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This is the official Amazon Web Services user group for Manchester, England. Anyone and everyone with an interest in the cloud is welcome. We're keen to hear from members what topics they'd like to cover in meetings. There's usually a free bar, always good speakers, and the opportunity to network with like-minded people.
Matt Wood (AWS Technology Evangelist for EMEA) will be joining us again. He plans to do a roundup of recent updates and then a deepdive into Analytics in the Cloud: "The AWS Cloud provides a number of tools to drive analytics workflows, from tightly coupled, parallel computation to map/reduce jobs. This session will provide a deep dive on the design patterns, best practices and code required to run real world analytics on AWS." This meetup will be sponsored by Bashton.... Sam Bashton will be showcasing an example of their use of AWS.
Come down to Drip Cafe, 6:30pm on Tuesday 7th February and join in!
SMART objectives -the most well known method for setting objectives. S.M.A.R.T refers to the acronym that describes the key characteristics of meaningful objectives, which are:
• WHAT am I going to do?
• WHY is this important for me to do?
• WHO is going to do what? Who else need to be involved?
• WHEN do I want this to be completed?
• HOW am I going to do this?
• How do I know when I have done it?
• Can these measurements be obtained?
• What are the numbers, quantity, comparisons?
• Can we get it done in the proposed timeframe?
• Do I understand the limitations and constraints?
• Can we do this with the resources we have?
• Has anyone else done this successfully?
• Is this possible?
• Do you have the resources available to achieve this objective?
• Do I need to revisit priorities in my life to make this happen?
• Is it possible to achieve this objective?
• When will this objective be accomplished?
• Is there a stated deadline? (a defined time line)
Remember what gets measured gets done, so write your goals down, share them constantly with those who can help, are part of the goal and your team. Keep refining your goals to ensure achievable. If necessary, split goals down into achievable tasks.
for one thing, you can't reach goals if you don't have them - so set them.
LONDON, UK – 16 December, 2011 – Springboard, the 13-week accelerator boot-camp programme, today announced an early Christmas present for start-ups who apply to the Springboard London programme - a virtual goodie bag.
With support from Microsoft, SendGrid, Twilio, Google, FreeAgent and Pivotal Tracker, Springboard has created a virtual goodie bag worth over £350 for any start-up who makes an application for the Springboard London programme, which starts in early 2012.
In addition, start-ups selected to participate in the Springboard programmes both in London and Cambridge will get additional services from a number of these companies. Microsoft, for example, has generously offered £40,000 of free cloud hosting over two years to each Springboard team.
“Springboard regularly receives offers from supportive technology businesses to help the teams who participate in the Springboard programmes,” said Jon Bradford, MD for Springboard. “However, there are many start-ups who could benefit from support from these businesses and we’re grateful for their generous offers to help any team that applies to Springboard.”
"Entrepreneurship is a critical driver of economic growth, at Microsoft we support entrepreneurs around the world in every way we can," said Cliff Reeves, a General Manager in Microsoft's Emerging Business team. "That includes working with proven startup accelerators like Springboard to ensure that their high-potential startups get friction-free access to our best technology as well as our ecosystem of partners worldwide."
The deadline for entrepreneurs to compete for one of ten places on the programme in 29 January, 2012. To apply for a place on Springboard London visit Springboard
On the 25th January the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and Marks & Clerk UK will be hosting a free event on Patents.
Love them or hate them, software patents need to be considered by businesses using and creating software.
This event will illustrate the aspects of software for which patents can be obtained. During the event a number of case-studies will be presented that will illustrate software that is and isn't patentable as well as case studies illustrating the various different uses of patents from a strategic point of view.
The event also gives you a chance to question a number of experts who are Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys.
Further details on this event, including how you can register to attend, can be found at here.
Foreword from Vince Cable and David Willetts...
The UK has a global reputation for Innovation and Research. Our knowledge base, which includes renowned universities and research institutes, is the most productive among the G8. We have a proud record of invention – from the creation of life-saving medicines to the development of the internet.
This Strategy builds on the UK’s recognised strengths, and sets out how we will work with business and the knowledge base to underpin private sector led growth. We have already made clear our commitment to the UK knowledge base by maintaining the annual £4.6 billion budget for science and research programmes, with £150 million each year supporting university-business interaction which in turn benefits clusters, through Higher Education Innovation Funding.
