For ideas people

I am very unimpressed with business club One Alfred Place. On Friday they axed a number of members, including a very good friend of mine. They did so by sending the following email:

I am contacting you alongside other members who have shown a rather
high frequency of club visits during their time with us.

One Alfred Place is a business ‘club’ but we feel that some members
are treating it more like a serviced office and unfortunately our
business model simply cannot support this level of usage.

It is with regret that we are unable to renew your membership at this
time but as the renewal date has passed, we are more than happy to
offer a further month in order to allow you time to find somewhere
more suitable for your needs.

We thank you for your support during the last two years and wish you
great success in the future.

With Regards

Emma Beaugeard
One Alfred Place

The new CEO, Sharon Brittan then explained this action to The Independent in what is clearly an attempt to spin it and get positive PR for the club:

She’s wasting no time in making changes to the business, including axing club members she doesn’t rate.

“I think the club is a fantastic concept but the delivery needed some amendments,” explains the bouncy Brittan when I call. “But you’ve got to be brave and bold, luv. And you’ve got to make sure that if they are not the right people then they aren’t there.” Quite so.

As you might imagine, my friend wasn’t overly impressed by this.

She is a very talented and successful young female entrepreneur whose company has a bold and innovative approach to business. She is highly intelligent, incredibly driven and a fascinating individual. She is also fabulous company and very inspiring. Her company works as a partner with huge international brands. Clearly they rate her. Any private members club would be very fortunate to have her as a member. Moreover, she was a loyal ambassador of the club, recommending it to friends and clients. She doesn’t expect such unprofessional treatment from a ‘business club.’

She joined One Alfred Place as a founding member. Using the Wayback Machine, we can see what she bought into:

‘Welcome to One Alfred Place – a new kind of club that combines the best of a private members’ club with your own London office. It offers all the business services, work space, meeting places and communications that you need. Unlimited use: as many days as you wish. Drop in to catch up on emails, or stay all day.’

When it first launched I had lunch with the then CEO and was pitched the club as an alternative to having an office. Clearly they have now changed their policy.

So having done so the question is how should a business club communicate that fact, in a fittingly “business-like” manner, with its club members? Especially those, like my friend, who had been long-term members, networked with many of the existing members and more importantly spent generously, frequently and often? Perhaps start by announcing the change in policy? Maybe offer their high usage members a new and more expensive level of membership?

At a very minimum you’d expect a business club to show respect for their members who have invested time and money in supporting the club. What you wouldn’t expect is for the CEO to publicly insult them in a bid to get PR. Unfortunately that is what Sharon Brittan went on to do in this article which appeared in the Independent this weekend. This will be very worrying for members as it shows that she’s prepared to publicly name, in a negative manner, club members to the papers. If she is capable of that shocking behaviour how can any remaining member trust her? Steve Tappin is a very well-regarded professional and author of The Secrets of CEO’S.

So, might the eviction list include my old friend and OAP member Steve Tappin, the headhunter-turned-executive-coach that Boots boss Andy Hornby is considering hiring?

“Absolutely,” confirms Brittan. “He’s on the list.” Ta-ta to Tappin, then.

This type of behaving is very concerning and potentially damaging to any member who she deems unworthy.

I’m appalled at how my friend was treated but I’m also appalled as someone who runs a networking club. I know many people who also run networking clubs in London, and I’d imagine that they would find this appalling too. I also know many business reporters and I’m certain that they won’t be impressed by a business club treating entrepreneurs and business people in this way.

With regard to One Alfred Place I know people on their committee who will be very embarrassed to have their reputations associated with such unprofessional behaviour. I know people who host regular events there who wouldn’t want to be seen to promote a club that treats members like this. I also know many of their members. This will be of concern to all. How on earth can Sharron Britten think that this is a good idea?

I hope that by highlighting this that the club committee and their investors will consider the implications of their CEO’s behaviour. I also hope that this acts as a warning to other members of Old Alfred Place of what the current regime is capable of.

I look forward to Sharron Britten making a public statement on her behaviour. Failing that, her next ‘brave and bold’ move.

