Milo Yiannopoulos is concerned that Doug Richard’s School for Startups may be headed for trouble.
“It has been a busy start to the year at School for Startups,” writes Doug Richard – personally, he is at pains to add – in an email to those of us forgetful enough to have left ourselves on his mailing list. “The Web Fuelled Business Bootcamps are sadly all over and it was great to see some familiar faces at our events across the country.”
The indefatigable Mr Richard then precedes to regale spamees with details of a “Two Day Intensive Bootcamp”, to be run in June at a Hilton in Cobham, Surrey, called “Creative Country Business”. One particularly spiteful member of The Kernel’s editorial team wondered if, having failed to set the internet industry alight with his “investment” in Floxx, formerly FitFinder (nice gig, actually: a few intros in exchange for equity and chairmanship of a board, followed by… total silence), Richard is now turning his hand to agriculture.
And here’s where the truly tragicomic elements begin to appear. The course, we are told, “is my full course for young businesses. I work through my 10 Question Methodology over two days and help you break your business down so you know what to do to make it grow. If you attend the course you get the entire online e-learning set of courses for FREE. (We all know it’s my favourite word).”
Am I alone in detecting a transformation here from non-investing telly reality star to wannabe Tony Robbins?
Congruent with this self-help guru metamorphosis, it’s after careful deployment of the word “free” that the true cost of participating emerges: “The online e-learning course package that costs £478.80 is included in the cost of the two day event of £495. So you are getting the two day event for just £17! The full benefits package is worth £500!”
“I think that it’s a great value for anyone who is serious about really making their business tick,” writes Doug, as he laments the fact that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has failed to garner any corporate sponsorship. (“Unfortunately not subsidised,” as he tactfully puts it.) The word on the street is that Richard is finding it increasingly difficult to persuade his rich friends to stump up for uninspiring and under-subscribed courses.
“I bet you thought you’d heard the last from me for a while,” Doug writes in his chatty, down-with-the-kids missive. “But you haven’t!”
That’s something, believe it or not, I take no pleasure in. School for Startups has only ever been a vehicle for Richard’s intergalactic ego. But the lurid stories that emerge from it on a regular basis from pretty blonde things who leave as quickly as they arrive are to The Kernel what spinach is to Popeye. Frankly, I don’t know what we’d write about without the regular comic turns the former Dragon keeps performing.
Then of course there are the quotes by Doug’s disgruntled former employees (otherwise known as “Doug’s former employees”). Here’s my favourite, which I know I repeat too often, but which makes me giggle every time I see it.
“School for Startups? It was more like an abattoir.”