Jan 3, 2014
@ 5:53 pm
96 notes

What Screens Want »


A painfully beautiful article, in both content and presentation, from Frank Chimero.

(via dannygarcia)


Jan 3, 2014
@ 5:46 pm

What The Jobs Report Really Means »

The fight against the machines… continues to erode white collar jobs.


Jul 14, 2013
@ 8:40 pm

GigaOM Pub Summit London

The last time I was at Cargo was to watch my little brothers band (The Fixers) play. I love the area and take up any excuse to head east from our west end base in London so when I heard the words ‘GigaOM’ and ‘pub’ in the same sentence… I took little persuading.

The Fixers @ Cargo

So, earlier this week myself and Emré from Cognizant Mobility popped on the tube to Shoreditch to the achingly hip Cargo (located in a disused railway yard just a short hop from silicon roundabout to meet other beautiful people from the tech startup scene at the GigaOM Pub Summit.

Over a few beers we chatted to David Meyer (@superglaze) GigaOM’s ‘Europe guy’ about: mobility, cloud, Privacy/PRISM, Internet of Things (IoT) and other slightly random things.

SCARY by Ben Eine across the street from Cargo

It was a jolly night - thanks to GigaOM and Geckoboard for hosting.


Jul 2, 2013
@ 7:29 am

PIXIES - BAGBOY (by PixiesOfficialTV)


Jun 24, 2013
@ 9:53 am

Design [the new] Business - Documentary

Design [the new] Business

The film - and the workshop of the film

This is a great documentary that really captures most of what I have been experiencing over the last few years in my own design practice.

Although you can jump straight in and watch the film. 

In the best collaborative ‘design thinking’ format there are two parts to this experience:

  1. Gather a team and watch the actual documentary together
  2. Then collaborate in a  ‘film review’ workshop that facilitates the afterwards and builds on the themes covered in the film.

    You can even download a workshop toolkit. 

Warning spoilers ahead…

Here are noteworthy soundbites with timestamps:

Volkswagen - Service Innovation at Volkswagen


"We are not part of the design Dept"

As they are often squeezed between marketing and sales.

We define ‘design’ as something that has an impact on business…

Design means the “ability to translate from a desire or need into a business proposition”

Alexander Osterwalder - co-author of Business Model Generation

"Businesses grew up using the business model that made them (big)… now those business models are expiring…"

Hence the need to create something new, but this cannot be done using the same mindset that created the business in the first place.

You have to ask:

  • What kind of growth do I want to create? 
  • And who can help me create that?

…Then put the team together… 

There is no way around not having designers in that team, when you are talking about creating new stuff and creating growth.

"No good designer is going to design in isolation"

 “Design = playing and failing continuously”

Is that an Elvis impersonator! Even though there are soooo many great service design insights here, this would have to be my favourite clip!

Ralf Beuker - Dean Design School FH Munster:

 “What we all need to do is integrate into a business setup. Because in the end it’s what our planet is all about - Business, it’s about dealing”


OK - I get the sentiment and from my exposure to the capital markets I agree that a lot of things come down to ‘the deal’ but I wouldn’t say the whole planet is about it… I’m sure the polar bears wouldn’t say that. (Maybe I’ve just been reading too much Natural Capitalism lately)

Words of warning about the current ‘design thinking trend’… 

 ”Design is not learnt form a book or by having a couple of courses on creativity…”

 So - Although you might think you are designing with your post-its and sharpies, real deep design thinking goes beyond the current business trend.

 “… designers need to stop moaning… business doesn’t understand me”

 Designers need to get out there and demonstrate their value to business!

Intel/Claro Partners - The research into ownership and value exchange is interesting as it begins to touch on and consider a world beyond products and ownership of ‘stuff’ into a world of valuing access to experiences and services.

"It’s not about a business analyst ‘analysing’ and a designer ‘brainstorming’ it’s about bringing brains together"

"If you can’t interpret research and synthesise it, then you don’t have a role in the future!"

Virgin mobile 

Experience innovation is one of the key differentiators for us, price and product are easily imitated. So the key form of differentiation (moving forwards) will be experience innovation and providing great customer experience.”

