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What's a Leader's most Vital Skill? — It might not be what you think! (Elizabeth Varley, 2019)


Can you be innovative in more than just your technology? In the world of startups, as well as the products they want to see in the world, entrepreneurs create new work environments every time they negotiate with their first employee.
How do you consciously create a place for your people, when a "workplace" is not the first thing on your mind? How is the London tech ecosystem evolving and can we expect entrepreneurs to be the leaders of big companies?
Elizabeth Varley, the founder of TechHub, will be answering all these questions and any more that you may have in a cosy fireside chat. Don't miss this chance to learn about leadership in London's burgeoning tech ecosystem!
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Founder and CEO of Tech Hub. For those of you who aren't familiar with Tech hub, we are a community for technology entrepreneurs and startup teams. So we bring together everything that startups need to get better, faster. So that's access to lots of other startups, access to learning opportunities, access to funding and investment, and to customers and opportunities to test their products and really just a load of support because doing it on your own, or even if there's just a few of you gets quite lonely and it's incredibly hard work. So we're there to support our founders and their teams and to help them support each other. How many people in the room are founders? No. You were technical people. Yes. Cool. Just good to get an idea. Yes. So Tech Hub has been around for nine years now. We've just launched our new space. Sorry. Just announced that we're launching that next month where we will be bringing our 400 companies altogether under one roof. So we run a load of programming like this sort of thing, and most of that is free to anyone to attend. So if you want to come along and check us out, we're at TechHub. Com. Great. Thanks for that. So why is what techcard does important? I think the most important thing is having people who understand what you're going through. I'm sure everyone in the room knows what that's like. If you feel like you're the only person who's facing the challenges you are, if you need opportunities to ask others who aren't in your organization for advice or for support, or just have a great big moan about something because we all go through really difficult stuff all the time. And so really, what's important about what we do is giving people that opportunity to connect with each other. We also think it's really important to access the right kind of support investors who will be happy to meet with you just to have an initial chat before you're ready to raise investment. That gives you a much better opportunity to understand the process you're about to go through. So really, though, the reason I started it was that lonely working at 03:00 a.m. Thing where your family or friends might not really understand if they're not in the industry as well, and giving people the opportunity to have that kind of support from their peers. What are the most important things you've learned in creating this business? So I think the most important thing that I have learned is that people are the most important thing. When we work in technology, we think about technology a lot. But technology is created by people. It is used by people. We work with other people. We buy things from people. We sell things to people and understanding how important those relationships are and how to make the most of them, I think, is the most important thing. I've learnt that as a leader to know that not everybody is like me, it's a really important thing that I've learned. I'm one of those people that sort of gets on with things, doesn't need a lot of direction, doesn't need a lot of reassurance, and that sort of thing, not everybody is like that. You may be maybe shocked to know. And so for me, learning that other people need different things to me and that as a leader, it's really important to provide those things has been really incredibly valuable to me in terms of leading and managing teams. I think understanding that people are very praise oriented, they need to hear that they're doing a good job and that they are on the right track, that they need to understand career progression as an entrepreneur, uncertainty about my career is entirely normal. And I'm very, very comfortable with that. And you may find that people in your teams are similar, but a lot of people really need that kind of reassurance and that kind of guiding hand to understand what's next for them. And that's one of the really valuable things I've learned about managing people and leading people. And how would you describe your leadership style? So as you probably guess from what I just said, quite a hands off leader. I like to give people space to do their own thing and try not to micromanage, except when it comes to grammatical stuff. My first career was editorial, and so I am now a complete stickler for having things written correctly. One of our former team will be able to tell you about the 20 minutes workshop I gave him on the correct use of Hyphens, which I'm certain he was incredibly grateful for. I think it's important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. As a leader. I am a much better leader than I am a manager, which is something that I learned when my COO came on board and I watched some of the ways that he managed the team and the ways that he led the team. And so