From the category archives:


Back to IP-something new in the IPO market

by Andrew Watson on 4 May 2014

Back to IP and applying positive energy.

This week will see something quite new for us. A first ever fitness for purpose opinion of the IP of a company listing on the London Stock Exchange.

After Listing, we can hopefully say more. But, in terms of breaking new ground this has been a whole lot of fun and a sizeable intellectual challenge for a great team of six on our side.

With a fair wind we will be writing another in the near future for another market.

Nothing like breaking new ground.


Breach of faith-advice from Pitt

by Andrew Watson on 4 May 2014

Voyages of self-discovery are hard. There are rock outcrops and fearsome waves everywhere. And just when we think that we are the finished article, something wholly unexpected comes from absolutely nowhere and throws out our equilibrium again.

Being an entrepreneur has, for me, been the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder, much harder, than nursing a father with Alzheimer’s when I was 24. Harder, much harder, than dealing with the death of my best friend and mother when I was 31.

Significantly harder than raising 5 kids, or being a husband to a wife with extraordinarily high standards and ethics.

Being a partner in a law firm was a walk in the park by comparison. I didn’t have a month there where there was a threat of not getting paid or having to fund the corporate VAT from my mortgage.

A good guide along the way has been Patrick Sheehan, a partner at ETF, the leading clean technology specialist fund in Europe. It was Patrick who told me that the secret to business success was not ideas, which were cheap, but:

“the sheer dogged determination not to give up….”

Others have also helped in guiding the journey. Tim Bunting at Balderton set me a challenge of explaining the secrets of sustainable competitive advantage beyond just being organized.

The quite amazing Humphrey Nokes

told me when I first met him:

“I’ve been waiting for you to arrive. I didn’t know your name or what you would look like but I knew you’d come…”

He then gave me a space in his Kerestsu alongside Mannie Gill and Thomas Jepsen who were just creating Renovata and the ETV team of Richard Honey, Nathaniel Norgren and others.

Humphrey and I met for lunch 15 months ago and he was still at it:

“You never know how far you’ve come until you look behind”

“Eyes on the far horizon, don’t look down…”

“At every crossroads on the road that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is met with a thousand guardians of the status quo…”

All great guides and pointers to a little business, like a small foal, trying with all of its might to find and stay on its feet.

But Humphrey also had one prediction that I did not like. And it was that one of the closest people to me would stab me in the back. One of my founders already had repeatedly I explained and I was convinced that this would be the one.

But he insisted that there would be another. And then, two weeks ago, there was.

Al Capone apparently had a saying:

“If it happens once it is happenstance (a random event). If it happens twice it is coincidence. If it happens three times it is enemy attack..”

After sitting down one night and reflecting on the actions of one of the people I thought of as a guide (hasten to add, none of those mentioned above), I got hit by a sledgehammer that myself, our business and therefore my family were and still are under enemy attack.

In response to the attack, the normally mild-mannered me becomes somewhat like Pitt from Pulp Fiction. Furious, vitriolic and utterly vindictive as my former friend is and will increasingly find out.

Pitt, you just have to love him. I really did not understand how compelling fury can be when the righteous man is taken off the path by the inequities of the selfish and the tyrannies of an evil man.

A clear and absolute, utter breach of faith and trust. And something I honestly could never have seen coming.

True conceit is extremely hard to spot as it comes cloaked in nice words, apparent friendship, gifts, the works. It gets really close up and personal.

And then BOOM!

One for the top 10 tips for entrepreneurs. Watch Pitt, over and over again and as you pour your emotional self into your venture, just imagine that the person you hold in highest esteem might not be, just might not be, all that they appear. And when it happens you won’t be so crushed as I have been for all of, well, to be honest, 48 hours.


Rumours of our death….

April 21, 2014

Life is strange isn’t it? In fact I’d say that life is very strange. I did something on Thursday that made me change my whole life perspective. Basically I walked past a homeless guy on the street and something, probably instinct, made me turn around. And, in a doorway was a guy who’d been living […]

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Apple “massively undervalued” or “on death row”-depends who you listen to…

August 14, 2013

Carl Icahn takes a substantial stake in Apple and claims that the company is massively undervalued. Larry Ellison appears to predict the death of Apple without Job’s guiding hand. Who’s right? or are neither? Icahn is an interesting chap. Above all he seems to spot value that others don’t. Even by taking his position, the […]

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Eric Schmidt answered my question!

August 9, 2013

In all the melee of the last 3 months I forgot to post about this quite (in the American sense of the word) significant bit of IP news and insight.  In May 2013, the London Business School invited Google Executive Chair Eric Schmidt to address an audience around the subject of a new book co-written […]

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Now the Nobel Prize winning community are pitching in-very poor Sledgehammer to crack a nut proposal

July 26, 2013

Is the expression “Sledgehammer to crack a Nut” used across the World? Or some variant of it? In Blighty (or the UK) it’s used to describe a solution to a problem that is somewhat excessive and out of context with the seriousness of the issue.  Like Nobel Prize winning but clearly Sledgehammer advocate Gary Becker. […]

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IPBC 2013-Monster Networking Event and the 90-10 split

June 12, 2013

Phew. 72 rumbunctious (love that word from Django) hours with the expanding IP community in Boston over. It went in a heartbeat but was a lot of fun. Boston (why do I keep on saying Bwosston in the style of Matt Damon from The Departed) is a special city.  Visiting Harvard on Sunday had to […]

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Barack Obama – IP Strategist

June 9, 2013

Regular readers of the Tangible IP blog will know that we do not look on NPEs, or “patent trolls,” favorably. They have the ability to significantly impede a company’s business, as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from asserting patents. It seems that we are not alone in this view – “Stopping […]

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Smile, it’s Springtime

April 12, 2013

Been a while-time to come out of Winter hibernation I can get out of many good habits during the British winter, and this has been a particularly rotten one, so I’ve got out of the blogging habit. With temperatures hitting a heady 11° C in London today it seemed like a good time to get […]

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Hp and Autonomy appear to “ go to war” (or is Hp just laying down a smokescreen?)

November 27, 2012

 To follow up the post last week, I spent much of Sunday calmly and dispassionately looking through the facts and various commentaries surrounding the Hp and Autonomy dispute and thinking through two questions— What is really going on here? Are there any IP issues, where I can claim some insight and which are worthwhile commenting […]

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