So you want an internet of things strategy?

I’ve been giving talks and having lots of meetings with executives across a number of different industries who are interested in the internet of things and aren’t quite sure what to do. Based on the past ten years of my work around this topic, here are some high-level recommendations.

Assumptions: chances are you have a research department or the product arm of your business is changing because your industry is changing. Latching on to the internet of things, AR/VR, cloud and digital is likely to help you solve some problems but not all. Chances are you need a change of culture and a change of senior management. This article is specifically for your business if you’ve decided to commit to #iot as a topic area and are ready to commit to it for a minimum of 3 years.

  1. Think about legacy

Staff turn-around in technical teams can be high (especially if they’re young) and chances are you’ll be recruiting web developers, creative technologists, industrial designers and electronics engineer as part of a good team that can prototype new connected product ideas for your business. These teams, when they work well are self-sufficient and therefore a culture of quick iterative prototypes is developed. This culture clashes with the need for comprehensive documentation of each idea. Successful high resolution prototypes are one thing but the interesting little prototypes that lead you there are just as important. Making sure code, circuitboard diagrams, BoMs and demo videos are available is important to make sure someone in Marketing or the next technical lead can understand a development process.

  1. Know your history and your landscape

You are joining a rich ecology of startups, government programs, tools and standards groups. You’re not doing this on your own so you better get used to collaborating with others that may have competing interests but are much smaller than you and have developed better tools. It takes a particular type of humility but what you’ll get out of it will stand out from what’s being done by your industry. The point of the internet of things is the breakdown of industry silos. The trick here is to grow a circle of ‘care’ so work with people in a way that opens up your abilities and your contacts so they can do the same. That’s why it’s the internet of things and not the intranet of things. People expect APIs for your services and the open mind to go with it.

  1. Help users get literate

In light of the recent splat of press about the internet of things and security we have to work as an industry to give people the tools to know what they should do. We struggle to do this online already and when things are added to the mix of course it complexifies things a lot, but the opportunity here is for a decent amount of time spent with end-users, not just ‘personas’ who are so loved by some design thinkers. There’s nothing like giving people something to live with for a while (be it either at home or at work) to get great feedback and highlight opportunities. It’s not with post-its, it’s not with ideas, it’s with functional high resolution prototypes that you’ll have to invest in fabrication. This means spending months (a long-term trial of the average social robot is 3 months) with customers finding out how your product fits. Only then will you have something that can change people’s lives (at work or at home!) and only then can you help them understand the risks best.

  1. Be patient

Don’t assume you’ll be able to create value for your organisation quickly, getting teams to work together and have good ideas they can prototype and iterate (takes ages to order parts) and then getting something that’s unique enough to showcase once a year at CES means that to get noticed and the right partners on board long term you’ll have to do this for some years. You’ll learn a lot and try to trust your team to work slowly but steadily. It’s difficult when you’re probably tied to whatever you can do within a financial quarter but if you want to change your business, that’s the price to pay. Try not to change innovation managers too often that’s really disruptive to the process and technical teams and jeopardises progress. Also give them a good budget, they have to buy machinery and parts! :)

Good luck!


The year of the Good Night Lamp

I’ve been a bit quiet about the the Good Night Lamp but this year was major. I actually made and shipped lamps around the world. Here is a rather long breakdown of how I did it, how much it cost and what’s next.

Good Night Lamp

A bit of history I had the idea in 2005 as a student in Italy. I made some rather basic plastic lamp-shaped prototypes with a technician at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and presented it to Droog who had set us a design brief around single household living in the future. They took it under consideration for about 6 months, but after presenting to their team in Amsterdam (I was living there at the time) they said it didn’t fit their aesthetics. I think it just was too complicated for their whimsical collection. I also had no idea how to manufacture it at all. I had a prototype based on a hacked remote control toy car.

I moved to London in 2007, ran a design studio and the first UK distributor of the Arduino with Massimo Banzi. We talked about it with Matt Biddulph a lot but not much was done. I still had the now empty plastic prototypes on my desk at the office.  We closed Tinker on December 3rd 2010.

In March 2012 after I dusted myself off from closing Tinker, I registered Good Night Lamp Ltd at Companies House, trademarked the name in the UK and booked the second smallest booth you could get at CES 2013. At that time I roped in Adrian McEwen as CTO, John Nussey as Head of Products and Konstantinos Chalaris as Design Lead. We had a two day workshop in the summer of 2012 with Lawrence Archard, an electronics engineer. We came up with the idea of a house as a shape and chose to connect the lamps using wifi based on a very high level cost breakdown.

