Archive for the ‘Personal Management’ Category

When we started chucking around ideas for Startup Cafe posts on topics that matter to startups, we mentioned the importance of health and wellness to survive the marathon that is Startup Life. That lead to the concept of hosting a regular ‘Health Corner’, where we discuss personal health and making it a priority.

From my own personal experience, overall health has a very direct correlation with my own success. Despite investing time that could be spent working on fitness, I have always found that time invested pays dividends in energy, focus, and confidence. So to kick off Startup Cafe’s Health Corner, I’m rounding up the top reasons for startups to live healthy:great-lakes-80383_1280

  • You focus better. A healthy diet has a direct correlation with cognitive function and mental wellbeing.
  • Endorphins are awesome. Don’t do drugs. Get high on endorphins. Nuff said.
  • Manage your stress. Best ways to beat stress? Sleep better, exercise more, and eat right.
  • You’re way happier. Exercise and overall wellbeing leads to happiness. And happiness leads to more productivity.
  • …And more energetic. Startups take a lot of energy. Like, a lot! Working out for even just 30 minutes every morning will give you way more energy to get through the day.
  • It says a lot about you. People want to work with people who inspire them. By taking care of yourself while working hard, you show your network that you have real strength of character.
  • It can bring the team closer. Getting outdoors for group activity, or promoting a healthy snack environment in the office can give you all something to work towards together (that isn’t work).
  • It makes you happy. I know I already said that. But it’s mega-important.

Most of us can do at least a little better with our wellbeing. So I challenge you, for the sake of your startup, to make one change this month that will improve your health! Run more, bring fruit to work, go to bed earlier, meditate… whatever!


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work from homeI love it when I tell people that I work from home, and the response is always the same, genuine, “wow, must be nice!”. Even when the other party also works from home, we both smile and exclaim what an amazing work-life-balance we totally have. But we all know the dirty truth – working from home has an unproductive, pyjama-wearing, errand-running dark side. Here is the list of mistakes that I have already made, so you can avoid them. You’re welcome. (more…)

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Zach Holman, from GitHub, on slide design for people with a non design background. Slides he made to support one of his talks were submitted to Hackers News. To Zach’s surprise, they quickly gained popularity for their design. He then followed up with a short article on his personal blog covering his guidelines when it comes to designing a set of slides.

Via: Zackholman.com

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In London right now? Sitting on your couch reading Startup Cafe whilst yet again trying to water down that ever worse Sunday morning hangover? Thinking this is another week end wasted away, another week is about to start; your shirts are not ironed and the prospects of that corporate job of yours aren’t that bright? Well get up, brush your teeth and head East. Silicon Milkroundabout brings together 100+ UK start-ups offering 500+ technical jobs.

The Old Truman Brewery, T1 space
Entry at 81 Brick Lane, London

Sunday the 30th of October until 5pm


The folks at Adzuna have been kind enough to send me some of the data they’ve collected:

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Jacques Mattheij explains the “not so well known” process of due diligence.

If you’re running a company and you are doing something that either requires an investment or attracts the attention of competitors or other parties interested in buying a part or all of your stock or your business then sooner or later you’ll run into the words ‘Due Diligence’.

The response to those words ranges from indifference to fear or even hostility, mostly based in a lack of understanding or familiarity with the process. In this (small) guide I’ll try to clarify the process and the reasons why it exists, give an overview of the process and a bunch of tips on how to successfully navigate a due diligence.

Read part 1 @ jacquesmattheij.com
Read part 2 @ jacquesmattheij.com

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With an abundance of digital agencies and software development companies dotted about the landscape like currants in a spotted dick (it’s a pudding), what can you do to be awesome?  The usual answers are: provide an exceptional service, beat expectations, produce cool, innovative products etc  But I was thinking along the lines of something less glamourous – like implementing processes for various aspects of a project.

Why? Because unfortunately, being awesome can oftentimes just mean – delivering on time!  Being on time with software development projects is not something to be taken lightly.  It’s a huge feat.  Such projects are notorious for being over time and over budget.

Delivering on time on a regular basis means you are reliable.  Being reliable may not be sexy, but it is so incredibly necessary for client satisfaction.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be known as the mailman of the industry you work in i.e. the ones who ‘always deliver’.

Now these things don’t happen overnight but as a colleague from long ago once said to me “Bela, mighty Oaks from little acorns grow”.  Or was that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”?  So here’s a first step that I have found to work wonders, on my stress levels if nothing else. (more…)

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Apologies up front. This is probably a bit of a rant but I hope there’s a serious point to be gotten at here.

Last night, I was at Techmeetup presenting the rough plan for the startupcafe mobile app.

I have to say, I got a bit of a curious reaction.

Let me give a bit of context first … Startupcafe started about a year and a half ago because a few of us were frustrated that we were going to startup events, but there was no central place to find out about them. We thought it would be a good idea to post news and events for other people to hear about, as well as pointing out local successes to help make startup life a little bit less lonely. Eventually, we’ve even gone on to do interviews and write up proper articles – something none of us have trained for.

Like quite a few other meetups in the city, it is really ran by a group of people that are doing it in their spare time. It’s a labour of love. Despite the hours, we love helping people and the reactions that we get when someone has found something of value through us. It’s a side project.


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For 2010, one of my new year’s resolutions is to run a marathon. Since buying my first pair of ‘proper’ running shoes last year, I’ve managed to make it through a 10k (much to my team mates’ surprise) and aiming for a half marathon in April, with a full marathon (in Loch Ness) at the start of Oct.

While I’ve been learning to master the art of running long distances, I’ve accidentally found a treasure trove of inspirational and insightful stories about the unlikeliest of runners becoming runners. First, there was “What I talk about when I talk about running” by Haruki Murakami (of Kafka on the Shore), then “The Courage to Start“, by fellow trombonist, John Bingham, and recently, I’ve been following “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer“.

This week, one trainee-runner’s account seemed particularly poignant:


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We love technology. We love it so much that we start thinking about our next purchase, looking out for the latest in mobile phone, computing, or music technology, almost immediately after our most recent purchase. Thanks to upgrade happinesspeople like us, a hungry demand for new technology has been accelerating the pace of product development and technological change. The tech industry loves us!

BUT, some of us love Mother Nature too, and our monster appetite for all things new and improved in techie toys is having a considerable environmental impact by feeding landfills/waste treatment plants etc and poisoning our soil, water and air. The fastest growing waste stream in the UK is apparently that of electrical goods. So what is a self-respecting technology lover to do?

I ask because I stumbled across a website recently called http://www.lastyearsmodel.org which does what it says on the tin, (more…)

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cheeseI briefly touched on attitudes and responses towards change in an earlier post which is the reason for this quick post. I stumbled across a book at a charity shop recently. It’s about four characters: Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw. The first two are mice; the last two are littlepeople. The book is about their relationship to change.

Who Moved My Cheese, written by Spencer Johnson, is a well known book and has been out for a while. Though it sneakily jumped off the shelf and into my small hands only recently, I had heard about it much earlier but not gotten (more…)

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