All change…

Learning Pool Team

Learning Pool Team

In the many years I’ve worked in startup land I’ve watched other founders and CEOs hang around for far too long – hell I’ve probably even worked for a few of them – and I’ve always been pretty determined that I wouldn’t repeat the same mistake myself…so after 7 long & happy years as part of the Learning Pool senior team I’m disappearing back into the tech startup scene proper.  Working in a scale-up can be great – but it isn’t for me.

In reality what this means is that I’ll continue to do some stuff for Learning Pool that I really love (strategic sales, profile building, input to long term strategy) but less of the operational day to day matters that if I’m honest with myself I don’t really enjoy.  I’m going to get out of the way & give my co-founder space to build the company to the next stage with help from our very able management team.

So…what’s next for me?  I’m going to return to working with (most definitely) early stage (most likely) tech startups with (most probably) quite young teams, helping out with all those things that many first time entrepreneurs find troublesome – raising finance, finding & managing investors, picking which product or version of a product to back, getting to revenue on a shoestring, determining the best market entry strategy – all the stuff I love doing.

And guess what – I CAN’T WAIT.

So how do I feel at the end of a day spent mostly on the phone breaking the news to my team and a few trusted friends and associates?  Most of all I feel proud of what I’ve achieved over the past 7 years.  We’ve built a robust, growing company with a fabulous community of customers, we’ve assembled a world class high performing team and we offer scaleable and useful technology at an affordable price.  I also feel dizzying waves of excitement that are masking a sneaky bit of underlying sadness.

I’ll leave you today with a quote from Alexander Graham Bell “When one door closes another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” 

Watch this space!  I hope you all have comments 🙂


  1. Nice one Mary. Learning Pool is some achievement and I am glad that you plucked me from my previous safe seat to join the team on what has been a great adventure so far. I’m sure that there are many other people out there that will be lucky enough to influenced, educated and even mentored by you.
    Nice to know that you’ll still be there but wanted to say thanks for your part in getting us to here.



    1. Too sweet Chris. I get embarrassed when people congratulate me for any sort of success but Learning Pool is a real triumph & has been a complete team effort over the past 7 years. All I’ve ever had to do is dance around the edges a bit & grab the steering wheel a few times – oh yeah – and put my best pitching shoes on every morning. It’s been fun!


  2. Surprising news Mary!

    Congratulations obviously due for what you (and Paul) have achieved.

    Fully understand your desire to follow your passions and wish you every success in the future.

    Can’t wait to hear about what you’re up to.



    1. So little time Ken & so much to get done 🙂 Not many people are surprised today. I think they’re all amazed that I’ve managed to spend 7 years not getting too distracted by the rest of the shiny things….


  3. Well done Mary for making Learning Pool what it is today. I’m sure you’ll leaving it in strong hands and the fact that you’ll still be there in the background means they know they have your expertise to hand. All the best for your next venture.


    1. Thank you Naureen. Who knows what I’ll do next. I’ll be around for Governor Live in Feb 2014 & looking forward to seeing you & Jo in a couple of weeks.


  4. Wow – big news and am very excited for you and those lucky enough to work with you in the future!

    You’ll be a big loss to LP day to day, but Paul and the team will learn how to cope I’m sure!

    Lots of love from all the Briggsies xxx


    1. Thank you Dave & Catherine – maybe I’ll get a chance to get up & see you all sometime soon now x

      Looking forward to working with you again Dave in some way…


    1. Thanks very much for taking the time out to write a note Terry – hope all is going well so far & see you in Belfast sometime soon I hope


  5. Mary,

    Learning Pool’s “loss” will be some Start Up’s GAIN and I only wish I had a tech start up that you could get behind and grow with some laughs along the way I’m sure.

    All the very best to you in your new endeavours. If still London-based, a catch up and a cup of tea would be grand at some point. Still not forgotten the day I crossed swords with you when we still had PSF, happy days. Bon chance – The Derbyshire Dandy x


    1. That wasn’t really crossing swords Nick – that was only a minor negotiation skirmish 🙂

      In London for the foreseeable – shout me for tea any time – would love to see you x


  6. Mary,

    Two words spring to mind.
    “Surprising” – how could this happen?!?!
    “Inevitable” – how could this not happen?!?!

    Reading your post and thinking about it, well it’s surprising and inevitable. Congratulations and best of luck on the new chapter.



      1. Sorry Mary I’m only just picking this up today.

        “Unforseeable, that’s what you are……” 🙂 The best five minute tirade I’ve ever heard, ever.


    1. Why thank you Sharon – you’re no shy retiring violet yourself – maybe there’ll be something we can do together going forward – now I can think of a few people who’d struggle in working with us as a business team – hahaha


    1. Thanks John – there are a few events coming up early December that I’m sure we’ll both be at 🙂 Just heading for tea with one of your partners in crime this afto….


  7. I’m a little emotional reading your blog and the lovely comments.. What a busy, frantic,exciting & fruitful 7 years you & Paul have had growing LP. A fab team you have worked with.. More adventures ahead.
    Your extremely proud sister
    Trish xx


  8. Just want to say thanks Mary for your Inspiration and Leadership. I’m so glad we met that day in East London and that i’ve worked with you and your talented #teamlovely in Learning Pool.
    If you have the same firm belief in what you do next as you do now in Learning Pool it’s sure to be a success!

    Can’t wait to read that book or see the film ….
    Hope your plans do mean we get to meet up and drink some (Yorkshire) tea together soon.


    1. I suspect you will see more of me instead of less Paul 🙂 It’s been great working with you too – but I don’t expect that will really change too much. Watch this space!


  9. Mary, I’m sure what ever you take on next will be a success. Aunty M and Trish are rightly proud. Your Dad will be quietly smiling . Best of luck from all in Gortin. Brian


    1. Cheers Brian – excited about the future – will be home between Dec 13 & 23 & will make sure the Fig is Gortin bound – long overdue for a visit – will bring the crew 🙂


  10. Mary, how exciting! As one who has spent my life building business and selling, moving on to new things renews and regenerates you. How exciting and rewarding to be working with young start ups the talent is there but the business know how is the gap between success and failure. I wish you all the best and look forward to meeting on dec 20th looks like it will be quite a lunch,


    Eleanor Mc Evoy
    Budget energy ltd


    1. Ha – will probably have to slum it & do a bit in Belfast Martin – but that’s ok too. Yeah – I am one of the luckiest people alive…


  11. *raises hand* I’m in for breaking new ground! Where do I sign up!? I’ll be on the West Coast until New Years, which could be good to meet you there, either way it will be nice to have that coffee soon! : ) #awesomeness


  12. Hi Mary,

    Best of luck in your new stage of your career. We’ve never met but I have always followed what you and Paul have achieved at Learning Pool. Well done on that success and I’m sure your next work will be every bit as successful.

    Best wishes,


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