Archive for the ‘Startup’ Category

First impressions of Project Red Stripe

January 30, 2007

Yesterday was the first day of Project Redstripe and it didn’t impress me. Let me clarify. After nervously asking at reception where the Economist thing was, I got pointed in the direction of the Kitchen Room, where we’d have our first meeting.

Whenever you’re in a new office there’s a bit of a first day of school feeling, but I was most excited to see our place of work, which is at AMV BBDO. After all, it had been built up a lot. “And you’ll be working in an ad agency” was the cry at Economist Tower. I couldn’t help but think of a bean bag infested, foosball table sprouting, glass and brushed steel plushness.

This soon disappeared after settling down in the Kitchen Room to greet all the folk (and everyone is great, by the way). It turned out that the very plain, very white meeting room (with ensuite loo and shower facilities) would be Red Stripe HQ for six months. But if Apple can be built in a garage, this will do us nicely.

As the day drew one thing became very clear: we’ve been set a monumental challenge. After we’d fitted in all the key components (development, marketing, testing, business plan) to a very high level time plan, there was little time left to spare. We’re going to have to work like crazy people to get this done.

However, the first day wasn’t entirely spent creative thinking as we were able to film the first post to our vlog.

It turns out Joanna is pretty good


Lethal Excitement 4 Project Redstripe

October 25, 2006

Hollow tipped bullets have got a great reputation in 1980s action films. Dums dums, as these bullets are known in the professional killing community, do not pass clean through the body. Instead, they vibrate wildly, destroying all internal organs.

Why do I bring up these lethal weapons? Because I feel like I’ve been shot with a dum dum. A dum dum of excitement, that is. You see I’m shaking with anticipation, but keeping it all on the inside.

I think I’m in with a shout for this Project Redstripe lark, but can’t get too pumped about it, because I’ll be crushed if I don’t get it. There’s a permanent nervous energy coursing through me as I turn over the amazingness of this opportunity. Yet there’s a phony war feeling at the same time as it might pass me by. Hell, I just can’t wait to find out.

I thought I’d tie the post together by getting a pop culture reference, and first flick I could remember that has hollow point chat is Lethal Weapon. A trip to IMDB brought up the quote and how apposite it was. Unstable Martin Riggs, played by psycho young Mel Gibson, tells his partner Murtaugh he regulary contemplates suicide and he keeps a hollow point bullet to make a clean job of topping himself.

Check out the reason why he doesn’t end it all :

“You know why I don’t do it? This is gonna make you laugh! You know why I don’t do it? The job! Doin’ the job! Now that’s the reason!”

The job! Doin’ the job! Now that’s the reason for all this excitement too.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Crazy Mel

Killing Cancer Has Never Been So Much Fun

October 9, 2006

After a few opinion posts I thought I’d write about another project I’ve pushed through. I can just imagine how entertaining it must be to read me spouting off about all manner of things but you might prefer to see things I’ve done.

And as I’m fresh out of ado, here’s The Kill Cancer Death Rally (if you mind swearing then please don’t read this site). It was a rally for Cancer Research UK where every car got sponsored before driving down to Barcelona.

It has pretty much the toughest name of any charity event in the world.

Kill Cancer because that’s what we were trying to do. Death Rally because it sounds rock’n’roll. So on Thursday 28th November I set out from work with a general’s outfit in my bag, to a car in the City, that had been redecorated by D*Face, an amazing London grafitti artist.


 You’re right. That car is covered in 100s of plastic animals

From there we drove onto the Eurotunnel to Le Touquet then to Tours, then to Toulouse until we arrived in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon. 18 people came on the rally and we were all raising money for Cancer Research UK.


And that is a Crazy Golf on the car 

The good thing was we all had an amazing time. The really great thing is we’re going to raise about £10 000 for cancer.

As is my wont, I made a blog for the cruise. It’s a pretty spiffy site, I think. There’s a fair bit YouTubing on it, some use of Flickr and even the world’s best wiki (have a read and you’ll find out why).

I can’t tell you how proud I was that this went from idea to reality. It made that enormous step out of the realm of pub chat. Then, suddenly, I found myself driving into Barcelona, not quite believing it was happening after four of the most fun days of my life.

I put an enormous amount of work into this. Working through weekends for it, and most nights of the week. This level of energy and dedication will be something I can bring to Project Redstripe.

If I’m passionate about something I’ll push it to the limit. As I think that working Project Redstripe would be the best job in the world, you’ll probably have to prise me out of the office with a crowbar.


Things which take time Pt. 1 : angle-grinding turrets into cars

Dear Helen Alexander, more money please

October 7, 2006

April 2007 

Dear Helen Alexander,

I’m so glad that you’ve taken such a keen interest in Project Redstripe. Your right, it has been a lot of fun.

Who’d have thought that it would be such a success so quickly.

About that money you gave us, well…er…the thing is we need more. How does $500 000 a month sound?

Thanks a lot,



Why ask for $500 000? Because that’s how much YouTube are losing every single month, according to the bible of globalisation.

In a normal business I think that is seen as, generally, a bad thing. The astounding thing is that YouTube don’t even have a business model. That does not stop TechCrunch from putting out some strong, totally unsubstantiated, (now semi-confirmed), rumours that Google are sniffing around for $1.6 billion.

Is it Bubble2.0? Alan Rusbridger made the point that Google didn’t have a business model until four years ago. It’s doing OK now.

Therefore, a central plank of my campaign to be on Project Redstripe is this. I want to create a hugely loss making site.

Project in the Redstripe, if you will.