Martha Lane Fox co-founded Europe’s largest travel and leisure website lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman in 1998, they took it public in 2000 and sold it in 2005. Martha was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in March 2013. She is currently chair of Go On UK, a coalition of public and private sector partners that are helping millions more people and organisations online. In March 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. Martha co- founded and chairs LuckyVoice, revolutionising the karaoke industry. She chairs MakieLab. She is a Non-Executive Director at Marks & Spencer and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2007 Martha founded her own charitable foundation Antigone.org.uk and also serves as a Patron of AbilityNet, Reprieve, Camfed and Just for Kids Law. In 2013 Martha was awarded a CBE.

32 thoughts on “About me

  1. Martha should spearhead a national programme to “multilingualise” UK’s e-commerce web-sites. We are the world’s leading e-commerce retailer (12% of total retail sales); the world flocks (physically) to UK’s retail shopping, yet most are unable/deterred to access it via e-commerce. The potential benefit to the UK’s economy is enormous. Google’s “Translate” can probably do most of the work automatically. The Government could incentivate by setting up attractive VAT.rules etc.

  2. Ailbhe McNabola at the Design Council suggested I contact you with y inquiry. I would be grateful for your advice. I’m working on the issue of self-neglect – people who fail to maintain personal hygiene and cleanliness. People sometimes get called ‘service refusers’ when they don’t do what a professional wants them to do. This criticism needs a context – and so it becomes much more reasonable when we notice that fewer than half of the courses of medication prescribed by doctors get taken as instructed. We are all ‘service refusers’!

    Similarly, some people have domestic appliances but don’t use them and so their clothes and bodies remain unwashed and even the heating remains switched off in some situations. It occurred to me to ask how many members of the general public struggle with the technology that surrounds them at home. Is it just me that relies on my wife to programme the central heating and video recorder? I imagine some academics have thought about the growing gulf between the technology that we own and our ability to use it, but I don’t know a search term or who would be able to advise me.

    I’d be grateful for your suggestions if you have a moment.

  3. Hi Martha,
    I am Kathrin and I am working for a company which is organizing the worldwide largest student run business convention. As one of our panel discussions is going to deal with entrepreneurship we would love to welcome you on our stage on the 14th March 2013. You would be a perfect match as on the one hand the audience consists of 300 international students being highly motivated to found a startup and 300 corporates or founder. In the last years we were proud to present speakers such as Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Kenneth P. Morse to give you a short outline.
    I am looking forward to your reply. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at any time.


  4. There are young people who are excluded from the benefits of connecting and communicating socially online due to their learning disabilties. Most social networking is text driven, usually with an interface that can be difficult to comprehend.
    However, there is currently no research into who find social networking difficult, or even impossible, to use, nor into what can be done about this, nor about the potential benefits for young adults with learning disabilities of having access.
    Can anyone help in raising interest in this area, and getting something done about it?

  5. Hi Martha

    We would love to invite you to join State of Ambition as a champion of young people.

    We have set up a social enterprise to help realise 1million ambitions for young people aged 16-30 within 5 years.

    Why? Well, we want to create a State of Ambition – where ambitions are realised, relationships become more meaningful, talent is discoverable and communities are formed.

    For this State to happen, we want incredible inspirational people like you to become a champion of the movement. You can read more about why we’re making this happen at http://www.stateofambition.org/learn

    Thank you for listening Martha and hope we can talk more about this.

    With kind regards,

    Darshan and the team at State of Ambition

  6. Hi Martha

    I am coordinating the 2013 Entrepreneurs Festival being held in Manchester and I would like see if you were available to do our keynote speech at the Awards dinner on Friday 6th September 2013.

    It is an event that is being held by UKTI for 150-200 entrepreneurial delegates from around the world.


    Troy Aiten

  7. Dear Lady Lane-Fox,

    I am the Chair of Healthy Cities: Healthy Women London, a prominent women’s healthcare event in September. I would be honored if you would be consider speaking at the conference.

