#Tech4Europe joins #Marchforeurope

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#Tech4Europe joins #March4europe

Facebook event page

You’re in tech / tech startups and you want to #MarchForEurope?

Then march with us!

We’ll be meeting in Hyde park opposite The Dorchester Hotel.

I’ll be be wearing a TechCrunch T-Shirt!

Make signs! saying #Tech4Europe!

Make signs saying #Tech4Europe!

Make any sign you want! Just come!


Meet 10.30am in Hyde park directly opposite The Dorchester Hotel.

Here is our route and instructions:

Follow #Tech4Europe on Twitter to find where we are.

Then we will join the march.

The March finishes officially at 4.pm

Once we’re all done we’ll be meeting for a drink at the Southbank Centre from 4.30/5pm. Once again follow #Tech4Europe to follow us.

I will Tweet updates from @mikebutcher

Want to stay on touch afterwards?

Put your email in here.

See you there!

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Two years ago today I found myself on Newsnight talking about WhatsApp

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Two years ago today I found myself on BBC’s Newsnight sitting in front of Jeremy Paxman at 11.10pm. Twenty minutes earlier I’d been in a pub in Shoreditch, relaxing after work on a Friday night. Two pints and one G&T in, I was alerted that Facebook had bought WhatsApp for $19bn, one of the biggest startup acquisitions in history. Newsnight’s Producer rang me and asked me to get in a cab to make it to the studio in time to talk about it. That meant getting from East London to West. I was slightly ‘caught short’. So as I hit the rest-room, my mate Bryce helpfully flagged down a Black Cab. Jumping in and telling the driver to literally “step on it” I made BBC Broadcasting House in time to race down into the studio and sit in the chair opposite Paxman. He didn’t look up from his notes while some VT was playing, but then turned to me and said “we’re on in 30 seconds.” The only thing I hadn’t expected was having to explain “virtual goods” to Jeremy Paxman in the middle of a Newsnight interview… You can watch a 2 minute section of the interview here.

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The Press Release Is Dead — Use This Instead

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I’m QUITE TIRED of dealing with MILLIONS of tech entrepreneurs (these days there are a HELL of a lot of you) and (some) PR people who have ZERO clue how to pitch me/TechCrunch/the media. Their pitches are long-winded and rambling. They ask if they could ‘send some more information’. Listen, I have no idea if it’s interesting or not until you send it! Many just ask me out to lunch or coffee. (Thanks, but I prefer hanging out with my *actual friends*). Even worse, they haven’t read this post or seen my presentation on how to deal with tech media.

You see, if I took all these offers up I’d never have to pay for food or coffee again. (Here are a few ideas about why asking for lunch/coffee isn’t a great idea). But I’d also never get any work done. Yes, it is always better to try and form a working relationship with a journalist before pitching them an idea you think they might want to look into. It is always better to RESEARCH what the journalist generally writes about and who their title is aimed at. But you are not going to get your ‘foot in the door’ unless your first interactions are concise and to the point.

In the main all the questions listed below are the stock standard questions I would ask of any startup I had never heard of before. And they apply much more to new startups who have no clue how to approach the media. But, incredibly, I still get some PR people who can’t cover off these basic questions in their opening gambit. In either case, their opening lines are often a short email which amounts to “Hi, we exist. Can we have a post on Techcrunch now?” This, of course is utterly stupid.

The most solid pitches come when the startup relates what they do to a CURRENT news story of the day. For instance, say Apple just came out with a new kind of headphone, and your startup has a product relevant to music or headphones. THAT is when you should jump all over the media – while your story is current and you can get into the tail-wind of a hot story. Not 6 months later when we’ve all moved on and forgotten about headphones.

Many opening gambits are very simplistic emails which don’t answer basic questions. Many even say (WHY?!) “Can I send you a press release?”.

Are you kidding me? Are you really kidding me? Please don’t ask this. Just. Send. It.

The alternative is me wasting wasting a minute or so of my life replying to you with something like “Hey, so I have no idea if you should send me your press release or not because you know what’s in it and I don’t. So OK, sure, knock yourself out. Join the party in my inbox.”

(BTW you should read this piece on why your follow-up emails usually don’t work).

You are going to save us all time — and visits to psychiatrists — by simply addressing some basic questions FIRST.

