December 17, 2008
The Open Rights Group has put a survey online that leads you through a quick 28 questions and then reports how many times your private records have been lost by bungling government and private organisations recently. Those are my results above. 2 possible losses, one certain.
Do this. Get a sense of what data loss means and why it matters to you. Oh, and the Open Rights Group really needs your support.
September 16, 2008
We did a car boot sale on the weekend.. and amongst the pile of books that we keep trying to sell but never do was one I bought a couple of years ago. The topic of that book was how to price various kinds of exotic derivative contracts, as used in a range of complex ways to buy, sell, spread and mitigate risk and make loads on money for investment bankers.
Derivatives start out as nice simple ideas, but before you know it, things get very complex. And if you trade lots of derivatives with lots of other parties, you end coupled to your trading parties in lots of weird ways.
So, what started out as a possibly sensible risk management exercise becomes so complex and you end up so tied to everybody else’s success that you’ve got a Lehman-sized problem.
The trouble here is:
Complexity: it gets too hard for humans to understand what is going on. Everybody kind of pretends they do, but nobody really does.
Coupling: it gets very hard to work out how to untangle the knot of relationships you’ve created.
Trouble. So the investment bank solution was to create more and varied derivatives to cover all of that, making it worse. Pass the coke and let’s do some business.
What has this got to do with the social web? Lots.
If we layer API on top of API, and couple all our social web services together without a lot of thought about systems architecture we run the risk of making something complex, over-coupled, and utterly unstable.
And when we start building businesses on top of all of that, things get risky for those businesses indeed. And if we start relying on complex, over coupled web services, what happens when something’s business model fails and it goes into the deadpool. Could the whole lot fall over and be hard to get working again?
So, I’m thinking we need to start thinking about the discipline of social systems architecture, where we manage and look at the interconnected web as we do large distributed systems, taking note of single points of failure, instability, reliability, complexity and coupling.
Sure, we can integrate lots of social web stuff, but we need to keep a systems engineering mind while doing it. Otherwise it is a bit like running your billion dollar derivative contracts out of an Excel spreadsheet.
July 21, 2008
These slides from the training session for the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce last week. Let me know if you want us to come to your event or run a bespoke event or Masterclass.
More details on our Social Media for Good course soon (looks like next date will be Oct 3 in Brighton).
Covers a bit of an introduction to social media and blogging, plus some questions to get you thinking about your own context, opportunities and challenges.
Some good thinking in the room and animated conversations. Quite a few organisations ready to get blogging and exploring integrated social media in more depth.
A few of you made pledges are you walked out the door about your goals and intentions, so let me know how you get on!
Thanks to all for your warm feedback and to those who helped make it a positive event, especially Lorraine Bell (BCP), Tania “Radiance” Fullerton (Brighton Steiner School) and Fay McDonald.
May 2, 2008
I haven’t talked a lot about Scouta for a bit… We’ve been internally capacity building. And we’ve been focussing on providing recommendations as a web service to web and media companies with members and content that can be enabled for recommendations.
We do this under the banner of Scouta’s real company name, Recommendation Ventures, which you’ll hear a lot more about in the coming months.
There’s a lot of specialist knowledge around providing good recommendations, and packaging a recommendation services as a set of web services makes a lot of sense. We can take a set of content (URLs) and some identified members and visitors, and produce personalized recommendations in real-time to embed in a website or provide on a set top box, mobile etc.
But, the big news today is that our recommendation services are powering IceTV’s new IceTV Recommendations. IceTV say:
IceTV customers can now automatically receive intelligent suggestions on TV shows that may interest them based on their favourite TV shows, series recordings and similar recording decisions made by fellow IceTV users.
IceTV Recommendations are provided to IceTV users on an ongoing basis thanks to a recent partnership with Perth based Australian start-up, Recommendation Ventures Pty Ltd. The two pioneering companies have teamed-up to give users intuitive recommendations, based on the individual user’s tastes. When combined with the existing value-add features of IceTV, Recommendation Venture’s intelligent technology will allow user’s to receive truly personalised suggestions and as a result, an even greater TV viewing experience.
March 16, 2008
We’re starting to roll out recommendations as a web service as a part of the Scouta product set. See more info at the new Recommendation Ventures website.
March 16, 2008
Scouta, our social recommendation service startup, has just been awarded first prize in the Australian Startups Carnival 2008. This is brilliant news. The competition results are here. More info and commentary on the Scouta blog.
This means we’ll have a stand and will probably be presenting at CeBIT Australia 2008.
September 12, 2007
Over at [Scouta](http://scouta.com) we have just released the [Scouta iTunes Agent for Windows](http://scouta.com/download/win), following on from releasing the [iTunes/Mac](http://scouta.com/download/mac) version about a month ago. If you’d like to get recommended online audio, video and podcasts based on what you watch (no ratings required), the grab and install the Agent, and it will watch what you watch and listen to and recommend more relevant content for you.
Over at dconstuct 2007 last Friday, [Tom Coates](http://2007.dconstruct.org/speakers/#tom) was talking about how your product extends further than your website. Well, adding these agents means that you can get the Scouta recommendation experience without leaving your iPod, Apple TV, or iTunes. It can be a pretty magical thing to get recommended content just showing up on your iPod without having to do anything apart from syncing your iPod now and again.
Busy commuters are going to totally love this.
June 15, 2007
Here’s my mate Richard Giles, Scouta’s CEO, giving a one-minute interview. One minute isn’t long, but he managed to fit a fair bit in there.
June 5, 2007
I’ve moved in to share an office with the Snipperoo crew in Brighton.
Here’s a map:
And there more about the place on the Scouta blog.
May 31, 2007