The Good Night Lamp

Kostas designed the first shape and our distinctive roof angle and we wanted each Little Lamp to connect and share power with the others that might be near it. This would let people build a bit of a village.

How Little Lamps Connect

That summer I also asked around me for financial support and Usman and Blaine came to the rescue with a combined £20K. I used that money to pay for the prototypes to be made by Tom Cecil Studio for CES and get us there (that trip alone cost £14K). I started meeting investors in autumn 2012 and was offered in my first meeting £40K if I could find others to join in. They never materialised so I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign while at CES. We worked with PAN to come up with a video and photography for the campaign. We made a xbee-based prototype and with John, went to Vegas. 

Good Night Lamp at CES 2013

I never realised the press picked up their releases and did their coverage on the Monday while we were still setting up so we missed the boat a tad but the event was a real eye opener. We had a lot of interest in the product but being one of two Kickstarter projects there people really wanted to see a final product. We had some good coverage, but the inability to deliver right there and then really affected people’s perception. ‘That’s interesting’ is something you get a lot when people can’t buy it right there and then. We failed our campaign and investor interest basically disappeared as a result.  I stopped working with the guys as I couldn’t pay them anymore. I went back to square one and continued meeting investors for about 6-8 months and applying for funding and incubators. It was summer 2013 when I understood I was going to have to go it alone with no further financial support than what I could get from the consultancy work I do and the speaking engagements I have. I got an agent (thanks Ben)  and started working with some great clients and just kept going.

I also continued showcasing the Good Night Lamp in the UK at various tradeshows. The most important one for me was the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham.

Good Night Lamp at the Gadget Show 2013!

Visited mostly by working class dads and their sons, their reaction to wifi was quite telling. ‘Oh nan doesn’t have wifi’. So I pretended a 3G version was coming up and got a lot more sign ups for our newsletter. This was the turning point in terms of technological direction towards a GSM version.

In early 2013 I was working with the Eyehub project helping with dissemination, something I’d done with Lirec. I met Eseye at that point, an M2M company based in Guildford. The perfect match for the change I’d decided to make.

I worked with Daniel for about 6 months in early 2014 and he helped with web design and the strategy for production. I went live with a humble little shop and a paypal link (soon replaced by Stripe) in September 2014. 200 lamps were pre-ordered by over 60 customers around the world in a few weeks. I closed the shop link and got to work. The first lamps were shipped to customers in April 2015 and more have sold and shipped for Christmas. I’m now preparing to make about 2K-3K  to sell to the UK, Europe and the US and ride the 2016 Christmas wave properly next year. It’s taken some time to get all the ducks in a row and it’s still work in progress.

Now what

I now have a CE certified product made in batches in the UK.  The enclosure is made by Tom Cecil in London, the electronics and data supplied by Eseye in Guildford and the assembly and shipping will be handled by EPS in Woking. I’ve also been working with Burgopak on some packaging for each lamp before it goes into a box. I’m also working on a proper back end to help manage the lamps remotely with Andrew & Boris. A British product through and through (except for where the electronic components come from sadly) for the UK & EU markets. I’m working on getting a version of the product made in the US (Tennessee & Alabama) for the US market but that’s still in its infancy.  It’s been tiring, stressful and expensive overall and I don’t think I’d do it in the same way if I had to start from scratch.  But it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done.

Here are some very technical pieces of advice for anyone wanting to get into the business of making a consumer connected product.

Making is waiting

There are only 3-4 categories of things you will be ordering (eclosures, electronics, packaging, mis parts, accessories, packaging) but each one of them has a high chance of being delivered late which means you can’t start to really assemble things for *weeks* sometimes. It’s super frustrating, but save yourself and just assume it’s always going to happen and have plenty of plan Bs.  You’re not Apple, chances are you never will be, so you can’t squeeze your vendors aggressively.  Just plan for at least 1 to two months of delays on everything you order.


