My 2p

Today’s papers are full of A-Level stories, so here’s mine.

I got shit A-Levels – Ds, Es – total rubbish. That made me think I was stupid (on paper – I knew I wasn’t really stupid – I was a hell of a lot smarter than most others in school – I got what I wanted, I made extra money renting out videos and I had a Saturday job – deep (although I didn’t have to look far) inside myself I knew I was damn good).

It took a while but about 10 years later I proved (on paper) that I had a brain. Here I am graduating inside Durham Cathedral from a top-10 (sometimes top 5) university with a 2:1 (Hons) – plus 4 academic prizes – in Software Engineering:

Bill Bryson

The Chancellor at the time was Bill Bryson – nice chap – great speech (especially about not whinging, “No one ever got invited to dinner because they’re a really good whinger”.

Once it was official that I had a brain I got an MBA, this time from Imperial College (top 2 or 3 in the country – nice). I didn’t get a fancy photo this time but here’s one of me eating a sandwich just after graduating in the Royal Albert Hall:

MBA GraduationAfter that I sort of hit my stride. I found a job I loved at Pembridge, organised for Y Combinator to come to London at YCLDN, co-founded Student Upstarts and 9others. And 9others is very much the future. It got me here:

MS at No10And here:

MS and The QueenSo A-Levels don’t matter as much as what you do afterwards – whatever you do don’t blame anything post-A-Level on things you did pre-and-during-A-Level.