Why did we love the giants coming to town?

Earlier this year, giants came to Liverpool. I was rapt. Addicted. Each day I woke my girlfriend early. A morning taxi to see a giant diver wake up near two football stadiums. Forced rushing after a night’s drinking to see what a little giant girl would do next. If you just saw the pictures, the […]

Mapping the product/market space – an hallucination

Imagine a vast multi-dimensional space. Each point of it represents a specific need that a specific person has, an iota of utility. The dimensions represent crazy things… Is the need in Africa or in Europe? Is the need on a LAN or on the web? Can travel to satisfaction of the need be done by […]

Heroku’s early history: 4 home pages that made $212 million

I decided to investigate Heroku’s early years. You can learn a lot from even quite recent tech history (see my previous article on version control). My tool? The Internet Archive. It’s an elephant that never forgets your pivots. 1. November 2007 – code in the cloud Ruby on Rails is riding high. But impossibly hard to deploy. […]

Products and markets are the same thing

At mySociety‘s annual retreat I gave a lightning talk about how I’ve come to realise that products and markets are the same thing. I’d originally intended it to be a blog post, so here you are. It’s a story of geeks learning. What is a product? It really is magic. Before the invention of products (whatever that […]

Do epic shit! On being the first friend of DoESLiverpool

Today’s audio blog is about the excellent DoESLiverpool, and why you should be their friend too. listen to ‘Do epic shit’ on Audioboo Being a friend (who does epic shit) of DoESLiverpool costs £9 a month. So far the perks are, on the surface, imperceptibly different from those that anyone can get – excellent events, free hotdesking if […]

On the need for a new profession

Complaining that I have a deluge of interesting things that I never get round to blogging, Neil suggested I use audio instead. Here’s the first one. listen to ‘Public Knowledge Gap Filler, a new profession’ on Audioboo Links to the topics in this audio blog: Overview Project, which helps you find stories in large dumps […]

Part 1: Why did PledgeBank fail when GroupOn and Kickstarter flew?

“I’ll do X but only if N other people will do Y” I was abuzz. A cafe in Holborn. 2003. A secret meeting. James Cronin and Tom Loosemore, who’d made the genius does-what-it-says-on-the-tin FaxYourMP, bought me coffee and changed my world. Wow, there’s actually other people who think computers can revolutionise democracy! And they’ve an amazing […]

Newsflash: Geeks now good at usability, everyone else crap

We really struggled. We felt guilt. Wracked with pain. It’s the mid 1990s, and computers are impossibly hard to use. Anyone who could program them, and who also cared about people, was ashamed. So we fixed it. Books were published, websites launched, a new profession was born. It took a while but many of the key insights from that furore benefit […]

Astonishments, ten, in the history of version control

“If you really want to … truly ancient history, you have to go back to delta decks on punch cards.” (Jim Rootham) In a world where biographies of cod are not just accepted, but rightly popular, it wouldn’t seem entirely crazy to write a history book on how computer programmers store the vital product of their […]