The YesAndClub is hosting a retreat in April. Tickets will go on sale for members shortly.

The retreat will be very relaxed. It’s billed as an opportunity to spend time in a peaceful, secluded environment exploring, creating and developing ideas.

There will be organised sessions for brainstorming and discussion.

The retreat will be held in a wonderful villa in the mountains above Cote d’Azur, in the South of France, 30 minutes from Nice airport.

It’s isolated in a 20 acre private forest.

But conveniently located within a 20 minutes walk of one of France’s most stunning medievil village:

As we all know, it is almost impossible to come up with decent ideas without a view, so we’ve made sure we’ve got one.

As you can see the venue isn’t too shabby. Inside there are bedrooms all with sea views, kitchen, living room, dining room, and billard room. Outside there is 20 acres of forest, 3 terraces, a barbeque area, Petanque court and a swimming pool.

Now for the information on the retreat:

The retreat is split into 2 groups, and you can choose which 1 suits you best. There are 8 places in each group, 4 for women and 4 for men. Accommodation is in twin rooms.

Group 1 – Saturday 24th (arriving at 13.50) to Tuesday 27th April (leaving at 21.45)
Group 2 – Tuesday 27th April (arriving at 21.15) to Saturday 1st May (leaving 16.30)

We want this to be a memorable YesAndClub experience and accessible to all members so we’ve tried our best to make the prices as affordable as possible, we hope you agree.

The price is £175 and Includes accommodation in twin rooms and transfers. Flights are extra and currently cost between £74-£82. The accommodation is self-catering, so food and drink is extra. We will eat out in the village some evenings, and there is a barbeque and Robert is a barbeque expert.


Outward: Saturday April 24th, depart Gatwick on Easyjet 5067 at 10.50. Arrive in Nice at 13.50. We will then head into Nice for lunch and will leave for the property at 17.15, arriving at around 6pm.

Return: Tuesday April 27th, depart Nice on Easyjet 5072 at 21.45 arriving at Gatwick at 22.40.

The current price for this flight, including baggage charge, is £81.39


Outward: Tuesday April 27th, depart Gatwick on Easyjet 5071 at 18.15 arriving in Nice at 21.15. We will go straight to the property.

Return: Saturday May 1, we will vacate the property in the morning and go for lunch in Nice. We will depart on Easyjet 5070 at 16.40 arriving at Gatwick at 17.25.

The current price for this flights, including baggage charge, is £73.31

The YesAndClub is holding an Open Mic Night, where people can pitch and share ideas.

This can take any form including:

- Ideas that you want feedback on
- Ideas that you want help with to make into a reality
- Ideas that you want to brainstorm and develop
- Ideas that you’re are giving away for others to run with
- Ideas for good
- Ideas that you predict will happen in the future
- In fact any ideas that you want to share!

The ideas can be for anything: a company, a product, a promotional stunt or raising money for charity
It will be a fun and inspiring evening and a fantastic opportunity to meet great people.


Start – 7pm
Date – Wednesday 17th February
Open mic – 7.30pm-8.30pm
Feedback on ideas / networking – 8.30pm-11pm

The event is free to YesAndClub members and £10 for invited guests.

YesAndClub members are invited to attend a discussion dinner around making ideas happen. During each course we will discuss a different topic:

- First course: Techniques for creating ideas
- Second course: Selling an idea – the art of persuasion
- Third course: Promoting and spreading ideas
- Coffee: Raising funding

We will discuss methods and real world examples.

The dinner will be 3 courses and includes 1 bottle of wine and coffee. It will be held on Monday the 22th February in the private dining room at Adam Street Club. The price is £50.

Now sold out. Attending are:

Alex Butler, Transformational Strategy Director, COI
Malcolm Guite, Poet and Author, Freelance
John Pollock, Communications consultant, Freelance
John Mitchinson, Co-founder, QI
Joanna Jepson, Chaplin, London School of Fashion
Joe Stepniewski, Co-founder, Skimlinks
Simon Prockter, Founder, Adventura
Tiffany St James, Head of Participation, COI
Angus Bankes, Founder, Moreover
Robert Loch, Founder, YesAndClub

The YesAndClub is hosting an evening event on the 26th January on developing TV formats.

