Feet In The Concrete

I am on record as being a stern critic of the stupid 'Silicon Roundabout' concept in London.

The idea that you can create 'hubs' or 'incubation destinations' is tripe, and would only ever happen to the detriment of other areas of London and the UK.

The whole idea that a roundabout in north central (not east!) London is a focus for development is naive and stupid and shows how out of touch not only our politicians, but pretty much anyone in the UK involved in promoting tech is. (For the record, I built a 500 person tech company in the area in the distant past).

Of course, the likes of Microsoft and Google have piled in, in order to gain anti-monopoly points, no doubt. The real irony is that it is these companies, and our Government's unedifying nose up their American backsides approach that stifles innovation - and certainly growth - in the UK is the very reason for the failure and lack of investment in UK tech companies. US tech hubs, in California, New Jersey and Texas, have all been built around defence spending, and we don't have any of that in the UK (or at least, all of it has gone to Fujitsu, a company from a country with no military, for decades).

I have recently been involved in fundraising for a world class UK tech company. In the time that we've been trying to get any interest from the UK investment market, their two main competitors in the US, both weaker companies in my view, have received far more money than we're trying to raise.

If the Government really want to increase innovation in the UK, then it just has to deal properly with US technology companies. Properly in terms of tax, monopoly and IP law, just as they might be treated in Illinois or North Dakota. They need to create a level playing field. Google is to tech in the UK what Japanese knotweed is to an English country garden.

Their support for some stupid geo based government tech initiative is just a very minor tax to them.

Moreover, the very idea that a tech company needs a geographical base these days is just idiotic. I run very successful technical companies that have no geographical base,exist only in cyberspace, and sell services in countries around the world: in one case, eighty per cent of sales are exports.

But in the UK we're property obsessed, and the idea that  wealth can be created apart from bricks and mortar is an anathema.

Why, after all should you work hard to invent and innovate and execute unless you're willing to pass it all to property developers and the Government ?

(PS Mr HMRC, did you receive my massive cheque today for corporation tax ? That's a few more jobs I won't be creating...)