About Sam Michel & Toodlepip

Inquisitive. Hopeful. Jovial. Cantankerous. Digital marketer. Event organiser. Long-time fan of tech, collaboration and innovation. Exploring digital, social, business, technology, society, psychology & startups.

For work history, my Linkedin page has a more comprehensive of projects and events. If you’d like to chat, please get in touch. I’m always up for a natter, especially over a good cup of coffee.

You’ll find me on the following social networks:

  • linkedin
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • flickr
  • googleplus

Brief Bio

I started Chinwag in 1996 to support the nascent digital marketing industry. It’s grown alongside the industry, as have I, hopefully, with roles ranging from, arguably, the UK’s first paid webmaster at Time Out magazine, part of the founding management team of the UK’s first web agency, Webmedia and the startup team at digital off-shot of TV firm, Carlton (now part of ITV).

I’m a huge believer in collaborative, conversation both online and offline. The events I worked on and developed include Chinwag Psych (psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics) and its partner site Psychmatters, international startup series, Digital Mission and most recently a new pitch series for exciting tech firms raising international investment, Pitch NYC.

I was the original Executive Director of Social Media Week London part of a global collaborative event series taking place in 26 cities worldwide growing the event to a week-long festival with 15,000+ delegates. Consultancy clients include Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment), the Arts & Humanities Research CouncilOpen Data Institute, the BBC, the UK government’s R&D agency, Innovate UK and when time allows, I mentor at startup and careers events.

Personal, some work and some geek-related blogging lives here on Toodlepip along with BBQ recipes and other oddities. For more detailed work-related info, best stops are Sam Michel on Linkedin and this brief Work summary.

Early Days

Acoustic Coupler by adactioIt all started with an £800 telephone bill, the days when that was real money, and angry parents, who weren’t anywhere near as enthused as I was by my sparkly new acoustic coupler and the online world I’d just discovered.

This was the pre-Internet days of 1984, when exciting online communities sprung up around odd-sounding dial-in services like FidoNet and The Bread Board Bulletin Service. My trusty Amstrad CPC-464 and acoustic coupler was my gateway to this world at the speed of 1200/75 baud (that’s a whopping 1.17kbps in today’s bandwidth).

Amstrad CPC 464 by Martin DeutschIt may have been the ire inspired by the phone bill that led to the use of Microbrat as my online identity, but it was quite a surprise when unbeknownst to me, the name featured an Observer Magazine article on the hidden world of online Bulletin Board System.


What does “toodlepip” mean?
Why do you sign-off emails “Toodle Pip”?
Why is this site called toodlepip.co.uk?

Good question, thanks for asking.

I’ve always liked the phrase, “Toodle pip“, which was used by upper-class gentlemen in the 1920s. If you’re a fan of Jeeves & Wooster, then you’ll hear it frequently. The idea of using a polite and terribly, terribly English expression on such a new-fangled medium appealed to me. Still does.

It’s a particularly British expression, so if you’re not from round these parts it’s unlikely you’ll have come across it, other than through TV. For a more formal definition and an audio file, check out the Wikitionary definition.

I’ve been using this sobriquet for such a long-time, it’s stuck. If
you’re looking for me on Facebook, Flickr or Twitter, keep your eyes
peeled for toodlepip. In the meantime, this site toodlepip.co.uk provides a home for non-work meanderings, unfinished projects and other oddities that don’t fit elsewhere.

I try to write regularly, but as you’ll see not always successfully. Topic-wise, I’m interested in community, funny stuff, bits of geekery and technology, credit unions and other bits and pieces that pass across my browser window. Hope some of it tickles your fancy.


Chinwag LogoMost of my time is spent working on Chinwag, which started life in late 1995, or it could have been early 1996. It’s all a little hazy.

Chinwag developed from an email discussion list, uk-netmarketing, providing a forum for digital marketers, in the days when banner ads were a new-fangled item. Other lists were added, you can subscribe here, if you’re interested.

In late 2005, working with Thayer Prime (@thayer), we started to move the company to a more commercial footing, with the launch of Chinwag Jobs, a specialist recruitment site for the digital industry.

In June 2008, UK Trade & Investment, the government agency responsible for helping businesses export and bring investment into the UK, awarded a contract to Chinwag to run two trade missions for the digital sector.

Digital Mission stand at SXSW '09 (that's me in the bowler hat)These quickly became known as the Digital Missions, to the USA. The first successful Digital Mission to New York in Sept 2008, was followed by a second much-larger trip to the South by South West interactive.

A further eight trips have seen groups return to New York, SXSW interactive, Washington DC, supporting over 200 of the UK’s leading firms. Chinwag’s also hosted overseas firms visiting London, most recently leading Korean startups supported by Google Korea.

These Digital Missions trade missions to the USA have since been followed by two day-long conferences looking at the opportunities for digital business in India and China in Feb 2009.

Chinwag Psych LogoChinwag’s produced numerous other events including the UK’s first Facebook Marketing conference, Chinwag Psych a series focused on psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics and  Q&A series, Chinwag Live.

Social Media Week London 2013From 2009 to 2014, Chinwag has been the lead organiser of Social Media Week London, a global series of conferences in 26 cities worldwide. The London event grew from 35 sessions with a few hundred people to a behemoth which in 2013 comprised 260+ events with over 20,000 tickets booked.

Chinwag’s mission is best summed-up by the tagline we use on the website, “connecting new media people”. It’s all about bringing together like-minded individuals across the full range of the digital sector to help innovate, build relationships and help businesses.