the week that was

The Week That Was: 2016/49

That was a big week, that was. My only offspring turned 10. Double digits. A stark reminder of a whole decade passing in the proverbial blink of an eye.

A photo posted by Joe Tree (@thejoetree) on

While I recall that day as clearly as yesterday, it is worth pausing to remember what the world she entered into (or at least the one I've chosen to work in) looked like.

There was no iPhone. Facebook had stopped being exclusively for college students less than three months previously and nobody had heard of Twitter. Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Yik Yak, Spotify and Tumblr were little more than twinkles in their founders' eyes. And it would be another four years before I raised the first round of investment for Blipfoto—which of course changed my life almost completely.

My generation is lucky to have grown up in a world before all this interconnectedness, but still be here to enjoy its benefits. So I hope there's no contradiction in the fact I steer my own child away from all the stuff which I immerse myself in a significant percentage of the time. When I do let her loose on it, I hope her understanding and appreciation of the real world will help her get as much out of it as I do.

The Week That Was: 2016/47

You're setting yourself up for a fall when you start a new thing with a name which suggests it'll be a regular thing. Yet here I am, with a new weekly update feature on my blog. (It'll be a good discipline—make the effort, Joe. And it's not like you have to do it every day...)

Week 47 of 2016 seems as good a place to start as any. And it's been a good one: a project finished, a new one kicked off, a potential one thrashed out over coffee.

But more on those later. This week's been mostly about CivTech, which is now past the halfway mark, and the tension and energy in the room is intensifying. I've delivered all the workshops I'd planned so my focus has shifted to providing one-on-one help to the participants, and running the evening 'fireside chats' we've been lining up.

I was chuffed back in September when Gareth Williams agreed to be this week's guest—Skyscanner had reached 'unicorn' status and closed a huge round of funding earlier this year—so it was set to be an interesting session. On Thursday morning, as I was finalising my questions, a link to a BBC News story popped up, announcing he'd just agreed the sale of Skyscanner for £1.4bn. You can imagine my surprise when he confirmed an hour later he'd still be joining us.

One of these bearded chaps just sold his £1.4bn company. The other is me.

One of these bearded chaps just sold his £1.4bn company. The other is me.

As ever, Gareth was candid, open and hugely insightful. It was a brilliant and energising evening, which everyone in the room took lots away from—not least myself. An object lesson in what can be achieved if you focus and work hard.

(I'll admit I allowed myself to feel a little smug on Friday morning when I heard him on the Today Programme as I brushed my teeth. It's not often you beat the BBC to an interview.)