Ruminations2019-12-23T13:31:03+00:00

Ruminations

Thoughts, experiences, ideas and reflections

A blog documenting the trials and tribulations of starting and running a tech startup, of living in these exciting but challenging times, and of learning and becoming – bit by bit – the best one can be.

12Dec, 2010

What not to say when in America (or, How to be understood when in America)

December 12th, 2010|Lessons & Advice|

I have now had the pleasure of living in San Francisco for 3 months, and have experienced a great many times the frustration of either being misunderstood, not being understood at all, or even worse, laughed at for the quirks in my speech. It is unfortunately a testament to the nationalistic focus of many Americans that they don’t understand a very clearly spoken English/Australian accent, because they just don’t hear them very often. Whereas those who grew up outside the US had exposure to

29Nov, 2010

Fire in the eyes

November 29th, 2010|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

This is my guide to hiring: look for the ‘fire in the eyes’. I look for someone who’s eyes twinkle when they talk about their hopes and ambitions, and when they talk about your company. Someone that has that sparkle of brightness, coupled with a personality that you warm to straight away.I have hired people (or rather, known I was going to hire someone) just by reading their cover letter. My Account Director, Mark, was like that. We still talk about his cover letter

24Nov, 2010

Coming to America!

November 24th, 2010|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

My team and I recently made one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. Despite being proud of being a UK-based company achieving success internationally, it was becoming obvious that to take ourselves to the level we wanted to, we needed to set up a physical base in the US. We had resisted for a while – I was hesitant to split our team up over two continents when we have such an incredible chemistry when we are together, and I was reluctant

1May, 2010

Growing pains

May 1st, 2010|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

We always knew it would happen. The day after we closed our last funding round, I sat with my team, there were 9 of us, and we said “You know things are going to change from now on?” We knew it, that hiring more people and growing quickly was going to be fabulous but also incredibly challenging. Growing in size quickly whilst running and trying to keep the culture that defined and envigorated us all, would no doubt be hard. But we thought it

23Apr, 2010

How to ask for advice from busy CEOs

April 23rd, 2010|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

I’m at a fascinating point in my startup journey. I am still growing my company, I don’t think of myself as a success yet. Not until I’m wildly profitable or I’ve been acquired for a suitable amount will I think of myself as ’successful’. So far, I’m doing alright, and am on a good path, but I won’t declare myself a ’success’ just yet. So it always surprises me when fresh young startup folk, trying to get their startup off the ground, come to

23Apr, 2010

Kicking things off again

April 23rd, 2010|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

Its been a very very long time since I have written in this blog. The last post was such a fitting place to stop, that it felt almost criminal to sully such a poetic ending with a banal next post. However, much has happened in the last 14 months. My company has gone from a startup that literally *just* survived bankruptcy to a company now that employs 27 people and has thousands of clients all over the world. We have completed two rounds of

25Feb, 2009

One chapter ends, another begins…

February 25th, 2009|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

Boy am I glad I have separated the corporate blog from my personal blog. I have written now a very sensible and official post on the corporate blog about our funding round, which took me a very long time to write, as I kept wanting to burst into admissions of honesty. However, I restrained myself, but now am ready to pop. Here is where I can say what I really feel. YIIIIHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After 13 months of easily the hardest, most stressful, challenging, exhausting, demoralising,

9Feb, 2009

Reinvention

February 9th, 2009|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

When I first started this blog, I had a grand vision. I would write about the trials and tribulations of starting a web startup, imparting the wisdom I picked up along the way, and the mishaps that would no doubt trip me up as I trudged on. Part of my strategy was to keep my burgeoning company name a secret, to build anticipation and a community around my soon-to-be-launched website. This strategy partly worked: a small following tracked my progress, and I could be

26Aug, 2008

Server downtime today

August 26th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

Apologies to anyone trying to access Skimbit today. We have been beset by problems with our hosting company (intermittent slowness, frequent unexplained downtimes etc) for some time now. I perhaps stupidly have stayed with them because 1. they are a British startup and I want to support them, 2. they have fantastic account management, and 3. I have changed server providers three times, and really wanted to avoid doing it again if I could. However, our entire set of servers has been down ALL

21Aug, 2008

Drink Tank shenanigans

August 21st, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

We have been very busy here at Skimbit headquarters. Busily putting together our exciting new version of the site, filled with lots of little improvements that will make you all smile (we really think it will!). So, due to this crazy busy bee-ness, I’ve missed the last couple of Drink Tank events, the fabulous networking parties hosted by Huddle. But, my sense of duty overwhelmed me (I mean, one owes it to the community to put in a good partying effort every now and

