just does not want to make any effort to let us communicate and keeps the iPad from Mia.
  • One more Gust Pay blog post, with photos of the Barclays / Techstars office.
  • Wednesday, a non-mentoring day, less of a blur – sketched a few new NFC related ideas on the white board, managed to get an intro to some Mastercard people, got some VIP invites to an event in Hyde Park, Barclaycard social event after work… pulled pork mini burgers and French Chardonnay, we left the office early (20:00ish), watched the end of True Detective.
  • Thursday, mentor day, made my first iZettle payment, finally managed to have a Skype chat with Mia – she found and took the iPad, Techstars KPI review and (hack)associate meeting.
  • Seems Techstars “mentor madness” is a actually a thing. A washing machine of ideas. 80 x 20min sessions over three weeks.
  • Friday, my birthday, mentor day, Tony gave us a tour of the rest of the Central Working space, some market research: watched Soundgarden and Black Sabbath at British Summer Time in Hyde Park with Werner and Jordan, took a tour of the festival and looked at all the bpayband infrastructure, bought some strawberries and cream with my wristband, spent 15min strapped to the #betterview bar, hanging from a crane, 30m above the concert… nice views, we met a few guys doing payments in Asia at the Rosewood hotel, fun day.
  • Going to a rock concert as a VIP guest is a fairly different experience to the usual mayhem of a concert.
  • “Global economies are on the cusp of a ‘third-wave industrial revolution’ in which enterprising, young innovators will play a central role. The rise of ‘micro-multinationals’ – start-ups which operate across high- and low-cost locations, delivering to an international customer base exemplifies the opportunities wrought by globalisation, digital communications and the internet.” — The Economist

  • Saturday, Jacques left for Rome, breakfast at the hipster restaurant just below our office, some photo processing at the office with the CoderDojo kids running around, walked home (about 40min), made my first wristband payment outside of a festival (at Tesco), kinda watched Doom on Netflix… meh.
  • Sunday, Covent Garden, Green Park, watched the Wimbledon finals with some Pimm’s and Lemonade around Kings Road with Ashley, we took the train to Richmond, fish and chips at The White Cross pub, beautiful area, nice walk along the Thames until we encountered some heavy rain, train ride and a walk along Regents canal home, great day.
  • Pro tip: don’t arrange to meet people in the underground without GSM/wifi signal. Also, have a look at the “Citimapper” app.
  • I think I’m starting to like living in London.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.