The Lean Kite Fighting Machines – Creating an online brand in 12 hour

Some businesses you start are not so much of a good idea but a nagging obsession that you can’t get rid off.

As a result of several nagging obsessions I decided to create an online clothing brand, selling actual products. Remarkably Kalari Kites took a grand total of 12 hours to launch. This is how I did it…

Seeds for an ideaScreen Shot 2015-08-20 at 6.15.46 pm

In a book I read about 10 years ago, the 4 hour Working Week, Tim Ferriss describes two concepts that I haven’t been able to shake off. The first is having a self operational business. When you create technology that is available every hour of every day, having a project that is self sufficient is revolutionary. The other concept is testing your ideas quickly. In Tim’s case faking a t-shirt range and publishing it on ebay to see if there is a customer base.

Goal One : Create a business that runs itself

Which means I can undertake tasks that might be quicker for me to complete but would outsource all operational and ongoing work. I decided I would create a website that show cased my products but sends the orders to a partner that shipped the product. In addition I would have to find a manufacturer to produce my products and a designer to create the brand.

The spreadsheet

With all this in mind I got down to researching and creating a business plan. I had a concept, no name, no brand assets and a big spreadsheet. Continue reading “The Lean Kite Fighting Machines – Creating an online brand in 12 hour”

The Apprentice – BT Away Day

The lovely BT Expedite team asked me to play the part of Karren Brady. Having never seen an episode of the The Apprentice I found myself watching episodes from behind a cushion. Mainly horrified at the ridiculousness of the TV participants but also with embarrassment recalling my own business degree and how many of the mistakes we made learning our craft.

The structure of the day was rather brilliant. Enham Trust charity had organised a charity fashion show in Tatcham with Phase 8. The two teams had 5 hours to sell as many tickets as they could for the event. Only actual sales counted.


My team quickly decided to hit their own office, Newham and Tatcham high street and business parks along the way. Nothing like the TV show, these guys worked as a team maintaining healthy competition formulating sensible strategies. In total both teams sold 22 tickets ensuring the evening is a sell out. Incredibly successful day and I loved being Karren Brady raising my eyebrows strategically for the camera.

cool stuff at e-commerce expo

The cool people at e-commerce expo today in earls court… (in no order)

redfish – new way to display products more like a catalog less like a search engine ex accountant Richard has an interesting software solution which includes CVS, bugzilla and project management services  in a outlook setting. Yes one for the developers. I have looked at a number of product finders over the last two years and becuase of bandwidth and coding constraints they always end up being very similar. You could let these nice people provide yours as an online service. Markus Linder based in Vienna was very impressive.

Adobe Scene 7 Another company bought by Adobe in recent years. This one helps with managing your image library.

BazaarVoice  I just love working with these people.

EmailVision   and these guys work hard, play hard.

Update : In 1999 I was dropped into the BBC’s, as their head software engineer by Fitjitsu ICL. We were asked to update various websites (including Radio Time, Gardeners World) in time for an advertising campaign mentioned in the article below. On the basis of this year long project I was promoted to Jr Technical Design Authority and moved into the more prestigious financial services division. An achievement that still makes me very proud. Also an achievement that required working countless weekends and a 6am start to watch Angela Ripon present this advert on sky while checking our servers hadn’t melted.

This article extract explains’s history well. Remember the turn of the century was the height of the dot com bubble. This included the peak of media frenzy over companies like the disastrous who continually poached my developers with promises of BMW’s. For some reason my co-workers genuinely thought we were outside the bubble. It was surreal, we were based in the now demolished TV Centre at White City. Doctor Who was off the air. His Time Machine the Tardis lived on top of a mountain of props in the basement of our building. I become friendly with John Ketley and often hung around to watch variety shows backstage.

As it happens I was at that notorious party described in this article. To be fair I did have to break up a physical fight between an online producer and a guest journalist. Yet some of those other ego-maniacs have become some of my closest friends and continue to be valued co-workers and collaborators. And may I add successful.

So pleased this article is still in cyberspace in 2010

“BBC Online has been provoking outrage from its very inception in September 1996. Deputy director-general Bob Phillis initially planned to use the Web to sell content. was a commercial company that would make £50 million a year with computer giant ICL. BBC rivals were furious and said so.

But while news (pulled back under BBC control just three months later and spectacularly launched as the BBC News site a year after that) shows just how right the BBC can get the Internet, shows its total inability to function in a commercial Internet environment.

Two years after its launch, ICL finally pulled the plug on an ailing And then, two years’ later in September 2000, the BBC tried again. A multi-million-pound ad campaign relaunched as a shopping site (and threw a huge party where, this writer remembers, possibly the world’s greatest ever group of talentless ego-maniacs gathered). Investors pumped in £32.5 million. Two years later, the same story – was shut down and millions of pounds were written off.”