The UK’s universities are increasingly collaborating with each other and with external organisations to develop and commercialise knowledge, last year securing over £3 billion from external sources. Going further, we intend to maximise the impact of our research base on economic growth and have committed an additional £495 million to capital projects in support of this aim since January 2011. Additionally the Research Councils will develop a web based ‘Gateway to Research’ which will allow ready access to Research Council funded research information and related data.
We are launching a series of technology and innovation centres under the name Catapult – facilities which will commercialise innovation and research to be competitive on the world stage. Three centres – for high value manufacturing, cell therapy and offshore renewable energy – are confirmed, with three more in the pipeline to be established by April 2013. Separately, as part of the extra £495 million capital investment, we have announced dedicated funding for graphene and high-performance computing so the UK can stay at the forefront of these technologies. We will also extend the success of
London Tech City to other parts of the country through the Launchpad initiative, encouraging the growth of more innovation clusters.
We will improve incentives for companies to innovate – especially SMEs.Beyond our successful changes to the SME R&D Tax Credit, we will invest an additional £75 million to support small business innovation including additional funding for Smart, grants that support SME research and development. We will implement a new innovation voucher programme, enabling SMEs to engage with universities and wider external knowledge base providers, and will invest more in the Small Business Research Initiative, helping more SMEs to win government contracts for their innovative products and services. Additionally we will increase our funding to support design driven innovation. We will also encourage large company research and development by making the R&D Tax Credit ‘above the line’ from April 2013.
More widely, we will support innovation and research collaboration overseas, focussing on hot spots and high growth economies, starting with China and India. In particular, we will prioritise securing greater European finance to support R&D by UK businesses. This strategy is based upon an understanding that Government can be an important driver of innovation. We will support independent bodies, like the Technology Strategy Board, to intervene when the market is unable to foster innovation alone in critical technologies or sectors. More commonly, we will work with the grain of the market by getting rid of unnecessary red tape, making public sector data more accessible and establishing a fund to run inducement prizes in areas where innovation is needed.
The Coalition Government is putting innovation and research at the heart of its growth agenda. Innovation is essential to competitiveness and higher living standards. Through greater investment and increased collaboration, we will make sure that the UK has a promising future.
Bill Gross, Founder and CEO of Idealab
An Entrepreneur worth listening to. What a model for launching successful businesses
1. Market power rules - Marketing is taking off without you having to do anything about it. Makes easier to sell, as customers are already looking for solutions.
2. Master the demo - learning how to sell, how to pitch, how to explain and to demonstrate is one of the most valuable entrepreneurial skills
3. Pursue your passion - every business will face huge challenges that you will only overcome if you have deep passion for the idea
4. Focus Focus Focus - focus is always better, even if you pick the wrong focus. Do fewer things extraordinary well.
5. Recognise your strengths - design a structure around them and balance that by hiring complementary skills
6. Don't overbuild - The world can change fast. Its better to grow slowly than go out of business with over capacity
7. Survive until the market is ready - if you have a great offering, but the market isn't ready for you yet, immediately cut your burn to survive until the market is there.
8. Test Test Test - find a way to test your core proposition with your customer and manage your resources to adopt that learning.
9. Stick with it - when you know you have a great idea, stick with it despite what the critics say
10. Find essential partners - if you have a world changing idea with huge capital requirements, work hard to get the partners you need to achieve your vision.
11. Harness your users' passion - In the new world of media, you must create automated ways for your customers to bring you new customers
12. All truth passes through 3 stages - first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, third, it is accepted as being self-evident
Interview of Daniel Ek, Co-Founder & CEO, Spotify
Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote and Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb
Evernote is one of few companies that speaks out about numbers.
1. 7:43 Percentage of monthly return users
2. Focus on FREE, no pressure for upgrading - building long term value. If you give enough time to fall in love, they will eventually pay.
3. 750,000 paid users out of 20 million users paying $45
Sean Parker and Shervin Pishevar with Alexia Tsotsis
Carmine Gallo, Author, 7 Principles of Innovation based on the “Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs.”
1. People with passion can change the world for the better. What are you passionate about?
2. Vision helps you see things that other people may miss. Greatest visions in the world are bold, simple and concise.
3. Remove clutter from your product.
4. Keep everything to three things.
5. Think visually.
6. Sell dreams not products. Help me accomplish my dreams and you have a customer for life.
7. Dream bigger. See the genius in your craziness.
The event was held on 18th November at Tech Centre Manchester from 1 to 5pm. The event page can be accessed through here.