The event will start with a talk by David Prever who is the Managing director of Brandspanking, a production company that specialises in developing TV format, on the state of the TV industry today, developing formats and getting them commissioned.

During the evening we will brainstorm ideas for a range of shows including:

- Game shows and quizes

- Reality shows

- Lifestyle shows

- Documentaries

- And more

This will be a fun evening where you can learn about TV, exercise your brain-cells, experience how other people develop ideas and meet members. It will be entertaining and rewarding – and who knows, we may even get a TV show commissioned off the back of it.

The event is being held at Leap Anywhere’s offices on Tuesday the 26th January.

We’ll meet from 7pm, the talk will start promptly at 7.30pm and will be followed by brainstorming at around 8pm. It’s a members only event and free. As it is being held at an office, you can bring your own wine, beer and freshments.

Attendees list:

- Michael Acton Smith, Founder, Moshi Monsters
- Sonia Hully, Founder, Love Definitely
- Nic Brisbourne, Partner, DFJ Esprit
- Paul Birch, Investor/Co-founder, Birthday Alarm/Bebo
- Tom Boardman, Co-founder,
- Gabrielle Laine-Peters, Architectural designer, Freelance
- Andrew Gerrard, Consultant, Freelance
- Oliver Mardling, Founder, What Talent
- Jeremy Kay, Founder, now house
- Malcolm Scovil, Founder, Leap Anywhere
- Duncan Cheatle, Founder, Supper Club
- Poppy Dinsey, Business/product development, Freelance
- James Aylett, Writer/filmmakers, Talk To Rex
- Milo Yiannopoulos, Phd Student. Cambridge University
- Leila Wilcox, Founder, Halos n Horns
- Mike Fairbrass, Head of Modeling, Richard Rogers Partnership
- Robert Loch, Founder, YesAndClub
- David Prever, Founder, Brandspanking

We are very excited to announce that the YesAndClub speaker event for January will be a fireside chat with Colin Wilkinson. He comes to us fresh off a huge success with Three Sixty Entertainment (the company behind Peter Pan) which won UK Start-up of the Year. He’s a man that can make it happen and who knows how to raise funding.

Colin is a serial entrepreneur with expertise in sales and marketing, corporate fund raising, and strategic consulting.

He is currently CEO of Incubation that is a specialist business start-up, investment and turn-around boutique.

Previously Colin co-founded Three Sixty Entertainment. In 2009 he lead the fund raising of £2.75m in 4 months (from 56 angels) making it amongst the largest angel fund-raising in the UK and helped launch this major new international entertainment business.

Its 1st production, Peter Pan, has been a smash-hit (selling more tickets than Mama Mia in London to become the 2nd best selling show this season), and is now embarking on a world tour, following a run at the O2. The business was the winner of 2009 UK Start-up of the Year Award, and Innovative Business of the Year Award sponsored by Visa.

Prior to that Colin was Founder and Managing Director of Creative Experience Company Ltd (Venice) where he raised £1.8m to create a new concept in tourist attractions, a 21st Century Son-et-Lumière, with a show called The Story of Venice. It was one of the longest-running shows of any kind in Italy, described by the New Yorker as “Simply the Best Show in Town.”

He also founded VMC with broadcaster, Noel Edmonds, and grew the company to become the largest dedicated video conferencing provider in the UK, winning a number of industry plaudits including European Reseller of the Year – ‘Special Award’ by Polycom, the industry’s largest manufacturer.

He also has experience on the corporate side with roles as Sales and Marketing Director of Eidos Plc and Business Consultant at Accenture.


