When you stop calling it a startup
This Bud's for you! My last couple weeks have been intense, fulfilling and fun.
I am walking back from a Tech Crunch talk from Mike Butcher, in the Shoreditch area. He talked about killer AI robots and showed this video:
Then, I see this sign on one of the graffiti-walls-turned-corporate-billboard saying: "When you stop calling it a startup, this Bud's for you!" Budweiser next to some awesome street art. The irony.
I have mixed feelings about this billboard and the killer robots. I have mixed feelings about us having to leave the planet earth in 100 years according to Hawking. I am a pessimistic idealist. But I think technology will save us. I think it will make us thrive. Sure, some killer robots might come along one day (yikes, they are already here!), but we will be fine. Because the good robots will crush them.
As you can probably tell, the last couple weeks have been intense.
Last week in Paris, @Jenefer Thoroughgood and I kicked-off a new expert network with a great team at an international organisation striving to make change. (We arrived in Paris on the day of the elections. The polling booth queues were long and the talk was all about the future of France.) This organisation wants to build a better-policy network to drive conversations to make the world better. Pretty cool! We are lucky to be involved.
Yesterday, I helped mentor 10 startups for the Women Startup Challenge Europe for our friends at Women Who Tech. I was humbled by the talent and the products that were showcased. There was a biometrics startup working on building identities in the third world, as a social enterprise. There was a startup that is revolutionising solar batteries, and another breaking ground in the world of film. A diverse and exciting range.
I felt less of a mentor and more of a peer. We are going through the same stuff they are. Pitches. Hustling. Trying to execute on a vision. (Notably, female founders get 10% of funding and yet their firms have an ROI beyond most male-founded ventures.)
And Jon is back from a break. The team is going strong. Fergus is doing his thing and, hopefully, Jen is getting a little break on a beach this week.
Some days building a startup feels like taking a roller-coaster ride under 3000 feet of deep blue water with lots of weird fish swimming about. But for the past couple weeks, I am truly grateful for all the experiences I have had.
So I say, down with the killer robots and leaving the planet in 100 years, and lets find more hope here and now, and use technology, and experts, and trusted brands to bring us back around to a better world. (Yes, I have watched Silicon Valley...)