    HEALTHY CITIES: HEALTHY WOMEN London is the first international, and fourth in a series, of one-day conferences that originated in the US. HC:HW aims to advocate,educate and illuminate for local-to-global solutions in urban women’s health. Keynote speakers Dame Mary Archer and Dame Ruth Carnall will join others to explore and debate solutions by and for women to improve health and overall wellbeing in the capital.Healthy Cities: Healthy Women London, Tuesday 17 September 2013, 9:30am – 3:30pm,Millennium Hotel London Mayfair, 44 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 2HP.

    To Register: http://www.healthycitieshealthywomenlondon.eventbrite.com

    For the agenda and further information click here.

    I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Margie Gordon Schaye,

    Chair, Healthy Cities: Healthy Women London,


  8. Hi Martha
    Ihave just heard you on the radio extolling being online and am very cross. I was an early buyer of a computer from Raceonline via Remploy. Being disabled and isolated I thought it was a great idea.
    However my computer -the third from them before I got one that functioned – terminally crashed after 9 months use taking 7 years of work (photos) with it so I am left with a net minus.
    Remploy are defunct, I cant use my new Photoshop skills or fulfil my dreams of selling my paintings online and have a broadband account I cant use and struggle to afford. And as for library access these days?
    I would like to be back to where I was and progress but is there any way I can without a reliable affordable machine?
    I feel sad and rather bitter.
    Melusine Leigh

  9. Dear Martha

    I hope you are well. Although we do not know each other directly I have tried several times to get in touch without success. Being a man persistent man as I am, Ill try to email direct this this time, I am determined to get hold of you one way or another.

    The reason I would like to speak to you is that we would like you to be a keynote speaker at our digital conference, Digital Dynamics. It will be held in Birmingham on the 3rd of April 2014 at the NEC conference centre. It will bring together over 300 like minded businesses from the digital world and business communities to meet, share and learn about the online world.

    We feel from your experience, success and involvement in championing this industry, you would make the perfect fit to share your story with our delegates.

    Would you kindly let me know if this is something you can help us with

  10. Dear Martha,

    I read the BBC article last night and you said..

    “We are going to need a million more people who can work in the technology sector over the next 10 years. We don’t have them. We’ve got to help to encourage people to go into that sector.”

    My thoughts exactly, which is precisely why we started…

    Supacoderz – 12 Week Developer School


    Please help us get it off the ground! It’s a game changer!

    Supacoderz Limited

  11. Dear Martha,
    I noted your comments about the lack of women in the technical workplace with interest. As a father of 3 teenage daughters at an all girl school I feel they do not get anywhere near enough access to highly successful role models such as yourself, who are able to make the case for women working in technology in an eloquent and motivational way. Would you consider visiting the school to speak to them? I expect the answer to be no, looking at the number of other requests to speak on this blog that have been declined, but there’s no harm in trying!

    Kind Regards.

  12. Hi Martha,

    I am currently organising a conference for March 2015, to coincide with Women’s History Month.

    It is a day’s conference on technology, in particular user experience and service design.

    Myself and others have spent a lot of time creating a welcoming and collaborative community of inquisitive women within tech. Following on from this work we are organising the first ever female only line up at a conference.

    We are hoping that in doing so we can promote women in technology and celebrate some of the fantastic work that they do.

    It would be a dream for you to be involved in the day.

    Please let us know if you might be interested,

    Thanks so much,


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  15. I’m author of upcoming Financial Times book ‘Gamechangers’, and would like to include a section about you, if you are agreeable. Can we get in touch about obtaining information or doing an interview about this? Many thanks!

  16. Hi Martha,

    We would be delighted to offer you a 30 minute key note, that will inspire business peers, at our London Business Event on the, 27th and 28th of November. You would be speaking alongside the likes of James Caan, Doug Richards and many more exciting speakers. Please look at the website to get an idea around the design aspect. http://www.greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk

    For clarification, I am asking you to promote yourself and give inspiration to those business starting out i.e how you started your very first business, what drove you to become an entrepreneur, what benefited you in your campaign and what experiences you would avoid. This would be an Inspirational key note to educate businesses just starting out.

