On privacy

London Fields

Random theory on a quiet and rainy Saturday afternoon in the city.

Privacy exists only in the eye of the beholder and is more prevalent and easier to engineer than ever before. It’s all a question of audience. I’ll explain. The new standard in our ways of communicating (especially in the geekdom) is to publicly display, reveal and share all the time, whether its our location, our trips, our photos, our thoughts, our desires, our interests and what we go through and who we know. If we simply stop using these services, nothing in our actual behaviour changes, we still go places, we still take pictures, we still share them with who we wish to by “downgrading” to sending them directly to people, family etc but our public self-actualisation is decreased and our privacy increases. I find it intriguing that privacy isn’t explicitly part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs actually, perhaps its a given, perhaps we’re only making a fuss over it because of the past 5 years of rapid technology changes.

When everyone twitters about what they do all the time, the noise drowns out the signals doesn’t it? If you suddenly decide to stop using a staple means of communication, it’s like you don’t exist anymore. It’s far worst than if you decided to use it less. If you lost your cell phone these days and didn’t care to replace it, and went back to using your landline, you’d essentially be dead to most people. Wouldn’t be surprising if they called the police to check on you, after all who would want to do such a thing? Well maybe it’ll be the same thing if you wanted to stop using facebook. I closed my account long before it had overtaken the world in such a dramatic way. I suspect in 2 years time people will have moved on to using something else, but frankly, I’d rather observe and privatly self-actualise, write more than 140 characters, post up pictures when I really want to and generally concentrate on making my life something that is mine and not everyone else’s too. It’s hard enough as it is.

It’s a strange theory but I kindof like it, for today at least.

Weaknesses in the network


You’d have to be in the coma this past week not to have noticed that half the universe is in Austin for what feels like a geek version of prom night.
It’s also in times like these that it feels more lonely on the web in a way, as most of the people who don’t get a chance to meet get to spend a week together while the rest of us are spectators of that time and enjoyment. It’s a strange feeling of being at the end of the network, where it really feels like you’re a voyeur, desperately reaching out for anything people will share: pictures on Flickr, tweets, blog posts, etc.

Or maybe I should get out more :)

Thoughts from the edge

As I struggle to keep my head away from tinkering for more than 15 minutes, I’ve realised a few things so far:

– there is a fine balance to be struck between saying yes and saying no

– people are, in general, quite unforgiving of any mistakes, even if you’re starting out

– money is always an issue

– hiring is difficult

– you have to be able to give up control if you want to go forward, but give up too much and all hell breaks loose

– be sure to know what you’re good at and what you’re not

– I only end up doing things I “trained for” 10% of my time, means I have to learn the other 90% on the fly


So I feel I’ve neglected this site long enough, I really should update people about why on earth I’m hardly in touch with the world. January is always a good month for announcements anyway right?

Firstly I am now CEO (or chief slave driver as I prefer to call it) of a small technology and design startup called Tinker.it. My partner in this being non other than my former IDII professor Massimo Banzi. So that’s taking, oh about 90% of my time now.

I’ve also been spending the last few months doing a bit of work for Blyk the free mobile network for young people funded by advertising. Often referred in my twitters as Finland2.0, it’s been really interesting as I’ve been running workshops with their target audience. Call it a user-based Applied Dreams if you will.

Then, well I’ve been working on a little project of mine with some great friends. More soon I hope. Let’s just say my dreams of getting something weby done are finally coming true.

And to top things off, Karola and I will hopefully be selling Topoware china to the world in a few months. I’ve been having fun dealing with real manufacturing constraints and old world communications with this one.

So there, it’s not that I don’t love you all, it’s just that I’m trying to die young :P