Archive for the ‘Business’ category

Twitter APIs

29th 2009f October 2009

My friend @nicchick asked a question last night, at a meeting of Twitter users here in Marbella, about API limits on twitter. A few people had a go at explaining this, but she admitted in a tweet this morning that it was still a mystery.

Her problem is that when she’s on Twitter using Mixero, her preferred Twitter client, she keeps getting messages like “API limit exceeded 10 mins to refresh”. So she wanted to know why this was happening and how she could get around it for uninterrupted twittering.

So I had another go at explaining the concept this morning in a 140 character Q&A session, but I’d like to go into more depth here, it seems to be a common cause for confusion. (more…)


A lesson in Entrepreneurship in Seville

28th 2009f May 2009

No two men could be better qualified to teach entrepreneurship than Ken Morse and Bill Aulet. They came to Sevilla from the E-Centre at MIT, to deliver a seminar on “Entrepreneurial Sales and Product Marketing” and they over-delivered.

My expectations were exceeded by far, we were given a rich insight into the growth of high-tech start-up companies. Through case studies of real companies they’ve helped to build, and actual sales forecasts, Bill and
Ken enthralled us with stories from the front-line of entrepreneurship and they lessons they have learned in the process.

Web 2.0 talk in Marbella

6th 2009f May 2009

It may have been a talk about the evolution of the Internet, and the speakers were certainly knowledgeable and engaging in their fields, but the format of the talk was old fashioned and very 1.0.

The whole ethos of Web 2.0; inclusion, peer-to-peer, user generated content, open disscussion, the “Long Tail” were all highlighted and applauded by the speakers but oddly ignored in the structure of the event. (more…)

23rd 2007f June 2007

I was going to write a rambling post about Facebook and social networking sites today, but I found something much more worthwhile to do. I discovered a short video about a site called KIVA through Guy Kawasaki’s blog. Kiva is a P2P micro finance site that connects normal people in developed countries with entrepreneurs and small business owners who are making a difference in their communities in developing nations.

Tsevi from TogoI’ve just joined kiva and contributed $25 towards a $750 loan for Tsèvi Bedzra a 29 year old barber in Togo in Africa. He’s applied for the loan to buy electric clippers and other equipment for his barber shop, he feels this will enable him to be more profitable and better support his son.

All of the entrepreneurs on KIVA are vetted and approved by loan officers from micro-finance organisations on the ground. When Tzevi’s load application was approved his picture was taken and posted to the site with his details, where I found him.

You can go to Kiva’s website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business – like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent – and you get updates letting you know how the business is going. The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back – and Kiva’s loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

Kiva - loans that change lives

30th 2006f November 2006

The very latest project I’m working on is a joint venture between a pair of professional gamblers and myself. is a pub poker league for the Costa del Sol. Playing poker for points (not cash) has taken UK pubs by storm as an alternative to quiz nights and darts tournaments. The game’s popularity has sky rocketed with the televising of the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker on satellite TV and the rise in on-line gambling.

Our business aims to bring the same winning formula to Spain, we already have several tournament nights running in local bars from Duquesa to Marbella and we plan to expand as far as La Linea and Fuengirola before the first regional finals event.

Basically pub goers turn up on a tournament night, register with the tournament director or on-line to become a league member (for free currently) and play Texas Hold’em at purpose built poker tables with casino grade cards and chips. At the end of the night, the player with all the chips earns 1,000 point in the league (the player who came second – 750, etc.). If you’ve not player tournament poker before, there will be instruction before the games start.

My role is to develop the website. When it’s complete you’ll be able to view the Overall, Regional and Venue based league tables as well as quickly look up your own, or another players ranking. We’re also including a poker store for members to purchase the same equipment used in tournament nights, for their own home games.

I’m under a little pressure at the moment to get some of this functionality working as tournaments are already being held and score sheets and membership applications are piling up. At the same time it’s a balancing act between getting the functions to work smoothly and the site to look good, but I feel with some time and patience it’ll get there.

FON gets backing from Google, Skype and VCs

6th 2006f February 2006

This Madrid based start-up that I’ve been keeping my eye on has just announced a $18m Venture Capital deal with Google, the founders of Skype, Index and Sequoia (2 ‘Valley VC firms).
FON is a great way to share your broadband connection without leaving your home network open to attack and do some social networking at the same time. I’ve signed up already
Congratulations Martin!Join the FON movement!