You are invited..
We’ve had some lovely invitations in our time at Neon Play, including trips to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace and speaking to MPs at the Houses of Parliament.
Off to Number 10
But our CEO Oli got a bit of an out-of-the-blue invitation to meet the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at 10 Downing Street. It was for a reception of tech entrepreneurs and Oli had somehow wangled his way onto the invite list.
RSVP. Thank you very much. Oli would love to come.
Drinks at Parliament
Before he headed to No 10, Oli had a drink on the very nice terrace in the Houses of Parliament with Justin Tomlinson MP, who is a Small Business Ambassador and friend of Neon Play.
It was a lovely sunny day and there can't be many lovelier places to enjoy a pint of subsidised beer.
It's a short walk from Parliament down Whitehall to Downing Street, avoiding tourists taking pictures of Big Ben. See below for a behind the scenes look at getting into Downing Street.
It was a lovely balmy evening in the London, so we went downstairs into the Downing Street garden, which was all very nice. Beers and nibbles all round. There were some big hitters at the reception with the CEOs of companies like king.com, Shazam, lastminute.com and Facebook. And Oli.
Yes, Prime Minister
After 30 minutes or so, the Prime Minister appeared and started circulating amongst the guests.
As you can imagine, there was a bit of a bun flight to get some of DC’s attention, but Oli managed to butt in and talk to the PM, telling him he ran a mobile games studio in the Cotswolds. The PM commented that the Cotswolds was “a hotbed of talent”. How right he was.
Oli also met Ed Davey MP, Minister for Culture, Comms & Creative Industries and David Willetts MP, Minister for State for Universities and Science - Oli told him about the big skills shortage in the UK.
The PM then gave an excellent speech and talked about the importance of business to the economy and how tech companies are making such a huge difference.
All off the cuff for 10 minutes with no notes - impressive stuff.
Behind the scenes
We’ve all seen Downing Street on the TV a million times, but it’s sort of hard to imagine what it looks like in real life sometime. So here is a bit of a sneaky peak behind the scenes.
First of all you have the big iron gates where security checks your name is on the list. Oli wasn’t riding his bicycle, so he got through with no swearing or being rude to the nice coppers.
There was mild panic when Oli had forgotten his passport/driving licence to prove he was who he was. So we had the very 21st century way of ID proof by Googling yourself and going to Google Images. Bingo!
Then you go into a little wooden security hut and get your laptop bag X-rayed. Like Heathrow, but with a bit more charm. And then you’re into Downing Street and it’s a dead-end street and not very big at all.
10 Downing Street, baby!
And there is No. 10 that has welcomed so many world leaders.
It is quite literally the shiniest door in the world. Shiny as a shiny diamond, but shinier.
The door opens magically and you’re into the hall, which is nothing that amazing or big really and you put your mobile phone into a pigeon hole, dump your laptop bag on the floor (literally - no cloakroom ladies here) and then we went downstairs into the garden.
It’s a nice big London garden and rather sweetly, there’s a slide, swing, climbing frame combo like in most family gardens.
They don’t like you taking pictures outside the door until you leave and everyone dropped their “I’m an important CEO facade” and were taking pictures in front of the door like it was their first baby. Oli was no different and shamelessly did the same.
The Cotswolds comes to town
Even plonking a Rock the Cotswolds wristband on the door knocker. The man has no shame.