Start Up Funding, Innovation and stuff to do in February

My last post from Carbon Voyage …

And in other news, am planning the next EYP event for February – I think a wine tasting or cocktail making class is in order! Also one of our members, Panos Karan, is doing a piano recital at the end of February – click here to get more info! The bit I am really looking forward to are Chopin’s Twelve Etudes Op. 10 and he’s playing them all in one hit which is pretty impressive – (almost as impressive as his recent performance in Athens of the Rach 3). Check this out (this is another performance of the Rach 3)!!!

And if any of you are free on the 3rd of Feb, there is a charity film screening of Brighton Rock at Raffles Nightclub in Chelsea to help the Alexandra Rose Charities – come along. You can book here.

Organising myself

At the start of the month, I mentioned that I was trialling Plaxo to assist me in managing my life. I guess even though I would not describe myself as a pure web worker, the reality is that I spend over 50% of my work time using the internet and the various ‘cloud’ tools that exist. The Plaxo experiment didn’t work particularly well initially – which I now discover relates to an inability to synchronise with Hotmail if you have more than 999 contacts. I’m also wondering if you can still synch Plaxo with LinkedIN as I can’t find the Synch Point in Plaxo Plus. There was a good article in Mashable yesterday about synching with Google services with a mobile – and on reflection, I am becoming more reliant on Google. Am now looking for a good virtual PA so that I am really getting into the spirit of being a web worker!

In other news, we have now launched WeWantToSee which will hopefully turn into a great repository of ideas from people all around the world about what they want to see changed in the world. The content is still small, but I look forward to seeing how it looks as we get closer to the EYP November Event.

Last week, EYP had an absolutely great wine tasting event with Vavasour, a NZ winery. Their Malborough winemaker, Stu Marfell, entertained and educated a group of EYP members on the intricacies of wine making and how to produce particular styles and flavours. Stu is an up and coming winemaker and has been named as a Top 10 Finalist in the 2008 Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year.

And finally, I read this great article in the BBC this week about the International Congress on Islamic Feminism. It makes a very interesting point about how religion is often heavily influenced by culture which perhaps detracts from the original intent of the religion’s founder(s). Anyway, a very interesting article.

WeWantToSee

November 17-21 is Global Entrepreneurship Week which is aiming to foster enterprise and innovation all around the world. European Young Professionals is hosting a big event in London as part of this. If you interested in coming, you can register here. Our speakers include:

Shed SimoveShed Simove Sheridan ‘Shed’ Simove, otherwise known as the Ideas Man, is a modern day entrepreneurial genius. He’s a TV Producer (Big Brother, Big Breakfast, Space Cadets), a Bestselling Author (‘Ideas Man’, ‘Presents Money Can’t Buy’), a Product Designer (‘Cock A Doodle Pad’, ‘Control-A-Man’ & ‘Control-A-Woman’ Remote Controls, ‘The Designer Beaver’, ‘The Gaydar’), a successful corporate speaker and an award-winning stand-up comedian among other achievements…

Check his recent Channel 4 Three Minute Wonder piece here.

Sháá Wasmund

Shaa

Sháá Wasmund, best known for being the whiz kid who helped build the Dyson brand and being a leading internet entrepreneur, has many accolades to her credit including being named one of Management Today’s 35 women under 35, and one of Britain’s “Young Guns” – the brightest young business stars of 2007.  Sháá has advised many businesses, from the government to social networking phenomenon Bebo. Sháá is an intrinsic part of the new wave of UK Entrepreneurs combining real entrepreneurial drive and experience with a genuine desire to encourage and inspire others. Shaa’s latest venture, Smarta.com is an online business platform supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs.

This is a flagship event for Speednetwork the Globe, part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which was founded by Make Your Mark and the Kauffman Foundation, the world’s largest foundation dedicated to entrepreneurship. During the week, 17-23 November 2008, young professionals from around the world will be involved in thousands of events and activities celebrating enterprise.

In the lead up to this event, we thought it would be a great idea to establish a website where we could get people from all around the world to upload a quick video where they tell everyone what they would like to see – whether it be related to climate change, innovation, equality – or even making sure a sports team wins a competition. So check out WeWantToSee!

