This month marks two years since I founded Argella. This is probably the first time that I have shared my thoughts in a place available for all to see. Why now?
A lot has happened in two years. I left a corporate career that I held for seventeen years. A job that I enjoyed, a firm that I admired and people that were a pleasure to work with (most of the time). I left as I no longer had control over my own destiny, wanted to choose my own path and innovate. That’s what I said when I left and set up Argella immediately after. In reality, the decision was more complex and one that is not often talked about.
I also left as I needed time to breathe. Time to think about the things that are important in life that are often neglected when you have a position that involves you being on call and travelling all ends of the world – I left to put myself, friends and family first. It is rare to find a corporate environment that allows you to really do this and why would you? You want to do the best for your employees, but are still driven by profits and / or a corporate goal.
Argella was founded on the principles of connecting with founders that needed support in their business, wether early stage or simply starting a new business line or needing external advice. I enjoy working with people that devote their time to their business, and I think about their business as if it were my own.
I look for founders and businesses that seek to innovate and solve complex problems. Whilst my focus has been fintech, it expands beyond to any areas that involve complex search, data and collaboration. There is often a common connection to these problems across different verticals and it can help to have advice from those with differing domain expertise. When I work with my clients or take on advisory positions, they know that they are dealing with me and no one else. I don’t claim to be anything more or less than I am.
I also find it rewarding that I can think about the opportunity on how I want to give back to society. It is easy to find multi-billionaire philanthropists as no matter how hard they try, they struggle to spend their wealth and will inherently have far too much left after their life time. I applaud them for their efforts, but I do believe that everyone of us can do more which is more impactful and more of sacrifice than those in a position of extreme wealth. For this reason, I would like to highlight three organisations that I actively support:
Founders Pledge operates on the premise that founders / entrepreneurs donate a percentage of their shares on an exit in their companies. As an advisor to several companies with equity, I view this as a binary option. Whilst I expect an exit opportunity, I recognise that most start-ups will fail with nil equity value. I would hope that my selection process would negate this and view any percentage gain that is donated far less than I would have paid as a higher rate tax payer, providing for a cause that I care about.
GiveDirectly allows me to donate to some of the poorest people and areas in the world. It works on the principle of providing a direct connection with the donor and recipient of the funds. Too many of the charities that I used to support had just become too big to really understand and appreciate the impact of where my funds were being used.
Restore the Music UK is different to those I mention above. It is not leveraging smart tech or data to deliver results. It is much smaller and allows me to be actively involved in something that makes a real difference in a community that is local to me. It also involves delivering music to children, something that when you see in their hands is inspirational.
What now? You don’t need to do anything. If this article resonates with you in anyway then please feel free to connect – my door is always open.
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