Workshop (London): Why do some founders realise big ideas, and other initiatives fizzle out?

For the last three years I’ve been involved in action research with over 500 founders. It’s uncovered some fascinating common principles which explain why some big ideas get realised, and others fizzle out.

It’s now time to get this stuff out into the world, so I’m running a one day workshop in London on 8 Sept. It’s just for founders trying to realise big ideas. You’ll explore the principles which came out of the research, all in the context of your own endeavours. It might well lead to some big revelations about the next steps for your big idea.

It’ll be useful to you if you’d like answers to questions like these:

– What’s the role of a founder in realising a big idea?
– How can I maintain the startup passion as we grow?
– Why do acquisitions often drain the life out of startups?
– What’s the secret of successful co-founder collaboration?
– How can I ensure my startup doesn’t fizzle out after I exit?
– How can I hold the vision and also create autonomy for my team?

Thurs 8 Sept. Venue TBC – Central or East London.
9:45AM – 4:30PM, then we’ll head out for drinks.
12 places maximum.

There’s a fee for joining based on what should be affordable. Your contribution helps me fund myself while I continue the research so please pay what you can.

More details and registration:

P.S. Please share this with any London-based founders you know. Thanks!

Would you like to do something for your soul this summer?


I’ve been putting together a week of mindfulness teaching set in the beautiful French Alps this summer. Would you like to join us for one or a few days?

There are still cheap flights available and it’s just one hour from Geneva. We also have flexible price options to make it as affordable as possible.

Here are the details. You can also check out the event on Facebook.

::::: WHAT’S HAPPENING? :::::
This August, Dr Joel & Michelle Levey, two of the world’s most experienced and respected teachers in the contemplative arts, sciences and wisdom traditions will be in Dream Valley in the French Alps, one hour from Geneva.

We invite you to an inspiring adventure to explore mindfulness, meditation, mind-fitness, wisdom teachings, and extraordinary human potential. It’s open to everyone: From young adults, to families with children, entrepreneurs & change-makers, and those from the local community.

You are welcome to participate on the dates of most interest to you during the week.

Register your interest here:

::::: WHAT DOES IT COST? :::::
You can select the financial contribution that is right for you. Here is some guidance.

Adults with higher incomes, suggested contribution £150 per day of participation.
Middle income: £100 per day.
Lower income: £50 per day.
Unwaged: £20 per day to cover food costs.
Under 21’s: FREE.
Additional offerings to the teachers are also welcome if you are so moved.

You will need to pay for your own travel and accommodation. If you register your interest using this link we will help you find the right options:

If you would like to come to more days than you can afford, please pay what you can and come anyway – we don’t want you to miss out.

All sessions are FREE for under 21’s, and we can also cover airfare, travel and accommodation free of charge for a limited number of young people. Thank you to our generous sponsors Anderson Acoustics, Neil Witten and Propellernet for making this possible.

::::: WHO IS IT FOR? :::::
You don’t need to have any special skills or experience to join this retreat. Just a genuine curiosity and wish to fully commit yourself to learning. All teaching will be in English.

This is for you, your partners, friends and families if you would like to:

– Develop your capacity to live with greater mindfulness, mind-fitness, resilience and self-mastery.
– Learn how to live a more healthy, balanced, and conscious life.
– Foster healthy and meaningful relationships.
– Learn profoundly practical ways to thrive in these complex times.
– Spend time in the stunningly beautiful outdoors in the French Alps with meditations and conversations along the way.
– Be part of a multigenerational vibrant learning community reflecting deeply on how these practices and perspectives weave deeply into our daily lives, work and relationships.

The teaching is spiritual but not religious, yet compatible with all major faiths.

You are welcome to participate on the dates of most interest to you during the week.

The schedule will be tailored to those wishing to participate. So far, the plan looks like this:

Mon 22 Aug: Evening conversation and meditation with Joel & Michelle. Open to all.

Tues 23 Aug: A one day retreat for 16-20 year olds with teachings from Joel & Michelle, conversations, meditations, and explorations of the beautiful mountains.

Weds 24 Aug: Teaching, meditation and walking. Tailored to those who would like to participate this day.

Thurs 25 Aug: A one-day mind-fitness retreat open to all. Families and others with children of all ages are especially encouraged to come. It will include teaching, conversations, walking and time outdoors.

Friday 26 Aug: Teaching, meditation and walking. Tailored to those who would like to participate this day.

Saturday 27 Aug: Teaching, conversation and walking focussed on entrepreneurs, leaders and other change-makers.

Sunday 28 Aug: Teaching, meditation and walking. Tailored to those who would like to participate this day.

Monday 29 Aug Morning. Closing sessions open to all.