I realized that he is much, much stronger as a line manager, as someone who's there all the time providing that really, really regular support. And I'm much more of a sort of the helpful friend kind of role as a leader, that sort of being around the team, being a resource for them to call on when they need me is something that I'm much better at, and they get more out of than me trying to manage their more day to day stuff. And I found that really incredibly useful to learn about myself. We never really know how good we are at certain things or where our strengths are until we go through those kinds of experiences. I think and really kind of learn on the way how many people here have done any kind of leadership or management training? Yeah, not that many. I think exactly the same for me. I've never done anything like that. And I think that's really interesting that we are all expected, and we all expect other members of our teams to learn on the job, to learn how to manage people, to learn how to lead people. And it really is a bit of a trial and error kind of process. I think I think it's really important to take that time to take a step back and really think about, you know, what? Actually, I'm not so good at this. Do I need to be better at this, or is it better to have someone else who's great at that? Do that. So that's something that we've worked out in our team, Andrew, who's my CEO and I really work as partners to manage and lead the team, and that really helps to play on each other's strengths and hopefully fill in the gaps of the weaknesses. How can we help entrepreneurs be better leaders? The training element is an interesting one. It's something that we're looking at at the moment in terms of how much we might be able to provide things around that at tech hub. But I think a lot of management and leadership training can be quite expensive and it's difficult for people to take time out of their work day. You've got stuff to do. You've got stuff to deliver. It's hard to do that. I think giving people the opportunity to recognize the things they're good at is really important. I think we've been through a period recently in the last handful of years where particularly, I think the government was saying, everybody should be an entrepreneur. Everyone can start a company. Everybody can do this. And I think it's great to have entrepreneurship, have leadership, have those kinds of roles, be something that's not weird. You know, it's nice to be able to do your own thing, and people are, oh, my God. Why are you quitting your wellpaid job to go off and do your own thing? And I think it's really great that people can do that. But I think it's really important to recognize that not everybody is great at that, and not everybody wants to do that. It's really important to have other people to join your team and share in your vision and work together and deliver it. If everybody's a leader, then I don't think an awful lot of things get built to support entrepreneurs better. We need to provide more opportunities for support around learning and understanding how to create better businesses and how to build them. Because a lot of people come into, particularly technology entrepreneurship. They may be technology specialists who've never built a business before. And I think offering support around things like that is really important. And in your opinion, what is the difference between a mentor and a leader? I think a leader is there to provide vision, to move things forward and to bring together a group of people who are trying to achieve something and to make sure that that stays on track and to make sure that people feel like they're doing something valuable, something I think that's incredibly important about being a leader is taking care of your people, and part of that is about authenticity. It's about bringing yourself to work and being that real whole person to allow everybody else in your organization to be their real whole selves. When you think about how much time you spend at work, spending your energy and your talent going to work and feeling like you have to wear a mask and be a different person and not be able to be your real self. I think that's an incredible disservice to ourselves to go to work and be like that. And I think the most important thing about being a leader is bringing yourself into that environment so that you're a demonstration that other people can do that, too. That's something very important that we have at Tech Hub. Being a mentor is much more about individual guidance. I think it's much more about problem solving. I think it's much more about giving very specific advice and looking at that person as a person, not just in a company. Whereas the lady you're focused on that person as being part of your organization. I think mentorship is much more about a deeper relationship with that person in a place in their career, as a small section of where they are right now and moving towards where they want to be. I mean, good leaders would, ideally, I suppose, do that, too. But it's very challenging to be advising someone on their entire career or sort of moving them through to somewhere else. So you would describe yourself as more of a leader than a mentor. Yes. Well, it depends to whom. So I do mentor some people, and I find it's an opportunity for people to step outside of their organization, outside of their role and really have someone who is less invested in what's going on in their company. And so it's nice to be able to provide that for people sometimes. But I think as a leader in my organization, the