This workshop was brought to you by Techcelerate on behalf of ICT Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and in association with Silicon Valley Comes to UK (SVC2UK) organised by Sherry Coutu. The Workshop will discuss the following two issues, bringing on board participants from academia and business.
Two topics were targeted:
1. The number of British students undertaking software engineering degrees have continually declined over the last few years. Is this a myth or reality in the north west? What can be done to reverse this trend?
2. At the same time, those who qualify continues to be attracted to large corporations dominated by the financial sector. What can be done to help young and small companies attract top talent?
David Bozward, Director NACUE and Entrepreneur spoke about early years of computing, and the problems of teaching how to use computers instead of how to programme at schools, why US companies have become household names whilst UK companies are only known by those in the industry, issues around the industry generating lower employment than traditional industries, the ever increasing number of software engineering courses leading to confusion, should students join the best universities that guarantee 100% employment, and why it is important to consider joining startups.
David Rydeheard from University of Manchester spoke about their 100% employment record and the increasing links to industry and bringing on board entrepreneurs such as Alasdair Rawsthorne who founded Transitive whilst at the University and then selling to IBM, and returning back to academia.
Angel Salazar from Manchester Metropolitan University spoke about software engineering becoming a commodity where programming is undertaken in Asia and other growing economies at low cost whilst management of resources and tasks are undertaken by UK graduates. Angel is currently in the process of setting up his first tech startup exploiting IP created by university research
Joel Gascoigne, CEO of BufferApp spoke via Skype from San Francisco about his experience of setting up tech companies, and his recent journey with Bufferapp and the decision he took to move the company to San Francisco from Birmingham.
A break out session was held splitting into two groups:
During the session, we learned that most of the current students or recent graduates who attended, have started programming at a very young age and have build applications. One application that caught much of the discussion was hottie in the library, a website a student setup to display photographs of good looking female students without any details, which has attracted more than 17,000 visitors in 4 days. As the 5th day, which was also the last day of the summer term, the website was shutdown.
All students agreed that computer engineering courses should include an entrepreneurship module. However, this will have a significant impact on employment statistics if graduates decide to setup startups than become an employee. We did not have time to discuss this issue further. Students also felt that there should be more access to local events where they can learn about setting up businesses.
ProductTank, product focused series of events is heading to Manchester in our first ProductTank outside of London in partnership with the BBC in their new offices at MediaCity at Salford Quays.
We'll be looking at how larger organisations approach product management (and some of the projects/products that have emerged from this approach) through to managing products in a smaller, start-up type environment and looking at how to retain "the vision" and not just focus on the immediate quick wins. Taking to the floor will be:
Matt Coulson Executive Product Manager in BBC Future Media (Television Platforms)
John Barratt Product Manager, 2ergo. Manchester-based 2ergo provides mobile advertising and marketing solutions including interactive messaging, campaign management and mobile web design powered by their own, award-winning, technologies.
Rob Severs Product Manager, TraderMedia Group. More widely known as their flagship AutoTrader brand they are the UK's largest publisher of automative classifieds including AutoTrader, BikeTrader and a raft of other publications.
We'll have the usual presentations by our speakers, followed by beers in the bar in Quay House - courtesy of the BBC Academy.
If you are interested in attending signup at ProductTank to attend.
Extract from Insidermedia
Fred Done's Betfred was the big winner at last night's Insider North West Dealmakers Awards 2011, scooping both the Deal of the Year and Dealmaker of the Year prizes. Recognised for the company's long-standing courtship of the Tote, which eventually culminated in a £265m deal, Betfred's finance director Barry Nightingale won the top individual prize. The event gathered together more than 800 of the region's top dealmakers in Manchester Central to celebrate another year in which their tenacity and hard work kept the finance community alive. Rugby star Austin Healey was the compere for the evening, which also raised money for The Prince’s Trust.
Corporate Finance Advisory Team of the Year
Clearwater has acted for private equity houses, management teams and been innovative in attempting to raise a new Venture Capital Trust. That ingenuity and creativity really impressed our judges.
Sponsored by: UBS
Shortlisted: BDO, DC Advisory, Dow Schofield Watts, KPMG, Rickitt Mitchell
Corporate Law Firm of the Year
Winner: Addleshaw Goddard
The judges were massively impressed with the entry from Addleshaw Goddard which oozed class, said one judge. The team has strength in depth and had a good year in a very tough market. The spread of clients includes large regional businesses, such as PZ Cussons, which it has worked closely with and kept that advisory work in the North West.