The event will be on Wednesday 20th of January from 7-11pm.
Start: 7pm
Fireside chat and Q&A: 7.30-8.30pm
Networking: 8.30pm-11pm


Julia Hall, Founder, Women Unlimited
Adam Martin, Head of New Media, United Agents
Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder, The Scarlett Mark
Jeremy Wooding, Film director, Freelance (Peep Show)
Gemma Went, Founder, Red Cube Marketing
Jamie Murray-Wells, Founder, Glasses Direct
James Hurley, Editor, Growing Business Magazine
Jamie Klingler, Photography director, Shortlist Magazine
Will Jeffery, CEO, Maverick Media
Oli Barrett, Social entrepreneur, Freelance
Louise Meakes, Co-founder, Sand in my toes
Henrik Werdelin, Entrepreneur in residence, Index Ventures
Alx Klive, Founder, Affinity Media Group
Zoe de Pass, Head of Digital Strategy, We Are VI
David Prever, Founder, Brandspanking
Hannah Prevett, Reporter, Management Today
James Willis, Director/Literary Agent, Watson Little
Lucy Johnston, Founder, The Neon Birdcage
Jeremy Kay, Founder, now house
David Hart, CEO, Codegent
Claire Margetts, Project Co-ordinator Catlin Arctic Survey
Mark Herring, Creative director, TALENT LAB
Claire Gapper, Managing director, Wired Events
Richard Alvin, Managing Director, Capital Business Media
Tom Ball, Founder, Cognac
Julia Macmillan, Founder, Toyboy Warehouse
Simon Prockter, Founder, Adventura
Justin Champney, Co-founder,
Sonia Hully, Founder, Love Definitely
Craig Hill, Founder, Digital Outlook
Sara Rizk, Deputy Editor,
Paul Birch, Investor/Co-founder, and Bebo
Johannes Kraft, Deal executive, ETV Capital
Gemma Johnson, Co-founder, BaBeeCard
Graham Painter, Co-founder, The Playground
Robert Fenton, Founder, Robert Fenton Enterprises
Andy Ashburner, Founder, Caffeinehit
Malcolm Scovil, Founder, Leap Anywhere
Gabrielle Laine-Peters, Architectural designer, Freelance
Matt Hagger, Founder, E-Man
Christine Hartland, Founder, Mosaic Networking
Kieran O’Neil, Founder, Playfire
Emma Haslett, Reporter, Smarta
Joshua March, Co-founder, iPlatform
Stef Lewandowski, Entrepreneur, Stealth mode
Andy Hunter, Creative, Maverick Media
Caroline Bosher, Special agent and personal brander, Freelance
Paul Clarke, Strategy consultant, Freelance
Joe Neale, Head of End User Programs, Symbian
Karen Durham-Diggins, PR & communications consultant, Freelance
James Aylett, Founder, Tartarus
Annette Kramer, Marketing consultant, Annette Kramer Consulting
Oliver Mardling, Founder, What Talent
Lucie Friar, Client Services Director, Maverick Media
Mark McDermott, Managing Partner, Codegent
Farhan Rehman, Founder, Conscious Comms
Poppy Dinsey, Business/product development, Gun for hire
Andrew Gerrard, Consultant, Freelance
Katarina Skoberne, Co-founder, OpenAd
Nick Tsinonis, Founder, Intro Analytics
Joan Lockwood, Social media consultant, Freelance
Will Head, Co-founder, Fixation Video
Bindi Karia, VC/Emerging Business Lead, Microsoft UK
Andrew Ellis, Founder, Eyetoeye Digital
Wendy Tan White, Founder, Moonfruit
Rob Evans, Production director, Wired Events
Samantha White, Director, Miss White
Meaghan Fitzgerald, Marketing, Spoonfed

This YesAndClub discussion dinner is on the subject of How Ideas Spread. During each course we will discuss the theme from a different perspective. Traditionally there are 3 things that you shouldn’t discuss at dinner so:

First course: How Ideas Spread – Religion
Second course: How Ideas Spread – Politics
Third course: How Ideas Spread – Sex
Coffee: General discussion on How Ideas Spread

The dinner will be 3 courses and includes 1 bottle of wine and coffee. It will be held on the 25th January in the private dining room at Adam Street Club. The price is £50


John Mitchinson, Co-founder of QI
Tiffany St James, Founder, Stimulation Ltd
Simon Richards, Author, Shakespeare’s Truth
Sophie Neary, Gun for Hire, Freelance
Alx Clive, Founder, Affinity Media Group
Julia Macmillian, Founder, Toyboy Warehouse
James Aylett, Writer/filmmakers, Talk To Rex
Paul Clarke, Strategy consultant, Freelance
Tom Ball, Founder, Cognac
Robert Loch, Founder, YesAndClub

The YesAndClub Christmas drinks are on the 9th of December. A huge thank you to Leap Anywhere and Barefoot Wines for sponsoring the wine.