company comes first as much as it's important to value your people and work with them and make sure they're happy. The business needs to come first, not to the detriment of those things of those people. But your role as the ultimate leader in an organization is about moving that business forward. So where did the great ideas come from in Tech Hub in terms of our team? Like for our company, all sorts of places, actually, because great ideas can actually be quite small things or seemingly small things. But you work out a better way of doing a particular process, and suddenly everybody's lives are made easier or someone's time is freed up, and that can come from anywhere, and most often comes from people who are doing a particular job. I think if you believe that the only way to do better as a company is topdown things is that a few senior people have all the great ideas. I think that as an organization, you're missing out on loads because the people who are doing that job know how to do that job better often. And I think I always want members of my team to be able to say, you know, what? The way we do this is really crap. Can we please do it in this way because it will solve these problems or it will be faster. It will be more efficient. So great ideas come from everywhere. They also come from the top. My CEO, who runs the business with me, is an extraordinarily intelligent and creative person. I don't know if any of you in having been through hiring processes, bringing people on have ever sort of reflected back and thought, oh, my God. Hiring that person is one of the best things I've ever done in this company or in my career. Hiring him was one of those experiences for me. And so I find that when you have a close working relationship with someone coming up with ideas is only strengthened by having both of you. And I find for us, we find low pressure time is the time that we solve problems creatively. So it tends not to be when you're sitting down in a meeting at ten in the morning saying, right, how are we going to solve this massive thing that's going on? It's when we've been traveling to a conference together or something. And after the last day we're sat somewhere having lunch and just talking about stuff. That is the time that we solve most of our problems. And he said to me just recently, I feel like we have more problems at the moment because we haven't had as much time to go and sit in weird international places in little tiny restaurants and that sort of thing. And so clearly, creating those opportunities is really important because it's so easy to always be this meeting, this document, this piece of work, this deliver, deliver, deliver. And you've got to let your brain free. Sometimes that sounds incredibly hippie. But I think you've got to free your mind because that's when you talk around the issue and you sort of Hone in eventually on the ways to solve it. Okay. So how would you provide a lower pressure environment for your junior staff members to bring new ideas to you? That is an interesting question. I think we try and do things like it's harder for us to do the traditional team away day type things because we run a physical space, so it needs to be open. The doors have to be open. The lights have to be on all of that sort of thing. So that can be a bit more challenging for us. But we like to do team activities where we sort of can go out for lunch or go and do something interesting for an evening or something like that. And I think the opportunity for colleagues to spend time with each other as colleagues, friends, less about. I need you to do this thing or can you help me with that particular thing? I think creating more time like that can be quite helpful, but that question is going to fester. I'm going to be thinking about that for a while. No, I wonder if there's more. In fact, I'm certain that there's more we could be doing to allow for more of that kind of time. That's good to hear. Moving on. What is one mistake you witness leaders are making more frequently than others. I think believing that everyone is the same, that people are motivated by the same things or that they care about things in the same way as you do. I think I see this, particularly as an entrepreneur when a business is your baby, you think that it must be that important to everybody else because that's the only way you can have that kind of drive and that motivation to make it happen. It has to become this incredibly important thing that you want to see out in the world. And I think it's easy for leaders of startups, particularly to forget that just because you're willing to give up parts of your life early evenings or weekends or that sort of thing to this vision, that not everybody else in your team is going to be prepared to do that. And that's okay. That's acceptable. Everybody is motivated by different things and finding out what individuals are motivated by is really essential. And I think that leaders often assume that, oh, well, everybody in my team will be motivated by money or time off or job titles. But understanding those individual things makes a big difference in terms of how valued people feel in your organization. I mean, it's tough to do. It takes time and energy and real concentration over time to find out what motivates people. And it's really hard to try and manage different ways of rewarding people. I don't think we have necessarily worked that out as well as we could have. But I think you also see so many organizations, particularly in technology, that are really homogenous. It's really easy to