Am I old fashioned for thinking that you should read stuff before sharing it online?

It is easy for people to share links to articles that they haven’t even READ! And it’s about to become even easier….

Buffer’s new product, Daily, is basically Tinder for Content.  Swipe to the right to share. Swipe to the left to skip. ( Tinder, for those who don’t know, is a popular dating app).

Sounds great for quantity but Continue Reading »


I was avoiding the topic of bitcoins fearing it would take too long to wrap my head around it. But it’s time I bit the bullet.

Like everyone else, I want to be able to answer questions like: ‘Are crypto currencies a good thing?  What are the risks and are these being adequately addressed?’ How do crypto currencies other than Bitcoin fit in to the picture?’.

But before you can form an opinion on these matters, you need to know what Bitcoin is and how digital currencies work. The problem for people who are new to the conversation is that the discussion is filled with vocabulary and concepts that are unfamiliar to many of us such as:

  • blockchain

  • cryptocurrencies

  • encryption keys

  • mining

  • proof-of-work

  • hashcash Continue Reading »

I have a brain and I like to think it’s well-developed. But then things like this happen: at lunch today I somehow upgraded my BBQ chicken wrap to the more expensive meal deal option which included the chips and drink I didn’t originally want…. why did I do that?

Understanding how we choose

When you give people different options and tell them to choose one, they tend to compare the benefits in order to work out the value of things first.  Most of us don’t know what we want unless we view it in some context; we rarely value things in absolute terms as it’s hard to make decisions in a vacuum. Furthermore, it’s harder to compare things that are dissimilar so, unsurprisingly, we prefer to compare items that are similar.

Businesses that are aware of this can exploit this tendency to influence what people buy.  They can do this by including decoy items to make one item (the one they’d like you to pick) look more attractive than another.  A well-known example that is often used to demonstrate this is The Economist’s subscription options:

(a) web only: $59

(b) print only: $125

(c) web & print: $125 Continue Reading »

Days after it was announced that the mobile messaging app Viber was acquired by Japanese internet giant Rakuten for $900million, the news was dwarfed by the noise following the announcement that Whatsapp had been bought by Facebook for a record $19bn.  This post contains some of my favourite reactions to the news from Twitter & 9gag.com, a selection of opinion and analysis from industry experts and a list of items that Facebook could have spent the money on instead.

Does EVERYONE think that Facebook overpaid for Whatsapp?  Asia has already seen the potential that other regions of the world are only beginning to see in mobile messaging apps, according to this Wall Street Journal blog article.  Some of Whatsapp’s biggest competitors in Asia are Line in Japan, KakaoTalk in Korea, and WeChat in China.  These messaging apps have developed into platforms that allow users to access a range of services.

For example, China’s WeChat offers e-commerce services to its users, and Japan’s Line offers mobile games, which they say are a big source of revenue.  Messaging apps have been considered a hot mobile service in Asia for some time and Line’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer says:

“The amount that Facebook is offering to buy WhatsApp is not excessively high. This is a proof of how valuable smartphone messaging has become in the age of mobile.” 

Over at Reuters, finance blogger Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) suggests that to ask whether Facebook paid too much is to ask the wrong question. With this acquisition Zuckerberg is making a statement that mobile is more important than money. Facebook’s mobile offering is not as popular as its desktop product. After going public, everyone knew that leading on the mobile front would be the next biggest challenge and Zuckerberg would need to make the transition as quickly and aggressively as possible.  That’s what he’s been doing. You can read more of what Felix Salmon has to say in his article here.

Continue Reading »

Running everyday in Dec 2013

This coming month (Dec 2013), myself and some of the Project Ginsberg team is undertaking the Macrothon. The rules are:

You have to run either 5k or for 25mins (whichever is quickest), everyday during December (including Christmas Day!)

If you miss one day, you’re out. Pretty tough, especially considering its 4pm and its dark already in Scotland.

Day 1 starts tomorrow. 

On an October Sunday night in rainy Glasgow, 11 teams of budding entrepreneurs, developers and creatives gathered in The Lighthouse to present the outcome of 54 hours of hard work: the results of Startup Weekend Glasgow 2013. 

Organised by Allan Lloyds and his team, the event took place over the weekend of 25-27th October and saw more than 100 people gather at SocietyM, a co-working space in the centre of Glasgow. Jennifer Tough managed the PR and social media, keeping us updated through the blog and Twitter as the weekend unfolded. 

