No, this isn’t a review of 1993’s unlikely love story that saw hopeless romantics Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet atop the Empire State Building – though if we were to review it we’d say it was good, harmless fun that makes you laugh and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Instead this is a review of something that was deliberately not fun and would only leave the strangest of folk feeling warm and fuzzy. New York based COO Adam’s recent trade mission to Seattle (and Vancouver, but that would have ruined the title).
First of all the title, on top of being catchy it’s actually quite accurate. Never afraid of a bit of hard work (and we’re never afraid of ensuring he has to work hard) Adam was fully booked – five days of back to back meetings running from 8 in the morning till 10 at night, he wasn’t quite sleepless, but certainly sleep deprived. The trade mission was organised by London & Partners, an organisation set up to promote London as a city and London based businesses globally – and they did a remarkable job.
First of all they got Adam in the room with some of the most influential decision makers in not just America, but the whole world – senior leadership from companies like Starbucks, Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon are not easy people to pin down, but they were there. Adam also met with a whole host of other companies – ranging from big to huge – and we’re very hopeful that some of those meetings may lead to some actual business being done.
We also have to give a big thank you to British American Business who set up a lunch (imagine that, time to sit down and eat!) where Adam was able to socialise with other British businesses active in the States. Not only was it great to be able to meet fellow immigrant entrepreneurs and share a few war stories, but each had their own bits of advice. This was an important step, because although we’ve been operating successfully in the US for more than five years now, we’ve been based on the East Coast and the message here was clear – the West Coast is rather different. We won’t bore you with all the details, but needless to say that as we’re in the process of opening our Bay Area office, so any inside info on how the Pacific side of the country rolls is great to know.
Last, but by no means least, Adam got the opportunity to pitch. A lot. These events were filled with VCs of major companies and a host of angel investors. These are serious people, in charge of a lot of money and very used to people asking them for it. What that all adds up to is they demand clarity and they call nonsense the second they hear it – which is all incredibly useful. In just a few days Adam got pitching experience that might have taken months or even years to accrue through regular networking. If his mission had achieved nothing else this would have made it invaluable, as it is it was icing on a pretty impressive cake.
Adam’s back in New York now, no, not waiting for Meg Ryan on top of the Empire State Building, but catching up on some well earned sleep. On his behalf we’d like to extend our gratitude to the people that made this trade mission possible – London & Partners and British American Business – to their members who gave Adam great advice and kept him sane as the sleep deprivation kicked in, and to all the champions of business who gave us their time. Much like the film, the whole experience has left us with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.