I’m very interested in how startups validate their ideas. I’m finding that actually a huge amount of them barely do. Or just do it very badly.

There’s no one right way to validate a startup idea. And, even if you do it perfectly, it doesn’t guarantee success. But it does hugely reduce the risk of failure.

What I outline below is the method I’ve been using for a while. It’s not comprehensive, and each of the steps can be done in a much more detailed way. …

This is my friend John. In 2012 he rowed across the Atlantic. As I write this he is prepping to do something similar, by rowing across the Indian Ocean. The incredible tale of his first row was so compelling that I asked him to speak about it at a couple of events I used to run.

John is a retired firefighter from Barry, South Wales. As a result, he’s been to more than his fair share of funerals. …

Regular readers will remember that we recently launched Ramp For Good, our project to support organisations doing great work in their communities. By providing free or heavily subsidised t-shirts we hope to help improve their ability to be visible, raise funds, or promote themselves.

Early last week we were in the final stages of organising our next shipment of t-shirts to an organisation making the world a better place. Suddenly we got a message out of the blue from a small group of people in Manchester. They were organising a 24hr marathon of back to back matches. Their cause was…

Keen IO are a San Francisco startup that makes it easy to create real-time data applications through the use of their API. What this means in non-tech terms is that 60,000 people use Keen IO APIs to capture, analyze, and embed data analytics into their products. It allows them to use all this data and present it in a usable way, through graphs, charts, tables etc.

Because they’re a technical product, their primary users tend to be developers. And to engage their audience they’ve hidden* a brilliant free t-shirt Easter egg in their API documentation — for our non-technical readers…

I’m probably not a very good boss.

And for someone whose job title is CEO, that’s not a great endorsement of myself, right?

So, I’m committed to becoming better, especially as Ramp is growing quickly and taking on more staff. I’ve employed people on and off in various capacities since my early twenties. But I’ve never once really considered it to be something I had to “work on”. I just assumed that as a “good guy” (I hope), it was something that would naturally mean that people would trust what I’m saying, and understand my vision. …

How to increase event attendee numbers & satisfaction for just £3 a head

Whenever I wear my TEDxCardiff t-shirt people ask me when the next event is.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself.

How much did you spend per head on food and drinks for your last conference? $10? £20? €50

How much did you spend per head on marketing to get people to your seminar? €5? £10? $20??

And how much do people speak about the catering afterwards? How much do people comment on your marketing strategies in the weeks after your event?


No-one’s going to be talking about them…

Tipping the scales with customised t-shirts

Are branded t-shirts a justified marketing expense and one of the best best adwords alternative? There’s an endless stream of other things you could spend that money on — Facebook advertising, PPC, print, direct mail, you name it.

Now, I’ve never seen anybody dressed in a Google Adwords campaign, but a well-designed and well thought out company t-shirt can be a devastatingly effective and versatile business tool.

But here’s the big question — are t-shirts just a vanity thing, or are they actually worth investing money in? And are they really a better advertising medium than Facebook or Google?


Neil is the CEO and co-founder of RampTshirts.com, the world’s fastest, smartest t-shirt ordering site for teams and events.

Big sign on the wall at Ignite

Starting from scratch?

Almost exactly 12 months ago, in early January 2016, one of my co-founders, Dafydd, and I left a cold, wet Cardiff at 5am to trundle down the M4 to start our first day on the Ignite accelerator in London, a three month programme that we hoped would grow (no, if i’m being honest, save) our business. At the same time, our CTO was making the even more tortuous journey from Sofia, Bulgaria. …

Neil is the CEO and co-founder of RampTshirts.com, the world’s fastest, smartest t-shirt ordering site for teams and events.

You’ve got your logo ready to go.

You’ve got thousands of people ready to buy. Your event is coming up soon.

Time to get some screen printed t-shirts made. Cool. We do that.

Here’s a quick walkthrough of the ordering process, including the info about how we help you with sizing (you can read more about that here)

Hit us up on the live chat at http://www.ramptshirts.com and we’ll answer any questions you have.

Need a design made to print on your shirts? Or maybe you’ve got a design, but you need it edited for a special event? How about removing the background so it’s transparent when we print it? Of course, the best way to do it is to hire a professional graphic designer, but they don’t always come cheap, so here’s a few alternatives:

This neat logo design service lets you type the name of your company, and automatically generates a selection of suitable logos. You can buy the logo in print quality for about $30.

For $5, you can ask…

Neil Cocker

@RampTshirts CEO. Co-founded @CardiffStart, @TEDxCardiff & @IgniteCardiff. @FfilmCymruWales board. Ex-music industry. Runner. Wants to make things better.

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