In the industry, this called THE NARRATIVE.

Mostly, ‘press releases’ are written in the way a PR’s client would write a news story. They are usually pretty rambling and designed to please the client (read: stroke their ego) rather than assist the journalist to get shit done, and fast. So, I think the press release format is DEAD.

Instead, I have come up with a checklist of things you need to cover off at the opening pitch, before the process of further questions happens. I have EVEN (wow, I’m so helpful aren’t I?) prescribed the number of sentences you should use. Now, the eagle-eyed among you will realise that this is just a rough guide. If you can tell me why your company rocks in one sentence then great. Sure, 3 is fine. But if you have to do it in 50, then, I’m sorry, but you may have a problem understanding and communicating exactly what it is that you do.

Are you going to have to send me 70+ sentences? No. But you MUST at least try to address as many of these questions as possible. Putting it into an easy to digest format, so that the journalist can make a quick decision about whether to start talking to you or not, can be helpful. If this is not your style, then fine. Try something else. Write War And Peace. But I’m just trying to tell you that this is potentially going to save you and the journalist a lot of time. Time is a big deal in the media business…

Sure, granted, the final resulting article might well go into fine detail about what it is you do. It might even be a pretty long article. That’s for the journalist to decide. But if your FIRST interactions with the media is something akin to a chapter of War And Peace, then you have a problem. As I like to say, “50% of being a startup is about communication”. If you are trying to ‘change the world’, then you are going to have to communicate that.

In the first instance, before pitching what you THINK is news, you MUST make sure it actually IS news (like NEW, ‘never been published before’ new!) and follow this format. Savvy PR people will sign off the traditional press release (this product is the world’s leading yadda yadda) with the client but STILL use the below format AS WELL to ASSIST the journalist.

And PLEASE go read my slides and watch the video I have been using to educate startups for the last few years.

Meanwhile, I intend to write less news anyway, and concentrate more on opinion pieces and video.

Some tips: All TechCrunch writers can be emailed on Tips@TechCrunch.com (very high traffic, but it is read). And all European writers can be email on EuroNews [@] Techcrunch.com

If you just want me, I’m on mike [ @ ] techcrunch.com

A note on Subject lines and opening sentences: Subject lines should read like headlines: “Catty, the Uber-for-Cats, Raises A $20M Seed Round” (LOL!). Opening sentence should NOT Read: “Hi Mike, How are you? It’s hot in London huh?”. It should read: “Mike, With the news that Uber has expanded into on-demand Cat Delivery, I bring you a startup that is going to BLOW those guys out of the water and this is EXCLUSIVE for you.”

A final word:

A lot of this may sound incredibly arrogant. Perhaps it is.

I don’t dig coal for a living and the Taliban doesn’t shoot at me as part of my job. I’m lucky.

But Journalists have to parse a lot of information quickly now. It helps the sender out if they are told, in black and white, the best way to get noticed and maybe even read. That’s what this exercise was about.




[1]. Should you pitch via a tweet? e.g. “@mikebutcher Hello Mike, Just read Press Release Is Dead & thought you’d appreciate our startup app. We have users & can monetize. DM?” ANSWER: Exactly how much information can you get into this? Can you answer any of the questions below adequately? What do you think…? Here’s a better idea: Answer the below questions in a targeted email to the journalist, then @ reply to them on Twitter and say something pithy like : “Cat.ty is the uber for cat delivery, emailed you just now”. Get the idea?

[2]. Never, ever, EVER contact a journalist and ask them to “Tweet out our startup”. Or anything similar. Tweets imply endorsement. To endorse it, the journalist would have to read all about the product/company/pitch otherwise they would not feel comfortable with tweeting something positive. And they just don’t have time. If they are not writing about the company, there is no incentive for them to bother other than out of personal interest. I get startups asking me to ‘upvote’ them on Product Hunt, or Re-Tweet their tweets. This is just plain insulting. We’re not here to be your free PR machines, EVEN if the person asking might be a friend. Have some professionalism. Do your own marketing. If a journalist, in a personal capacity, feels like Tweeting about a product they like then fine, they can do that. But they are not there to be asked to pimp products. They have real work to do besides anything else.