“…as a business we need to focus more time/effort of desirability… by designing desirability we truly create experience innovation that will have an impact on the bottom line”

…asking the right questions
…finding the right tools and approach

interconnectedness changes the product definition

5 years from now Philips design expect that 50% of effort currently spent on product design will be spent on service design.

Redefining the ‘Designer’ as connector… makes sense in the age of connectedness.

Engine discuss design and the fuzzy front end, how design explores multiple problems, questions and solutions. Making sense in a qualitative way working iteratively towards the desired outcome.


"We design this world now"

So Go… Go now!

Grab some colleagues, popcorn, post-its and sharpies and go forth and ‘design the new business’… the world is waiting :)



Jun 20, 2013
@ 6:45 am
1 note

Quantified Self LND meetup 18 June 2013

Yesterday I attended a QS (Quantified Self) meetup in London hosted at the fabulous Wayra academy.

Check out the ‘Agora’

Wayra is a kind of incubator setup by Telefónica for early startups with a network of 13 hubs across South America and Europe. Wandering around the business ‘pods’ there was a real buzz to the place and it was energising to see such enthusiasm and energy in one place!

Firstly a quick definition of Quantified Self (for those in the notknow)

The Quantified Self is a grassroots movement that incorporates the collection and analysis of data about a person’s daily activities. 

The collection of this information can be done manually but more often it is now gathered by using self-monitoring and self-sensing wearable technology. 

Data collected typically includes food consumed, blood oxygen levels, physical activity, ECG or mental EEG performance among others.

Quantified Self is synonymous with life-logging and life-caching.

Or simply put:  QS = self knowledge through numbers.

So it seems we are all data scientists now!

Here is a short visual history of lifelogging technology (it just goes to show how far we have progressed!)


Culminating in the recent appearance of wearables like Google Glass.


Which will be replaced in short time with the ‘Google contact lens’  (Not necessarily from Google!)

Also here is a visual history of lifelogging cameras:


Current incarnations include the Memoto and Autographer.



And if you are still inquisitive why not watch a movie (~ 30 minutes long) about life logging:

SO, on with the meetup…

// Tony Million

First up for the meet up was a presentation from one of the current Wayra cohorts: Narrato  presented by Tony Million (what a great name!).


One of the current issues around self quantification is not so much the quantity of data but that it is usually locked away in siloed apps, so gaining any deep insight is restricted.

Narrato’s proposition is to free your data by providing QS devices with an API to store and access the data they collect centrally in the cloud.

Or in their own words:

"Narrato powers apps and services that collect, analyze, and derive actionable insights from your data, for you".

This also provides the opportunity for a new generation of QS applications and devices to access multiple data sources using JSON to create new QS mashups e.g. Combining fitbit data with mood or EEG data.

This ‘unified data self’ view is a hot topic within the QS community and with competing offers coming on the scene like the Human API it looks like the heat is only just beginning.

Next up:
Sara Watson
// Oxford Internet Institute

This was a fascinating presentation of Sara’s research - so much so that I failed to take many notes.

Anyhow’s, the main premise was around framing an individual’s interests in their data and the circular nature of time. And how, by taking a cyclic view of previous personal events, this allows a reflective response to current events.

There was a nice ‘homely’ feel to the presentation especially when Sara talked about her mother and her interests, and how she could trace her ‘list-making’ back to her mother.

Being a student from Oxford you would expect a deep insight and we were taken on a deep tour of ‘Digital time capsules and a geneaology of tracking’.

I could see similarities to stock market analysis and predictions and the cyclic movements of the markets (maybe it’s just my pov from my time in the city or maybe we fundamentally like to seek patterns in data because we can then feel ‘false’ confidence of the future).

But I also loved the simplicity of the perpetual calendar journal image.

If you like the idea - you can make one yourself by following the instructions on Design Sponge.

Another interesting learning from this talk was an app called TimeHop - A time capsule of you.

This app takes your social feeds and then turns them into a perpetual journal showing you an ‘on this day in your history’ - pretty neat. A similar (less elegant) app is

Also referenced was These Days a book by Jack Cheng. I can’t comment further until I’ve read it - but it looks interesting.

