13 lessons in business from 2013

2013 was without a shadow of doubt the most intense, eventful and transformational year for my company PeoplePerHour since it’s founding in 2008. And so as the year comes to an end I reflected as I usually do on what the key learning from the year have been for me. continue reading »

Who will disrupt the Googles, Amazons, Facebooks and Apples of this world ?

The grip that these companies have today is almost unbreakable. But – that’s a grip on the de facto platforms of today. Meaning the internet, mobile and computing devices as we know them.

As history has taught us, what’s easier than breaking a grip that strong, is to render the platform its gripped on obsolete. Kodak was unbreakable in film. Until digital came along.  Nokia was unbreakable in mobile devices. Until smartphones came along. Dell was unbreakable in computers. Until  tablets came along.

I think what will disrupt these de facto goliaths of today is a move to a completely new playing field that will render the internet, and computer devices – including mobile devices – totally obsolete and unnecessary.  Yes – unnecessary. And that will happen in the next two decades. continue reading »

be-snazzy.com

be-snazzy-com:

A quick hello from me

Hi there. I’m Stefani (girl in the picture above though not quite as sweet-looking in real life) and I’m the founder of be-snazzy.com ; an online boutique where you can browse unique accessories and clothing made by funky independent designers from all over the world.

I’m 25 years old, well OK going on 26 but 25 sounds much younger so I might just stick to that for the next couple of years (!), and I decided to start be-snazzy.com because I simply loved discovering those hidden gems in London’s fashion markets and through my travels, but I couldn’t quite get anything remotely close to that experience online. I kept thinking, “there are so many stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery, handmade bags, handpainted tees and the likes out there and you can get them for amazing prices; so why does everybody insist on buying their clothes from the high street or high end shopping malls?”

“Why does everybody look the same?”

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in between the fact that most people don’t know where to find all these beautiful things, or that they just don’t have the time. So I decided to devote my time in doing exactly that. Scouring London’s markets, the cobbled streets of Greek Islands (where I love to spend my Summer holidays) and asking around for designers who are only known by word-of-mouth. I also spent my hours browsing through online designer marketplaces for that extra special one that caught my eye, and I decided to pick my absolute favourites and bring them to be-snazzy.com .

If I didn’t think “wow” then I just tossed them aside into my pile of maybes/not so much until I was absolutely certain of which ones I wanted to add.

So here it is then; a brand, if you like, featuring a highly-curated, handpicked selection of independent designers who have the X-Factor. Take a look and let me know what you think. But please, please don’t come to be-snazzy looking for a little black dress or a grey vest; I’m sure there are plenty of Zaras, Topshops and H&Ms in the world for you to get those.

If, on the other hand, you are looking to spice up your wardrobe with  extraordinary accessories and bags that will have people asking you where you got them from, then please do stop by and feel free to contact me for anything.

Be different, be snazzy

Stefani x

Cool new fashion startup in the making. Watch this space people

10 things every startup should forbid

1. PowerPoint 

If you can’t stand up and convey what you want to say, at most with some scribbles on a white board, you most probably have no clue what you are talking about. And even if  you do you lack the confidence and the succinctness to convey it. So go get a job at IBM 

2. Voting – of any kind !

Startups are not democracies.  They are brutal dictatorships bred in trenches. Management by consensus is like trying to gather votes in the gutter when the enemy is marching full speed ready to tramp all over you. If you don’t have a strong leader who can take decisions get the hell out. 

3.  Meetings over 1 hour 

And thats generous. If people can’t get their message across in an hour tell them to apply for the Oprah show. You dopnt have time for fluff 

4. HR managers 

Please. Let’s get real. The last one i had was a woman that spoke like a constipated chicken who protested when i asked her to give us a hand to move the desks when we were relocating.  It wasn’t part of her duties she said. So i relieved her of any! 

5. Reading Techrunch 

Unless you want to be brainwashed that success = fundraising and sucking up to a bunch of nitwits who’s investment manifesto is who can blow the hottest fart out their arse without burning their pubic hair 

6. Hiring ‘superstar’   been-there-done-that management material 

OK we’ve heard it, enough already. A players hire A players, B players hire B & C players bla bla bla. That’s the sort of crap investors brainwash you with to turn what’s an entrepreneurial, maverick culture that gets shit done – and got your startup off the ground in the first place – to a corporate, beurcratic, red-tape-ridden,  cash-draining,  more-painful-than-watching-paint-dry boring culture ruled by a bunch of bozos who talk in buzzwords. 

You want A players ?  Hire mavericks with a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. And shit all over those so called superstars. They will poisoon your company with arrogance of the worst kind : the least deserved ! 

7. Counting holidays 

Anyone who counts holidays in a startup doesn’t belong there. You want to count holidays ? Go work for KUONI. Put a whiteboard above your bed and tally them up. If you are a true startup-at-heart team player the only thing you count is how many steps closer you are today to hitting your target. Everything else is garbage 

8. MBAs

As my uncle says “i have an MBA too. Im  Married But Available”


9. Buzzwords 

Anything that’s repeated more than once in an MBA book should be strictly forbidden. If you can’t express what you want to say in plain English your customers most likely won’t understand it anyway.  

10. ‘Good’ stuff

As the famous book says, Good is the enemy of  Great. If you develop a culture of ‘good enough’ you will build mediocre products that fail to wow people. You can only aim for Great stuff. Anything less than that is crap. 

Why passion is sometimes overrated

Fred Wilson wrote a great post recently on Turning Your Team which resonated with me. I made reference to it in a recent post I wrote on the PeoplePerHour Blog

The reason it resonated is because it happened to us in the past 12 months. Most of the early team has departed (including my co-founder) and been replaced by people who came much later or elevated to take on a new role.

It’s one of the hardest things for a founder to do, watch some of the most loyal and passionate people of their team depart. These people are like family to you.

But the reality is that it’s necessary for a team to scale. Comparing the then to the now I find that the differences can be summarised as follows: less passion, more execution.continue reading »

Who said you can’t create something from nothing?

Marissa Mayer must be a genius. In just over a year here’s how the stock price of Yahoo Inc! has performed.

What’s more impressive, is that she’s achieved that without practically doing ANYTHING! continue reading »

The only rule is: there are no rules!

his year marks 10 years of being an entrepreneur for me. Its  a big milestone. Ive spent a lot of time introspecting and asking myself “what would i have done differently if i could go back”

First id like to say that i don’t regret  one minute of the past 10 years.That not to say it was all a bowl of cherries. But even though i could have done a lot of things better or more efficiently had i known what i know today, i don’t regret one moment. Not one bit. Its been an exhilarating journey and i cherish every moment of it – the pitfalls, screw ups and the pain points as much if not more than the happy moments. Those are the moments that define you, that toughen you up. And without those you have nothing to look back to and laugh !

But if i could go back, whilst keeping the journey intact i would potentially change my outlook on certain things. I would trust myself more , my inner instinct and listen less to others  quoting text book stuff thats all good in theory but, as they say, in theory practice and theory are the same, but in practice they are not. continue reading »

Every great journey comes to an end

Today was one of my most emotional days. Even though it’s been in the brewing for some time and been decided months ago, my co-founder and dear friend Simos announced to the team at PPH today that he will be leaving the day-to-day of the company as at end of March to start his own startup.

I have to say, even though I’m very happy for him and I believe it’s the best thing for him and the company I couldn’t help being moved. I’ve been through thick and thin with Simos, for over 6 years, and whilst most people who know me will say I’m a fairly tough nut, it was one of the few times when my eyes swelled up. Part with happiness and part with sorry.

So why is Simos leaving?continue reading »