Have finally found the time to put finger to keyboard and dash off the first of what will hopefully be many week notes. Frankly, this was not the best week to try to start a new blogging project, or indeed a new project at all - the last week has been one of the busiest of my life. I’m finally able to record it, sitting here at my Grandmother’s house in Heiligenstadt only after sleeping 14 of the last 24 hours.
Given that this is my first ever week notes, allow me a few sentences of organizational musing. I’ve debated a bit how to structure things. Easiest is probably chronological (ie day by day), and indeed this is the approach I’ve seen many people take, but that risks making all the topics seem equal in value, which they aren’t. Indeed one of the fears I have in my life is that, distracted by the never ending noise of raising two kids, I get sucked into the micro (even very important mico) and thus neglect the macro. So instead I think I’ll try to formulate things by broad topic at the start and see how it goes.
This week was the first full business week of the year for us at Lokku as the previous week was partially spent at our company annual planning meeting in Bilbao. I use the term meeting loosely, as the main focus is having fun, getting people to interact with those they normally wouldn’t, and getting everyone excited for the year ahead. We face some challenges, but right now we’re in the fortunate position that our main “problem” is simply deciding which of many opportunities to focus our attention on (that and hiring. You should join us). The event, like every trip I’ve made to Bilbao, was great, and I came out of it fired up for 2014. Unfortunately I also came out of it with a bad cold that really kicked in on Sunday night. Rather than get everybody sick I spent the first day of the week shivering in bed, and indeed I’m only now fully back on my feet.
One of the few bits of real work we did on the trip was to review the feedback of the anonymous opinion poll all Lokku team members filled in in December. That’s probably a good topic for a post in its own right, but one of the main things coming out of it was that we need to improve our office environment. So this week we dove in, each team member has an area of responsibility and hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll see dramatic improvement. The new office espresso machine is the first of many small steps, another of which was the hour I spent ruthlessly expunging all the crap that had accumulated on my desk over the last few years.
A lot of the week was spent on logistics of my current trip. This week I’m in Germany visiting a few partners (and thankfully taking a few days off) and then from here I fly off on a big trip to India. I’ve only been to India once, a decade ago when I helped set up Yahoo! India, and I am sure it has changed immensely. I’m looking forward to it, but there is lot of legwork that goes into trying to line up meetings, and it’s still not done. We still have a few open slots, so please let me know if you are in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore and would like to meet up. We are trying to put together a #geomob style event for the evening of Friday the 31st in Bangalore if you’d like to join us.
I did manage to attended two great evening events - #geomob and WriteLaTeX’s #futurepub event. Both were great, #geomob seems to be attracting a bigger and bigger crowd, and the post event discussion in the pub was excellent. Meanwhile #futurepub felt like the start of something new, where #geomob was two or three years ago. Especially cool was that I managed to take my wife along with me - it’s not often there is a tech event that is relevant to both of us. Even better was that we were able to leave our son with a German-speaking baby-sitter, so it looks as if we’ve found someone he enjoys who can help on the mehrsprachigkeit front.
The week also saw another notable event: after working in the UK for eight years I had my first meeting outside of greater London / on Wednesday Peter, Gary and I ventured all the way up to Manchester for a good meeting about a potential new line of business for us. Let’s see how things go, but later in the week we had another similar meeting in London so it feels like there is definitely something to the geo-related hypothesis we’re currently exploring. This phase of business building - the vague exploratory meetings - is fun, but also draining as you go down a lot of dead ends. Let’s see. Of Manchester itself I saw almost nothing - though the office we were in had a very nice view. Frankly it’s a long day to get up there and back. I can’t see leaving zone 1 becoming a regular thing.
Some progress as well on our seed investment line of business, with some encouraging discussions and an email exchange that our next investment is wrapped up. We’ll be announcing things in a few weeks time.
Anyway, with all this and the normal fires and day-to-day work of Nestoria, there was not a lot of free time. That and my cold means that I got no more exercise than racing a Boris bike to Fitzrovia for a meeting, so #operationpeakfitness still has a long way to go. Main goal for the coming week is get back on my feet physically, do a few good workouts including a long hike through the woods, and close all the loose ends before flying out to Delhi on Saturday. Nevertheless, I’ll also be in Berlin on Thursday for a day full of meetings with friends and contacts old and new. Besides immediate business progress hopefully I can start laying some groundwork for spending this summer in Berlin.
See you next week.