Third up:
Ann Prahl

Discussing her PhD research at UAL on textile based sensing: ‘Senseable textiles’ for Active Wellbeing.

‘Senseable textiles’ utilise conductivity to function as sensors as part of a textile system and can be used to create ‘smart’ textile systems for clothing, accessories and footwear, often referred to as ‘Wearable technology’.

Starting from her initial drive to understand her hypersensitive olfactory perception and the need to quantify her reaction to certain products that effected her - so that she could then avoid them. She went on to discuss her current PhD research around carbon electrodes and biosensing textiles.

Ann is investigating ‘Active Wellbeing’ and the concept of a ‘preventative lifestyle’, which relies on the user taking control of their health by increased awareness of negative environmental factors like pollution, radiation and VOCs, thus improving their quality of life as well as potentially reducing future healthcare costs.

The technology behind all of this is: Quantum Tunnelling Composite (another cool name, QTC for short) is a new class of electrically conductive material developed in the UK (and patented) by Peratech Limited based on original discoveries by David and Chris Lussey, the company’s founders.

A look at the possible applications for QTC material show the impressive potential across industries, I particularly see the foot pressure distribution sensor having appeal across the sporting spectrum.

Another interesting learning from the presentation were: Temporary electrochemical tattoos. (Expect to see these at music festivals soon!)

Last but not least:
Ian Clements
//Cissbury Research Institute

In 2007 Ian was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer and given a year to live. As an opening line this kind of grabs your attention! 

You can follow his journey on his blog: He attributes his extended life to self tracking and monitoring enabling modifications in his behaviour/eating/treatments based on his data/analysis.

Some sobering facts from his presentation:

• 47% of us will be diagnosed at some time with cancer

• 30% of us will die of it.

Ian points to a current problem with the way cancer is monitored (in the mainstream health service) - because doctors use extended timeframes of 3/6/12 months, the data points for comparison provide limited ability to trace cause and effect.

Through (daily) QS and self funded, monthly cancer marker testing, Ian has been able to collect finer grained data giving him much greater feedback and allowing him to respond and take action.

His ongoing analysis of this data has led him to identify other physical measures that he can trace and correlate to his ‘Cancerousness’.

He ended with a request for help, stating that he wasn’t a statistician and would love someone else to review his datasets and the correlation he is finding. 

In Summary

All of the talks were interesting, but I didn’t see anyone that wasn’t inspired and humbled by the tenacity and passion shown by Ian Clements over his records and charts following his bladder cancer and his correlations of cancer markers to other physical ‘markers’.

I look forward to the next meetup.

I am fascinated by Self Quantification, almost as much by the individuals and their stories as I am about actually doing any SQ myself (I think I’m basically too lazy) but with the new wave of wearables and smart sensors making the data collection take less effort or in some cases completely passive, my lethargic barrier may disappear altogether.

What are your experiences of tracking/measuring your life and gaining self knowledge through numbers?


May 29, 2013
@ 6:44 pm
2 notes

2013 KPCB Internet Trends - Mary Meeker

2013 Internet Trends

The KPCB 2013 Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker and Liang Wu has just been published:

  • There are now 2.4 billion Internet users around the world
  • Mobile usage is expanding rapidly, while the mobile advertising opportunity remains largely untapped
  • The report reviews the shifting online landscape, which has become more social and content rich, with expanded use of photos, video and audio. Looking ahead, the report finds early signs of growth for
  • IoT (Internet of Things) is coming on strong with signs of growth of wearable computing devices, connected cars, drones and other new platforms.

Exciting times ahead indeedy!!!

 Here a few of the standout items for me


1. The near vertical chart growth since 2012 shows the unprecedented adoption rate of of Post-PC tablet computing and mobility!


2. the IoT and next wave of technology is impatient won’t wait and will break the previous 10 year cycle. (although the SRI Consulting roadmap paints a longer timeframe).


And for good or bad I don’t think IT Departments are going to be able to control IT this time around either!