Register your interest here:

Samoens is one hour from Geneva.
From overseas there are cheap flights to Geneva on EasyJet, BA and more.
From Geneva you can hire a car, or catch a train to Cluses and take a 20 minute taxi ride.
Car sharing and ground transport for groups can also be arranged – please contact us.
There are multiple accommodation options in Samoens. We recommend: La Vieille Ferme, which will also be used as a base for the teaching during the week.

Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey offer a rich multidisciplinary blend of insights, inspiration, and experience distilled from 47 years of intensive study and practice in the contemplative sciences and wisdom traditions, and the seamless integration of their work through multiple roles as: clinicians in medical centers; corporate trainers/consultants working with leaders and executive teams around the globe; mindfulness and meditation teachers (in numerous contemplative traditions – including study with very respected teachers from many different “mindfulness lineages” and authorization to teach); mentors to leaders in government, business, medical, and military arenas; faculty at leading universities around the world; mind-fitness coaches for world-class and Olympic-gold athletes; and contemplative science researchers.
Michelle and Joel also have the unique distinction of having done this work together as a couple for 33 years. They were among the first people to introduce the “inner sciences” into mainstream business, medicine, higher education, sports, and government arenas beginning in the 70s.

Michelle and Joel’s clients include: NASA, Google, World Bank, British Parliament, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, National Institute of Health, Institute for Health & Productivity Management, and hundreds of leading organizations around the globe. They have served as faculty at University of Minnesota Medical School, Antioch University; Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad); Mahidol University (Thailand); The World Business Academy, and International Center of Organization Design. Their books are available in 14 languages and include: Living in Balance: A Mindful Guide for Thriving in a Complex World; Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness; Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern Minds, and many other books.

To learn more about Joel & Michelle:

Register your interest here:

Five links: the brain; dystopia/utopia; empowerment; cartoon Rumi; creativity and staying true

  1. The brain: Dispensing with the metaphor that the brain is like a computer.
  2. Economics & democracy (video): Yanis Varoufakis on the choice between Matrix style dystopia and Star Trek utopia.
  3. Management: 6 myths about empowering employees.
  4. Poetry: Totally awesome cartoon version of Rumi’s The Guest House.
  5. Creativity: A story about the creative process and the art of staying true.

Five links: tech for good; 10k happy startups; iterating org design; brain cell microchip

  1. Inspiration: Forget cats and TIE fighters, there’s tons of tech for good at SXSW too
  2. Mission: Help us launch 10,000 happy startups
  3. Org design: The Organization Lab (o-Lab): How might we create the next iteration of our organizations?
  4. Future: This Amazing Computer Chip Is Made of Live Brain Cells
  5. Book (free chapters): Why does this always happen to me?

Five links: Google team success; getting men writing; Medium is off Holacracy; falling behind; impact lifestyle business

  1. Research: What Google found from a study into successful teams
  2. Kickstarter: Beautifully designed journal to get men writing about their thoughts and feelings
  3. Org structure: Holacracy ‘gets in the way of work’ at Medium, so they’re moving off it
  4. Motivation: To anyone who feels like they’re falling behind in life (lovely counterpoint to throwaway motivational messages)
  5. Article by me: Supercharging a lifestyle business with IMPACT.

Five links: Seth Godin; Theory of Change; power struggles; near victories; Amanda Palmer

  1. Podcast: Great conversation between Tim Ferris and Seth Godin covering book recommendations, entrepreneurship, food, money and more.
  2. Article: How useful is Theory of Change in Complex Systems? 
  3. Article by me: Avoiding power struggles in mergers and acquisitions
  4. Podcast: Near victories (from Hidden Brain podcast) – some fascinating stuff studying human behaviour around nearly winning.
  5. Article: leadership and Amanda Palmer.

What I’m up to at the moment (Spring 2016)

A few people have asked me what I’ve been up to recently so here’s a little snapshot:

  • Advising a £1BN London Stock Exchange-listed financial company on clarifying and aligning the business around its purpose.
  • Working with the founder of an executive coaching company focussed on people-centred leaders to get clear on what it’s all about for them personally and advising on how to hold and realise their big idea.
  • Hosting ‘founder days’ with individual entrepreneurs, one-to-one, helping them to get get clear on their idea and remove anything that’s blocking them being fully creative.
  • Helping a new organisation working on solving the global refugee crisis to clarify the creative structure beneath the organisation, starting with the founder, so they have the foundation for building out the right formal organisation, governance and legals.
  • Working with the founder of an international tourism business to realise their ambition of creating a highly progressive business.
  • Advising senior leadership following the acquisition of a small iconic company by a large multinational tech company to smooth the transition from original founder to new management.
  • Helping the founder of Good Money to reinvent financial services for the public good.
  • Running money workshops at business schools, for the public and within companies to raise levels of consciousness about the nature of money and the human relationship to it.
  • Working with Joel & Michelle Levey, Brighton Youth Centre and others to bring mindfulness teaching to 14-18 year olds.
  • Getting started on working on Meaning Conference 2016.