    Look forward to your response,

    Kind Regards


  17. You are a most special and good lady. God bless you and Everybody. I hope we can be of help to each other regarding a matter of importance to us, and, Everybody. Please email me as soon as possible. Kindest and Best Regards and Good Wishes To YOU! (Smiles)

  18. Martha,
    Couldn’t think how else to get message to you about M&S where you’re a non-exec. Their web presence is really letting them down. Here’s an email I just sent which they’ll ignore.
    “I’ve just wasted over an hour trying to order a made to measure shirt for my son (the order process and the 5 people I was passed to on the phone) before it emerged that your made to measure ordering system is incompatible with Apple– that’s the Apple that yesterday became the world’s first $700 billion company.
    I can’t believe you have a premium product service which can’t be used by people using premium IT products– but if you do, then at least confess it upfront and save my time! Worse, you write to me to “welcome me to M&S” and say “If you need to contact us for any further information, please email: auto-confirm@marksandspencer-madetomeasure.com ” which I did, only to read further down your email that “Please note that this email was sent from a notification-only address that is unable to accept incoming email” and it was sent from– guess what?–auto-confirm@marksandspencer-madetomeasure.com!
    When I then decide to try and contact you some other way to tell you how angry this makes me, I have a drop down menu to choose from. I have selected “Mcom comments” because I assume that’s what the impersonal twit at your end chooses to call criticisms of the website.
    I think you should get some real users/human beings to work through your on-line interface, produce a ‘snag’ list for fixing and get a more customer friendly and intuitive website designed as soon as possible. It’ll be too late for Xmas, but it might just save the company in the longer term.”
    Hope you get a chance to see this.

  19. Hi Martha,
    It was a privilege to have the video chat with you Wednesday 10th December.
    I’ve been teaching Computing since 1995 and having researched your background and achievements in preparation for the chat I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could do in a wider sense to help get more people using technology and help people can make better use of technology.
    I have a idea that I think would help young people make better use of technology, create something useful for them and let them help others.
    I’m sure with current technology it would be achievable with someone like you involved, I really would like the opportunity to email you my idea and see what you think.

    Teaching lets me make a difference to the lives of my students but being able to use technology to make a difference to a much larger group of people would be so rewarding.

    Kind Regards
    Paul Fuller
    Secondary School Computing Teacher

  20. Hi Martha,
    I recently came across your GoON UK organisation and have been watching some of your speeches. You are such an inspiration and I think the message of GoON UK/digitalskills.co.uk is incredible. I would love to get involved with your organisation and hope to launch a charity cycle ride in 2015 for the organisation. Thanks for being such a great digital champion for the UK. You rock!
    Best regards,

  21. Hi Martha,, I am a fellow entrepreneur, and wanted to introduce the company PairPlay Ltd. PairPlay Ltd is a young company creating educational products. We would like the opportunity to present to you our product ideas. We are producing educational card games in both digital and physical forms, and digital books. One of many opportunities is PairPlay Card Game Worldwide Edition if we can acquire funding for production. Pairplay Europe is a game where players learn about all the European country flags and capitals. Did you know that both chess greats Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen both learnt about world flags at a young age, which could be evidence of the intellectual development benefits of the game.

    The company’s long term goal is to be listed on FTSE AIM All-Share and I would like to discuss with you the best strategy to achieve this aim. Please do let me know when you are next available in London to arrange to meet or alternatively we could hold a conference presentation online.

    PairPlay Ltd cardgames are manufactured by Cartumdi in Essex. Manufacturing in Britain is critical to UK’s recovery. PairPlay can be exported worldwide bringing money into Britain and creating British jobs. There is a possibility for young British people to be involved in the design and manufacture process.

    My personal aim is to be a successful entrepreneur that sets a good example and role model for young people with Nigerian background in London.

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