Monthly Archives: August 2014

Quick Update

A braai in London…

London Braai
London Braai
  • Monday, first day Jan joined us in the office (you can expect a new version of the GUST Pay/PayPoint apps soon), quick Skype chat with Mia, very pretty sunset walk along the Regent Canal towards Islington, Jacques and I made stir fry.
  • Week 7 of Techstars (week 6 for us), week 6 of trying to get a UK bank account opened for Gust.
  • Tuesday, Skype meeting with Jon from the Techstars London programme, a curry in Whitechapel with Jan and Werner, the rest of the day pretty much sucked while I pulled out my hair trying to get a bank account open and finishing the admin crap to try and get access to our Techstars investment – add to that we had some more bad news about our visa requirements to get the UK Tier1 Entrepreneur visas – a blog post with hints and tips about avoiding this stuff to follow soon.
  • I have this theory that Skype chats should be capped at 20min, even though they are free.
  • Wednesday, important meeting with Barclaycard Spain and Portugal in Canary Wharf with Jan and Werner, afternoon Skype chat with Mia, worked late – email scrubbing.
  • I did a 30min pitch for a room full of bankers today – exco of two European countries. Made me think of this quote: “The way it works is, you do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.” — Archie Gates, Three Kings.
  • Starting a company from scratch in a different country involves a fair bit of new things to learn and figure out.
  • Boy bands and tech-idols – Jacques’ latest series of morning jokes about tech startups.
  • Thursday, video production meeting, mentoring call with Mike, KPI evening, more than one beer at the local pub (The White Heart) with Nick and the guys from 90seconds.tv.
  • “Africa for beginners.” — Georgi about South Africa.

  • Friday, (mildly hung over) pitch planning session with Greg, more bank account red tape, Brainstorm magazine interview, Skype meeting (to Canada) about NFC devices with David, mentoring meeting with Brian, Silicon Drinkabout… a bit lame and nerdy this week, walked home and had a long chat with Jacques covering topics like the Israel conflict, a comprehensive bible history lesson and the Stonecutters 2012 Olympic symbols, The Haggerston pub in Dalston, now we know their closing time.
  • Mia was named Artist of the Week for her “The Firebird” painting in the school newsletter.
  • Saturday, breakfast with Jacques around Islington, epic nap, braai with Jacques, Werner and Kevin (who was 9yo, when living in Berlin, the wall came down) at the warehouse with some 5GBP Californian Merlot, had banana cooked in its skin for the first time, chilli butter corn on the cob on the braai, a guy from the guitar workshop next door played some Bob Dylan for us: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go – love this version, we watched Forrest Gump again… (sorry of a guy getting out of the friend zone), watched The Matrix Reloaded – good entertainment, all in all a great summers day.
  • Turns out Jacques is officially counted as being of Jedi religious beliefs – in the UK.
  • Watch this: “…they live under a rain cloud and their idea of gourmet food is Marmite.” — about London

  • Sunday, I made breakfast, watched Food Inc.… good movie – pretty scary, afternoon at the office, a sunset jog along Regent Canal to Angel, Jacques made pasta, kinda watched City of God… crazy movie.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

London: too much time to think while walking everywhere…

Summer vibes outside a pub in Blackfriars
Summer vibes outside a pub in Blackfriars
  • This post is a bit late, it’s from the week of 21 to 27 July.
  • Monday, opened a personal back account at Lloyds – seems to be the one with the least KYC issues, pitch practice day, took a long walk along Regent Canal to Victoria park – to be honest I was a bit tired of Techstars and I needed to figure out how to make it fun again.
  • I always thought I’d be a journalist if I was born 100 years ago (before the current tech industries were an option). Greg said something interesting in his founders story last week. When you ask a writer: “Why do you do it?”… they usually say: “I just have to.” – being a writer or an entrepreneur is often frustrating and painful – but some people just don’t know what else to do.
  • Tuesday, Techstars office hours, general plotting, planning and reading, long’ish meeting with Greg, researched 3- and 4-party payment systems, we found a pretty good non-hipster pizza place around Hoxton.
  • Wednesday, Jacques got back from Italy, CEO group meeting with Alick from Osper… very cool product, Skype chat with Pieter in Bali about new Bitcoin payment tech, Techstars office hours, salad, pasta and a 5GBP bottle of Californian Merlot.
  • I came up with a business idea for Mia – kinda like The Royal Tenenbaums dalmatian mice – I still need to tell her about it.
  • “When I’m not at Burning Man, I do the tech accelerator circuit.” — little inside joke from the office this week.

  • Thursday, Techstars ~photo shoot, admin and more admin (updated some domains and an SSL cert), registered TrustFabric Limited (UK) and Gust Payments Limited (UK), Techstars KPI evening, upgraded and backed up two Linodes (free upgrade, 64bit, double the memory and space now).
  • It costs 20GBP to register a company in the UK, takes 4 hours.
  • Friday, VC meeting, business banker meeting, a beer with Sonja (who I have not seen in ages) and Jacques near Blackfriars – nice summer vibe out side the pub (see photo above), attended my first Silicon Drinkabout at Bold Rocket near Old Street… good fun, free (MVPA) beer – I can see where Paul Carr got his material, doner kebab wrap with Jacques, black cab home, Werner showed Jacques a few judo moves – which we watched on the building’s CCTV system the next day… Jacques actually won the hallway battle when Werner’s arms were tied behind his back.
  • London is Coruscant.
  • Jacques’ 40Mbps fibre turned out to be VDSL / FTTC (fibre to the curb). False advertising if you ask me.
  • Saturday, I now almost have a proof of address in the UK – my Lloyds bank (contactless-less) debit card arrived, Jacques made breakfast, kinda watched some Game of Thrones S4 while tinkering with LinkedIn, a braai at the warehouse with Werner and Jacques, 10h sleep.
  • It was time to update my LinkedIn profile, here is the new upgraded one. 840 connections now. Still can’t say I like using it, but maybe it needs a bit more attention in future.
  • Sunday, Brick Lane Market adventure with Ashley and Olivia, browsed some vinyl and bought a vintage 70s Hawaiian shirt, my first English BBQ around the Leytonstone area, Skype chat with Mia, Jan arrived in London, a beer with Jan and Werner at The Old Blue Last, walked home, a New York hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut at Red Dog American Sandwiches around Shoreditch with Jacques followed by a drink at The Blues Kitchen.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.