It would be great if you could take part in this and tell loads of people to participate as well. The site has just gone live, so there is not a massive amount of content just far.

Thanks in advance!

EYP Stuff and the Financial Crisis

This has been a big week for EYP. We had our monthly event at Zebrano, just near Carnaby St and somewhere just shy of 200 people in attendence. As per normal we did a few speed networking sessions which worked really well. Tonight we had our committee meeting, and were fortunately joined by our good friend Andy Lopata. Andy is always full of great ideas and we have some exciting things coming up in the next few months. Our next event will be a big one, and done with Make Your Mark as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. It will be in London on the evening of 18 November 2008.

I am continuing to play around with the various social networks and tools that exist. There was an interesting breakfast at WidgetWebExpo put on by KickApps and Clearspring. Clearspring do some very cool stuff with widgets – and with some things we are doing with EYP, widgets are about to get very important for us. Fortunately I have found a good widget blog – and more importantly a widget competition so I can get some money :p There are probably going to be some weird widgets appearing on the various social networking sites I use over the next week or two while I learn how to use them, so apologies in advance.

My sister and I listened to the video I posted a few days ago. It was hilarious of course, but again quite shocking that it was done a year ago or so. I discovered that the video has actually got a lot of attention, but one of the original posts is here and here. And just to add to the mix, another one from Bird and Fortune – again from a long time ago and also very spot on.

Technology Trials

I am presently trialing three things at present – KickApps and Webjam for European Young Professionals as earlier indicated – and more importantly, PlaxoPlus, for myself. I am at that point where I have way too many contacts and it was suggested that Plaxo’s premium services will assist with this. I am really looking forward to see if this works as I have no backup for my phone contacts – and three places where all my email addresses are stored!

In other news, it was interesting to read in the Guardian about some software that can be loaded on mobile phones that allows you to track your carbon footprint by virtue of GPS. This sounds really interesting but I wonder how accurate it really can be, particularly as different vehciles will have different carbon emissions (and of course if there is more than one person in a vehicle/ plane, what is the actual carbon emissions per person).

Technology stuff…

So I am looking at some options for EYPs technolgy platform at the moment as well as some of the social networking tools that are out there. A few of the bits and pieces that we are looking at include Kickapps and Webjam. With a group like EYP, we will always try and use the latest social media tools, including Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and Viadeo. These are all great, but there are drawbacks – particularly wtih Facebook and LinkedIN… Facebook groups become problematic once you have over 1,200 members as you aren’t allowed to invite all your members to events, LinkedIN groups do not provide massive options for communicating with members (although recently this has improved) and neither is particularly useful in getting a good handle on who your members are – which is incredibly important when chatting with prospective sponsors and the like. We have around 7,000 members already, so we need something that can deal with a reasonable sized audience!

About one year ago or so on Gigaom (I think), there was a fantastic overview of social networking platforms including Kickapps which proved immensely useful for a consulting gig I did – hopefully a new overview of similar quality will come out soon which will make our job easier in finding the right thing to use. There was a great quote from Om Malik in Feb 2007 that said “It is time to start thinking beyond the web-page paradigm, and think of social networking as part of a larger “experience,” one that starts to blend the best of online and offline worlds.” In our case, we are seeking a good online presence to work alongside an already powerful offlne presence to build a really compelling proposition for our members. Of course, it is made more complex by the fact that many people are joined up on multiple social networks. Thus an important aspect of this going forward is to see whether our platform can easily integrate with other tools – I know for example that with KickApps, we can have widgets for WordPress and Twitter.

Am I finally being converted to Mac???

I have finally got to the end of my love affair with Windows Mobile… and particularly difficulties with synchronising to Outlook once you have too many contacts or too much going on. I recently won an iPhone courtesy of Handy Group, a cool mobile payment company, and so am going to finally pick it up this week. It will be interesting to see what it is like to use it (and I expect my dad to make some rude comments about getting a Mac device)…

And here is a happy snap from EYP‘s last event:)