Back doors

The recent hubbub in politics about security services back doors into end-to-end encrypted messaging service has got me thinking. Putting aside the issues of technological impossibility, as we enter into a world in which more and more devices are connected, a storm of questions about the morals, ethics and necessity of back doors into things could … Continue reading Back doors


Earlier this week I had a connection request on LinkedIn from someone under the nom de plume of Unemploy Bot, claiming in its headline "I will take your job soon!". Normally I'd shun such nonsense, but there was something about Unemploy Bot that tickled me. I accepted the request, and got into a short conversation, … Continue reading Adaptability


I've been using LinkedIn since 2004. It's been a constant past of my working life for those 13 years. I've been a subscriber for about 7 years. In that time my monthly subscription has crept up surreptitiously to now be more than double what it was when I started paying for additional access to the … Continue reading LinkedOut

Robot propaganda

Every picture tells a story. These days in the realm of social networks, click rates and the hunt for audience it's more like every picture sells a story. Imagery is vital to online content. The featured images that get scraped and then catch the eye as articles are tweeted and favorited. The decorative fly in … Continue reading Robot propaganda

The influence of the network

Another fascinating day at Julia Hobsbawm's Names Not Numbers event in London. It's a hugely eclectic day, yesterday spanning the role of theatre in politics, advances in the life sciences, David Bowie, the neuroscience of truth and an interview with the artist Maggi Hambling who I think has now become my favourite sweary creative (wrestling the … Continue reading The influence of the network

The Thinking Duck

A new week, a new book. This week it's Steven Johnson's Wonderland: How play made the modern world. Johnson's thesis is that much technological innovation attend from the pursuit of happiness and distraction rather than from hard-headed economic need. In one of the early chapters he charts how the work of automata manufacturer Jacques dear … Continue reading The Thinking Duck

Yearnote 2016

Another year flies past... If you go into a branch of McDonald's these days (an occasional guilty pleasure, I'll admit it), then you are increasingly likely to find that the restaurant has been upgraded to the new automated model. Big touch screens enable customers to place their orders, pay, and then queue up to receive … Continue reading Yearnote 2016

Digital Customer Experience event

In January I'm going to be part of a stellar line up of speakers at The Focus Group's Customer Experience Digital Leadership event taking place in London. I'll be exploring some of the themes on Play that are developing out of my work on the book (see the clip below), but I can also highly recommend … Continue reading Digital Customer Experience event

Self-driving fantasies

Piece of data #1: the average car is parked for an average of 95% of its lifetime. Piece of data #2: 57.5% of the UK population drive to work. Piece of data #3: the average Brit sleeps something of the order of 7 hours in any 24 hour period. Including time either end for going to bed and … Continue reading Self-driving fantasies

The anti-social

Over the past few weeks I've been getting a lot of social love from employees of Oracle the world over. A video interview that I did for a little earlier in the autumn has been tweeted dozens and dozens of times by people working for the Larry Ellison Relational Behemoth. Well, I say "people". I'm actually not so sure. This … Continue reading The anti-social