Keep things very, very local

Even within the London-area which is where the lamps are made, the fact that the enclosures are made in E10 and the rest happening around Guildford means I’m spending a fortune on couriers moving things from one end of London to the other. Customer returns are being returned to me in Brixton so far thanks to a pretty neat Freepost return labels, but then I need to get them couriered to Woking again. Very expensive. So keep every process very close. No working from your bedroom won’t do if you’re making hundreds of something. So have a plan.

Have a really good plan for customer support

Eseye are my first line of support for customer enquiries, this is normal because I don’t have great API access or a back end to connect to, but it makes the process of assessing what’s wrong with a customer really painful.  It’s not their fault, the Good Night Lamp is a unique product in the M2M space. Usually, you’re only taking a sensor reading locally and sending some data back, end of story. And the product isn’t a consumer one, so the user-generated problems don’t really exist. The Good Night Lamp is an ‘if this then that’ structure with units all over the world in real people’s hands. Super tricky to both assess what is going on and where the problem is for a customer. I’m using Zendesk but really don’t like it. Not sure what else to use, so still working that out. Anyway, have a plan.

Expect you’ll lose a lot of money at first

I’ve lost over £70 / lamp so far in unexpected courier costs, returns, delays, pricing, etc. That’s ok as I have other clients too so it helps, but it’s not a long-term strategy. I don’t want someone else’s money to help with that either, I’d rather build a solid business with vendors who all know how to work with each other and work to cover my costs. More importantly, I see it as an investment in my continued eduction as a business owner and designer. This goes against the rhetoric of raising lots of money first and spending it (usually badly) after but I think there’s less pressure this way and the right design decisions are made. This all takes a lot of time, but the rewards happen daily: a nice email from a customer, a good prototype, more ideas for packaging. All part of the job.

Keep talking

I’ll spend more and more of my time in 2016 on marketing the Good Night Lamp and see if it has international appeal. You have to be careful about burning yourself out on these types of things. Because this is my third business, I think I’m more prepared. You can never stop talking about the product and I’ll do that more and more. It may bore the living daylight out of your friends and family, but having a product is like running a marathon. You are rewarded for sticking around and being pig-headed, not tiring yourself too quickly.

I’d never describe the last ten years is as an incredible journey, if anything it’s like hiking up a narrow badly-lit road on the side of a mountain during a blizzard. But I’m there because I want to be there and that’s the difference. Happy New Year everyone.

Making ourselves happy

I just got off recording a podcast which was focused on AI and sci-fi. Not my favorite topics. Reminded me of a moment in the excellent Déclin de l’Empire Américain (1986).

Ce qui veut dire qu’un mariage réussi n’a rien à voir avec le bonheur personnel de deux individus mariés ensemble. À la limite, la question ne se pose même pas. Comme si une société en développement se préoccupait davantage du bien collectif ou d’un bonheur hypothétique futur plutôt que de satisfactions individuelles immédiates. […] Et je pose la question paradoxale : cette volonté exacerbée de bonheur individuel que nous observons maintenant dans nos sociétés n’est-elle pas, en fin de compte, historiquement liée au déclin de l’empire américain que nous avons commencé à vivre ?

I’ll attempt a translation.

‘ This means that marriage has nothing to do with the personal happiness of the two married individuals. Actually it’s as if the question doesn’t even come up. As if a developing society is more concerned with collective happiness or a hypothetical future happiness than immediate individual  satisfactions […] And I ask the paradoxical question: isn’t this focus on individual happiness that we now observe in our society today, in the end, historically linked to the decline of the american empire which we have started to experience?’

It came to me as we discussed progress, innovation and ways of making our individual lives more effective, efficient, full of personal happiness and fulfilment. It’s harder to care about others, what we have to engage with collectively. Easier to shave off seconds from cooking or booking experience. So we have more time to check Facebook perhaps.

8th End of Year Review

A rather personal tradition on this blog, but one I’ve stuck to thanks to Molly Steenson who initiated this years before we met when this blog was my thesis project blog.

1.What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Spend a month away from London for work. That felt very weird.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’m not sure what they were but they did involve staying fit which I’ve been doing thanks to Diamond Jive. This year though, I’d like to spend time with friends who are slowly leaving the country for far away, more profitable places.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not yet.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Scotland, Germany, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Belgium, Canada

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2014?
Not much.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?
March 8th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Pushing through with the Good Night Lamp’s first batch which is now in production. Also putting on IOT Angels Master Classes. We’ve done two and our third is coming up. Working with the BBC R&D North Lab folks again, Nominet R&D & Digital Catapult. Some really talented people in those organisations.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Misjudging the shape of some work relationships.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A birthday meal at the River Café for me and my best friend.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Berg for closing Bergcloud and Little Printer. I’ve written about their amazing work. It made me sad but I think they should be recognised as pioneers in the wild. Who will catch them all!?

