“I can’t believe we’re already well into the second half of the year. I suppose, by now, I should be used to the fact that time works differently for entrepreneurs: it just seems to go faster. All the work we put into Spinvox during the first six months is paying off nicely, though, as signups for the Spinvox service continue to climb and our conversion rate – already hundreds of thousands a day – continues to break new records.
Entrepreneur time also seems to deliver in ever more rapid cycles when it comes to planning and budgeting. Having finished the half-yearly cycle at Spinvox, we’re concentrating on delivering now. We’re about to embark on our next round of Spinvox launches and I’ve been racking up the airmiles in recent weeks, meeting CEOs and working on our relationships with the mobile operators who’ll take the Spinvox service to market. Once you have a tiger by the tail, the last thing you want to do is let go! The next big market for Spinvox is Latin America – it’s amusing to see the reaction when they find out that myself and Spinvox co-founder Daniel Doulton will be presenting to them in fluent Spanish; a result of my childhood spent in Spain and Daniel’s early years as an expat living south of the border! Letting our hair downLike many entrepreneurial companies, “work hard, play hard” is one of our mantras here at Spinvox and we tend to let go in spectacular style. We held a summer party for all Spinvox staff, partners and children at the beginning of August, but didn’t let them know what we were planning until they arrived at Westminster Pier. There, a boat ferried the Spinvox crew down the Thames to The Dome where we had booked the best seats in the house at Kylie’s concert. Needless to say, the celebration – lubricated by copious amounts of alcohol – meant things were slightly slower in the Spinvox office in Marlow the next morning. Olympian inspirationI’m always trying to find new challenges outside of work, and recently I’ve been taking time out from Spinvox planning cycles to get into the saddle and out on the tarmac. A Sunday trip from Henley to Canterbury was quickly followed by peddling from Henley to Paris with some of the Spinvox team, and we’re looking forward to attempting Boston to Maine in the next few weeks. The risk-all dedication to achievement displayed by the athletes at the Olympics has been a real inspiration to us. Spinvox sponsored canoeist Anna Hemmings: after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and being told to give up, she fought back and was selected for the team.
Unfortunately, despite all our encouraging shouting at the television in Spinvox headquarters, a medal eluded Anna after a poor start in the heats. All of us at Spinvox got a real buzz out of being able to read her daily blog. Despite the best efforts of the Chinese authorities to block access to her site, she managed to circumvent the censorship by using her mobile phone and blogging through Spinvox – a moral victory for sure! Beating the economic bluesPost Olympics, the relentless economic gloom spread by the media (and fuelled by the scarcely believable comments made by government ministers) has kept us at Spinvox on our toes. But tougher times only make me more determined to focus on the key elements of the Spinvox strategy: to keep doing one thing well; to go global from day one; and to ensure that Spinvox is always well-funded and well-mentored by people from very different business backgrounds. Sticking to our goals has ensured that, despite the dismal economic climate, Spinvox is still incredibly busy closing deals and developing new business.
I can’t help but wonder, though: if, as a country, we had ministers with even the slightest experience of running a business and creating – rather than consuming – wealth, would our domestic economy be in better shape "