Doug Scott, loud mouth Geordie entrepreneur living in the Midlands.

Why You Should Go To Bali

Who could turn down a trip to Bali?! An idiot, that’s who! After spending a week exploring Ubud, travelling across over to Kuta and riding a moped across dirt tracks to see the majestic waterfall in Tegenungen, I am more than convinced Bali is a little piece of paradise.

My trip started meeting my work colleague Andy at Birmingham airport, packed and ready to go we approached the desk to check-in, only to be greeted by a queue-less, red carpet entry to the business class sector of Qatar Airways, almost like arriving at a triple A movie premiere, the gulf between business class and economy become immediately apparent. We were greeted by the check-in clerk, donning the indistinguishable maroon outfit that Qatar Airways have become known for, she was more than courteous, recommending we spend the wait in the business class lounge where we were entitled to meals and drinks, obviously, it seemed rude not too!

Business Class Suite

Business Class Suite

After being kindly reminded by a different Qatar Airways worker (still not quite sure how they knew which flight we were on!) we had around half an hour for our flight, we thought it was best to make a move and board it, we headed to the terminal where a mass of people were waiting to board, again, to my surprise, the advantage of business class kicked in and we avoided this completely, instead heading through a separate queue to enter the terminal and board the plane, the only hold-up being a suit donning policeman, questioning why two 20 something-year-olds were going on a business class trip to Bali, something I’m sure you, Doug Scott, would appreciate!

After a conversation about knowledge sharing with the fed, we headed down the second red carpet of the night, this time to the spacious, mood-lit business class cabin, again highlighting the difference in class, I enjoyed a comfy, reclining chair-come-bed whilst enjoying a three course meal and multiple films of my choice, ranging from old to new, to even complete television series. A seventeen-and-a-half hour flight, no problem.

Qatar Business Class Flight

Qatar Business Class Flight

Arriving at Bali, I was taken back by the heat, this was different to the English weather, this was something I could get used to! After getting our bags, we headed out of the terminal, did we make the right decision not to book a cab to the Villa? Yes..yes we did, pounced upon by 3, 4, 5 taxi drivers, we managed to negotiate a good price back to the Villa, although we both couldn’t help but give a decent tip, the traffic was shocking, what highway code? I thought anyone driving here had a death wish, little did I realise I would be within the week.

A bit of navigation later, and we pulled up to the Villa…Wow…Cheers Doug! This was nice, this was better than nice, this was stunning! Two double bedrooms, two en-suite’s, a private swimming pool. This was the place to be.

Bali Villa

Bali Villa

Following a good sleep and breakfast, we set off to see Potential Asia! I’d heard a lot about their organic traffic growth and some of the magic beneath the hood, so naturally I was intrigued, what else were they working on, how were they doing it, had they discovered the secret to white-hat SEO?! Having spoke with Harsha, the CEO of Potential Asia, we setup a meeting, and by meeting, I mean a few beers and some good food in a local restaurant to discuss things further. What a nice, smart guy, making sure we had settled first, had some decent food and drink, we went on to discuss what they’ve been working on, a few examples being www.bargainfox.co.uk and http://www.coupofy.com.

I learnt a lot regarding SEO, the restrictions put on specific methods, and forward thinking ways to still achieve great organic growth, following a discussion on some of the cool tech and ideas thrown around at Potential UK, and how implementing these, or a variation on these ideas could possibly help Potential Asia, I noticed our discussion had turned as much from a knowledge-share, which I believe both myself and Harsha feel it definitely was and without doubt had it’s benefits, to a idea spinning, brainstorming session, not just limited to Potential Asia but also some of the companies under Potential UK, a good example being organic traffic growth for www.carrentals.co.uk. But from my time spent working for Potential, I’ve learnt this is what we do, it’s the foundation of the Potential company, hire smart people and smart ideas will follow, Harsha and the Potential Asia team highlight this, they have laid and are continuing to build from this strong foundation.

Potential Asia Team

Potential Asia Team

A few more beers, some delicious food and the passing of a couple of days later, we’d not only discussed a few opportunities, learnt a lot , looked over the tech and spoke to all members of staff, I had a good idea of why everyone was there, it wasn’t just the job, it was the lifestyle, living in Bali and being give the freedom to enjoy its offerings, not being tied to office cubicles, yes, members of staff regularly work on a weekend, but if it feels like a weekend on the weekdays, would you really mind? In between office stops I embraced this lifestyle, me and Andy tried to fit everything into the action-packed week, visiting the bustling markets of Ubud, surfing in Kuta, watching the fire dance, and that’s just to mention a few of the attractions.

So do I stand by my provocative opening sentence? Well, unless you’ve got important prior commitments, you’d need a really, really good reason not to go.….and whilst you are there, why not pop in and see Potential Asia, there a smart, welcoming bunch!

“Pack your bags Fishwick, you’re going on a trip.”

Birmingham to Denpasar

Birmingham to Denpasar

”Pack your bags Fishwick, you’re going on a trip.” The written words from my manager indicating something interesting was on the horizon.

Ryan and myself were lucky enough to bag ourselves a trip to Bali for a week in early May of this year. We travelled for 17.5 hours over 7,800 miles from Birmingham to Denpasar (via Doha).

Qatar Business Class

Qatar Business Class

For some, a flight like this would be ominous and laborious, particularly for those having to fly “cattle class”. Fortunately for us, we were treated to business class on Qatar airlines! The unlimited champagne, full length beds and a la carte menu from a celebrity chef really helped pass the time…

But why Bali? The trip was an initiative from our captain, Doug Scott. We were being shipped off to see how the Potential Team do it on the other side of the world, an opportunity to learn, share knowledge, be inspired, rejuvenate and, of course, have fun.

Potential Asia is a startup hub targeting business opportunities in Asia, currently focusing on growing a huge voucher code business similar to the one we run in the UK. The team work in an office situated in rural surroundings in the District of Ubud, an hour north of Denpasar, in the uplands of Bali. The office boasts iconic landscapes of rainforests, rice fields and temples. Ubud immediately highlighted itself as a special place rich in Balinese culture, yoga, amazing food and smart Tech guys.

Bali Coconuts

Our first full day started with a lunch meeting with Harsha, the man behind the madness. He briefed us on the business and directed us to the office where we met the extremely welcoming team. After being introduced as “Andy and Ryan from Potential Headquarters” we decided to get some refreshments. Forget vending machines, the Potential team in Asia enjoy countless coconuts on a daily basis. The only issue is you have to split them yourself – luckily we returned with all fingers intact.

It was amazing to meet such a diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual team who appeared to thrive on their freedom to travel, work and soak up cultures. The office had relaxed working hours, but everyone still put in their best efforts to ensure all tasks were complete. Most of the team members worked as SEO’s, some with zero experience and others with numerous years in the tech industry. They asked lots of questions on the UK businesses aspiring to achieve similar levels of success.

The team had daily standup meetings discussing what was done yesterday, what will be done today and what the weekly goal is. We shared state of the art tech ideas and discussed created traffic sourcing techniques, both paid and free. We also learnt about outreach for reputable backlinks through creating amazing infographics. Harsha hosts a 1 hour a week lecture on SEO to ensure the team stay ahead of the game.

Kadiga Villa

Kadiga Villa

We stayed in a luxurious villa called 2 bedroom Kadiga Villa with a private pool. The villa was not far from Hubud, a co-working space for travellers and startups. At the time, Jack and Holly from Potential UK were travelling and stopping in Ubud working alongside Potential Asia on some new projects. Hubud was a regular workspace for them so it was great to catch up.

The team in Bali were almost insulted that we had travelled all that way and were spending time in the office. They urged us to go and explore – so we did.

Our first attraction was the sacred monkey forest, a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex in Ubud. The forest covered over 27 acres, had over 115 different species of trees and approximately 605 resident monkeys.

The monkeys were extremely tame, however at times they could be aggressive. You were not to look at them directly in the eye. One of them ran off with my water bottle, unscrewed the lid and poured it all over the floor.

sacred monkey forest

Sacred Monkey Forest

We also found time to visit the Tegenungen waterfall situated to the south east of Ubud. It’s one of the few waterfalls in Bali that is not situated in the highlands or mountains.

Tegenungen Waterfall

Tegenungen Waterfall

We were able to head south to Kuta to ride the waves with Jack and Holly. Albeit with limited surfing skills, the day was great – although we unfortunately got wrongly stopped by the Balinese police for driving a scooter without an international licence. Nothing a bribe didn’t sort out.

Ubud is known as the center for traditional crafts so we regularly visited Ubud Art Market, which is renowned for its handcrafted goods made from neighbouring villages. You may recognise the market from a scene in the Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love. Bartering was essential and expected.

Also famous for its dance, one evening we went to a Kecak fire dance. It consists of a choir of a hundred men or more sitting in concentric circles around fire chanting and swaying to music provided by the human voice. The dance tells an unfolding tale which at the time was incredibly hypnotizing.

Kecak Fire Dance Bali

Kecak Fire Dance Bali

On our final night we were invited to Harsha’s house for dinner for some traditional slovak food, cooked by his girlfriend Lucia – which was amazing.

Overall, it was an incredible experience that has inspired me to travel more, work less (smarter) and enjoy the free and simple things in life. Thank you Doug :)

Been a Pleasure Georgio – thanks for allowing me to be part of the journey

Been a Pleasure Georgio – thanks for allowing me to be part of the journey

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This is in response to this post of FB about Gergio’s trip to Bali:

https://www.facebook.com/georgiev.georgio/posts/10100130199196890

2 years ago I by chance met Georgio at a Techstars event in London, where he was helping out. We had a very brief chat….a few months later the same happened again over lunch. I asked Jess Williamson of Techstars who he was as he had a strangeness about him……she could only say nice things about him. So as I do with many people I invited him to our offices in a tiny place in the middle of England…..Georgio came up and we chatted.

At the end of the day I asked Georgio if he wanted to come and spend a few weeks working with us and he said yes. Those few weeks were interesting as everyone loved Georgio and he added zest and energy and ideas but probably delivered nothing…..zero:)…..but I am not a great deliverer of things myself, but I can deliver zest, energy and ideas in abundance. So the friendship began.

I am know for doing odd things so asked Georgie to come with me to India, with Andy my FD and Paul Smith of Ignite fame to see a friend in Kerala. We got him in First Class to India:)

FullSizeRender

He tried to use his charm on the stewardess but to no real avail, she gave him a dodgy phone number….he may dispute this but we know the truth.

After a week of messing about in Southern India with Harsha, an old friend from Hyderbad, we decided to open an office in Bali. No real plan other than an idea that maybe something special will happen, or atleast it would be a laugh.

A year later and we now have about 25 people in Asia creating some interesting stuff.

I have been fortunate to have been out to Bali twice to see the people and had Georgio take me out surfing……many years ago I used to surf and hence I vaguely remember, to the surprise of Georgio I got up quite a few times.

So Georgio is off once more on his travels…..thanks for your help and fun matey and enjoy the next journey:) See you soon.

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Doug

I am on a road to no where

I am on a road to no where

We have t shirts

We have some free food

Was meant to goto Buning Man this year

Got an Electric BMW

Angel Investor

Travelled the world – twice

Life is almost done:)

 

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Roads will only be for Driverless Ubers within 10 years

Roads will only be for Driverless Ubers within 10 years

So Uber has now partnered with University of Arizona and Carnegie Mellon University to effectively create driverless cars:

driverless cars

Similar to in Terminator ( hopefully the rest of the AI story will be different to Terminator ).