[3]. If you have given a journalist an exclusive and somehow some other journalist gets hold of the story and publishes before the story was supposed to come out then do this: IMMEDIATELY tell the first journalist (the one you gave the story to) that the story has broken. Do it NOW. DO NOT WAIT until the time you agreed for publication and DO NOT wait for the first journalist to find out from someone/somewhere else that the story they have been SLAVING OVER has already broken. Why do this? Well, if the journalist you gave a story to now knows the story is out, they can rush to get their story out. You will have done them a great service. They will like you and think you are professional. But you must also explain how you think the story came out, such as the OTHER journalist turned out to be so good they found it on their own. But, getting back to your friendly journalist MAY also mean a much more favourable version (to you) of the story getting out faster. If you do not do this, then the first journalist will NEVER trust you to work with them again. But they won’t tell you. They will just think you are a piece of shit. You won’t even know it. And if you gave the story to more than one journalist and told ALL of them they ‘had the exclusive’ then perhaps think about changing your identity and moving countries.

[4] If you want to be dismembered by a former journalist who is now wanted for murder (yours), pitch them a story which already broke a month ago as if it’s “new”. Don’t tell them the product has already been written up. Then wait, as they simply Google the product’s name only to find Wired/The Times etc had it some time ago, and the ‘new’ angle you are pitching is that you opened an office in Belize, staffed by one guy and a donkey. Granted, the donkey was previously with HP. [Translation: Don’t pitch old stories as if they are new].

[5] A good way to stop a journalist from coming to your launch event (or any event) is to send them an invite in a pretty looking graphic which is basically impossible to extract information from or put into a calendar. This is really, really, dumb. At worst, send the information in plain text, so they can copy and past it it in their diary (impossible with a graphic). If you want to be REALLY smart, send them a *calendar invite* with all the relevant info in the notes section. Then all they have to do is click a Yes button and you are more likely to get them to come.

[6] Its generally not considered acceptable to offer an exclusive to more than one journalist. But what if they don’t respond? How much time would you consider legit to offer it to someone else? This depends. You would obviously have to give them a “reasonable” amount of time to respond. The decision also greatly depends on the journalist and what their normal ‘MO’ is and how important their outlet is to your strategy. I, for instance, am often on planes and between flights. But a lot of people wait for me to land and give them a yay or nay because TechCrunch is a big outlet…

[7] I can also recommend a less ranty post on this subject here.

[8] Just to re-iterate: When pitching a story, a PR or a startup must ALWAYS answer these questions: Who are the competitors? Why and how is your company better? And never, ever, say “We don’t have any competitors.” If you don’t have competitors then there is no market for your product. There is also no way for the journalist to frame your story or to better understand the problem you think you are solving. There is no such thing as a company with no competitors. Even if the product feels like a brand new category that has landed in a spaceship, the problem it is solving will still have been approached by someone else before, just in a different manner. Remember your Latin: nihil sub sole novum.

[9] “The Double Pitch”
Sometimes you will contact a journalist and either they will take forever to respond or they do respond, but then they take forever to come back to you. The temptation at that point is to give up on them and to contact another journalist at the same title. I can sympathise with the eager startup founder who is desperate to get their story out and into the media. But here is the problem. Journalists are jealous of their stories and if a contact approaches another colleague, first of all that is mildly insulting. They may just have been a bit busy. It doens;t mean they won’t reply. If you find yourself waiting several days, what you should do is ping them back, say something like “hey Mike, as it’s been a week since I initially contacted you and I haven’t heard back, I hope you don’t mind me contacting one of your colleagues about the story. I will chat to XXXX about it. Or let me know if you do in fact get time to come back to me about it.” You will then either hear back from the journalist or you will not, as they are going to assume you’ve moved on. That’s fine. So in other words, journalists don’t mind you contacting other colleagues so long as you’ve given then the option to respond (although the convention is to wait as long as possible for the first journalist to respond). But they do mind (a lot!) when a company contacts two journalists from their title, but does not explicitly say this to both journalists It’s called “double pitching”. What happens in a double pitch is that two journalists are unaware they have been contacted separately by the same company and both start working on a story. The worst case scenario is when they then both post an article (a “double post”). The company concerned might well like this, but the title and the journalists will hate you for causing this chaos because you have been underhand in your communication and tried to “game” several journalists from the same title into writing about you. It’s unlikely you’ll ever get covered again both by those journalists or that title ever again. Lastly, if you do eventually hear back from a journalist but they this is not a story they want to cover, do NOT go to one of their colleagues with EXACTLY the same pitch. Either send the first journalist a new pitch with a different angle, and try that, or have a think and maybe try another journalist with a DIFFERENT pitch. That may work for you. But if in the office the journalists (who do talk to eachother!) compare notes and find you are pitching the same thing over and over again to different colleagues, despite having being rejected, your company will quickly gain a reputation for being annoying, and that will affect your chances of getting covered.