Sponsored by: Aston Ventures
Shortlisted: Eversheds; Gateley; Pinsent Masons, George Davis Solicitors
Private Equity Team of the Year
The job that Endless did on Crown Paints really swayed it for the judges. It was an incredible deal for all concerned and delivered a fantastic return.
Sponsored by: Cobbetts LLP
Shortlisted: LDC, Palatine Private Equity
Asset Based Lender of the Year
Winner: Close Invoice Finance
The judges were impressed with how Close provided working capital to a manufacturing business that enabled it to seal a deal to supply Coca-Cola, just the sort of support that the regional economy needs.
Sponsored by: Rapport
Shortlisted: Centric Commercial Finance, Barclays Corporate, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance
Transaction Services Team of the Year
It was a close run thing but the judges were impressed with Deloitte’s entry as it demonstrated quality in the work they did on deals for clients such as Betfred and for the Co-operative Group on the merger of its travel businesses with Thomas Cook.
Sponsored by: Leumi ABL
Shortlisted: KPMG, BDO, PwC, Ernst & Young
Banking Team of the Year
Winner: Yorkshire Bank Corporate and Structured Finance
The judges were full of praise for how Yorkshire Bank’s structured and corporate finance team punched way above their weight and produced a range of work through the year that had range and balance.
Sponsored by: Creechurch Capital
Shortlisted: Barclays Corporate, The Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate Transaction Team, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Acquisition Team, The Co-operative Bank
AIM Deal of the Year
Winner: Ideal Shopping Direct – public to private
A take private, advised by Dow Schofield Watts, provided a new investment opportunity. This award was designed to herald floats, placings and fundraisings. Though these have been thinner on the ground, we nevertheless wanted reflect the unique technical skills involved in working with an AIM-listed company.
Sponsored by: McGrigors
Shortlisted: Hasgrove - sale of Interel; CBG - Sale to Giles; Istem Life Science – float; GB Group - acquisition of Data Discoveries
Small Deal of the Year
There were many number of deals that K3 could have won this category with and tribute is therefore paid to its audacious acquisition strategy in buying and building a great business in Salford.
Winner: K3 acquisition strategy
Sponsored by: Handelsbanken
Shortlisted: Sale of CBG to Giles; Sale of Interel to Hasgrove; B3 Cables’ acquisition of Blue Helix; Perspective acquisition strategy; acquisition of Data Discoveries by GB Group
Turnaround/Rescue Deal of the Year
Winner: Acquisition of Liberata
Endless invested £22m in Barrow based Liberata and managed to avoid a horrible insolvency process and preserved 2,200 jobs. However, the business is now well on the road to recovery.
Sponsored by: MC2
Shortlisted: Rescue of Silentnight by HIG Capital
Innovation in Dealmaking
Winner: George Davies Solicitors for Deal Club
The judges appreciated the efforts George Davies has made with its deal club, stimulating activity and providing a useful forum for ideas sharing.
Sponsored by: The Co-operative Bank
Shortlisted: Turner Parkinson for tp deals; Clearwater Corporate Finance for VCT Fund
Venture Capital Team of the Year
The team at EV have possibly the toughest brief of the North West Fund and have really attacked the market for management breakouts in new start-up businesses with a string of brave investments.
Sponsored by: Centric Commercial Finance
Shortlisted: YFM Equity Partners, FW Capital
Deal of the Year
Winner: Acquisition of the Tote by Betfred
The judges were impressed that the deal involved a group of North West banks who made it possible and who showed real appetite. Fred Done would like to add his personal note of thanks for your support. Also this was the acquisition of a Wigan based business by one with deep roots in the North West.
Sponsored by: The Co-operative Bank
Shortlisted: Investment into Fourth Hospitality by ECI; Sale of Crown Paints by Endless; Sale of Leighs Paints to Sherwin Williams; Investment into Music Magpie by LDC; Acquisition of Tessenderlo Fine Chemicals by Tennants Consolidated
Dealmaker of the Year
Winner: Barry Nightingale, finance director, Betfred
For the first time this award goes to a director of a company involved in a deal, rather than the adviser or funder. It is a recognition of Barry’s role in pulling together a fantastic deal for his boss, the enigmatic Fred Done.
Sponsored by: Watson Moore
Shortlisted: Warwick Ley (Endless); Richard Pulford (DC Advisory); Philip Nuttall (Clearwater); Jonathan Boyers (KPMG)