14Aug, 2008

“Its a small world afterall…”

August 14th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

We are growing bit by bit - welcome the newest member to the Skimbit team, Tamas from Hungary. We are continuing our trend towards being a hugely multicultural company: we have an Aussie (me), English (Joe - well, he is kinda Aussie though), Ciaran (Irish), and Matthieu (French). What will our next recruit be? We are all busily working towards our soon to be launched new design… bet you are all waiting with baited breath to see what we come out with?! We think

4Jul, 2008

A day in the park

July 4th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

Skimbit has changed a lot since I past posted. We are now a team of four, working in new offices in Shoreditch, London. We are working hard on our new visual design, on speed optimisation, on usability enhancements, and great new features. We have launched a really snazzy monetisation platform that is - we think - a world-first method for monetising user-generated content in a non-obtrusive way. You won’t even realise it is happening! We are really proud. We get to earn money and

16May, 2008

Web Mission 08 – the aftermath

May 16th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

And finally, my final post on Startups.co.uk reflecting on Web Mission 08 and what it has meant to Skimbit: I have been back a few days from my Web Mission expedition to San Francisco. It’s taken me this long to recuperate and take stock of everything that went on. I’m still in a state of shock and awe. It was a beyond successful week, exceeding even my overly ambitious expectations. Pretty much everything I’d hoped would happen, did happen. What, you ask? Well, firstly,

16May, 2008

Web Mission 08 – the middle

May 16th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

And here is my mid-trip post from Web Mission 08: It’s Day 2 of Web Mission 08, and I have not stopped yet. From the minute we landed in sunny San Francisco, we’ve been schmoozing, networking, visiting, exploring, learning, and, inevitably, drinking. The only thing I haven’t done enough of is sleeping… But what with unavoidable jetlag and a frantically buzzing mind unable to rest as I constantly think of what I should do next, I suppose sleeping can wait. Our first night saw

23Apr, 2008

Kicking things off again

April 23rd, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

Its been a very very long time since I have written in this blog. The last post was such a fitting place to stop, that it felt almost criminal to sully such a poetic ending with a banal next post. However, much has happened in the last 14 months. My company has gone from a startup that literally *just* survived bankruptcy to a company now that employs 27 people and has thousands of clients all over the world. We have completed two rounds of

7Apr, 2008

The glory of helpful users

April 7th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

Admittedly, Skimbit is still in beta phase. So it shouldn’t really be totally humiliating to have a bug. But, in the last month, Skimbit’s traffic has tripled, so suddenly, bugs are a bigger deal, as they can potentially affect more of our users. And I LOVE my users, truly! I can’t describe it… but to have complete strangers want to use, and benefit from, something that I have worked on so crazily hard for so long, is the deepest compliment coupled with the deepest

28Mar, 2008

When there is too much to do

March 28th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Random musings|

My favourite saying at the moment is this: "I can either work myself to the bone, and not get everything done that I need to; or I can NOT work myself to the bone, and STILL not get everything done that I need to…. so there is little point in killing myself in the process." I say this, yet here I am, its half past midnight, my eyes are so blurry I can’t focus on the font before me, my back is screaming in

12Mar, 2008

Using your 9-5 life to motivate your entrepreneur life

March 12th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Random musings|

One of the reasons I knew many years ago that I had to become an entrepreneur, was that I wanted the ability to dictate the terms of my life. I hated HAVING to be at work at 9am, and feeling guilty and stressed if I was running late. I hated having people silently judge me if I was writing a personal email or reading a blog during work hours, and the challenge of having to always book things like dentists and home deliveries in

5Mar, 2008

Miso-stained laptop replaced with Mac… “Finally!” many say

March 5th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

As you may have read in a previous post, I recently had an incident with a wayward cup of miso soup, that decided to disastrously waterfall all over my IBM laptop. I should be grateful that due to some quick-thinking drying under a ladies room hairdryer, and a kind boyfriend who spent the next hour dismantling the computer so I could dry each component, the computer remained pretty much intact: no data was lost, and I could still use the laptop. However, one quite

19Feb, 2008

Our facelift – Skimbit has a new homepage design

February 19th, 2008|Birth of a Startup, Ruminations|

If you haven’t already noticed (and shame on you if you haven’t!), we have finally updated our homepage to a new and funkier style. Our original homepage design was a legacy of our ultra-bootstrapping days, when I had to ply my designer friends with wine and meals so they would create a homepage design for me on a nonexistent budget. And now that things are getting better, and I can afford to pay a designer, it was time to freshen up. So please check