Monthly archives of “January 2009

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Get fit in London

So exercise is clearly linked to thinking better. Depending on who you ask, that and reading are the two keys to life.

But let’s face it, exercise isn’t easy. If you’re pushing yourself, it’s pretty painful. Rowing, for example, at any sort of serious level involves legs and lungs feeling like they’re on fire. It’s great to win, but it can be a tremendous sacrifice to get there. Because it’s not easy to do, it becomes easy to skip. And once you start skipping exercise, you can pretty rapidly lose fitness.

One solution is either getting involved in exercise classes (anonymous and generally not tailored to your needs) or seeing a personal trainer (expensive). A personal trainer can sometimes be trying to mold you into what they want you to be, and not what you want.

If you’re in London, there’s a new solution. Two friends of mine and LondonAnnie have established a new Personal Training company that’s specifically geared to what YOU want to do in life: Point2Fitness. For older people, that might mean being more active with their grandchildren. With others, it may mean training to become an Olympic athlete or climb Everest.

The two founders, Baz and Carla, are World-class athletes themselves. (They won bronze in the 2007 Rowing World Championships in addition to World Cups, Olympics, and more.) LondonAnnie in particular has seen and experienced them in action, as they are long-time members of Thames Rowing Club, and have been experimenting with new fitness routines at the club recently.

Please check out the Point2Fitness website and look into it! Baz and Carla are both talented athletes themselves but also incredibly down-to-earth and focused on making their customers happy and their business a success. It’s great to see what international-level athletes are able to do with their careers when they choose to stop competing, and I wish them the best of luck!

(I particularly like that all of the photos were taken in/around Thames Rowing Club; it’s a very professionally produced website.)

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That’s it… I’m officially sick of Apple, the iPod and the iPhone

I’m guessing there’s one company for every era of business school students. One company who is almost always used as an example, whose recent activities/products/services/innovations are used in every class and discussed thoroughly. This has probably been Amazon.com at some point, RJR Nabisco before that, HP before that, and so on.

This era’s company is Apple.

I’m officially sick of them. The iPod, the iPhone, the iTunes ecosystem, the Halo Effect, Steve Jobs, a culture of innovation…

WE GOT IT.

I love Apple products, and own/use a MacBook, iPhone and iPods. But enough is enough.

Can we start using other examples… please? Pretty please?

(We recently had a case study on Banyan Tree Resorts, which was unfortunate since it looks like I’m going to have to go there on holiday with LondonAnnie sometime post-graduation. But that’s more like it…)

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Entrepreneurship at Cambridge University

At the end of last year, YouNoodle.com published a list of the Top University Startup Communities. Cambridge University came in 3rd, right after Stanford (Silicon Valley) and MIT (Boston). Oxford University came in 6th. Here is how YouNoodle came up with the ranking:

YouNoodle has designed an algorithm to calculate each university’s significance as a startup community. Significance is determined by factors including the number and quality of the startups in the university, activity of its groups, business plan competitions, availability of talent and investment in the area, and the success of past startups.

I’m not surprised that Cambridge ranks just behind Silicon Valley and Boston. While this list focuses on University startup communities, I believe that Cambridge is an incredible place to be for entrepreneurship no matter the criteria. I’m sure Charlie would say that something from New York should be on the list (and I would agree), I think it’s both fair and correct that Cambridge is ranked as one of the top startup communities in the world.

Silicon Valley and Boston are clearly in a class by themselves based on the sheer size of the communities there. But Cambridge is a hidden gem. You must recognize that the startups coming out of Cambridge are only rarely the consumer-focused, trendy companies. What gets funded here tends to be hard science, technology, microchips, sensors, biotech, and the like. If you’re reading this blog, I guarantee you that technology invented here is within a few feet of you right now… virtually all mobile phones use ARM chips, for example. Recent successful startup founders I’ve met have developed sensors for chemical detection (and have received a multi-million dollar contract from the US military), and a wearable sensor to help women accurately track their body temperature and fertility cycle to help them get pregnant.

To put numbers on it, nearly 10% of all venture investment in Europe was in Cambridge. What do we have here:

  • One of the world’s best Universities, with significant science and technology focus
  • St. John’s Innovation Centre, a fantastic incubator for nascent businesses. Mailboxes, virtual offices, general offices, and services for growing businesses.
  • Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, which provide workshops for entrepreneurs and hold a series of business plan contests each year.
  • Very experienced venture capitalists, such as Amadeus Capital.
  • CUTEC (Cambridge University Technology and Entrepreneurship Club), which hosts a large conference in May of each year, as well as smaller events and networking sessions throughout the year.
  • A VERY large angel funding network, the most prominent of which is the Cambridge Angels. Many of these angels are very available to students and local entrepreneurs, and they tend to be very active in and around Cambridge.
  • Center for Entrepreneurial Learning, which hosts events like the famed Enterprise Tuesday sessions, as well as a full programme of other events.

So I’m very happy I’m here in Cambridge as I work on my plans. If you’re starting anything in the science or technology fields in Europe, Cambridge is one of the best places to be.

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Running (rowing?) & reading

I found this via Brad Feld, and saw that Furqan blogged about it, too.

It’s a short & simple video from Will Smith (the “Fresh Prince”) and his two keys to life: Running and Reading. Because if you want to succeed, you’ve got to be willing to work harder than anyone else.

Though I can’t help but be struck at how this reminds me of the balance I keep trying to strike between Creating and Consuming. Lately I’ve been focused on the mantra Create >> Consume because I need to remind myself that I have to make progress on my plans each day. But this reminds me that I have to consume in order for my creation to make sense in context.

Anyway, enough of my babbling. Here’s Will Smith: