On running, startups and London’s cultural life

GNR 🏃 + Kniterate 🏭 | Sights and Sounds 🙈 🙉 🙊

Great North Run: Indeed, I’m running my first half-marathon!

On the 9th of September I’ll be running the Great North Run half-marathon in support of the Rebecca Dykes Foundation. I learned of Becky’s tragic death in Lebanon last year through my girlfriend, who went to school with her.

During her time in Lebanon, Becky’s efforts contributed to uplift the lives of vulnerable communities. Through the Foundation her family and friends are working extremely hard to continue Becky’s work and legacy in the region. You can read more on their website.

Training and running for your support is my very small contribution to Becky’s legacy and the Foundation’s work. I’ve been posting training updates on my Twitter and Instagram accounts since July. Check #run4rebecca

Thank you for supporting my run by funding the Rebecca Dykes Foundation here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/triambaksaxena

Kniterate

Many of you know about my work at Kniterate, the startup I co-founded with my high-school friend Gerard Rubio and Tom Catling, from UCL. We have been steadily growing the company since our Kickstarter campaign, which raised $636,130.

You may know that crowdfunded products often have delays, it comes down to not knowing what you don’t know, and as young entrepreneurs we haven’t been an exception. Despite this our community has shown an amazing amount of patience. We’ve made a big effort to put transparency at the forefront of our communications, especially in terms of how we use the funds our backers have provided, which has really built trust with our community. You can read our updates here.

I spent a big part of 2017 in China, working from the factory. This is where, under Gerard’s leadership, R&D and manufacturing for our knitting machines has been taking place. As you can imagine, a factory in China is not ideally suited to work online or to meet people interested in the company. Both Gerard and I made the decision to split the team between China and the UK to make the most of the opportunities available to us.

From China Gerard is working to deliver the machines as soon as possible, while I build the operations in London needed to showcase the knitting machine to customers and investors. I’m very excited to get Kniterate in front of people and to raise capital to attract the talent that will help accelerate our growth and accomplish our vision of a technology platform to democratize fashion.

One of the biggest tasks over the last month, and something we are still working on, has been to produce an in-depth analysis of our long-term strategy and outcomes we aim to achieve. This work will help us build a solid financial model. I’ve been inspired by real options theory and will be writing a post about the whole experience once it’s over. I’m also working on writing some opinion pieces, but we don’t need to make this first email too long, do we?

Sights & Sounds

North Koreans Come to London I’m currently living in Wimbledon and this article by the Center of Strategic & International studies has given me a fresh perspective on the area’s diversity and a community with which I interact often. It discusses the disenfranchisement the North Korean diaspora feels in South Korea and China and how, in the South West of London, they have found a place to thrive.

What If a Female CEO Acted Like Elon Musk? A critique of the double standards that females are subjected to in the professional world in view of the interview given by Elon Musk on the NYT. The HBR podcast Women at Work is worth listening if you want to explore a bit more on the subject.

Kissed by God is a documentary about the talented surfer Andy Irons, who died in 2010. I used to get together with friends to watch his surf videos. To be absolutely honest I wasn’t aware that issues with drugs were so widespread in the professional surfing community. Touches on the opioid crisis in the US.

I was given Tamed: 10 Species That Changed Our World after my girlfriend saw Alice Roberts on the Hay festival. It helped me understand the dynamics that influenced domestication, which were not so much due to human influence but to random events and symbiotic relationships. The analogy of the co-evolution of bees and flowers provides a lot of clarity. The last chapter is especially relevant given the recent discovery of a Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid.

Matt Levine’s acid analysis on Elon’s announcement to take Tesla private has been entertaining to follow. Especially enjoyed one of the first articles in the series: Elon Musk’s Funding for Tesla Wasn’t So Secure. Matt is always able to humour the finance world while still being detailed about its inner workings.

In this Blackstone interview Joe Zidle shares his insights on trade, Capex and US growth. Did you know that the average age of a manufacturing piece of equipment in the US is 23 years? It was purchased in ‘95! I wonder how a wave of Capex expansion would affect Kniterate’s sales.

If you’re in London you have a week to catch the Picasso 1932 exhibition. During that year Picasso was able to produce an enormous amount of work, especially after a major retrospective took place in June 1932. Some of the work is brilliant. I found the last room, dedicated to iterations of drowning, particularly interesting, as the work foreshadows the dark turn that Europe would take once it digested the economic depression. Incidentally, I had a chance to talk with a young artist from Tel Aviv about the exhibition. She complained that despite the many references to Marie-Thérèse Walter, the difficult, if not abusive, relationship (they both met when she was underage) was ignored. She also confronted the celebration of the concept of a muse, a character strongly associated to the idea of female youth, purity and submissiveness, all of which are male fantasies given free rein in the art world. Picasso’s Erotic Code discusses this affair and the drowning works.

Thanks for reading!