Bruce Daisley: The Joy of Work

“The reason that you’re here is because we’re designing Wood Wharf with scaling entrepreneurial businesses and individuals in mind” – Tarun Mathur, Canary Wharf Group


The #WeAreWoodWharf event series is bringing members of London’s scale-up community together for intimate gatherings to encourage important discussions and establish meaningful connections.

Our first event was hosted by Bruce Daisley, Twitter’s former VP EMEA and the Sunday Times’ bestselling author of The Joy of Work. The event focused on exploring the changes that can be made to create a happier and more engaged workforce.

Following breakfast, provided by FarmerJ and 640East, (Wood Wharf neighbourhood favourites), guests were invited to join Bruce Daisley to talk about workplace culture, and how they could achieve The Joy of Work. Bruce was at Twitter in its scale-up stage and has seen first-hand the significance of workplace culture, and just how defining it can be to a businesses’ success.




A businesses success depends on its employees, with Bruce voicing that one of the most significant factors in creating the best teams is psychological safety. Creating an environment in which feedback can be given candidly, and securely, whilst also allowing for mistakes to be admitted to without fear of the consequences.

It isn’t just the type of environment, but how long we spend in it which plays a significant role. Given the success of Elon Musk, people might find it surprising that Bruce advises against Musk’s hustle culture, encouraging attendees to be inspired more by the prolific writer, Charles Dickens. Dickens would write for 5 hours in the morning before spending his afternoon walking 10 miles; make sure you allow time for yourself within your day, to stimulate your creativity.




With the observation that small teams make better decisions, there was also hugely encouraging messages for the Wood Wharf community that is being built for scale-ups, and to support their growth. Size does matter, but perhaps not in the way that we traditionally think.

Bruce spoke of changes that can be made, which “lead to better ideas and more creativity” – most of these changes were small in nature, but big in impact. These ideas sparked discussion around the ideas brought to the room, and the broader issues around workplace culture, both with Bruce and among our scale-up guests.




The first of our #WeAreWoodWharf events achieved what is at the heart of the Wood Wharf community; innovators within the scale-up community coming together, to discuss the hot topics that matter. Creating an environment that allows people to learn and grow alongside each other, with Bruce Daisley providing insight from having been there, and done it.

We look forward to continuing to act as a connector for this community and driving the conversation, with our upcoming event in October centering around Wellbeing, hosted by Michael Wong. If the #WeAreWoodWharf event series is something you are interested in being involved in then contact us via Twitter or Instagram.

Events for the shakers, the makers and the innovators of London.

Smile, you’re on social media

A case of mistaken identity led to Patrick Ambron’s startup, BrandYourself. Like most successful businesses, the idea for BrandYourself was born from a problem. When a recruiter Googled Ambron’s co-founder and mistook him for a criminal, the entrepreneurs quickly searched for a reputational risk firm to ensure it could never happen again. Estimates of more than £15,000 drove them to find a more affordable solution to online management of reputation and privacy for themselves and others. BrandYourself has done so well, Ambron was offered funding on both sides of the Atlantic following appearances on Shark Tank in the U.S. and the Dragon’s Den. The 10-year old business now employs 100 people in two offices.




How does it work?

Our most popular products and services improve Google results. Some people come to us because Google brings up something negative on them. For example, we deal a lot with victims of revenge. Some people don’t have a negative, but they want to look more positive. They may freelance or own their own business and want a better Google result, or to be associated with a new business, rather than their previous company.

We have a clean up service that shows you all the posts you’ve been tagged in that you may not even realise could be damaging. There are other features, like finding all the places where your information may exist that you don’t want it to, so you can avoid being vulnerable to identity theft. We can find any account you’ve ever created and in one click, delete any you don’t need.

What was the most unexpected thing about being an entrepreneur?

Part of the appeal of starting a business is the idea that you don’t have a boss and all the freedom that comes with that. In reality, with staff, investors, and customers, you actually have more people to answer to and a lot more responsibility than your average employee.

What was the most challenging part of starting the business?

Prioritisation is a challenge in terms of sticking to a plan or one particular thing. There is a temptation to try multiple things for fear of missing something. You can end up chasing way too much – customers, features, building product. In doing so, it can be hard to prioritise, hypothesise and decide to pivot. Equally, a business that’s too scattered or lacks a clear pathway is likely to scare a savvy investor.

With recruiting, the most difficult part sounds obvious, but when it comes to building your team you’re going to be attracted to people like you with similar outlooks. In reality, what you really want to do to is find those people who fill in your gaps. It’s much harder in practice because you click with people who are more like you – but it’s really valuable to go out of your way to find people who have different points of view.

Why did you pursue funding from the Dragon’s Den?

We pursued Dragon’s Den and ultimately did a deal with Peter Jones, because we were starting to get a lot of traction organically in the UK. The idea wasn’t to get some huge investment, but to accelerate in the UK by partnering with a dragon that could open doors for us.

What about the dark side of digital reputation management? Are there any ethical conflicts when customers ask you to delete results?

This is something we thought about when we first started BrandYourself and continue to think about. We don’t work with violent criminals, people who have committed crimes of a sexual nature, hate crimes – we don’t work with anyone who falls into those categories. Ninety percent of our customers are victims of revenge. The ones we really like to help are those who just made a mistake and have turned things around. Anything that doesn’t fall into these categories is discussed and decided by our review board. There’s also the issue of using dubious methods to hide things that should be public. We’re a white hat firm, meaning we’re ethical rather than malicious in our intent. We’re not interested in removing things from the web that should be publicly accessible. If you have committed a crime, it’s still going to be in the public record.

