Online advertising is destroying itself.

Online advertising is destroying itself. And it is doing so in a way that will fatally undermine online publishers' sustainability. Increasingly brash formats and data snooping by online advertisers are driving millions of people to sever publishers’ revenue lifelines by blocking all advertising. The outlook is very bleak indeed. Publishers’ are desperate to extract revenues from … Continue reading Online advertising is destroying itself.

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Design discussion with IDEO.org, 3fE, and Irish Design 2015

I spoke about design with John Collery (IDEO.org), Colin Harmon (3fE), and Laura Magahy (Irish Design 2015) in Dublin recently. Here are the highlights. As I wrote last year in The Irish Times, a happy customer is an extraordinary thing. So extraordinary that this first moment of happiness with a service can be a prelude … Continue reading Design discussion with IDEO.org, 3fE, and Irish Design 2015

Design matters for business, for startups

Originally appeared in The Irish Times on 7 November 2014. Full story is at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/find-your-niche-and-put-focus-on-design-1.1991105  A report by Sir George Cox for the UK Treasury in 2005 started with definitions of three key ingredients that could enhance business competitiveness: creativity, innovation, and design. Creativity, Cox said, is the inception of new ideas, approaches to problems or … Continue reading Design matters for business, for startups

What start-ups need is proof, not passion

I wrote this article for The Irish Times. Full story is at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/what-start-ups-need-is-proof-not-passion-1.1949565. After the dotcom bust, entrepreneurs came to realise the untested hunch was no longer adequate. In 1999, the start-up Webvan launched in the US with the intention of becoming the grocery service for online shoppers. It climbed to a multibillion dollar valuation at … Continue reading What start-ups need is proof, not passion

Designing services for smarter business

I wrote this article on service design for The Irish Times, published on 5 September 2014. Article is at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/designing-services-for-smarter-business-1.1916748 The Apple user or Nespresso drinker appreciates not only the physical good, but the entire experience of interacting with the business A customer’s relationship with a service is often unpleasant and short. But occasionally something … Continue reading Designing services for smarter business

Sustainable growth, not disruption

An edited version of this piece appears in The Irish Times , 1 August 2014 (online here) In defining the criteria by which the judges of The Startup Academy will adjudicate which companies would be accepted into the programme we have done something radical. Normally a competitive process like this might select only the startups … Continue reading Sustainable growth, not disruption

Design Thinking, and thinking like a child, for product design

This is a slightly shortened piece I wrote for The Irish Times on Design Thinking in organisations. Full article is here http://www.irishtimes.com/business/bring-design-thinking-to-your-product-1.1822064 Bring design thinking to your product Thinking like a child could save your business cash US technology investor Dave McClure coined a maxim that sums this challenge up: “Your solution is not my problem.” … Continue reading Design Thinking, and thinking like a child, for product design

Lean Startup Strategy. Not just for startups.

I spoke to Steve Blank, Alex Osterwalder, and the man who coined "Lean", John Krafcik. Here is what they said. This article appeared in The Irish Times 2 May 2014 see link.  “U should apply Lean Start-up Strategy in everything u do. Even ur personal & love relationship. Think about it & makes sense.” Thus tweeted … Continue reading Lean Startup Strategy. Not just for startups.

Press: “Innovation Academy UCD appoints Dr. Johnny Ryan as Executive Director”

Dublin, 8 April 2014:  The Innovation Academy, UCD, today announced that it has appointed Dr Johnny Ryan as Executive Director.  In his new role Dr. Ryan will take responsibility for the execution of the strategic mission and expansion of the Academy, and management of core operations including staff, programmes, and commercial operations. Dr. Ryan joins the … Continue reading Press: “Innovation Academy UCD appoints Dr. Johnny Ryan as Executive Director”

New role

---- Note: When I wrote this post two years ago I did not complete it. Probably I was preoccupied by taking up the new role. I publish it now with the caveat that this is an early draft, long and meandering. The reader has been warned. ---- Oscar mike. I'm on the move, and taking … Continue reading New role

Big Data R&D for the newsroom

As the ratio between quantity of available information and our capacity to absorb it changes, we must be more selective.

Silicon Republic interview: innovation at The Irish Times

I had an opportunity to set out what we are doing at The Irish Times in innovation, research, and working with startups. http://vimeo.com/66916581 (Hat tip to John Kennedy of Silicon Republic for letting me copy the video to video to display here.)