[10] You’ve sent your pitch to a specific journalist. You wait, but the the journalist doesn’t get back to you. They are probably busy, rather than ignoring you. After a reasonable amount of time time (it very much depends on the person you are trying to reach and how senior they are and your relationship with them), then send it to the general editorial team. If you send it to another journalist on the same team, asking them to bug the first journalist (their colleague) about a pitch that the first journalist knows nothing about yet, this is bad form and wastes everyone’s time. There are few things more annoying as a journalist than having one of your colleagues bug you about some PR or startup “trying to reach you”. If you haven’t reached the journalist in the first place then tough damn luck. Keep trying or just send to the wider editorial team on that title. The best way to send this is saying something like “Hey guys, I sent it to [name of journo] but I think he/she is busy, so just hoping someone might want to pick this up. I’m here for any questions you might have” etc. Good luck!

[11] You’re frustrated. You pitched story to a journalist and through sporadic emails and messages they sound interested in your story and either committed to doing something and are just late getting to it, or they go quiet. Here’s the best strategy: You tell them they your realise they are busy and may not even have time to reply, then you give them a deadline. Like, “if I don’t hear back by tomorrow I’ll assume you are busy and we’ll reach out to other media.” Here’s the absolute worse response: hitting up that journalist’s editor. This will land you in trouble, unless you have a really genuine compliant (the journalist was incredibly rude etc). If you really want to piss-off a journalist and a title, tweet about them and copy in their editor. This will pretty much guarantee the title will never cover you again.


Common mistake 1:
Do not pitch a journalist with “X wrote about Y”. Example conversation: ”We were covered by The New York Times! Do you want to write about us?” “Ok, but what’s new?” “Nothing, but we think YOUR readers really need to hear about us!” You are implying they shouldn’t have been included in the first round of pitches. This is a guaranteed way to destroy the relationship immediately because it means they are not a priority to pitch to.

Common mistake 2:
“Circling back” / repeating the email “blind” (as in, after getting no response) more than twice. If the journalist didn’t reply to your email on the first or second time, it’s either because a) they are busy or b) you fell into the spam filter (in which case your company needs to take a look at itself) c) they are working on the story but don’t want to set up expectations on timing, because, well, shit changes. Lesson? Build a normal relationship first!

Common mistake 3:
Ask to meet with Reporter B when you have already worked several times with Reporter A on the team. This just says, Reporter A is “not that important, I’m moving on”.

Common mistake 4:
Another mistake: Ask to meet with Reporter C because they covered a story. This is a waste of time as, if someone else covered it, clearly the reporter you asked does NOT cover it. Just go direct. Don’t waste your political capital with the first reporter.

Common mistake 5:
Blind pitch simply because a journalist is on an attendee list for a conference. The title may not even BE GOING. Or they have already set up coverage. So, just ask politely first if they are going. Don’t waste your political capital here.


Key questions a journalist will ask you about your startup

Answer with a SHORT paragraph.







(e.g. Monthly or daily active users, downloads. sales etc )



WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS? Literally, NAME the companies.
(This is crucial to understand the context opf the market)





(Required: Specify Seed, Series A, etc)
















Note: Do not send screen shots of apps which are surrounded by explanatory information around the app. Just plain screen shots of the app. Nothing else.

Posted in Media, Uncategorized | 89 Comments

The Olympics has inspired #TeamGB — Maybe now it’s time for #TechGB

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This is an unashamedly personal post which I thought sat better on my (slightly neglected) personal blog than on TechCrunch.