hire people using the network effect. We all do it. We want to hire people who are like us, who understand the kinds of things that motivate us and get what we're trying to do. But one of the biggest challenges with doing that is that you don't hire a diverse group of people with diverse perspectives and that weakens your company, weakens your product. We all know that technology has a massive problem with making everybody feel included. Not everybody is well included. And as a leader, that's what your job is. I think we think of it as a well, it's an industry wide issue, but as a leader, it's your responsibility, your responsibility individually. What advice would you give those just starting out in their first leadership position. I think to slightly repeat myself. It is about that bringing that authenticity to your role, not thinking that you have to not think that a leader looks like this, which is something that is completely different to who you are and that you need to sort of change yourself to become this, whatever this is, whoever you are, whatever your experiences and your skills you have value to offer and you can be yourself in your work environment. That doesn't mean you have to tell everybody everything about you. It's perfectly fine to have a private life and things about yourself that you want to be private, but showing other people that they can show up as their whole selves means you have to do it, too. And I think that's just so incredibly important. And the idea of starting out in a leadership role shoehorning yourself into some anodized boring version of yourself because you think that that's what's needed to be a leader, to be respected, to be considered good at. This is just terrible. Don't do it. It's not fun, and it doesn't create a happy environment. One of the things that I valued so much in my work at Tech Hub is I've had so many members of our team over the years who aren't necessarily with the team anymore. Say, oh, this is the first job I've had where I feel like I can just be myself. And for me, that is the best possible compliment that I could be given as a leader, because what better thing could you offer to someone who is spending all of those hours working with you and helping to deliver what you think is important, then the ability to be exactly who they are for all of their time, that they're at work, I think, yeah, I cannot stress it enough. Be yourself. Great. And finally, what is next for the London tech ecosystem? So this is something that we've been talking about a lot at Tech Hub, and it's about how the ecosystem. It's about individual companies, but it sort of evolves as a group. And one of the things that journalists often ask, and that sort of thing is why don't we have as many unicorn companies and all that sort of thing you see in the US? And there are many answers to that, including the military industrial complex from Silicon Valley starting in the 40s, which we haven't had here in London. But one of the things that we held a dinner with Patrick Pichett, who was one of the early CFOs at Google and had seen so much stuff. It was really amazing to hear from him, and he was talking about he now has joined a European fund called Inovia. And he said part of the problem that we see is about entrepreneurs exiting their companies relatively early, because if you've just poured eight years of your life of your heart and soul, into this company and someone comes along and offers you £30 million and you might have kids and you might have a partner and they're like, oh, my God. We'd get to see you. We'd have some money. We could pay off the house. It's incredibly difficult to turn that down. And what happens is that company then gets bought by one of the big tech firms or one of the other big companies and might be a product unit. Product might be shut down. They might use the technology and turn it into something else. But that entrepreneur is no longer the leader of that company. And so they don't go from being 150 person company to a 3000 person company. And so I think what we're going to need to see now and what we will start seeing is opportunities for new investors to come in to companies like that and say, you entrepreneur who's been working on this, who is exhausted. We're going to give you some money, take part of your equity where the money goes to you so that you can say, okay, I have my £3 million, I can pay off my house, I can have a holiday, I can put my kids in private school if that's what I want. And I can recharge myself and get ready for the next step. And the next step is turning this company into a 3000 person company. It's turning it into a 10,000 person company because we don't have that kind of experience in this ecosystem at the moment, because we don't have that kind of attitude to entrepreneurs to understand that they need something to keep them going because it's a great job, it's a great career, but it is rough, it's exhausting and you need something that keeps you going. And sometimes that thing is money because money can buy you many things, like more time, like more access to things. And I think that we're going to start seeing the ecosystem go into a really exciting place where we're going to see more companies that are ownerled. That's a very different proposition. You think of all of the big companies, their CEOs are not the people who started the company. The values that the founders created are not necessarily continually being borne out in those companies. And I think the opportunity to have more large companies that are run by people who really, really care about what they're doing about these products that they want out there that have created new types of working environments, environments where it's not the usual corporate thing that so many people find incredibly constraining. But environments that have grown out of that sort of startup mentality. I think it's a really exciting time and we're going into that. So watch this space. Well, thank you very much. That's all the questions I have for you. Are there any from the audience? 