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Most airlines.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The Good Night Lamp (again and again)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going back to dancing regularly thanks to Diamond Jive.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2014?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More writing and doodling in my sketchbooks. They’ve become to do lists this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With loved ones.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
See above.

23. What was your favourite TV programme?
I still don’t watch TV, maybe I should change this question.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
I’m great at starting books in parallel so started but haven’t finished and really enjoying

The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane
All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity by Marshall Berman
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The War on Drugs, Future Islands, Blood Orange & Rodriguez

28. What did you want and get?
Opportunities to work with great people.

29. What did you want and not get?
Understand how to grow teams effectively. I’m still learning how to do that.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
I watched most films in airplanes and really enjoyed The One I Love, The Grand Budapest Hotel and discovered Pina.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34 a few weeks ago, got a haircut, went to lunch and then to see Edward Scissorhands at Sadler’s Wells.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

34. What kept you sane?
Hanging out with A., J. and F.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No time for that this year really.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Syria again. Can’t believe how much things have just kept deteriorating in the Middle East since I left as a child.

37. Who did you miss?
My family & my nieces and nephews.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Some things come to those who wait. Not all, but some and maybe that’s enough.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

“When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
well, when exactly do you mean?
see I’ve already waited too long”

Insurance in the internet of things: the Future Stigma of Data


In May, Ana Bradley joined my consultancy as a Partner and one of the first clients we worked on together was Imago TechMedia. We helped them plan an event for the insurance sector around the internet of things in a half day workshop. The insurance sector is one I’d recently been looking at anyway for a piece of strategy work I’m doing with the BBC R&D North Lab in MediaCityUK. In light of Cory’s post tonight  though I thought I’d share some quick thoughts on the matter.

For the past 4 years, insurance companies have been using connected hardware to offer flexible and dynamically generated premiums in the car industry.

  • In 2010, MyKey was a feature on all new Ford cars which allowed parents to lend their car to their teenager and set parameters of usage.
  • In Germany, all new cars have “black boxes” by default since a government ruling supported this in 2012.
  • These days, companies like Ingenie set up the box on any car for the young driver (17-25 year olds) in your household and charge you premiums according to their driving behaviour

Now they are looking beyond cars and into the world of healthcare insurance (after all they’d been tracking your gym attendance) and what better consumer products to exploit than the emerging bubble of wearables?

This sounds good in principle: if you’re good, and you exercise you premium will be low. But what if you’re bad for just one week because you got dumped by a significant other? You spend less time in the gym and so are automatically penalised, even if you’re doing ok overall.

What if you’re really ill? Then the insurance company might offer you a plethora of connected devices, all in the name of making you pay less while they (via the product company) collect more and more data. If we’ve got issues with the NHS holding our data, well I’m not sure we’d trust insurance providers, after all private companies who own the devices can do whatever they like with the data. Remember that back in 2011, TomTom sold its satnav data to the Dutch police who then used it to set speeding traps and retro-actively send speeding tickets. 

So people start to panic and say “No I don’t want to be traced”. So they are charged more.

And this is where a new divide occurs: a new class system determined by data. The poor are tracked and traced while the rich can afford to pay more for their premiums and for anonymity by extension. This also means wearable companies will be tainted by that industry and will come to mean “i’m too poor to pay or ill for expensive insurance so I wear a connected device”.

Might sound a little Adam Curtis, but that future is what worries me about insurance companies.

End of year review

1.What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Put all my efforts into one project.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, pretty much stopped going to the gym in February, but thankfully have been keeping quite well. I’d like to try that again.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Plenty. It’s a thing at my age.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
US, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Malaysia.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
January 30th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not losing faith.

9. What was your biggest failure?
The end of a relationship.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Some health concerns but nothing scary.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A rather lovely set of ceramics in Munich.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Nelson Mandela, RIP.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The NSA.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The Good Night Lamp (again)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The growing frenzy around the internet of things, after so many years of working in this area.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2013?
The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
More reflective.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Cooking at home. (same as last year)

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Having conversations with the wrong people. (same as last year)

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
In London.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
My mom.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?

