That was then, this is now…

Keeping established patterns intact, my report on the first Beers & Innovation has arrived 6 months after the fact.

The night was a great foundational event to the evolving series, as we heard from Skype‘s Saul Klein and Matt Ogle of Last.fm on how their businesses had evolved, and the challenges facing UK-based tech entrepreneurs and start-ups.

As for thorny issues raised and unresolved threads left hanging, take your pick:

VCs, angels and bootstrapping….

Saul Klein:

“There’s a lot of benefits to be had from not having a lot of funding early on, and the VCs can be your best critics”

Matt Ogle said that their angel investors had similar mindsets to them so they were able to grow more organically. He also praised affiliate programmes as excellent as they had enabled Last.fm’s growth.

Government support for innovation & start-ups

Saul had strong views on this point. He said the government’s role was zero. The BBC is a negative presence, he added. It takes talent out of the market and cannibalises media. The BBC creates a service industry around itself and is quite narrow.

Matt Locke, Head Of Innovation at BBC New Media disagreed. He spoke of the BBC Innovation Labs which provide “money and time to develop ideas.” Of 170 new ideas submitted, the BBC took forward 29 in the Labs.

Global or local?

Tom Coates noted that the English language makes us more permeable to US services, while Saul reckoned that

“media needs to be more local. Communications or search businesses are horizontal and can be more international”

Stuff to think about at every juncture. But that was 6 months ago. Good grief! So what, if anything, has changed?

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