Washington, DC #GamerGate meet-up… featuring Based Mom

If you live in or near Washington, DC, and you fancy coming to drinks with me and the inimitable Based Mom, AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, you’re in luck! We’ll be hitting the town on the evening of Friday, May 1.

Friday, May 1 2015
9.30 p.m.

Local 16
1602 U Street NW
Washington, DC

Come and join us for a drink and a chat any time after 9.30 p.m. All are welcome.

It would be helpful for us to have an idea of numbers. To get a reminder nearer the time, and to get updates in case we grow so big we need to find another venue, pop an email address in the form below.


Affiliate marketing industry still working hard to shake off its sleazy image

I was sent this by my friends at Skimlinks as an example of the sort of swanky dos they get invited to. Though I am reliably informed that very few women (or men) who attend these parties look much like those in the image below.

To misquote Loyd Grossman, what kind of a person would be tempted by a flyer like this?

Wall Street Journal gets it hopelessly wrong about Silicon Valley Comes to the UK

I admire the Wall Street Journal Europe‘s tech blogger, Ben Rooney, for his initiative and enthusiasm, but in his naïveté and inexperience about the European technology industry he made a hopelessly and hilariously misjudged snipe about my friend Sherry Coutu’s legendary annual Silicon Valley comes to the UK in his gushing review of the F.ounders conference in Dublin.

Ben has never been invited to SVC2UK, which is perhaps why he doesn’t realise that it is, by a considerable margin, the heaviest-hitting and most impressive initiative currently operating in Europe to connect Silicon Valley elites to European founders. So I worry that Ben, whose journalistic pedigree is better than most of his peers, might be feeling pressured into sucking up to the new kid on the block at the expense of accuracy. Read more

I’m coming out

I have something I need to share with my readers. Even my mother is not aware of this, and I’m sorry she had to find out this way. You see, I’ve been holding it in for way too long and I desperately need to let it out. So here it is. This year, I was not on the press list for F.ounders in Dublin.

I was going to write a post about how unhelpful it is to be drawing a velvet rope around some of the most influential people in the industry. But, truthfully, it isn’t: it’s brilliant, and the inaugural F.ounders was one of the best events I’d been to all year. Indeed, I said so on the three occasions I wrote about it in the Telegraph.

Wait, sorry, no. Four times.

And I was tempted to write an outraged piece about how classless and ungrateful it was for a conference I’d put together a UK guest list for, made numerous introductions on behalf of, spent two and a half days of valuable consulting time giving strategic advice to and endlessly plugging, to cut me off because I’d decided to go freelance and they couldn’t boast about a specific publication next to my name on their guest list. (At least I know not to waste my New York Times commission this month on a conference review.)

But I won’t do that. I’ll simply say this. It was a shame they knowingly misled me, failing to correct my excitement and anticipation after they knew I’d booked my flights to Dublin and stringing me along for months discussing with me whom I might interview on stage, before abruptly sending me a generic email explaining that “demand had been extremely high”. Guys, I know: I’m part of the reason.

While I wish them all the best for the future, I don’t much feel like attending another F.ounders or Dublin Web Summit event right now, and I won’t for the time being feel able to vouch for those events or any of the people behind them.

I’m sure Paddy and the team will pull off another great weekend. Though, having seen this year’s guest list, which is a mixture of impressive Americans and… well, Europe’s quite small isn’t it? I hope they find someone new to help them separate the European wheat from the chaff. Because the real character of this conference is still very much in flux, and you have to wonder what the value is for the Silicon Valley guests.

For a drink-soaked hack, it’s a brilliant boondoggle, but what, besides a hangover, are people really getting for the three days away from their companies that we don’t already from DLD and Founders’ Forum? My concern is that unless F.ounders filters more effectively and consistently, this event will become just another utterly missable European schmoozefest for US CEOs with something to flog over here.

Then again, maybe not inviting me was their first step on that process…

Spare us the hot air and nonsense, One Young World

This column originally appeared in Real Business.

One Young World is the sort of organisation that attracts almost universally positive press. After all, what kind of a monster would have a go at a forum that brings together some of the world’s sharpest young political and entrepreneurial minds and encourages them to speak truth to power?

Well, step forward your humble correspondent, who’s getting more than a little cheesed off by the cooing circle of admirers around this overwrought festival of self-importance.

As the second One Young World summit draws to a close, let us reflect on what, precisely, the forum is accomplishing, and what kind of young person it is seeking to cultivate in its delegates. Read more

Ja mogu objasniti da…

Kotor, Montenegro.

He holds my damp, ragged passport. “Big problem,” he says, with a thick, Slavonic-sounding drawl that under other circumstances would have been somewhat thrilling.

His deputy turns to me. “Boss says big problem.”

Yeah, thanks for that. I glance nervously at Nick and Isobel, who are sat, wide-eyed and anxious, in the car I’ve just been ordered out of. They’re starting to panic.

We’re at the border between Montenegro and Croatia, one of the few places in Europe where anyone gives a crap about paperwork, because neither country is a member state of the Union yet, on the way back from a truly magical wedding.

But apparently you’re not allowed to travel, whether fortified with hymeneal joy or not, on a passport so sodden that the pages have fused into a sort of ropey mulch.  Read more

Review: Paul Carr, The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of Life Without Reservations

In some circles it’s considered bad form to review books in which you appear. Fortunately for you, I don’t move in those circles. Because as one of this volume’s (admittedly minor) characters, I’m better placed than most to verify what might otherwise appear a wildly implausible series of ludicrous drunken adventures.

The Icelandic rock stars. The near-death experience with Spanish drug dealers. The hairdressers’ convention. The 6,000 mile booty call. In short: yes, it’s all true.

Paul Carr has forged a surprisingly stable career out of his alcohol-fuelled antics, failed relationships, friendship with infamous London entrepreneur, networker and mischief-maker Robert Loch and his opinions about the latest internet technology. But despite weighing in provocatively on privacy, copyright and media issues in his TechCrunch column, his forte has always been writing about himself, which is the singular subject of both of his books to date. Even more surprisingly, he manages to be fresh and entertaining without slipping into limp Hunter S. Thompson burlesque.

Read more