Startup networking at a 153 year old media company

If a 153 year old newspaper is to adapt, to experiment, and take useful risks, it makes sense to work with startups. Since The Irish Times' initial eight week experiment in 2012, both the NYT and the BBC have followed with their own ways of incubating early stage digital businesses. But beyond incubation there is … Continue reading Startup networking at a 153 year old media company

The 2012 tech topic, and a guess at the topic of 2013…

A brief note: I was asked to think about the hot topic in tech for 2012, and make a prediction for the hot topic of 2013 by Corriere della sera, an Italian newspaper. It might seem passé, but I think the hot topic of 2012 has been mobile Internet.  The ITU disclosed in June 2012 that mobile‐broadband … Continue reading The 2012 tech topic, and a guess at the topic of 2013…

An experiment in startups working with news media companies: looking back at The Irish Times Digital Challenge

(This post also appeared in The Irish Times on 4 October 2012.) LAST FRIDAY, at The Workman’s Club on Wellington Quay in Dublin, an Irish technology start-up company called GetBulb was announced as the overall winner of The Irish Times Digital Challenge. GetBulb has produced a system that can rapidly create data visualisations suitable for … Continue reading An experiment in startups working with news media companies: looking back at The Irish Times Digital Challenge

Week One: The Irish Times Digital Challenge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A_zI4oMWwM I PREVIOUSLY POSTED THIS ON THE HUFFINGTON POST. RE POSTED HERE. Some months ago I set up The Irish Times Digital Challenge to invite digital entrepreneurs to propose ways to work with The Irish Times. Almost 81 early stage digital companies applied, of which 14 were invited to pitch in person. From this a … Continue reading Week One: The Irish Times Digital Challenge

Startups and The Irish Times

The Irish Times is a media company with a long history. To get a sense of this reflect on the fact that it was already half a century old when one of its printing presses was burnt down during the 1916 Rising, when the rebels used its massive rolls of newsprint as barricades. In 1994, … Continue reading Startups and The Irish Times

Crowd Manufacturing

Long after his death Isaac Newton's unpublished papers finally revealed a hidden obsession with alchemy. Newton was interested in particular with the Philosopher's Stone, a proto-scientific cum mystical experiment reputed to transmutate one material into another. The Crown feared that the alchemists would devalue the coinage if they did one day manage to make gold … Continue reading Crowd Manufacturing

The Internet makes trust and insight scarce commodities, and makes newsroom veterans more valuable

Recently I have been looking at the newspaper as a service and as a business (for reasons that will become apparent later). Something is becoming clear. While the Internet makes information plentiful, and this in turn may be a challenge to some aspects of the newspaper business, deep insight and trust remain as scarce as … Continue reading The Internet makes trust and insight scarce commodities, and makes newsroom veterans more valuable

The 3 sided product problem

This post is also on Huffington Post. The first item ever sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. Startled that someone had bid for the broken item eBay’s founder, Pierre Omidyar, contacted the bidder to ask whether he understood that the laser pointer for which he had bid $14.83 was in fact broken? The … Continue reading The 3 sided product problem

“Peer-to-Peer Retail”: Social marketing/commerce is not just about ‘likes’

Owjo, the social commerce startup where I worked as evangelist/marketer/product guy, had a big problem. Its offering was so big, and so potentially transformative, that prospective customers couldn't get a quick grasp of it. Part of my job was to break the product down, so that discrete offerings could be orientated to specific markets. The … Continue reading “Peer-to-Peer Retail”: Social marketing/commerce is not just about ‘likes’

Piece in Wired: “Dublin Web Summit highlights the under-reported successes of Irish tech”

Following on from my previous piece in Wired UK on the optimism at the Pub Summit, this piece takes a macro snapshot of the Dublin startup scene during last week's Web Summit. See  Web Summit story on Wired UK here, or read on below.. Last Friday was a big tech day for Dublin. Web game … Continue reading Piece in Wired: “Dublin Web Summit highlights the under-reported successes of Irish tech”

Frederick Taylor, DEC, and Zynga: how does “idea fuel” filter to the top of perpetual beta organisations?

I broke bread with the speakers after the Dublin Web Summit on Friday (see my coverage of the Summit for Wired UK), and sat opposite Marcus Segal, Zynga's Chief Operating Officer for Games. Segal is faced with a hell of a problem: Zynga is growing like a super nova, and the model it uses relies … Continue reading Frederick Taylor, DEC, and Zynga: how does “idea fuel” filter to the top of perpetual beta organisations?