2 seconds for the Max for income? I really found that last answer. Fascinating. I'm just curious about what kind of investor do you think is going to be most attracted to that model? Right. Because a lot of times venture capitalists I find want their exit, right? They're like, okay, perfect. There's a buyout from Google or Microsoft, right. They'll spend 50 million. And I get a nice chunk of that. And happy days. Right. So how do you imagine an investor profile shifting to support what you're talking about, which is a more long term value approach to scaling startups? Yeah. Really good question. Because that's exactly the challenge. So many investors are working on a sort of five year investment cycle. So they want an exit during that period so that they're paying back the fund. I think it's going to take some more visionary investors to join those organizations to say, hey, if we really want to take the London ecosystem to the next stage, we need to be talking to the people who give us our money about the longer term play. And this was the conversation that we were having with Patrick Baschette was that he was saying that his fund is specifically setting up to do that. And I think that that's I'm incredibly interested to see what they do next. I think it will probably take larger funds. I think the earlier stage, smaller funds, I think, will be hard pressed to do that. So I think as we see bigger and bigger funds, there's more opportunity to have a longer term view. And I mean, it's potentially a huge payoff for those investors. But I think what needs to happen is that those later stage investors need to come in and clear out the early stage investors so that they get their exit, they get their return and they're happy. And so I think they're different types of investors. It's not that early stage investors will tend to be the ones who will change into that model because I think it's incredibly difficult for them to do that. Great question. Any others? What have you found to be? Maybe there might not be one challenge, but what's been one of the biggest challenges for you going from working for someone to working, I guess, for yourself and starting something up for yourself. Okay. I think not having people around you in the company who understand what you're going through, I think is one of the biggest challenges that if you are a solo founder, then it's just really difficult because you feel like you're really doing it alone. And so I think that's been a challenge for me. And the massive difference that happened when I hired my COO just in terms of feeling like I was sharing the lows and sharing the highs. And that sort of thing, I think made a really big difference to me. Having to make your own money is a challenge when you've been in a salaried role, going into an environment where if you don't make the money, you don't get paid. If anybody's here is freelance, I'm sure that some of you have at least. So you'll have been through that kind of experience. But I think that for people like me who are more naturally open to uncertainty and that sort of thing, I think that that's not necessarily as much of an issue. I mean, the thing about being an entrepreneur is you have a huge amount of self belief, which is great. It's not there all the time, believe me. But when you're starting out, you have this vision of this thing and you believe I can make this happen, I will work out whatever I have to work out to make this happen. And being comfortable with risk makes that easier. But if you've worked for someone else for a really long time and you're really used to that regular paycheck, making your own paycheck is can be quite a challenge. What was the driver, I guess for you that took you from being in a paid role to starting something up. Was it a desire that you had for a long time? Is it an idea that you'd had for a long time? That's an interesting question. Tecam is my second business. My first company was an editorial agency. That was my background. And for me, it's always been about something that I wanted to see happen in both cases. The first time around it, it was sort of less of a I have a vision of this thing. I'm going to create this thing. And it was sort of more slowly over time that my agency sort of grew around me from sort of doing my own work as a consultant and as a freelancer. But I started up an organization for online content professionals to run events like this and that sort of thing at the time. And so that element of it, which grew out into it was also this thing needs to happen. I need this thing. There will be other people who need this thing. I'm going to do that. But for me, some people are quite motivated by the potential of money. A friend of mine who exited a very successful business, he thought about it in the sense of I want to make a big chunk of money and creating something like this and then selling it is one of the best ways I can think to do that. And so it sort of depends on your personal motivation. But for me, this thing needs to exist. I'm going to make it because, of course, I can work