Archive for category Philosophy

30 Day Challenge List

Try something new for 30 days.

It’s a simple enough concept, but it is just enough to give your life a breath of fresh air, to get you out of a rut, to re-invigorate. I was inspired by Matt Cutt’s TED talk on this topic – it’s worth taking three and a half minutes and watching the video.

With that philosophy in mind, I’m trying to put together a nice list of 30 day challenges to inspire you.

To my mind, there are two ways to approach the 30 day challenge – habits, and achievements:

  1. Habits: Try something new and do it every day for 30 days
  2. Achievements: Aim to have completed something by the end of the 30 days
As a quick example, Read the rest of this entry »

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Why your web app won’t work

Your idea is a (tick all that apply):

[ ] Social
[ ] Discovery
[ ] Cookery
[ ] Video
[ ] Gaming
[ ] Music
[ ] Shopping
[ ] Business
[ ] Technical

tool which makes peoples lives easier by:

[ ] Giving them things for free that they used to pay for.
[ ] Showing them interesting things in their local area.
[ ] Allowing them to do things anywhere that they used to have to do at home on a PC.
[ ] Allowing easy access to relevant information about what’s in front of them.
[ ] Suggesting things they can do or make which they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
[ ] Suggesting new content based on the content they or their friends consume.
[ ] Giving them discounts when they buy via your app.
[ ] Making tasks take minutes that used to take hours.
[ ] Creating a new way of sharing things with their friends.

It won’t work because: Read the rest of this entry »

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What is the point of HTML 5?

HTML 5 is making a huge splash. It’s like web2.0 all over again. I think it’s a massively important moment in the history of the web, but I also think it’s slightly off-center in terms of where the web should be heading.

It’s difficult to say what the web “started out” as, because there was really no single distinct moment of inception. Sir Tim Berners-Lee cobbled together a program to combine already-extant Internet and hypertext systems, but the primary purpose for this ‘web’ of his was to be a document organisation and retrieval system. In fact I think Sir Tim even wanted the web to be editable, so Wikipedia is more or less what he had in mind.

That’s a telling legacy. The web was designed to be an interconnected system of text. Or a decentralised system of text. Or a self-organising system of text. But always: a system of text.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Ten Ideas

Being a hacker is all about the open sharing of ideas. So why do I keep my list of ‘projects in development’ so close to my chest? Inspired by tales of R&D departments with security measures the military would weep at? Enchanted by the notion that my ideas are worth millions, I just need to unleash them, then sit back and watch the cash roll in? Yeah, that’s pretty much it!

Yep, until very recently I was an idea hoarder. But inspired by Jacques Mattheij’s recent outpouring of his ideas, I’ve changed my attitude. I’m in good company – the folks at ycombinator have shared their list of “ideas we want to fund“, the people at have an entire social ecosystem based around sharing ideas, and the Six Month MBA team have listed a whopping 999 business ideas for anyone to pick up and use.

Why share my ideas? Ideas are often said to be worthless until implemented. I’d objected to that sentiment in the past, being a big ideas person. But now I can see there’s truth in it – a bad idea implemented excellently will trump a good idea implemented poorly, and as Paul Graham says: “imaginative people will take (the ideas) in directions we didn’t anticipate”, and “No matter what your idea, there’s someone else out there working on the same thing”. Sharing something multiplies its value.

I encourage you to share your ideas with the community too, because:

  1. Someone’s probably already thought of it anyway – no need to keep it secret
  2. You haven’t done anything with it yet – so maybe you’re not the right person to bring it forward
  3. Inspiring others benefits everyone- let’s talk about these ideas, and create new ones
  4. You’re not as clever as you’d like to think – others can see problems and opportunities that you can’t
  5. Sharing ideas can kickstart the product – if everyone says “wow I like this”, then you know what to do

So without further ado, ten ideas I’m thinking about:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Diaspora won’t beat facebook, but you might.

“Diaspora, the ‘anti-Facebook’, is doomed”, says Milo Yiannopoulos of the Telegraph.

I agree, but not for the reasons Milo gives. He says Diaspora will fail because:

  1. Facebook’s really big.
  2. Zuck’s invested in it.
  3. There’s a lot of competition.
  4. Facebook’s well funded.
  5. Diaspora hasn’t launched yet.

I think those are simply the problems that any startup is bound to face – indeed, the situation was largely the same when facebook launched against the giant that was myspace, or when Microsoft decided to enter the same market as IBM.

But the topic itself is an interesting one. An investigation into how a startup might challenge Facebook’s dominancy will doubtless reveal some insights into more general approaches that web endeavors can take to sweep away their competitors.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Right To Read

Taken from

For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college–when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

Read the rest of this entry »

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By Max Ehrmann, 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence. Read the rest of this entry »

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A poem by PB Shelly:

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Read the rest of this entry »


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Inspiring Quotes

A huge collection of inspiring quotes, you can read more by following @dailyquotes on twitter :) Although I haven’t updated that in a while…

“Nothing else matters, it seems, apart from gold”
Pythermus (6th century BC) only surviving writings
fr 910 cited in “Greek Lyric Poetry” by West 1993, p114

“Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a ‘necessary evil’, it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil.”
- Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Read the rest of this entry »


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