I annoyed “Business Angel” Deborah Meaden

Tweeting is a dangerous business. This is why when I do tweet, I usually try to make sure that I don’t mention people who could be offended by what I say. It’s not that I tweet a lot about things which could offend people, but there’s a line on Twitter between a joke/sarcasm and people reading what you’re saying completely seriously. I don’t want people to get the wrong end of the stick.

That is all I wrote. Seriously, now, had I been in her situation, I’d have seen that come up on my computer screen and probably laughed it off. “I have been in multiple series of Dragons Den so the BBC must like me on the programme, I get exposure, I do invest (sometimes)”, I’d have thought. This is certainly not the first time I have ever heard this said either, many people in the media make the comment that she does not appear to ever invest in anything. But Deborah, clearly searching Twitter for her own name on a Saturday evening, came back with a rebuttal.

Wow, I annoyed somebody. What was meant in jest has now been taken way out of context. I couldn’t think of what to write back for a while, I’ll be honest. It did show that my joke was maybe more factually incorrect than I realised. But prejudiced? Really? Prejudice about what? If she’d have noticed my Twitter biography, she’ll see that I contribute occasionally to the Comment is Free section of the Guardian, I am not likely to be some Godfrey Bloome character insisting that women should not be in business, and that, if she is in business, she should only be able to supply womanly things, like kitchen supplies, homewares and tampons.

I sat and thought about my options for a while here, was I prejudiced? The fact that maybe one of my parents’ former students had been on the show four years ago, pitched a product called the Tangle Teezer and was then told by Deborah that “you clearly don’t [know what you’re doing] cause this hasn’t got any colour on this”, she said, pointing the end of her spectacles at her hair. But no, that hadn’t really got in the way of my views of her. For reference, the Tangle Teezer is now a hugely successful product.

I am, however, prejudiced against the programme. The idea of glorified begging in front of an audience of millions, so that we can see reasonably successful people beg for money from very successful people, to me, is massively Dickensian. These are the land barons and we must do all we can to please them in order to tap into their fantastic wealth. The idea of this programme is also flawed, as I once saw Germaine Greer point out. These people are so successful in business because they are very good at taking money from people, they will only invest when it suits them. They’re not doing this from the good of their heart, it’s a shrewd business opportunity, and this point is proven by the fact that they mostly want 25% or so of a business when it’s already very successful.

All of this is too long for Twitter, so I simply replied:

This, however, was not enough to satisfy Deborah’s now clear search for my blood. The battle lines were drawn and she wanted more.

Business Angel? Is this a thing? (It is actually a thing, I googled it) But still, is it really likely that these people are so kind with their money? Why not give it to a homeless charity, or food banks, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to invest and take shares in a persons own company away from them.

By now, however, the Deborah adorers had cottoned on to the fact that someone was insulting their mighty leader. Here follows a retweet, to which Deborah actually responded to.

I am irksome. The kiss, sadly, is probably not for me. What a shame.


And there we have it. A rather unproductive evening spent on Twitter. Well, I wasn’t actually on Twitter at the time, I was visiting the Tate Modern, it was only when I checked my phone later that all this stuff came through, by which time Deborah had turned her gaze onto other people on Twitter, and not the people who tweet her asking her for investment.

I do, of course, realise that, at my peril, I have mentioned her name again in this blog post, and that when my Twitter account auto-tweets to say that I have a new blog post, it will naturally mention her name. We’ll see if there’s a round two here, although you’d have thought that if she’s busy running all of her companies, there won’t be.


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