3. Alibaba outgrows Amazon and eBay PUT TOGETHER!!!


4. it’s always good to have passion - making a successful business out of it is even gooder. And I guess if you can do both AND keep the PASSION then you are REALLY on to something :)


5. Slide (87) taken out of context might seem odd, so a quick recap: this section covers immigration/skills migration and the need for STEM skills globally.

The main call out here is that Cognizant is listed at number 20 ABOVE Adobe and just below Dell and Yahoo!… pretty impressive stuff!


6. Some re-thinking business… obviously!


7. Some re-thinking products/services - interesting!


8. On computing operating systems… As we continue to move up the other side of the big WinTel ‘U’ It will be interesting to see if Firefox OS from Mozilla will start to appear next year, as I’m going to a FirefoxOS hackday this Friday I hope so :) I would expect to see some resistance coming on from WinTel though if only from the installed user base. But I guess all those Desktops are being replaced apace with tablets so maybe not.

I suggest you grab your copy of the report and digest slowly. I know that previous issues have become one of my main sources or reference.


May 8, 2013
@ 3:58 pm

Adobe show ‘Mighty’ a pen… and Napoleon… a ruler… and a cloud based clipboard… Looks like the Appcessories market is set to explode!


Apr 23, 2013
@ 6:56 pm

Google Streetview Hyperlapse Web App

Google Street View Hyperlapse from Teehan+Lax Labs on Vimeo.

This is a very neat experiment from teehan+lax. It enables you to generate a hyperlapse from Google Street View.

If you don’t know what a hyper lapse is (look above) or you can see a few on Vimeo.

Teehan+lax discuss the app on their blog. You can go try the app NOW!

And then hack around with the code on github here:

Hyperlapse also uses GSVPano, Three.js and Google Maps Javascript API

And yes as with most of these experiments you will need a modern web browser to get the full monty.


Apr 16, 2013
@ 8:07 pm

A New Era of Car Accessories for the Quantified Self Generation, Moving From ‘Bolt-ons’ to ‘Plug-ins’

The complexity of technology in modern cars means that the ‘bolt-on-extras’ of yesteryear that boy racers used to accessorise cars with are now fairly defunct. Although Fluffy dice will always be de rigueur :) But devices like Automatic link demonstrate the power of the ‘Internet of Things’ and also show how self quantification is growing from the individual life data to wider machine interactions.
The Automatic Link is a little gizmo that plugs into the Onboard Diagnostics Port (OBD) of your car, then connects your car to your smartphone using Bluetooth 4.0.

The Automatic iPhone App  (Android coming soon - as always) then taps into your car’s onboard computer and (blended with the Smartphone GPS) offers a number of useful services:

1. Smarter Driving

The Automatic system not only provides a timeline of every trip but also learns your driving style and provides prompts that help you adapt your driving style to gain greater fuel efficiency. 

2. Emergency Help When Needed

With a built in accelerometer that can detect accidents/impacts. Automatic Link ‘automagically’ reports the incident to 911 (Yes this is only available in the USA at the moment :( ) and sends a text message to tell your nominated emergency contacts what has happened and that help is on the way.

3. Health Monitoring for Your Motor

Because Automatic connects to the embedded computer in your car, if you get a fault, it will decipher what the fault is and explain what’s wrong.

4. And Lastly (for the Forgetful)…

Automatic remembers where you parked so there is one less thing to worry about, pretty simple but - you can also share the car’s position with other users of your car for seamless car sharing!

Plug-in Enterprise Vehicle Telematics

It will be interesting to see how this ‘plug-in’ accessory after market develops. With pay as you drive (PAYD) and pay how you drive (PHYD) taking off within insurance. This is an interesting area of enterprise B2C mobility. 
As with most changes in enterprise mobility being driven by the consumerification of IT, I can see further opportunities for similar enterprise applications in logistics and field sales support.


Apr 15, 2013
@ 6:02 pm

Backend as a Service (BaaS) Ecosystem Map


This is a useful map of the BaaS ecosystem produced by Kinvey. Unsurprisingly (as they created the map) they place themselves in the centre, whilst this has been the norm since Babylonia I am not sure if placing themselves in the centre of the map has distorted reality. But regardless of that the BaaS map contains some interesting information.


