An email to Nicholas

Dear Nicholas, Thank you for your previous two letters. I’m sorry I was so slow getting back to you after the first one, that you had to write another. I didn’t know Canon meant essentially the same things as Round. I’m sure I must have been told, but I never got what it meant or cared. I only […]

Properly funding Democracy Club

Politics is broken. At the last election, a few people made an amazing organisation to try and fix it. Democracy Club is a non-party-political group of volunteers. At the next election, we want to hold candidates to account, and stimulate public engagement. We do this by emailing people small, easily achievable tasks. These small tasks will add up to hugely useful […]

Irony of extensions that remove junk slowing Chrome down

I thought I was ruthless at not installing browser extensions. It’s part of the process of getting old, customising things less and less. Despite that, I’ve accumulated seven extensions. (The most unusual and interesting one lurking in there is Churnalism, which tries to tell you whose press release each newspaper story is copied and pasted […]

Skills you need to get product/market fit, all in a line

When delivering a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty, you need a range of skills. To help understand what skills are needed in a startup team, I’ve found it useful to think of people’s skills as being spread out along this line. Consider people you know, and place them on the line. e.g. A UX […]

How we used email as a customer support system at mySociety

You’ve seen it. The red eyes… An ennui for life… The drained sadness of someone who has been lost for weeks in a customer support ticket tracking system. At mySociety (the awesome Internet democracy charity I was on the founding team of) we tried using Request Tracker for a while, and quickly fled. We could flee, because we […]

Tudor time travel – Episode 1 of Crazy theories.txt

Because I work in technology, people are often surprised that I spend 2 weeks a year living in the 16th Century. The first episode of a new Podcast by Jonathan Deamer and I explains why. What is Kentwell Hall? Were the Tudors a high technology society? What does it mean to be human? Why do both Jonathan and […]

Awesome Foundation – Liverpool Chapter

There’s not enough awesomeness in the universe. Don’t get me wrong, there’s quite a lot. But we could do with a bit more. That’s why we’re lucky that Tim Hwang set up the Awesome Foundation a few years ago. It began in Boston, and has spread to dozens of cities. How’s it work? 10 trustees […]

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 […]