Your thoughts welcomed…

I have had the pleasure over the last year to work with @AnnaCaffell a passionate emerging leader in international development.

Her integrity and dedication has encouraged and inspired me and she has advised us in our  understanding of the inner workings of the UK political system.

Myself, Anna and the @CubateMobile team are proud to share the first stage of our “Mobile for Development” Research Paper.

I am currently in Johannesburg about to speak at and will be asking them the same question I am you now…..

If you have an understanding of developing economies please read the paper and feedback to me on era (at) before we reconviene to draw our conclusions from the research.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Mobiles for Development – Research

Here comes PayPal….

Two years ago I attended a Charity Hack at PayPals office.

It was really fun and we designed GetGiving


I learnt about PayPal’s Adaptive Payments system in its Alpha release and realised that a Mobile Payments revolution was on the way that would change EVERYTHING.

With so many companies trying to become your mobile wallet it can be hard to know which basket to put your eggs in.

I decided 2 years ago that PayPal would probably win due these factors………

– They have Appox 100 Million users unlike finance startups.

– Their brand is built on primarily on commerce unlike Google.

– They are still young enough as a business to innovate. unlike the Banks.

– They are platform agnostic unlike Apple.

– They are approachable and have committed to empower developers to create the future through

– There is no barrier to signing up for small businesses unlike PDQ services.

So I threw my eggs in their basket and have never looked back.

After Apple blocked our donation app. We went back to the drawing board and designed Givey which is a FAR deeper reaching product so I am pretty happy they forced us think harder to solve the Mobile Social Giving problem.

We also designed Mosho and TouchCart from the lessons we learnt hoping that our bet would pay off……

Thankfully PayPal  are beginning to make big strides into the real world.

With a REAL  pop up store in Manhattan to showcase their new innovations like the one John Lunn showed us the other day at the PayPal offices in London that brings a whole new meaning to the term window shopping 🙂


And then the icing on the cake was this morning when my good friend @LukeAndrews sent me a picture of his bill from Pizza Express from the other day, which no doubt he cashed in on the Taste London card 🙂

So PayPal is getting out of the building and out of eBay and this is only just the beginning.

My guess is to get on board or get out of the way.

I have made many terrible guesses about the future but I still back this one.  🙂

Social Payments


It has been a really interesting couple of weeks @ Cubate.

I started my first meetings with VCs and began to put our embryonic business into the furnace to see if it got incinerated. 🙂

I actually really enjoyed it, the VCs I met like Alliot from Octopus Ventures are just quick, smart people who need to understand within 10 minutes what you are doing, why you need help and how they will get their money back quickly.

VC meetings are not suitable for complicated visions or weird company structures.

The Power of getting out of the building and refining your business ideas through conversations with smart people is absolutely invaluable.

In our case nearly ALL the smart investors I have met have really latched on to the Social payments we have been exploring with Givey and soon to be Mosho. They believe this is where our niche value lies.

Through these conversations I have increased the visibility of Social Payment innovation within our model.

Here is another cool example of some guys doing a great job of extracting REAL WORLD VALUE out of Social media.

Pay with a Tweet – Case Study – OMG version from Leif on Vimeo.

In short once you have a good idea and have got it to a place of “Tangibility” so others can see it go and chat to AS MANY smart and some not so smart people to find out what they think and then……….

Reiterate, Reiterate, Reiterate both your product and your communications.

Don’t believe your Product girl or your Marketing guys, they are both as vital as each other.


SMS The Underdog

I sent my first text from my Dads Startac when I was in year 7 at school to the girl I fancied on her Dads phone.

It took me about 10 minutes to get about 12 words out, it was really fun though and more importantly I looked very cool.

The Penetration of SMS is bonkers with almost every single person in the UK using it on a regular basis and have been for many years.

Everyday I talk to people about mobile payments and mobile marketing and the only words I hear are ‘NFC, Carriers, Google and Apps’

The same old Rich Vs Reach argument comes up – very boring.

It seems to me that the one under utilized medium of communication and payment is the intimate SMS channel that we are all so comfortable, familiar with and in many cases have a strong affection for.

Once businesses figure out how to use SMS marketing effectively with STRICTLY opt in only messages that dove tail nicely into seemless mobile web experiences integrated with video content and 1 click payments we will see the demand for SMS go up dramatically from consumers.

It is a user experience that gives both REACH and RICH experiences engaging both Smart and Non-Smart phone users.

I HATE it when dominoes sent me flipping 2 for 1 Texts on Fridays, it is invasive and an abuse of data I gave them for a completely different reason. They have in my opinion missed the boat on SMS and I dislike them more every time they do it.

On the other hand though Imagine U2 are playing a secret gig at Ronny Scotts in London and there will be 100 tickets on sale, you will WANT to hand over your mobile number to be interrupted just once in whatever you are doing to take action and purchase. There is no better platform than SMS to do this.

At the moment I don’t trust people with my mobile number but there is trust based gap to be filled and the winner will probably be rich.

SMS is a dark under utilised horse. My guess, it won’t stay that way for long.