23. What was your favourite TV programme?
I don’t watch TV.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco, Travel journals of Jean Paul Sartre to America & South America,

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This is the Kit.

28. What did you want and get?
A great team to work with.

29. What did you want and not get?
More hours in the day.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
La Grande Bellezza hands down. Only God Forgives wasn’t as violent as I thought and you know, Ryan Gosling.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I’m turning 33 on Monday and will go ice skating, a circus act and my favorite restaurant for a dinner with friends.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More money.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
A bit grunge a bit rock.

34. What kept you sane?
Hanging out with A, K, N, L.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ryan Gosling.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

37. Who did you miss?
M + M

38. Who was the best new person you met?
A & D.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Things happen at a pace that you do not control.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

“But my life it is good,
And I have what I need
And sometimes the wind,
And sometimes the sea,
And often the rain,
And slightly the sun,
And sometimes I sit still,
But mostly I run”

(Thanks to Molly for initiating this habit, this is the 7th year I’ve done these reviews. Will also attempt Michelle‘s version but might not share it.)

August 28th, 1963.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


What I’m up to (no not weeknotes)

It’s always nice to let people know what you’re working on right? Otherwise people will think I’m spending my days on Twitter scanning the #iot hashtag (ok, I do that too).

I’m the founder of Good Night Lamp, a family of internet-connected lamps. We’re in the long ramp up towards good partnerships to kick off production, that side of things is long and thankless and sadly not something I can talk about right now. Needless to say, it’s one of those things that will get better for everyone with time. This takes up 60% of my time.

As for the 40%:

1. Mapping the industry
Recently I’ve put together a map of #iot startups / consultants which is light on the service provision side of things as I’m more interested in the application / product / startup side of things.

View IOT companies (UK & Europe) in a larger map

2. Retailing the Internet of Things
The Good Night Lamp and all the other projects on that map need a space in traditional retail environments. Big Box retail. Paul & I are putting together a proposal for a pop-up shop in Boxpark, a trendy container mall in Shoreditch, where they can be showcased and we can have a discussion with buyers about the place of these new tech products in traditional retail. I’m not in a position to fund this myself, so we’re looking for a sponsor. This isn’t about making money, it’s about getting a point across and opening up opportunities. Maybe your company likes #iot. Get in touch.

3. Eyehub
I’m going to be helping out Eyehub, a TSB-funded internet of things project by blogging a little on a topic I want to learn about more, which is safety and asset security in #iot. I’ll be helping them organise a couple of hackathons based on an API they are building for a campus and city! Smart smaller cities. It’s a thing you know.

4. Lean startup
Since mid-2012, I’ve been involved in a long piece of lean startup work with a client I can’t talk about. It’s mostly fun and interesting and also challenging. This is all mostly digital and a little #iot but it’s made me think that lean startup methodologies don’t work particularily well with hardware. I might blog about that at some other point.

5. Events
I’ve been helping Xively organise the London internet of things meetup. it’s the biggest one on the topic and there’s always space, you should come along. I’m going to be helping another client with a startup competition in the autumn, more on that soon.

6. Internet of People
Last summer, Rob (who has been a friend and a peer since I started the now defunct Tinker) Martin, Lorna and I met up in Amsterdam and started planning what was announced last week: Internet of People. The idea is simple: there are lots of consultants like myself out there working on various aspects of the internet of things, and lots of companies trying to understand the potential of iot for their business. We act as a matchmaking service based on a few core services. I was involved in helping set it up as a UK company (it’s easier you see) and shaping the general messaging. If you’re a freelancer in iot topics, you want to have a look at this. If you’re a company looking for someone to come in and give a talk or workshop about how iot affects your business (yes I know you only just got round to thinking “digital” but this will really blow your mind) say hi.

7. The Perfect IOT conference
I’ve been scheming with a few people about what the perfect iot conference would be. More on that soon too, but put Berlin in your calendar for February 19th to 22nd 2014. (I know, I know, we just got out of winter).

8. Mentoring
I’m a Bethnal Green Ventures mentor (as well as an advisor to Technology Will Save Us) starting next week.

9. Speaking
I’m also doing my lion’s share of public speaking, mostly about GNL, but you know it sometimes actually pays bills :)