How can consumers be proactive about managing our digital reputations?

  • Google yourself so you know the results and how they’re displayed.
  • Be mindful about where your information exists and how it’s being shared.
  • A positive digital reputation is important because people are often searching for re-enforcing factors as much as negative ones.
  • Be proactive, rather than reactive. There’s a lot you can do to protect yourself. Clean up your social media. Use LinkedIn and/or a personal website to build a positive online presence, so you control what’s most associated with you. This will help protect you against things that may come up later.

    Patrick Ambron is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of BrandYourself.

    Interview by Amy Guttman

    Twitter @AmyGuttman1

    Going places

    Cycle lanes in London may be about to get a lot busier. Call it, as some have, ‘Copenhagenisation’, after the city that has made bike lanes as wide as car lanes as part of its efforts to be the world’s first CO2-neutral capital by 2025. Or just see it as an inevitable consequence of embracing new, greener modes of transport in a city that, historically, has been rather attached to the internal combustion engined car. These days we’re all aware of, as economists refer to them, the car’s ‘negative externalities’ and their global impact.


    Yet it’s not consideration of the long-term, global issue of climate change that is driving a shift in attitude to transportation in London. “It’s more about the short-term, local and tangible,” argues Arun Khagram, head of consulting at MP Smarter Travel, a sustainable transport engagement agency, which works with local authorities and business improvement districts to introduce new ways of thinking on this matter.

    With London being the fourth most nitrogen dioxide polluted city in the world, naturally it’s a concern at the level of the individual and their family. “People have growing expectations of the built environment, particularly that it doesn’t have a negative impact on their lives,” notes Martin Gettings, head of sustainability for Canary Wharf Group, which has introduced rapid charging points and zero idling policies on its estates, among its sustainability activities – all contributing to the neighbourhoods clean air ambitions which are high on the agenda.

    Likewise, big businesses see involvement in the city’s environmental improvement as part of their progress towards sustainability accreditation. Smaller London businesses may be more interested in how eco transport can help their bottom line. “But while there’s a gap between interest and action,” says Khagram, “and while knowing where to start in what is becoming a very dynamic field can be confusing, if they discover through a pilot programme that, say, taking deliveries by cargo bike will be more cost-and-time-efficient, they’re quickly on board.”

    That’s a legitimate response – few people are without some self-interest. Therefore, across London and in many major European cities, there are diverse moves to incentivise us to tackle our dependence on environmentally-unfriendly transport. For example, workers are rewarded with reduced fares travelling on the Thames Clipper ferry – a cleaner mode of transport – to and from the Canary Wharf pier. Some are more subtle nudges to make car use more inconvenient: expect a future of even tighter emissions zoning and automated bollards popping up out of the ground to prevent access to roads at certain times of the day. But others are being readily embraced by city dwellers.



    According to Jaaniki Momaya, general manager of the transport consultancy and e-bike/scooter provider Lime, in Brussels, 37 percent its riders use Lime to get to and/or from public transport at least once a week, while 19 percent of riders use their services as a replacement for their car. And this trend is just as well. “Consider that 80 percent of Europeans are set to become city dwellers by 2050,” adds Momaya, “and it becomes clear that congestion, pollution and lack of space are only going to increase in the not so distant future.”

    London’s population is predicted to be 11 million-plus by 2050, so new ways of thinking are needed now. Consolidation is one approach: for individuals that might mean a shift to ride sharing; for businesses, the use of fewer vehicles to supply more product, or perhaps proposals to establish centres where freight is aggregated before finishing its inner-city journey by electric means.

    Yet the biggest tool driving change, says Khagram, will be technology. Jetson-esque vision of flying pods and delivery drones will continue to be the stuff of sci-fi for some time to come. Even ‘simple’ autonomous on-demand cars are, realistically, decades away. In the meantime, revolution may still come to London in the very physical form of what’s dubbed ‘micro mobility’. With 31 percent of European households now single occupancy, and a result of increased self-employment and ‘flexible’ working, ‘micro mobility’ is a potential solution to environmental anxieties and economic pressures, changing mobility demands and the nature of the journeys we make.

    This is the category comprising new forms of urban transport being enabled by ever-improving and affordable battery technology, the likes of cargo bikes, Segway-style vehicles, electric bikes and even hover-boards – all of which may one day be accessible via some future version of a Citymapper-style pass. Such forms are blurring the lines between the established ways of getting around. As Khagram puts it, we’re entering a time when we’ll look at cargo bike, for example, and ponder “just where does a bicycle stop and a van begin?”.

    Inevitably, this advance isn’t without its own complications – insurance, safety, signalling, storage, the new rules of the renaissance road will all need to be worked out sooner rather than later. But it represents a bold step towards a cleaner, quieter and more spacious city. And a necessary step too. “[We want] to benefit future generations by giving people more choice and therefore helping them shift reliance away from cars,“ says Momaya. “This move is essential if we’re ever going to be successful in reducing vehicle emissions and preventing the public health crisis of tomorrow.”

    “That’s right,” agrees Canary Wharf Group’s Gettings. “In a way we shouldn’t even be talking about ‘eco transport’, just transport and the way it needs to be now. Putting things in ‘eco’ boxes doesn’t always help. Eco transport just needs to be the norm.”

    Interview by Josh Sims