Up until The Olympics in London it’s fair to say “The United Kindom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” (to use our full name) had become a pretty cynical place. The economy is in the doldrums, people and businesses are really hurting day-to-day – and we’d had myriad scandals amongst politicians, the banks and big companies. At the same time we’d started to forget our rich past as innovators – Britain was a pioneer of computers, the jet age, and many other engineering and scientific endeavours. But you often wouldn’t know it looking at our press and media. Regularly, the newspapers enjoy running stories of people being ‘stalked’ on social networks, or bemoan the use of video games. Aside from stumbling across heroes like Sir Jony Ive, they too rarely mention the pioneering efforts of technologists in producing these new platforms, or the creativity of the designers and engineers that go into powering the future. Technology is usually something to be feared, not celebrated.

Coupled with the general fascination of the media with people who usually don’t have a lot to offer other than looking perma-tanned on reality TV or chasing the private lives of footballers, and British society didn’t appear to be that interested in an old fashioned concept: merit and sheer raw talent.

Then something weird happened. The Jubilee celebrations kind’ve got us into the mood. We discovered we had neighbours at street parties. We realised the Queen had in fact done a pretty good job maintaining a kind of ‘Britannica’ stability for 60 years. And then the opening ceremony of the Olympics re-introduced us to ourselves, as quirky, funny, but above all industrious, creative and even – with the addition of Tim Berners Lee – capable of creating such wondrous things as the Web.

The opening ceremony reminded us we can do real things, not just obsess about reality TV and superficial appearances. There were plenty of stars, but no egos on display and all the stars had done something REAL. It’s clearly started a debate about, perhaps, a shift towards basing our national identity on merit rather than superficiality. What better representation of the marriage of the Games with engineering and science was there than the picture of the moon rising beneath Tower Bridge, built by the industrious Victorians?

It won’t be immediate. There remains a problem of access to facilities, that some get and others don’t. There remains the problem that paying for our new future may still be tough.

But, inspired by our amazing athletes, the incredible organisation of the Games (which I think most never expected to be so good), and the way London seems to be running like clockwork all of a sudden, the nation may be starting to come out of it’s collective fug.

Dare we whisper that this could be the the best £9.3bn we ever spent?

Dare we hope that we can be a slightly less cynical nation? Oh, we’ll never lose our cut and thrust, our rapier witty response to some news item or other. That will never leave the national psyche, and nor would we want it to.

But maybe, just maybe, when a young entrepreneur turns around and says “I’m going to do this”; or when a girl in a high school puts down her teenage mag full of reality TV stars and tells her friends she’s going to study engineering or science; or when a kid from the local comprehensive comes up with something mind-blowing; then maybe we won’t be so cynical at that point.

Maybe we will, after all, come to think of failure not as the end of something but the ‘feedback’ we needed to go on and get it right.

If #TeamGB inspires something beyond the laudable goal of getting our kids to run and jump and fence and swim and row, if it inspires us to think beyond sport and into other area of our lives and our society, then the Olympics will indeed have been the moment we were wanting for. The moment to fight back and become Great Britons once again.

We’ve had the inspiration of #TeamGB. Maybe it’s time for #TechGB as well.

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How To Deal With Tech Media

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Below is a talk I’ve given dozens of times on how to deal with the tech media, especially when you are a tech startup – usually the ‘blogging’ type media these days. It’s not definitive, it’s just my personal perspective, but I hope it’s useful. Underneath is a video of me giving the presentation.

Mike Butcher – Startup Turkey 2015 from Burak Buyukdemir on Vimeo.

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I met Steve Jobs once

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I met Steve Jobs once. It was at the launch of the iPhone in the UK in September 2007 (here are my pictures from that day). It was a busy day. A few weeks before there had been a frenzy after the launch in the US. Days after the UK launch I was covering people sleeping outside the store on Regent Street. The iPhone had changed everything. But on that day Jobs walked on stage and did a brief presentation in front of the press and then took questions. I remember being annoyed that Apple PR had shut off the WiFi so we couldn’t live blog! But afterwards Jobs took a tonne of questions and was very open with the press. He was great. Afterwards I though “Shit, when will I ever meet Steve Jobs again?!” so after the press conference I walked up and put out my hand to shake his hand. Heck, I’d met Steve Wozniak (who’d tried in vain to sign my MacBook with a laser pen!), why not Steve? I said “I just wanted to say thank you for making such great things.” I tad glib I guess. But he took it in his stride and shook my hand. His hand shake was firm but light. He smiled. RIP Steve.

