❌ The 4-Day Workweek & Startups
Here's your weekly Scottish Startup Campfire.
New accelerator for mobility & decarbonisation, Cademy is cruising, lots of early May meetups around the country and we’ll say hello to Jeremy Viner who’s building a better way to communicate when you’re doing outdoor activities.
But beforehand, we’re kicking off our commentary with a doozie of an opinion piece from Patrick Clover from Stampede sharing his views about the 4 day work week that’s sure to raise some eyebrows. We’d love to feature a rebuttal in a future issue if you’d like to share one.
Four day workweeks don’t work for successful startups
Before you cancel me, hear me out. Someone once said running a startup is like eating glass and then enjoying the taste of your own blood. A bit intense, I know, but I’ve always resonated with that sentiment. Oftentimes, especially running a growing company, it feels like 80% of the work is done by 20% of the team. It’s the 20% that are obsessed, that like the taste of their own blood, that create real change. To those who aren’t running a company, I ask you: what would happen tomorrow if you just weren’t there? Would everything break? Would customers notice? Would the company notice? Are you part of the 80%?
It’s not popular to say but whether you’re in Ops, Engineering, Marketing, Support, you name it, your function is to deliver value to either new or existing customers, and by extension, the company. There’s a sense of urgency to create something extraordinary but the real challenge that most startups face is that their product market fit isn’t ever quite right and as a result the cost to acquire a customer is astronomically high. In the last few years we’ve seen many companies pay £10 to acquire a customer that might be worth 10p over their lifetime. This isn’t satire or a joke, we all lived in this world over the last 4 years. It’s because of this monumental challenge I don’t really see an argument for spending more time at home or less time working that makes any sense. We are quite literally against the clock.
If you can’t help get customers in and coming back and be a positive force to solve that challenge, the business is totally f***ed, for lack of a better word. No more time to debate the 4 day work week because there won’t be a company.
This is actually the magic of working for a small aspirational business, you get to come in bright eyed, and help create something entirely new; something that didn’t previously exist. If you and your co-workers solve the problem you get to put your names on the wall and say WE DID THAT. And if it doesn’t work, you can say, “well I really gave it my full effort and learned XYZ from the experience.”
If you want a sweet lifestyle, there is a huge range of jobs that will give you some money for tuning into a zoom call at 10 am and moving a few chrome tabs around and then going for brunch with your friends. There is a reason, however, why there have been redundancies across the board in Tech - even Goliath realises this isn’t sustainable. This isn’t how truly great things are made and unfortunately as startups we don’t have the luxury of time.
Humans are exceptional at solving problems when we are together, we’ve been doing it for literally 1000s of years. Why mess with that now? If you look back through the majority of startup success stories, absolutely 0 start with “we all focused on work-life balance, flexible work environment, and then had 3 days a week to socialise”. The reality might sound a bit bleak when you say it outright but that IS the deal. While I’m a huge advocate for giving the people what they want and a strong focus on output over input, being a disrupter requires sacrifice.
So I leave you with a final question, do you want to be part of the 80% or do you want to create something truly great?
This opinion doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Campfire. Disagree with anything you see here? Tell us and we’d love to share your response!
🎮 Scottish Games Week is coming back and will take place October 30-Nov 3rd. GCID 🛫 Expanding in the US? United Airlines is doubling its flights between the US and Edinburgh including up to 4 flights per day between Edinburgh and Newark. TH
♻️ The world’s first traceable CO2 calibration facility for carbon capture is launching in Scotland. SBN
🙅♂️ LettingCloud/Student Rents Saga: Crowdcube is suing Student Rents, Grant MacCusker and Jamie Stewart and plans to refund the 170+ crowdfunders. UKTN
🤖 Innovate UK is launching BridgeAI as its AI-wrapper for support including £100m in new funding, grants, and programmes. Their focus areas are: agriculture, creative industries, transportation, and construction. Grants coming soon. DGT
💰🙅♂️ Feeling like VC cash is harder to get? You’re not alone. Q1 VC Funding across the UK is at its lowest levels since before Covid. DGT
Shaking up the calendar:
📆 Tired of your boring old calendar app? Vimcal looks svelte, has instant scheduling links, and offers quick copy-and paste options based on one-off availability? Check out 👉 Vimcal
🗓️ Another calendar app with booking technology similar to Vimcal to check out that's free is Chron - recently acquired by Notion. (Waitlist) 👉 Chron
✍️ Need a digital daily planner that helps you plan tasks across multiple contexts within your calendar? Sunsama is an intentional zen daily planner that integrates with tons of other services and helps individuals get stuff done. 👉 Sunsama
👋 A few questions with: Jeremy Viner, founder of Morphic Technology
What are you building?
Instant group voice communication to improve the experience of outdoor group activities, wherever they are.
How did you get involved?
Personal frustration skiing, snowboarding, cycling, and climbing without quickly and safely being able to speak with members of my group to communicate simple thing alike “meet on the left by the cafe”, or “keep right at the next junction”, or “look at that lovely view to the left”, or simply ask for help.