Mix this with Uber Pool ( the ability to ride share and split costs ) plus Uber’s investigations into running buses ( then maybe trains etc ) and effectively what you are building on a global scale is a global driverless transportation system for the masses. As these vehicles need no driver, plus the development of technology to be able to track supply and demand will mean that vehicles will run at maximum capacity with minimal cost to the people being transport. Effectively this mean Uber and companies like it should become public utilities ( the same as search engines or Google – but that is another story).

So now we have cheap transport for the masses, but not like this:

Hindu devotees travel on a crowded passenger train to take part in the "Guru Purnima" festival in Goverdhan town near the northern Indian city of Mathura July 24, 2010. Guru Purnima is observed to pay respects to one's "guru" or teacher who symbolises the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, believed to be the creators of the universe and will be celebrated on Sunday. REUTERS/K. K. Arora (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION TRANSPORT)

Hindu devotees travel on a crowded passenger train to take part in the “Guru Purnima” festival in Goverdhan town near the northern Indian city of Mathura July 24, 2010. Guru Purnima is observed to pay respects to one’s “guru” or teacher who symbolises the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, believed to be the creators of the universe and will be celebrated on Sunday. REUTERS/K. K. Arora (INDIA – Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION TRANSPORT)

 

But probably like these driverless pods that have been driving round Heathrow airport in London

heathrow pod

The pods are electric and autonomous. You tell the system where you want to go using touchscreens at the station. If a pod isn’t waiting, one will arrive quickly (the average wait time is less than 10 seconds) and you’re off. They travel along guideway tracks, navigating laterally using a laser at each wheel so they don’t bump into the barriers. And they’re in complete control of the journey; the central system programs the route and its relation to other pods before it sets off, but once the pod is under way it’s ‘thinking’ for itself. There is a manned control room if you want to speak to someone or if something goes wrong, but ultimately you’re pootling along in your own little capsule.

So back to the impact that these driverless vehicles will have:

less roads

less cars ( most cars just sit parked currently )

no car parks

the death of the car manufacturers

Doug

 

 

 

Potential disrupts Asia

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. A few of the potential team set off to Asia to see how things are done elsewhere. First stop was Singapore, then Kuala Lumper, and Bali where we got to meet some of our team in Asia(potential.asia) for the first time. Awesome and enlightening trip. Strangely wherever we went people showed us their tongues.

Please help us identify the pirates in these pictures.

One more backer of syndicate and we beat 500startups

One more backer of syndicate and we beat 500startups

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we Brits could jump ahead of those Americans:) At that time the Potential UK syndicate was ranked at number 18 on the Angellist ranking table with about 120 backers, well we did it:) The jump to goto number 16 was going to need us to have over 140 backers which was a considerable jump, well we are there:):):):) Now we have the founder of Angellist, Naval, and 500 startups in our sites a couple more members of the syndicate and we go ahead of them both. We may even write a story to explain how we did it

Click here and back us please

Congratulations also to Gil Dibner who is now ranked number 25….Well done sexy man:)

https://angel.co/gdibner/syndicate

We also just are launching an Interntaional syndicate to cover the none UK world:

Click here to join – https://angel.co/potential-international/syndicate

 

Doug

 

 

 

Work on your startup in Bali for a month :)

The Annual Coupofy Entrepreneurship Award is aimed at entrepreneurs globally. They are looking for the most interesting and talented entrepreneur in the world to join them for a month in Bali, Indonesia. All expenses will be covered by Coupofy.com The winner is welcome to work on a project of his/her choice while Coupofy provide guidance and support.

What you get?

  • Economy round-trip airfare from anywhere in the world
  • 1 month accommodation
  • 1 month unlimited membership at a local co-working space
  • Welcome party with the Potential team
  • Mentorship and support from our team and local start-up community

Full Details & Apply Online

Productive Day at the Office

Doug is away in Newcastle disrupting someone else’s office for a change

Although mega productive its been a little too quiet so we cracked open Dougs secret stash of bandanas(he gets through 3 or 4 a week)
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Some people struggled with how to wear them correctly
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But with a little help they got there in the end
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