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BREAKING: Ye Daily Mail 1381 – Peasants use "printing press" to spread revolt SHOCK [Pictures]

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[Following this]


(From 2009)

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Reuters TV asked me about Berlin

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When a TV crew rings you up and asks you to appear in a report you generally say yes, though one doesn’t normally know how it’ll turn out. In this case I think Reuters got the story right (embedded below). Berlin is indeed becoming a big startup hub in Europe (and ‘ll be back there again next week, as it happens). Why is this?

First of all: it’s cheap. It’s cheap to have an office there and it’s cheap to live (assuming you can deal with the harsh winters!). It’s also a hub for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to get to fairly easily. So if you want to draw on the strong pool of CEE maths and engineering talent, that’s a plus. A drawback is access to capital – although getting a VC to schlep up from Munich or down from Hamburg isn’t impossible, and some VCs, like Earlybird, have even chosen to locate there. For some reason the city of Berlin also has a lot of ‘mindshare’ amongst Americans. I guess we have JFK and Obama to thanks for that – but also there are strong art scene connections.

Berlin was traditionally known for ‘startup factories’ which would produce clones of US tech businesses. But a home-grown scene of startups which have an international reach (and usually in international staff) is what is making the waves these days.

Berlin isn’t the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ of startups in Europe by any means. The clusters around London, Paris, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, the Nordics, etc etc continues to produce great companies. As far as Moscow, Belgrade and Ljubljana, you name it, all over Europe there is a flowering of innovation right now. But Berlin has a lot of the attention at the moment, so they might as well ride the wave.

Startups make Berlin European tech hub

“Reuters: July 26 – Germany’s capital city, known for its creative spirit and affordable living costs is attracing young entrepreneurs and startups like Soundcloud and Wooga, as it becomes Europe’s technology hub. Joanna Partridge reports.”

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Lessons Unlearned: The Lame Startup

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Some of the following examples are the kinds of things all bad startups do. But a few of them are particular to European startups. Let’s see…

I come across a lot of immaturity in the startup market in Europe. Some of it is accidental. Some wilful ignorance, created because people simple won’t inform themselves.

So here, dear reader, is your cut out and keep guide to how not to do a startup in Europe.

Let’s start off with money.

Stay really dumb about money. Don’t read anything. Subscribe to no blogs about how venture capital works. Next up, confuse venture capital with startups and assume you simply must have an Angel round. Avoid working out a business model which may actually bring in revenue. Cashflow always beats taking investment — but you’ll ignore that.

Instead, concentrate on looking good and courting investors instead of getting traction with users. Don’t work out how to build a product and win users. Just go out there with a business plan and nothing to show that you can execute.

Raise as much money as possible even if you have no idea what you will do with it and don’t bother with Lean Startup thinking.

When raising capital get no competition going amongst investors to offer you a term sheet. Avoid talking to more than a handful of potential investors. Then, at the first sniff of funding, give an Angel with no experience in technology far too much equity, leaving little to interest a VC later who might do follow on funding. Make sure you choose your investors based on their inexperience and lack of connections that could help your business.

Once you have your investment, instead of actually building an awesome startup, obsess about exiting the business thus ensuring its failure. You should also make sure to ignore the companies that might be potential acquirers. You are far better than them anyway. Seek no advice form any entrepreneur who’s done it before. Go it alone.

Always remember that when you are an entrepreneur the most important thing is to be secretive, share nothing and tell noone what you are doing. That way there is no way you can test your ideas against the feedback of the tech community. In Europe, it’s better also to not look outside your country’s borders — in case there might be opportunities for collaboration.

Regarding your product, there is a lot of work to be done here. First of all pack so many features and services into it that users are totally confused and gradually lose interest. Make sure your CEO has no experience of Product Management and always assume your engineers understand product.

If your startup is a clone of a US startup, then assume it will work, because it worked in the US, right?

Pay no attention to user experience and make sure you iterate the product as slowly as possible and rarely. Ignore user feedback, but if you must, pay attention only to the feedback which merely confirms your strategy, rather than the users who suggest improvements. Obsessively stick to your roadmap and avoid “pivoting”.