The “Android Paradox” – Google’s bright future at both ends of the market

Update 9 June 2011: What a mess. My original "Google's bright future at both ends of the market" appeared in Business & Economy as "Android apps will be of low quality". This is absolutely not what my line of reasoning was in the piece. I have asked B&E to change the title to something more … Continue reading The “Android Paradox” – Google’s bright future at both ends of the market

Mobile OS Wars – the new rules of the mobile ecology

I wrote a piece for India's Business & Economy on the mobile OS war. Draft text below... (online version article available here) The eco system is key. The mobile OS giants have one guiding principle: the OS with the best selection of software applications available for its users will be most attractive to consumers, and … Continue reading Mobile OS Wars – the new rules of the mobile ecology

Speaking notes on the digital future

This afternoon I was doing a prerecord for Drivetime, a popular show on RTE (Ireland's national radio station). I took a few minutes and wrote down some points I wanted to cover. We were due to discuss my new book A history of the Internet and the digital future so they cover the big picture … Continue reading Speaking notes on the digital future

My talk at Google EU HQ on fairuse

I spoke at Google last Friday (19 November 2010) on fairuse and the need for the law to adapt to leverage the benefits of the Internet. The event was chaired by TJ McIntyre of Digital Rights Ireland.

Apple Marketing

I'm getting worried that Apple could sell me... to myself. Here's how _____________________________ Announcing the iME from Apple.   What is it? Well, it starts when you start wearing elegant white or charcoal clothing. Then you have a general feeling of aloofness and only partial compatibility with your fellow human beings. You'll quickly get used … Continue reading Apple Marketing

Good news for startups in Ireland (iGAP)

Tidbit of news: I attended the final of the iGAP today. iGAP is the Internet Growth Acceleration Program, which was initiated by Colm Lyon of Realex and hosted by Enterprise Ireland. The 10 finalist startups pitching had participated in iGAP for the previous six months, learning from mentors and instructors drawn together by Brian Caufield. This … Continue reading Good news for startups in Ireland (iGAP)

Kool DJ Herc and the future of hacked media

Celebrating the arrival of page proofs of the book, this snippet comes from a section that describes the future of 'extruded media'... A digital media boom is underway in which assertive audiences are beginning to use and extrude media rather than watch it. To understand the nature of the coming global media boom, reflect on … Continue reading Kool DJ Herc and the future of hacked media

The Big Idea: the death of the center and the new centrifugal trend

Now that it is complete, a clear narrative has emerged from the forthcoming book. The  Internet, like many readers of the book itself, is a child of the industrial era. Long before digital communications, the steam engine, telegraph pole, and coalmine quickened the pace of the world. Industrialized commerce, communications and war spun the globe … Continue reading The Big Idea: the death of the center and the new centrifugal trend

World of Warcraft, WTF?

For the forthcoming book it was inevitable that I would look at World of Warcraft. ‘World of Warcraft’ is by any standard is the most popular computer game of all time. Since its release in 2005 it has built a steadily increasing following of loyal subscribers. 11.5 million people across the globe were paid subscribers … Continue reading World of Warcraft, WTF?

The origins of “smart casual”?

Short teaser from the forthcoming book... The tailored suit has a long history. The coat, waistcoat, and breeches gradually became the gentleman’s mainstay from the English Restoration in the 1660s onward, when the elaborate dress common at European courts fell out of favor. Embroidery and silk died out from the middle of the 18th century … Continue reading The origins of “smart casual”?

The bubble… (eBay, Amazon, Netscape, Webvan, Pets.com…)

Continuing from the earlier snippet about the Dot Com Collapse... this is a continuing piece from the forthcoming book. (feedback welcome) The collapse had been foreseen by a shrewd few. In early December 1996, Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, attended a dinner in his honor at the American Enterprise Institute. After … Continue reading The bubble… (eBay, Amazon, Netscape, Webvan, Pets.com…)

Quick note on ‘Openness’

The word 'Openness' is attractive as the keystone of the book's title. And yet it is controversial. It may even be inaccurate. The 'Open' word as I am using it first came to me when I read interviews with Paul Baran in which he talked about two startling things: first, how RAND published his secret research because they believed … Continue reading Quick note on ‘Openness’

The tulip, NASDAQ, and the dot-com crash

I'm studying the dot-com crash for the book... (the image is the Pets.com sock puppet) From 1634-1637 a wave of enthusiasm and investment swept the Dutch Republic, the object of which was the tulip. At home, the tulip was becoming an important element of Turkish court culture, to the extent that the Sultan of the … Continue reading The tulip, NASDAQ, and the dot-com crash

Making better presentations

In 2003, I delivered my worst presentation ever at the podium of the Royal Irish Academy. I stood and read an irrelevant academic paper, to a disinterested audience, and had planned my delivery so poorly that it was necessary to skip paragraphs at random to keep within time. Since then I've looked at how Hardt, … Continue reading Making better presentations

What issues to monitor when discussing digital competitiveness for Ireland?

I'm putting together a document at work that will define the scope of our Digital Future group. The question is, what issues should be included and why if the group is to examine digital competitiveness in Ireland in the coming years? In 1999 the Government's Action Plan to Implement the Information Society noted that: "we … Continue reading What issues to monitor when discussing digital competitiveness for Ireland?