out how to do that. Any more questions. So my question is, was there ever an opportunity for you to exit tech hub and what kind of kept you through it since you didn't exit, there hasn't been sort of someone come along and say, I want to give you a ton of money for this business as yet, relatively early on, I was offered an amazing job with an amazing company that would have paid really well. And I remember looking at my entrepreneur's bank balance and just being like, tell me how much it pays. Oh, God. But I knew that I hadn't achieved the thing that I wanted to do. And so that would have been sort of a personal exit, I guess, in a way. And I was just like, I haven't done the thing I need to do the thing. And I think that where someone to come along and offer an exit, it would really have to be the right thing, because you really do feel incredibly invested in this thing that you've created and particularly for us, because it's about all of our members as well. The thing that's really motivated me has been I want to make this thing because I want to support other people reaching for the things that they want and creating the things that they want. And so I can't imagine that if someone came along and offered us money but would destroy what we'd created, I can't imagine that any of us would want to say yes to that, because we have a commitment to the people in our community that value what we provide for them and to say, oh, well, I'll take some money, but they won't have the thing that is helping them to get to that point themselves. That would be really hard. That would be a real shame. And I don't think I could do it slightly round about answer. Any more questions. I'm really enjoying this zigzag formation. Hi. I was interested in understanding how do you recharge because as an entrepreneur, you must have as much as their highs. I'm sure there are lots of lows as well. So how do you motivate yourself to go back in to not just give up or not just throw in the towel or find someone to give you a big paycheck and just run away? That's a really good question. I think it helps for me that I am a natural optimist that I have a lot of faith in our ability to get through problems, in my ability to weather storms and that sort of thing. But you are right. There are times where you're just like, oh, my God, why am I doing this to myself? And I think having other people that you can talk to makes a big difference, particularly if there are people in the company. But sometimes there are things that you need to talk about that you can't talk about with anybody in the company, and having those people who will get it is incredibly valuable. Another thing that for me that I discovered I needed. So I did the thing that lots of entrepreneurs do in the early years, which is work 85 hours a week and every weekend, and it's just constant. But you can only do that for a certain amount of time. Or at least most people can only do that for a certain amount of time without feeling like you're burning out. And so after three years, two and a half, three years, I was like, okay, I am going to take weekends. This is something I'm going to do. And I remember the first time I did it. I had a really long bath. I put on pajamas, I made popcorn and I sat down and watched a movie. And then it was still like, I don't know, 11:00 in the morning on Saturday. And I was like, I have two whole days of this. Do other people know about this? This is amazing. And then I got to the point where I didn't work weekends, evenings as much. And I found that I became more productive and that my ability to bounce back from things really improved because I wasn't just wearing out my reserves. I think it's there are few people who can just keep going all the time. And I think Thirdly, it's about thinking, well, lots of other people manage to do this. And there is no reason that I can't do this, that I can't achieve the things that I want to. And so I think knowing that there are other people out there who do this and make a success of it means that there's no reason that I can't. Is there another question, in a sense. Can you give us an advice on hiring people, especially in existing teams? And when do you know that you have to go off someone. That is tough? I'm going to start with that. But one of the things which I should have mentioned earlier, actually, that I have learnt, is that you have to fire people quickly. I think that particularly early on in my career managing people, I would endlessly want to try and help people to get better and sort of give them another opportunity and that sort of thing. And it draws the process out for a really long time. And what I realized was that you sort of think to yourself, okay, if this person isn't quite working out, well, if I give it another month, the only thing that I'm losing is that month of salary. But you're not. You also lose the productivity of everyone around them who becomes demotivated by the fact that this person isn't working out, that they're not delivering or they're unhappy or what have you. And so that was a huge revelation to me that you need to fire fast. And it's really difficult because in terms of the self belief thing that I was talking about you, it's a moment ago. One of the hardest things to believe in yourself about is that I know when someone else is bad enough that they should just go and that I'm going to change their current life by saying, you're fired. That's really, really hard. The first time I had to fire someone, I didn't sleep the night before. I was terrified. I was so nervous. And