Kinvey highlight a couple of things on their blog - one interesting point is that mobile software development tool companies are moving down the stack with traditional enterprise moving up. Either by partnering, purchasing are creating their own BaaS offerings.  

 You can see the full size BaaS ecosystem map here.


Dec 18, 2012
@ 11:36 am

W3C announce that HTML5 definition is now ‘complete’


W3C announce that HTML5 definition is now ‘complete’

Whilst it is not yet a ‘standard’ the definition is ‘feature complete’ and moves into interoperability testing and performance.  

 Also released: the first working draft of the HTML5.1.

Everything seem to be on track, so roll on 2014!! 


Nov 23, 2012
@ 4:46 pm

Bamboo: The future of Mobile… and toothbrushing!

Bamboo isn’t just for Pandas! 

As a renewable resource bamboo has great sustainable credentials - but a mobile phone made out of the stuff?

That is exactly what the UK based design studio AD Creative are proposing.

With it’s mantra of ‘Reinventing Simplicity’ the ADZero phone certainly has a minimalist aesthetic that you will probably either love or hate.


For those that hate it - I should turn over to another channel now (WARNING: cat+toast)…

For those that love it - the Kickstarter project (to fund the final manufacture) is going live sometime in November 2012!

There aren’t that many technical details but the OS is going to be a special AD Creative skinned version of Android.


This isn’t the first phone to have great eco-credentials (see below) and I hope it won’t be the last, as the principles of sustainable design are good and something that we should all consider.

This is the pebble shaped Touch Wood SH-08C From Sharp/NTT Docomo.


Produced in a limited edition of 15,000 in 2011 and built from Cypress wood.

You might be ambivalent about the relative aesthetics of technology dressed in natural materials.

But I challenge you not to be moved by this video produced to promote the Touch Wood phone:

How many more sustainable uses for bamboo will designers come up with in the future?

Actually there are many examples around already. Here are a couple of examples:

Blackstar - A Bamboo Bike

The frame is made in Ghana from Bamboo and sisal - Blackstar is another great example of a sustainable design and business.


Bogobrush - A Bamboo Toothbrush

The bogobrush is made from bamboo and biodegradable nylon making it 100% biodegradable. This sounds like a gimmicky idea until you consider that 450 million toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the USA! (Imagine the global count).


If that isn’t enough - there is also a social aspect to the bogobrush enterprise, that will leave a nice shiny feeling to more than your teeth. 

For every bogobrush brought they will send another one to an individual in need. The reach out program is currently running in a number of US cities including Atlanta and Detroit, with more locales planned. Just think of the long term saving in medical and dental costs with an increase in dental health.


Random bamboo fact: For such a fast growing plant there is one thing bamboo doesn’t do very often - flower. With some bamboos only flowering once every 65 − 125 years!


So with all these designer bamboo products will we see demand outstrip supply?

As one of the fastest growing plants on the planet (up to 100cm/39in in 24 hours) bamboo should be able to keep up with demand.

What innovative uses for bamboo can you imagine?



Nov 6, 2012
@ 12:00 pm

6 ways we shop with (or without) social intelligence

We are intrinsically social animals, our ability to learn by sharing with each other, remembering and re-sharing has allowed us to benefit from many situations throughout our evolution.

Nowadays we don’t have to worry too much about finding food and avoiding the dangers of wild animals, but there are a number of instinctive social behaviours that we use to our benefit today, when out hunting for the best bargains or latest trends.


1. Liking

We have an inclination to agree with people we like or admire, often emulating their behaviour and purchasing patterns without realising.

Consider the power of celebrity endorsements… have they had an influence on your purchases?

How about the ubiquitous Like Button?

Described by Facebook as a way to ‘give positive feedback and connect with things you care about’.

We now give away and pass a Like’ on anything and everything. 

But has the success of the ‘Facebook Like’ somehow cheapened the meaning of liking something or someone? 

Especially as you can buy 1,000 Worldwide Facebook Likes for only $49.95!!

