JamesBlog

Communications Data Bill

Below is a message I sent to my MP, Sadiq Kahn regarding the Communications Data Bill.  I have decided to publish it here as I feel it is an important topic which requires more discussion.  I would urge you to write to your MP too! 

Hi Sadiq,

I thought I would just drop you a quick message regarding the Communications Data Bill which seems to be making progress at the moment.  

I run an internet company based here in London and see it as being fundamentally important for the UK to have free and unfiltered internet access, and for citizens to be free from unwarranted recording of their private communications.

I think everyone understands that we need to take steps to ensure our security but relying on ISPs to capture and record all communication metadata is the easiest but not the best option.

The UK has the potential now to become a global leader in internet technology and innovation, however we need to ensure the internet for all citizens remains unfiltered and unmonitored.  

For me the internet is the most transformative technology the world has ever seen, and is a fundamental human right.  For the government to begin to interfering with its free and open operation is dangerous and will be damaging for the country in the long term.

Thanks, James.


We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

— Alan Turing


Uncomfortable Things

Blog a Day in May: Day 3, Friday: Things that make you uncomfortable.

Lots of things make me uncomfortable.

Call centre scripts. Listening to a scripted answer at a call centre, is there anything more maddening.  

Insurance. In my opinion the whole insurance industry is a stinking corrupt government mandated cartel.  It seems to me all insurers spend their whole time working out how to rip off the consumer and avoid paying out when a genuine claim is made.

That’s it for the moment, end communication.


The Future of the Internet.

Day 2 of the blog a day in May challenge: Educate us on something you know alot about or are good at.

I am obsessed by the future of the internet, how it’s ability to change our lives will unfold over the coming years and how it will affect all our lives.  I’m not an expert on it but it is something I think about a lot.

The internet is increasingly moving toward an organised network of formatted data, the huge increase in API availability and quality is meaning that increasingly instead of having to activly search out content, it will find you.

An excellent example of this are the two new Google flagship products, Now and Glass.  Google Now attempts to give you the information you need when you need it, through analysing patterns in your activity, searching through your emails, calendar and web search history.

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Glass is perhaps the most revolutionary new computer hardware product since the iPhone launched in 2007, it’s impact on people’s day to day lives will be profound, surfacing highly customised data at the point of need.

Robert Scoble’s review of Glass gives a great description of the device’s potential, in his words “I will never live a day of my life from now on without it (or a competitor). It’s that significant.”

Anyway that is a brief synopsis of what I find exciting right now.


My Life in 250 Words

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I was born in Gillingham in Kent on 3rd of June 1986. It was the date of a world cup final and the doctors kept running out of the room to keep track of the score.  I grew up in Chatham, going to a catholic primary school and then a catholic comprehensive school.  

I remember being around primitive commodore green screen computers from when I was a toddler and they immediately fascinated me, my first experience of Microsoft Paint in Windows 3.1 was enchanting, it was the beginning of a love affair that would last my whole life.

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I helped my aunt set up a online shopping site, Expatboxes.com, when I was a kid and it ended up doing quite well at the time, we were in the paper and on TV with it which was super exciting, she sold it in the end and it hasn’t changed since.

During my childhood I lived in lots of different places, from Budapest in Hungary to Starnberg in southern Germany - staying in them each for several months at a time whilst my cousin received therapy for cerebral palsy at various clinics.  Flying over to meet them as an unaccompanied minor from when I was 7 was unbelievably exciting!

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The first time I saw the very concept for the smart car on the evening news when I was a kid I knew I had to have one, I started selling watches online, building websites for people and working in a supermarket until I finally had saved up enough money. 

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In the end I got impatient and got one of these when I was 16, it was a death trap and the brake cables snapped on me twice but it was still amazing fun.

After no research whatsoever I decided upon going to the University of Portsmouth, I had never been to Portsmouth before I moved there.  To be honest I think it was the design of their prospectus that sold it to me.

I was there for a few years, starting off doing a brand new degree called Enterprise in eBusiness which I hated and dropped out of eventually switching to a innovative new degree program they were running where you got your degree whilst running your own company.

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I decided to set up LinQ and started developing mobile software for package delivery, it was the moment I first became totally hooked on being my own boss and totally determined my life would always revolve around the tech business.  Technology’s power to change people’s lives is  magical to me.

After time at Portsmouth I eventually decided to move to Brighton with two friends from university where I stayed for 5 years until 2012.  

I just realised I have gone way over the word limit, but anyway - you get the idea.

Anyway fast forward to today and I run PageHub and live in London, it is always a rollercoaster but I wouldnt want to be doing anything else :-)


A Blog Every Day In May

As I am totally awful at forcing myself to write blogs (you will note the last entry on here is from over a year ago) I have decided to do the a blog every day in May challenge, you can read more about it here.

These are the subjects I will be covering:

Day 1, Wednesday: The story of your life in 250 words or less
Day 2, Thursday: Educate us on something you know alot about or are good at
Day 3, Friday: Things that make you uncomfortable
Day 4, Saturday: Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it
Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends.
Day 6, Monday: If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’?
Day 7, Tuesday: The thing(s) you’re most afraid of
Day 8, Wednesday: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.
Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day
Day 10, Friday: Most embarrassing moment.
Day 11, Saturday: Sell yourself in 10 words or less
Day 12, Sunday: What do you miss?
Day 13, Monday: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be.
Day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy
Day 15, Wednesday: A Day in the life
Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it
Day 17, Friday: A favorite photo of yourself and why
Day 18, Saturday: Tell a story from your childhood.
Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them
Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.
Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives
Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel.
Day 23, Thursday: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you
Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits
Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget
Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you’d like.
Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers
Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures
Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories
Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go
Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

I will do my best to stick to the schedule ;-)


Is Instagram really worth $965m more than Flickr?

After the news about over the weekend I felt as though I had to write something about it.

The main thing that has been on my mind is that Instagram’s only ever option was a super sized sale to the likes of Facebook as they did not have a viable business that would have been able to sustain itself outside the bubble of huge VC financing.

This does makes me extremely nervous that we are nearing a tipping point, if firms who have raised such vast amounts of financing are unable to become viable businesses and sustain themselves in the case of a buyout not being on the table.

A lot of VC’s seem to have an obsession with adoption, and a relaxed attitude towards business models and revenue generation - which is worrying because the second the market corrects itself and billion dollar acquisitions for companies without a revenue model become a thing of the past, how will such businesses survive?

That said, I do think this there will be a good fit between the two and Facebook has no doubt acquired an excellent 13 person team.  

As for the price, Flickr sold to Yahoo! for $35m.  Was Instagram really worth $965m more than Flickr, I’m not convinced.


Favourite Things of 2011

2011 has been quite a big year for me, I decided to leave my job and start PageHub and have done a lot of travelling and made a lot of changes.  Here are a few of my favourite things from 2011 :-)

Favourite Album:

Sound of Arrows - Voyage

Favourite Movie: 

X-Men First Class

Favourite Memory:

Cocktails in Tenerife with my best friends.

Favourite work thing:

Getting through to IBM Smartcamp finals in London.

Favourite Purchase:

MacBook Air 11’

Favourite Book:

Douglas Coupland - Microserfs

I hope 2012 brings loads more exciting things!