Registration to the event is now closed, however, if you are a member email me and I’ll fit you in.

Simon Richards, Author, Shakespears Truth
Fleur Britten, Senior commissioning editor, Sunday Times Style Magazine
Colin Wilkinson, Co-founder, Three Sixty Entertainment /Peter Pan
Karen Hanton, Founder, toptable
Jamie Klingler, Photography director, Shortlist Magazine
Malcolm Scovil, Founder, Leap Anywhere
Richard Greatrex, Head of Development, Brandspanking
Tiffany St James, Founder, Stimulation
Simon Campbell, CEO, Viapost
Judith Clegg, Founder, The Glasshouse
Justin Champney, Co-founder,
Alastair Duncan, Founder, MRM Worldwide
Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder, The Scarlett Mark
Andrew Ellis, Founder, Eyetoeye Digital
Joanna Jepson, Chaplin, The London College of Fashion
Judge Ralph Hill, Retired Superior Court Judge, Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit
Paul Birch, Co-founder, Bebo/BirthdayAlarm
Paul Clarke, Strategy consultant, Freelance
Marie Ferguson, Founder, Ice Cube Design
Daren Forsyth, Founder, 140 Characters
Lucy Macleod, Founder, Show and Tell Films
Michael Acton Smith, Founder, Moshi Monsters
Hannah Prevett, Reporter, Management Today
Angus Bankes, Founder, Moreover
Amanda Groom, Co-founder, Virtual City PA
Nick Bell, Co-founder,
Joe Neale, Head of End User Programs, Symbian
James Aylett, Founder, Tartarus
Kaspars Upmanis, Co-founder, Trousers London
Diana Bird, Founder, Wedge Card
Oliver Mardling, Founder, What Talent
Sophie Neary, Operations Director, ESP
Alx Klive, Founder, WorldTV
Andy Lopata, Networking strategist and author, Freelance
Alex Martin, Co-founder, Curious Generation
Lucy Johnston, Founder, The Neon Birdcage
Annette Kramer, Marketing consultant, Annette Kramer Consulting
Simon Prockter, Founder, Adventura
Michelle Acton-Bond, Director, We Should Try
Alex Bellinger, Founder, SmallBizPod
Julia Macmillan, Founder, Toyboy Warehouse
Anke Holst, Founder, Conscious Communications
Mike Fairbrass, Head of Modeling, Richard Rogers Partnership
Claire Margetts, Catlin Arctic Survey
Felix Velarde, Founder, Underwire
Karen Durham-Diggins, PR & communications consultant, Freelance
Bretton Putter, Managing Partner, Forsyth Group
Sonia Hully, Founder, Love Definitely
Ryan Gallagher, Founder, IOVOX
Emma Mulqueeny, Head of transformational government, The Home Office
Rob Carter, CFO, Freelance
Caroline Bosher, Special agent and personal brander, Freelance
Alicia Navarro, Co-founder, Skimlinks
Poppy Dinsey, Business development and product, Globrix
Richard O’Connor, Founder, Winning Entrepreneurs
Gabrielle Laine-Peters, Architectural designer, Freelance
Milo Yiannopoulos, Phd Student. Cambridge University
Anthony Eskinazi, Founder, ParkAtMyHouse
Carli Deysel, Consultant, ThoughtWorks
Matt Hagger, Founder, E-Man
Matthew Carrozo, Digital Strategist, We Are VI
Vikki Chowney, Editor, Reputation Online
Philip Wilkinson, Founder, Genie Ventures
Christine Hartland, Founder, Mosaic Networking
Xander Cansell, Research, QI
Michael Litman, Social Media Strategist, Consolidated PR

By Rhett & Link