How (Not) To Deal With A Brexit

Is that…Google Campus? Is that…Rob?

This is really happening; “Great” Britain is leaving the EU. “What’s the EU?”, I hear you ask. It’s the thing that we’re leaving. Try googling it.
Yes, you are living in a country that thinks it’s a good idea to leave a 28 country strong block with more political and economic clout than Donald Trump could swing a golf club at.
Yes, the main reason we decided to do this was because of some tall stories told by a big blonde bully of a public school boy, a man who looks like a lizard, and a man who looks like a frog. And while we’re on the subject of reptiles and amphibians, it’s enough to give anyone a turtle’s head, frankly.

But before you get your Article 50’s in a twist, read our handy guide which explains what not to do now that Britain has decided it would like to return en masse to the 1950s. Ah, the 1950’s, that halcyon age of socialist governments, mass participation social projects like the NHS, and widespread immigration…but, hang on, that’s not what we…or was it?

Here’s what you need to be worried about:

1/ The Talent Pool

Are you ready to replace Svetlana, Mariusz, Diego and Helga with John, Jack, Jill and James? A lot of people are saying the Brexiteers fought a campaign based on empty threats about hordes of immigrants “coming to our country and taking our jobs”. Well, more than 50% of London’s tech startup founders are foreigners, free to come and go as they please thanks to the EU’s open borders rule. Lose them, and London’s Tech scene loses. It just loses, big time. But fear not, say the Brexiteers…now we don’t have to prioritise the hiring of EU talent to fulfil our quota, we can make it easier for Australians, New Zealanders, Indians or Chinese to come to these rain sodden shores – provided we haven’t sunk by then.

So is it really goodbye Gunn, au revoir Renee, Ta-Ta Tatania, G’day Brad, Kia Ora Kirk, Namaste Naabhi and Ni Hao Nuan?
Time will tell, but of course the reality is that good founders don’t simply chop and change their teams as if they were policies in a referendum debate – they have responsibilities! Every person, every culture, brings a different skill set, a different approach to the problem. So perhaps it’s time to start looking at that Airbnb property in Berlin, and trying to remember if that great aunt was Scottish or Irish. One EU passport, please!

2/ European Investors Pulling Out

 Actually, why stop at European? The American VCs used to come to London, do the Tower of London and Big Wheel (say, whatever happened to that dome you chaps built?) and rent an office before heading to gay Paris. The trouble is, they only have 10 days of holiday, and they’re hearing great things about the Croatian startup scene. Did London just get hooked from the “skedule”?

Brexiteers would argue the bulk of VC investment into the UK comes from the UK…hmm, they really haven’t got used to this whole import/export thing have they? Guess it doesn’t matter now…write to your European investors, folks, let them know your are thinking of them. Tell them about the artificial ski-slope in Hemel Hempstead!

2/ The Brain Drain

Now all these talented, intelligent, hard working Jonny-foreigners  are being sent back where they came from that means all the talented Brits will come out of the woodwork, right? Wrong actually, they’re all moving to Silicon Valley, where the real money is! And to hang out with their friends.  They’re “international”, see – like we used to be! Still, maybe they’ll drop by when London declares itself an independent state. Good luck moving the Queen out of Buckingham palace, mind. Or Balmoral, for that matter.

4/ The Last Chance Saloon

Ok, ok, nobody panic. We haven’t invoked Article 50 yet, protesters are out on the streets, and surely that nice Ms Merkel and that avuncular Jean-Claude Juncker aren’t going to insist we leave now just because we poked them in the eye with a sh*tty stick?
Erm, remember that time that ex caught you writing a break up note and said, “thank Dog you ended it, it spares me the embarrassment”, and then you changed your mind, and then they were gone? Yeah, that. You cried a bit, didn’t you. Well cry me a river, baby, because the EU elite ain’t the forgiving kind.

Still, if we lose Europe’s finest talent, our routes to market, ability to trade with our biggest partners, and the seed investment to grow our companies, at least we’ll have plenty of time to “chillax!”
Who’s joining the Cameron’s and the Johnson’s on Whitstable beach next year? Or you can always head to Glastonbury with the Labour Party ; )

Keep on hustlin’

Rob

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