planvine

Find Planvines easily

Since the new Planvines went live, we’ve received loads of really useful feedback.  This is great because it shows us what we’ve done right but more importantly, what needs to be improved.  

The major bit of feedback that we had was that it needed to be easier to find Planvines.  So we set to work and are delighted to say that we now have a Planvines search bar in place. 

You’ll see the bar at the top of all the pages on the site and you can use it to easily find Planvines related to the topic that you’re looking for.

We’ve got lots more in the pipeline to make Planvine even better; so keep your eyes peeled for some super duper new features coming your way soon!

The Best Easter Weekend Ever: Saturday

So what with the Alien Quadrilogy or Indieoke on Friday night, it may have been a late one.  Don’t worry though as the main event for Saturday doesn’t kick off until 3:30pm, so plenty of time to have a late brunch, take a stroll to clear the cobwebs or whatever it is you need to do (we won’t mention that it’s due to rain on Saturday).  Once you’re sorted, you need to head over to the Isle of Dogs because it’s Dickens time:

The Life And Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

This is by no means a normal performance of Dickens’ classic; it’s a two parter, the first part starting at 3:30pm and the second at 7:30pm; so be prepared to immerse yourself in 19th century England in this epic adventure tale.

It’s a big cast in a great venue - and for some excellent culture on a Saturday, you can’t really do much better.  Plus, even better, you’ll still have Sunday and Monday to look forward to.  Talking of which, we’ll be back tomorrow with the low down on how to spend your Sunday.

London Tech and London Film

We’re pushing forward with making our event search engine as useful as possible.  Part of this is making sure that the events that we’re pulling in from other websites are as relevant and well presented for Planvine users as possible.  To do this, we’ve picked two topics for events to focus on initially; London tech events and London film events.

London tech is something close to our hearts and admittedly, we’re a little biased on this one!  Speaking to people in the community and at TechHub though, we’ve been told that a decent calendar full of the most relevant London tech events would be really helpful.  So that’s what we’re aiming to do!

When it comes to film, there’s loads going on in London, plus, it’s something that all of the Planvine Team are interested in (see Sanj’s own website Heavy Eggs).  When we say ‘film’, we’re not just talking about the major film releases but also screenings at smaller cinemas, Director Q and As, larger events like Secret Cinema and lots more stuff like that.

We’ll be crawling for web for events related to this and will hopefully have something to show you soon.

In the meantime though, if there are any tech/film event organisers that want to make sure their events are on Planvine, let us know.

youtube

In honour of The #Apprentice final tonight, here’s the classic Cassette Boy video. Our money’s on Susie to win…

What are Universities for?

That’s the title of a free lecture taking place at the LSE this evening.

From the LSE website:

Date: Tuesday 28 February 2012 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speaker: Professor Stefan Collini
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

Across the world, universities are now more numerous than they have ever been, yet at the same time there is unprecedented confusion about their purpose and scepticism about their value. In this talk about his new book What Are Universities For? Stefan Collini will provide a spirited and compelling argument for rethinking the way we see our universities and the purposes they serve.

Full lecture info here.

Planvine on Tour

The Planvine Team went on a trip to Amsterdam last week, to an excellent conference called Capital on Stage. The concept was simple but turned the tables on the usual format; this time it was the investors that had to pitch to the entrepreneurs.

As well as being a great opportunity to hear from 20 of Europe’s top investors and VCs, it was also a fantastic place to meet and network with some exciting new start ups from across Europe. Plus, of course, the chance to get to go to Amsterdam!

Much of the discussion was around securing funding in Europe compared to doing the same in the US; and it was interesting to hear the take on this from European based VCs. It was also good to hear what they could offer businesses looking for funding and why, perhaps, a European investor would work better for a European business than getting funding from a US investor.

So thank you to the Capital on Stage team for organising the event and a hello to our new friends from Housebites, Brainient, PlayMob and Skilio (who are technically old friends but nevermind) and we hope to see you again soon!

Fever Pitch

It’s been two days of pitch practising and perfecting for the Planvine Team. Just like Drogba above, we’ve been trying to work out the best way to negotiate the wall of investors and score a goal. [Ed: I think we’ve done that metaphor to death now, move on].

Yesterday we had the first of a two day workshop hosted by g2i http://www.g2i.org/. It was a really useful day and the tips the speakers gave on pitching were excellent (many thanks @bowman_mike, @katielewis66 and Andy Tait). This will be followed on Tuesday by a practice pitch to angel investors to get their feedback on the business.