What's the problem you're solving?
Outdoor activity participants frustrated with flaky or cumbersome communication systems.
What's your solution?
A small button which attaches to your kit (e.g., handlebars, or pop in your ski jacket pocket, or on to a ski pole), which Bluetooth connects to your smartphone, allowing you to use your favourite headset to speak with everyone in your group at the touch of a button. Simply configured before you set off in the Joiin app.
What current alternatives exist?
Walkie talkies don’t tend to work without line of sight, are bulky, and have cross talk.
Smart helmets often have very limited range and need line of sight.
Mobile phones tend to require fiddling with and are not instant.
What does good look like in this space?
All outdoor sports participants have peace of mind and a better time focusing on their activity whilst staying connected - by using our Joiin system from Morphic Technology.
What do you need help with?
We’d love introductions to businesses who organise any form of outdoor activities (e.g., adventure sports businesses), so we can discuss how they might benefit from using Joiin and see if they’d like to do a trial.
Maybe you’d like to be a Joiin pioneer!?
How should folks get in touch?
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in being profiled? 👉 Go here
📅 Events & deadlines
🇬🇧 Upcoming Innovate UK deadlines:
Sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture: CR&D Applications close 3 May
Automotive Transformation Fund Scale up Readiness Validation 2 Applications close 11 May
Feasibility studies for Artificial Intelligence solutions Applications close 24 May
Analysis for Innovators (A4I) Round 10 – Stage 1 Applications close 24 May
Net Zero Heat: Design Engineering Innovation Lab Applications close 31 May
💻 02/05 12:00 🗺️ Stirling: Marketing Meetup: How to make your website work for you. Lara Ehmler from Creative Globe Studios will share website design tips and navigation elements. Learn basic principles of SEO, and more. MORE INFO
☕ 03/05 08:30 🗺️ Glasgow: Unfiltered Glasgow. Open to everyone: connect with members of the local tech community. Come for a coffee and stay for the hotdesking. MORE INFO
☕ 03/05 08:30 🗺️ Inverness: Unfiltered Inverness. Open to everyone: connect with members of the local tech community. MORE INFO
☕ 03/05 08:30 🗺️ Dundee: Unfiltered Dundee. Open to everyone: connect with members of the local tech community. MORE INFO
☕ 03/05 08:30 🗺️ Stirling: Unfiltered May at the Monument [Stirling]. Open to everyone: connect with members of the local tech community. MORE INFO
☕ 03/05 08:30 🗺️ Edinburgh: Unfiltered Edinburgh. Open to everyone: connect with members of the local tech community. MORE INFO
🤝 04/05 18:00 🗺️ Glasgow: Glasgow Tech Meetup. Networking and guest speakers Naveen Pathak (How to drive innovation and creativity), and Douglas McCallum (Fuzzing: shaving bugs away). MORE INFO
🌎 04/05, 19:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: People, Planet, Pint: Come and meet others interested in the Net Zero, Bcorp and Environmental space! No agenda, workshops or webinars. Just chat over some nibbles and beers. MORE INFO
🛎️ 09/05, 🗺️ Glasgow: Strathclyde Inspire100: Showcase event featuring six Strathclyde-led companies pitch their businesses to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors and experts to compete for a share of £17,500 prize funding. MORE INFO
☕ 09/05 09:30 🌍 Virtual: Scottish Women in Business: May virtual coffee meetup. Connect, Communicate and Collaborate with other smart, successful women in business. Open networking event is for any woman in business. MORE INFO
👩💻 10/05, 🗺️ Edinburgh: European Co-working Day. Co-work for free at The Melting Pot for the day. There will also be a lunch and an afterparty to connect. MORE INFO
🙏 11/05 09:30 🗺️ Edinburgh: Workshop: How to get the most out of your team. Learn about coaching and how it can benefit how you work with your team. MORE INFO
🤝 11/05 13:20 🌍 Virtual: Hello :) A friendly virtual hangout for all startups based in Scotland: come say hello and meet people. If you're a founder, or working for a startup, this is the place to come connect with your peers across Scotland. MORE INFO
🤝 11/05 16:00 🗺️ Aberdeen: ETZ Supply Chain Networking (Digital & Energy Mash up). Food, drinks, networking with energy companies, local tech companies, and digital specialists. MORE INFO
🤖 15/05 🎯 Edinburgh University's AI Accelerator's next cohort applications are open until EOD 15 May. MORE INFO
👩🏿💻 16/05 17:00, ONE Tech Hub Aberdeen, Black Founder Accelerator Roadshow - Aberdeen: Panel discussion and resource session. MORE INFO
🧠 31/05 🎯 The Great British Entrepreneur Awards nominations are open and close on the 31st of May 2023. MORE INFO
🎯 KPMG has opened submissions for Tech Innovator in the UK 2023. Initial heat will take place on 20 June to find a shortlist of innovators representing Scotland. Finalists UK-wide will be announced at Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon. MORE INFO
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That’s all for this week - have a great one!