I talked for a really long time about the things that had been good and why it wasn't working and all sorts of things. And what I've realized is you need to just walk in and say, okay, this isn't working out. We need to terminate your employment. Here are the reasons why I think you may know these things already. If there's anything that you'd like to talk about, it, I'm really happy to, but you've got to get it out there straight away, walk in and say the thing. But yeah, it's really hard. It does get easier if you haven't done it before. If you haven't done it much, I promise you, it does get easier, which does sort of also make you think to yourself, oh, does this make me a terrible person? But actually, it's just about recognizing that this isn't personal about that person. It doesn't mean they're a bad person. It doesn't mean that you're a bad organization or a bad manager necessarily. It's just that you weren't right for each other and that that person will actually be happier somewhere else, because if they can't perform, if this isn't the right place for them, they will end up being unhappy even if they're not currently in terms of advice for hiring, I think that the biggest piece of advice I could give is go with your gut on it. I think it's really easy when you are desperate to fill a role, to take someone who is okay, they can do the job. We really need this person. We really need to ship this. We really need to finish this project. But if they don't feel right and you need to examine yourself as to why they don't feel right, because this is also it's a fine line between understanding when something about this person is telling you something and when you are being prejudiced because they think in a different way to you or they're not like you in some way. It's really important that you interrogate yourself as to why they're not right. But don't try and convince yourself anytime I've done that they haven't worked out. I've had people who've started and who've not been so great and then had some support and become great. And that's fine. You've got to give people opportunities before you. I say fire fast, but you've got to give it a try first, but if it just doesn't feel right, then they're not right. So as a founder and as a leader, you are like the face of your own company. So how do you ensure that your organization and everyone in the company as well follows your core values? Do you have some kind of process that you follow or how do you make them passionate about what you are passionate about as well? Is there a way that you can make them more engaged with your values? That's a really good question. I'd love to say we have this three point plan and here is the process. And here are the ten sections that we take people through. Some organizations may work that way, but we don't. I think we're really careful in the interview process and really keep a close eye on people when they start working with us. It's about attitude, usually for us. When we're hiring people, skills can be taught and some skills more easily than others. But in terms of that, sharing the values, it's about attitude. If someone's coming in with this is why I'm excited about this role or this company or ideally this role and this company, it needs to be something that is authentic and that they are genuinely excited about the opportunities. I think you need to really ask the right questions in your interview process. And if you need to meet someone four times to elicit the things that you want to know, then take the time, introduce them to other members of your team. And that's one of the things that we do as well. It's not just the person who they'll report to interviewing them. We always interview in pairs so that you can chat about the person about your impressions. Often if one person is sort of asking more of the questions, the other person is watching and listening much more because you can absorb a lot more. I think making sure that you are telling the person the reality of the role and the reality of the company is really important. I think sometimes we feel like we've got to sell someone on the amazingness of this role. If you don't talk about what the boring bits are or the stuff that can get repetitive or the things that no one gets excited about, then you're not finding out if that person is really engaged with what the work is going to be and what the vision of the company is. But it's a really tricky one. I think you don't expect people to be exactly like you, but certainly values around why you're doing what you're doing as a company, particularly as a startup. Here when you have hundreds and hundreds of people, it's quite different to when you have 14 say, everybody needs to be pulling their weight and really engaged. Any more questions. Continuing the Zigzag theme. But what do you think makes London an ideal place for a startup as opposed to more established hubs like Silicon Valley or merging hubs like Amsterdam and Berlin say, okay, well, I think one of the huge values of London as an ecosystem is that it is a global business city. So San Francisco is not. I mean, it's massive for the tech industry, but it is the tech industry and not other broader industries, and there are only a few really global cities out there in London is one of them that gives you access to business. It gives you access to customers. If you are an enterprise company, if you're a consumer company, you have a huge population of people. You have a very large English speaking population, which is currently the language of the Internet, but that