What has been particularly interesting as part of this process is hearing different attitudes to how you should pitch, what should your presentation should comprise of and the order in which you should present things. It seems that it tends to be like trying to answer the question “how long is a piece of string?”…

As well as the presentations yesterday, we also found a couple of good blog posts on these topics:

http://venturehacks.com/articles/elevator-pitch

http://whohastimeforthis.blogspot.com/2005/11/how-to-not-write-business-plan.html

One key example of the disagreement is where the ‘Team’ slide appears. Some say it should come at the very beginning, to create the credibility you need before discussing your business, some say it should be just after the summary of your business (“why are you keeping us waiting to tell us what your idea is?!”) and some say it should be towards the end once you have covered the problem and your solution. I guess it depends on how much credibility you feel you need to create about yourselves before you go into your idea (we think we’ve got it sussed for our presentation so we’ll see how it goes).

Needless to say, we need to get this right. Pitching is hugely important, not just for fund raising but also for casual chats when networking. One thing that everyone appears to agree on is the fact that 'practice makes perfect’ and that the pitch should be a constantly maintained and updated to reflect the position of the company on the day of the pitch.

Let’s hope that just like Drogba, we can bend the ball into the top corner… (Sorry Ed).

I heart Photoshop

This morning, as I sat at my ancient PowerBook (yes, PowerBook) working on some new Planvine site mockups, I had an epiphany; I love Photoshop.

It dawned on me that the seven years since I first installed it have been glorious; and that I have enjoyed every minute of our beautiful relationship. I actually genuinely believe that it has improved my life. So much so that the thought of using anything else, makes me nervous.

So well done Adobe, you’ve got me addicted; hook, line and sinker. So what is it about Photoshop that makes me feel so loyal to it?

Part of the fact is that I know how to use it. Although this sounds funny, I think that many of the barriers with new software and apps are associated with knowing what button and what tool does what. I was lucky in that I was taught how to use it as part of my degree course at university. This gave me what I needed for the basics and it took a few more years experience and trial and error to get me to where I am today. However, what if I hadn’t had the teaching? I’m not one for reading manuals so maybe I would have given up?

The other thing that it has going for it is its community. Don’t know how to do what you want to do? A simple Google search will bring up tons of tutorials and videos on how to achieve what you need. This has saved hours in the past and I’m sure, is one of the reasons why it is so popular.

The other main reason is simply the fact that it is an awesome piece of kit. If you want to master image augmentation, web graphics or pretty much anything associated with images; Photoshop can do it.

I’m at a cross-roads though. There is the possibility that I will get a new MacBook soon and whilst I will need a graphics package, Photoshop and the ‘Creative Suite’ carry a hefty price tag. Considering that I can get hold of Pixelmator for £25, is CS5 worth the extra £400 odd? The real question is though, am I ready to say goodbye to 7 years of happiness?

Any Pixelmator advocates out there that can help? How much will I miss Photoshop? Is there anything Pixelmator can’t do that Photoshop can? Answers on a postcard please.

Team Lunch

Today, we finally got round to going for the Planvine Team lunch. It’s only taken a month to find a day that all 5 of us could make!

The wealth of eateries around Silicon roundabout made the choice of venue difficult, however, we pulled together and managed to settle on Yard, a pizza place nearby. Incidentally fact fans, it is called Yard because you can order a yard of pizza there.

What did we order and how we did we rank it? I thought you’d never ask. Here we go:

  • Adam: Crispy duck - 8/10
  • Sanj: Americano - 7/10
  • Steel: Carne (meat feast) - 6/10
  • Barny: Hawaiian (don’t ask) - 7/10
  • Chris: Carne (meat feast) - 6/10 (lost a mark for arriving late)

We also had a pleasing breakthrough over lunch. Having been trying to work out a way of awarding Planvine users for creating and attending events, Steel excelled himself and came up with a nice little system. More on this to follow…

Leap Year

For our female readers:

It’s the 21st century so why the hell shouldn’t you be the one who takes charge of things and does what he should have done already?  Women have total equality these days in all but a few ridiculous ways; with marriage proposals being one of them.  If you want to get married to him and you’re pretty sure that he wants to get married to you then go for it.  Take advantage of this leap year quirk, get a ring for yourself (at least you’ll get it right) and get down on one knee.  It’ll be a great anecdote for years to come and your friends and family will admire you for being so fiercely in control of your life.

And if you need some inspiration for a pre-proposal activity, look no further: the Adrian York Duo are playing tonight at the Bassoon Bar in the Corinthia Hotel.  Perfect for a couple of courage-building cocktails.  Good luck from all of the Planvine Team!

