Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Where are you?

I got a call out of the blue from one of my VCs yesterday evening.

"Where are you" he barked into the phone, skipping the usual greetings.

Odd question I thought. But hey, he is The Money so if he wants to call me up at random and demand to know my exact whereabouts, that's fine with me.

"Just arriving in London on Eurostar from Paris" I replied.

"So, you are about 30 minutes away" he growled.

"Yes" I said. If you are talking to a VC who has his hands clasped firmly around your money and he asks you a question that you don't understand then "Yes" is generally a good answer. Also, I reasoned, I must be 30 minutes away from something. From happiness? From a disaster? From being kidnapped by dwarfs? Who knows. But "Yes" was clearly not a lie.

Suddenly it struck me. I was supposed to be at a dinner/networking event somewhere in London that evening, so it was just as well I had accidentally caught an early train back from Paris! I had completely forgotten. Actually I hadn't forgotten. What is happening is that my assistant is away on holiday so my diary is slowly decaying into a disorganised messy sludge.

I survived the first week and felt very pleased with myself. But now I realise it was just momentum. Everything was set up so well that I just couldn't fail to be in the right place at the right time. But week two is trickier.

For example, I am back on the fund raising trail, so I am setting up random meetings with VCs around the place. Me, on my own - setting up meetings!!! There were some folk in Paris I was keen to see and they said "When are you over next". I said "As it happens, tomorrow". Great, they said, is 9am good. "Great" I said and then started panicking. How do I get to Paris? Where do I sleep? Help, help.

I did manage to get the Eurostar ticket sorted out and then I looked for hotels. I went for one near the station as I was arriving late. In my defence it looked very nice on the Web.

In real life, it was perhaps the sleaziest hotel I have every stayed in. The room actually had red, velvet material on the walls. Admittedly there wasn't a mirror on the ceiling, but it was crying out for one. The chap on reception seemed a little surprised that I was checking in on my own and indeed using my real name rather than the more standard "Mr and Mrs Smith". It is the first time I have done that thing spies do in films where you put a chair up again the door handle.

My night, however was peaceful, unterrupted only by a text around 1am from my CTO saying "Mines a vodka and tonic" followed rapidly by another one saying "Whoops, wrong number".

Anyway, back to the evening. 30 minutes later I arrived at the dinner/networking event and found I was due to be sitting on a table along with Brent Hoberman of fame, Robin Murray a 3i bigwig and Baroness Hogg, Chairman of 3i and the speaker for the evening, Richard Rosenblatt the former Chairman of MySpace and founder of a new company, Demand Media. Richard was a really engaging and compelling speaker with great anecdotes such as "when I sold Myspace to NewsCorp I said to Rupert [Murdoch]...." so despite the fact that I was dozing off into my dinner it was definitely worthwhile pitching up. The venue, a restaurant called The Altitude on the 29th floor of Millbank Tower overlooking the House of Commons and the Thames, was pretty cool too.

Staggered back home at about midnight and dragged myself up this morning for another day that I think should be a bit more organised. Check the diary. Oh No! I am supposed to be in a meeting miles away with an important client in about 20 minutes. ARRGGHHHH......

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sure i stayed in that same hotel once during the launch of Egg France when I missed the last train back. The TV channels were shall we say interesting!