Better still, don’t build your product at all. Hire an agency! You don’t want a team that works on passion and dedication. Just one that works on a client fee. Besides, sourcing teams from anywhere based on talent, able to work on Skype and Yammer, is so tedious.

When you launch, make sure it’s in a small market with little prospect for growth. Tell everyone you will launch internationally “later”. To that end, ignore a US version.

The actual launch should be preceded by a lot of PR that you are about to launch and how awesome the company will be. Make sure this goes on for months, even a year, so that when you do finally launch the press and bloggers can be underwhelmed.

When talking to investors and media never rehearse your pitch. They like it that you stumble over your words and can’t say anything coherent about your strategy — it creates authenticity. They also enjoy that there is no real news of story around your startup that would interest their readers or bring their site traffic.

Make sure that, in the case of social networks you try to create a brand new one. Don’t use Facebook Connect or Twitter OAuth to allow log ins. You will be bigger than them anyway and users really enjoy creating more profiles.

Do all these things and you are sure to have the most successfully Lame Startup in Europe. Now get to it!

[This post originally appeared on 24waystostart]

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Joining the Digital Advisory Board to the Mayor of London

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I am just out of the first ever meeting of the brand new Digital Advisory Board to the Mayor of London (a pro-bono post). I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to join the Board for all the obvious reasons. But, to add a personal note, I was also born (in Hammersmith) and raised in London, and have lived in London for most of my life. I’m a great believer in this city. But through my work with TechCrunch Europe, I’ve also become acutely aware of London and the UK’s place in Europe as regards the technology scene. And I feel that there really is going to be an exciting period going forward where London can start drawing together many of the technology trends in Europe and globally.

I want to pay tribute to the office of the Mayor of London and their foresight in putting this team together. I’m humbled to be able to sit alongside people I hugely respect in the tech scene, and I am really looking forward to working with them and with his Economic Advisor Anthony Browne and Emer Coleman, London Alliances Project Director, who in practice heads up the London Datastore, a fantastic Open Data initiative.

The London Datastore has already done a lot of work putting a great deal of data from the GLA and London Boroughs online for apps developers and startups to use. It’s an exciting time right now given the innovation that’s happening around open data and the new mindsets trickling into the public sector about how this data can be used both for economic innovation and the public good.

As the announcement says, the Board will support and advise on the Mayor’s digital projects including the London Datastore, WIFI London, The London Card and the proposed single non-emergency number for London. But while doing that I’m sure we’ll have conversations around the wider creation of economic, social and civil capital in London, using technology.

What next? As well as all the above, personally I want to hear your feedback on how we can make London sing and hum in terms of the wider technology and innovation eco-system. Where are the blocks, where are the barriers? I am looking forward to conversing with everyone around these issues and helping the Mayor’s office address these.

I’ve worked with the awesome Elizabeth Varley on creating TechHub to try and solve some of the problems. We can do more. Much more.

Interestingly I’ve seen #BorisDAB appear as a hashtag on Twitter – that might be pretty handy going forward.

Aside from myself, the other members of the board (to quote The Evening Standard, but with added Twitter handles) are:

Professor Jonathan Raper -who has worked to bring the power of geospatial information to users for over 20 years. @madprof

Emma Mulqueeny -is a founding Director of Rewired State and is one of Britain’s leading digital communication strategists and communicators. @hubmum

Paul Clarke- has worked with many government departments and local authorities on technology and organisational strategy. @paul_clarke

Chris Thorpe- formerly a research scientist has been involved in projects as diverse as social worlds for 7 – 11 year olds, video archives of Nobel Prizewinners telling their life stories, a James Bond Premier Webcast and putting contemporary sculpture on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. @jaggeree

Toby Barnes – is the Managing Director of the Mudlark Production Company. @TobyBarnes

Chris Taggart -is the developer behind OpenlyLocal.com a project that opens up local government data and now has in-depth information on over 150 councils across the UK. @countculture

Christopher Osborne -is Business Development Director for ITO World providing transport intelligence for transport professionals and passengers. @osbornec

More coverage:
Barnes joins Boris’ digital London team
Boris Johnson announces appointment of City Hall Digital Advisory Board
London Mayor announces Digital Advisory Board
Boris Johnson appoints digital advisers

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