For our male readers:

It’s that day gents; the day where the Missus can legitimately get down on one knee and propose, without the usual societal stigma.

If this prospect hasn’t already sent a shiver down your spine then, the good news is that if she does it, you’ll probably be happy to say yes and everything will be hunky dory.  If, on the other hand, you’re not so sure, you may want to avoid going home until after the stroke of midnight.  The good news is that the footy’s on tonight (England Vs Holland) so you’ve got the perfect excuse.  Here’s a list of London pubs where they’re showing the game, courtesy of the helpful chaps over at MatchPint.

Free tonight?

At a loose end tonight?  There’s a great free talk going on over at UCL: ‘Theology Vs Geology - Victorian Faith and Science’.

From the event website:

The Victorian period - when geology was the new frontier, and scientific discoveries were challenging the Biblical account of how (and when) the world was made. Join Chris Hilton to explore the impact of these discoveries on individuals with religious conviction, and the struggle to reconcile these beliefs with emerging contradictory evidence.

Speaker: Chris Hilton, Senior Archivist, Wellcome Library

If you’re free, why not go along, its free after all!  Full details here.

The ultimate London Technology Events calendar

One of our aims at Planvine is to aggregate all of the events or plans that are going on related to a place, topic, community, person or pretty much anything.

At the moment, this is done simply by adding tags when creating events in Planvine. We’ll soon be getting much cleverer than that, more on this as it develops though…

In the meantime, one of the first calendars that we’re really trying to get going is a calendar (or Planvine) of the best tech events going on in London. The Planvine is in place and is being populated as we speak; http://planvine.com/calendar-technology-london

Anyone can add an event to the Planvine; simply add some relevant tags when you create your event, for example ‘tech’, ‘technology’, ‘London tech’ and the like. Our highly trained team of hamsters will then add your tech event to the Technology London Planvine without you even needing to lift a finger!

At the moment, only events created in Planvine will be able to get into the calendar, however our hamsters are working hard on bringing in events from other services.

If London tech events aren’t for you; fear not as you can create a public Planvine for anything you like! Simply go to the Friends and Favourites page and follow the instructions from there!

…But fear not my friend, as it’s also a 4 day week!  Provided you’re in the UK of course.  Not only that but next week is a 4 day week too!  AND that’s not all as this week, we’re going to be giving you the lowdown on the best way to spend your Easter weekend, right here on the Planvine blog!

For each of the next 4 days leading up to your 4 days, we’ll be showcasing the most excellent things to do in London.  So, first off, Good Friday:

Friday 6th April

Let’s presume that Friday daytime is mostly going to be a lazy one.  After all, you’ll possibly a little delicate after that one-drink-after-work-honest Thursday night and what the hell, you’ve still got three days left to get out there and explore this great city.

However, Friday night could well be on.  According to us, you’ve got two choices:

  1. Spend the evening at the Prince Charles Cinema for their Alien Quadrilogy spectacular.  Whet your appetite for Prometheus with all 4 Alien films, back to back, in one sitting. Glorious (well, the first two at least). Find the details here.
  2. If sci-fi isn’t your bag, channel your inner Liam/Damon/Weller/Jarvis/Turner/Lennon/Cobain and get yourself down to Buffalo Bar on Upper Street for Indieoke; karaoke but with a live band.  Info here.

Hope you like the sound of them and we’ll be back tomorrow with some suggestions for Saturday.

Planvine shortlisted for Startup Competition at London Web Summit

We’re delighted to announce that we’re in a shortlist of 20 companies in the competition to find the best startup in Europe on Monday at the London Web Summit.

We’re extremely chuffed to be shortlisted and to be rubbing shoulders with some truly great European startups.

Our pitch is on Monday morning and then the 20 are whittled down to 4 to pitch on the main stage in the evening.  Then a judging panel will decide who takes the £100,000 worth of prizes.

We can’t wait.

Full details of the competition over at the London Web Summit website.

Silence is Golden Go and see the Artist

As we’re sure you’ve all heard by now, The Artist took the top prize at the Oscars last night.  As well as the award for Best Picture, it also walked off with Best Director, Best Actor and a couple of not so interesting ones to make 5 in total.

All round, it was a night for the bookies as the favourites won pretty much everything in every category.  Notably, Planvine favourite Bret McKenzie fought off the only other nominee (seriously Academy, chuck in a few more in the future) to win the award for best original song.

The good news is that for those of you who haven’t caught The Artist yet, there’s a bunch of cinemas in London which are still showing it.  So take yourself down there after work and see what all the fuss is about.