Does this, combined with Likejacking (a malicious technique of tricking users of a website into posting a Facebook status update for a site they did not intentionally ‘like’) mean we can we still put the authentic social trust on the simple Like?

Can liking ’Like’ be taken too far?

Inspired by Facebook, in 2011 an Israeli couple named their daughter ’Like’. 

Like had a nice and international ring to it,” the father said, “Facebook has become the icon of today’s generation”.
"If once people gave Biblical names and that was the icon, then today this is one of the most famous icons in the world," he said, joking that the name could be seen as a modern version of the traditional Jewish name Ahuva, which means ‘beloved’.

So, if you are liking something or giving the Google equivalent +1 - think about the social connection and  reinforcement that it projects.


2. Consistency

When we make a choice that doesn’t align with our previously held beliefs it make us feel uncomfortable and causes mental friction.

These beliefs and behaviours could be long held ones that we use to navigate through life or recent decisions and commitments we have made.

Once we have made a mental commitment to something, we find it difficult to undo the decision or renege on the commitment. 

It is much easier (mentally) to maintain consistency with the decision, to follow through and honour the initial commitment.

Have you ever said ‘yes’ to a commitment and then found it very difficult to extricate yourself?


3. Reciprocity

The social power of favours… you scratch my back… do unto others… Reciprocity has very deep history (I won’t go into heavy detail here but you can fill your boots with ‘The Golden Rule’ or ‘ethic of reciprocity’ on Wikipedia)

Our innate sense of fairness and cooperation often makes us seek out the product or service that will either win favour or repay a favour.

But a desire to repay favours can be our undoing, and can be used against us by marketeers. Consider those little freebies and gifts that cause us to repay or reciprocate later - with a full purchase!


4. Authority

Just ask the expert…

Deferring the decision of choice to an expert or authority on the subject is an obvious and easy option, if you have social connections with the expert - a colleague or friend - then their power of influence is even greater. 

You could be looking to buy a new television and have a friend who you know is mad on films and always has the latest in home theatre equipment. 

Rather than tapping into Google (the distant expert), tapping into (and benefiting) from the expert knowledge of your film buff friend will save you both time and energy.

Personal recommendations by someone whose opinion and character you trust are very powerful in helping you to make purchasing decisions.


5. Social Proof

The social power of peer pressure. 

When we are unsure what to do (or buy) we tend to look to, and then follow the crowd.

Selecting the product that is the most popular choice with our peers and friends reduces the risk of unexpected consequences.

By selecting the most popular choice we take this as ‘social proof’ that it is the best most proven option. It is also the easiest route and helps us build social connection to the tribe of choice.


6. Scarcity

A desire to project our individualism within our social group through the purchase and display of what others can’t get… We won the hunt and display the spoils!

We instinctively attach value to scarce resources, this value increases the more and more distant and out of reach the resources become. 

Think gem stones or caviar, or even the latest hard to find pair of trainers (sneakers).

FOMO or the ‘fear of missing out’ leads us to queue outside seasonal sales. Also when we bag the hard to find, we experience a euphoria and want to extend this feeling by displaying a social badge of honour and exclusivity… until everyone has the same - then we move on to the next big thing. 

From art to asparagus: Rare = Value.

 I shop therefore I am

As you can see the social behaviours above are often polar and contrary e.g. Social Proof vs. Scarcity. 

Given any situation or purchasing decision we would usually have one overarching behaviour that we would adopt and not necessarily consistently either.

It just goes to show that when it comes to making decisions at the point of purchase we are delightfully fickle and often illogical… all part of being human.


Nov 6, 2012
@ 11:30 am
23 notes


Amazing stormy skies over the Atlantic coast in Connemara. Not far from Spiddal. This painting was finished early yesterday morning and hanging in the exhibition at Art in Woodstock festival by lunchtime! Mustn’t leave it so late in future…


Amazing stormy skies over the Atlantic coast in Connemara. Not far from Spiddal. This painting was finished early yesterday morning and hanging in the exhibition at Art in Woodstock festival by lunchtime! Mustn’t leave it so late in future…