The weekend kicked off on Friday night with introductions, a run-down of the event format, guest speakers and pitches on the theme of #cleanweb. The delegates then formed small teams and moved on to developing the most popular ideas into viable startups. SocietyM seems like the ideal venue for an event like Startup Weekend; well designed, open plan areas along with smaller meeting rooms for each team to have their own space, and comfy places to relax and reflect.

The teams continued refining their startups throughout the day on Saturday. Mentors from various disciplines were on hand to provide the teams with direction and advice, and a well-timed chance visit from Red Bull (and probably lots of adrenaline) kept everyone going until Sunday night when it was time to pack up and move to The Lighthouse to give their final presentations to the audience, and to a panel of judges with extensive experience in entrepreneurship and cleantech. 

Everyone we spoke to on Sunday night mentioned the same thing as their highlight: the energy of all the participants. The teams whose presentations really stood out were those with lots of passion and a real conviction behind their idea. Of course, there’s only so much that can be done in a couple of days, but the format of Startup Weekend encourages the teams to push through those periods of low energy we all experience. It was great to see how friendships formed under the pressure of the weekend; groups of strangers on Friday night appeared as old friends on Sunday.

Standout pitches came from EnergySaveAR (an app which suggests energy-saving alternatives to household items), who won tickets to the Dublin Web Summit, and Cloudlet, who describe their idea as “carbon-efficient computing for startups and enterprise”. Here’s a full list of all the startups:

Lend Some Sugar – an online lending community

Psych.ed – “improving the social environment for everyone” through online community and education

ScranClan – a social dining app which aims to cut food waste

Unspike – “reducing peak demand for cost and carbon savings”

Podstay – budget accommodation pods

Greenbills – energy comparison website

Know Your Food – connect consumers with producers without the corporate middleman

EnergySaveAR – an app which calculates the energy use of household products and suggests alternatives

HowGreenIs – see which companies are committed to cutting environmental impact – and those who aren’t

Cloudlet – carbon efficient web hosting for startups and enterprises

Co.mute – earn points through daily activites with rewards for green habits

Hopefully we’ll hear more from these teams in the near future!

If you were there, let us know about your experience. Has Startup Weekend changed your outlook on the startup scene? Are you inspired to take your idea to the next level?

For a full list of those involved and an overview of all the happenings over the weekend, take a look at http://glasgow.startupweekend.org/

Startupcafe was originally set up as a blog for the Edinburgh Startup Community back in 2009. Since then, the community has grown and evolved at a rate that none of us could really imagine. 

In turn, the Startupcafe team has grown and moved on too:

  • Jess is now one of the core team members down in London for TechStars London.
  • Bela is living the life in Singapore.
  • Thomas is working as a business development manager in London.
  • Hilary is one of the Product Managers at Skyscanner and also runs Product Tank Edinburgh. 
  • And I’ve gone on to start Interface3 and Tigerface Games

So, we’re looking for a new generation of bloggers for the cafe.

We’re not looking for people that have tons of experience (although if you do, that’s awesome too!) but we’re looking for people who want to help grow the startup community in Edinburgh by highlighting events, or writing about new people to the community. Attitude matters more than experience for us. 

So if you’re interested in helping us grow startupcafe, then please get in touch over at kate@startupcafe.co.uk!

Are you working on a project which involves raising young people’s digital skills? NESTA and the Nominet Trust are looking to fund you!

Hot off the heels from their first round investments back in March, the second round of funding is being released and there is £250k available. So far, their impressive portfolio include Code Club and Coder Dojo, with the latter having a branch in Edinburgh.

If you’re interested, there are a number workshops, with the closest being Glasgow on Tues 22nd Oct. If that’s too far, then fear not, there are two web chats on Friday 11th Oct, and Thurs 7th Nov.

Any questions, please contact education@nesta.org.uk

Glasgow’s training house, TRC Media is creating a special edition of their popular programme – Cross Creative. The programme lasts for 9 months and is for people based in the digital and/or creative industries. This time round, Carol Sinclair, has decided to run a special ‘female’ edition alongside their usual course, and is looking for people to apply. Having been on the programme back in 2011-12, it was one of the best courses I’ve been on – so it comes highly recommended!

More details here

The folks over at the Scottish Resource Centre are running a Free workshop for women in STEM thinking of starting a business. Details below:

Wednesday 19th June 2013
Burns Room, Scottish Enterprise. Apex House, 99 Haymarket Terrace. Edinburgh. EH12 5HD.
Refreshments and buffet lunch will be provided. Continue Reading »