is going to change. It's certainly the language of international business. You have all of the elements in one city, which is unusual. So it's the seat of government. But it's also a major educational center, major universities here. It's the center of finance in this country. It's the center of the arts. It's the center of the nonprofit sector. It's the center of all these different areas of business and society in one place. So you have access to expertise and customers. We also have access to a massive talent pool. And I think that that is really vital. What's going to happen about that in the next six weeks? I do not know. Do not ask me for a prediction. No idea. I think that we're all expecting that there will be some way of people still being able to come here from Europe and work particularly skilled people. We have a huge investment community here. The major Silicon Valley investment firms all have offices in London, and we have many of our own. We have investors from Europe who also invest in London companies. And so we really have this incredible mix of different things that make it a really, very special place to be able to create and grow startup businesses. I know that it's in my interest to say that, but I've been watching it intimately for the last nine years, and it's still growing. It's still a great place to do business as a tech entrepreneur. And I don't think that's going to change. Thank you. You're smiling like that's the answer you wanted. I hope so. Any further questions? Yes. Second question. But I'm curious about the fact that Tech Hub has other locations as well, too. And you have staff in those locations. Can you talk a little bit about how you, as you've expanded, maintained culture and connectedness across these remote teams that especially with your company being about the physical space that you can kind of have some continuity? How have you tried to achieve that? It's a really interesting one. Managing international teams is more challenging than I thought it would be in terms of how we've been able to do. What we've been able to do is that we tend to have really fantastic cofounders who create a tech up with us in a new location because they know their ecosystem and they know what's needed, and they're incredibly passionate about it. Each of them have come to us and said, I'm going to Riga tomorrow for the techtail conference that spun out of Tech up in Riga and Teka. Riga launched in 2011 because one of the cofounders they cornered me. He was a member at Tech up in London. He cornered me and he said, So I want to talk to you about your next Tech Hub location, because we had only launched a year before, and I was thinking, oh, I know he's done stuff in the US. Is he going to talk about San Francisco? And he says, Lavia, this is the most important next location for you. And I was like, Well, I got to say it wasn't on my radar, not at the top anyway. And he said, look, there's four of us who want to work with you to create this. We've got 20 companies who want something like this, and we are as a city at a point that we need a catalyst and an opportunity to bring everybody together. And I believe 100% the tech hub is that thing. I was like, and he said, Come over, come over and meet people. And I did. And it's amazing if you haven't been there. It's an incredible city. The tech industry is fantastic. I'm completely digressing from answering your question, but it has a very fond place in my heart. But it was those people who totally got what we were doing and understood why it was needed to the point that they said, we can see why this is needed as we've grown in other places where we've sort of set it up solely on our own. There are challenges with managing people over distance and also just managing cultural differences. That was more of a challenge than I expected. But we have an attitude in places like the UK of the way that the Western world works is the way of business. This is the way things should be done. And you go into a different culture where expectations around time management, the importance of face to face time, the ability to voice challenges or fear of needing to save face or all of those sorts of things that are less prevalent in our culture here create real friction. And it's really important to understand that our way is not better. Our way is different and that we need to understand those differences so that we can work out ways of working with them. And so I think if I was doing certain things over again, I think I would spend more time talking to other people who've been through that exact thing to get more knowledge about it. I think it's really easy to say, oh, cultural differences. We'll sort it out. Everybody's good people. It's fine, but it can create real problems. I think lots of contact time is the one tip that I would give you if you're managing distributed teams, make sure you do a call every morning, make sure you do that call every day, even if it's really brief that kind of contact time just to sync with other people, just to make sure your understanding that the thing that they said in that email is the way you've interpreted it just to make everybody feel like a team. I think that's really important, and I would do more of that, particularly at the beginning, if I were doing it over again. Thank you. I think that's about all the time we have. I know you've got an early flight tomorrow. I do. Thank you all for coming. And thank you, Ellis. And lovely to have you. Thank you very much. Thank you for great questions. That's a great question. Thank you.