from Freedom by Daniel Suarez:

“Where ancient people believed in gods and devils that listened to their pleas and curses — in this age immortal entities hear us. Call them bots or spirits; there is no functional difference now. They surround us and through them word-forms become an unlock code that can trigger a blessing or a curse. Mankind created systems whose inter-reactions we could not fully understand, and the spirits we gathered have escaped from them into the land where they walk the earth—or the GPS grid, whichever you prefer. The spirit world overlaps the real one now, and our lives will never be the same.”

“But doesn’t this just spread mysticism? Lies, essentially?”

“You mean fairy tales? Yes, initially. But then, a lot of parents tell young children that there’s a Santa Claus. It’s easier than trying to explain the cultural significance of midwinter celebrations to a three-year-old. If false magic or a white lie about the god-monster in the mountain will get people to stop killing one another and learn, then the truth can wait. When the time is right, it can be replaced with a reverence for the scientific method.”

See also Julian Oliver’s talk. Again.

“At 42 years old, Charlie Brooker is settling into his middle age, but in the world of current affairs, where few male presenters under 50 occupy top jobs, he’s basically a small angry child. At 66, Jon Snow is far closer to the likes of John Humphrys (70) and James Naughtie (62) at the Today programme, Jeremy Paxman (63) at Newsnight, Andrew Neil (64) at This Week and the Sunday Politics, or Question Time’s 75-year old David Dimbleby. The few female presenters on these shows are allowed – compelled even – to be under 50, but current affairs output remains dominated by 50- to 70-something white men. This even extends to the pundits – a very small proportion of panelists on Question Time are under 40, and those under 30 are treated virtually as cultural curiosities to be gawked at or patronised. Owen Jones’s TV career seems – through no fault of his own – to be predicated on the idea that by giving him a say, broadcasters have somehow ticked the ‘under 30’ box, as if one guy can somehow be the ‘voice of a generation’.”

From “How Jon Snow dissing the PlayStation 4 explains why no one cares you can’t afford a house”

I’m 42 in a few months.

I’m trying to find the source of Matt’s story. Maybe I could even find the ‘old-school New York marketing man’ now I’m in NYC…

For now, however it’s good to park it here.

An important lens.

A friend of mine told me about an old-school, New York marketing man he’d once met. He had claimed that there are four reasons people will buy your product: hope, fear, despair and greed.

Hope is when your meal out at the restaurant is because it’s going to be awesome. Fear is because you’ll get flu and lose your job unless you take the pills every day. Despair is needs not wants: buying a doormat, or toilet paper, or a ready-meal for one. Greed gets you more options to do any of the above, like investing.

We try to make all our work hopeful. (Also, beautiful, inventive and popular!) It would be lazy to fall back on a despair good – or, worse, to use a fear motivation.

While I hope no-one ever gets to see this...

Nokia is switching off this month (they said 1st November, but as I write, it’s still there…)

Marko asked me and Matt B to a pub (somewhere on Charlotte St I think, might have been The Fitzroy Tavern) about 8 years ago to talk about an idea he had.

The next January we took a weekend away in a cottage in Norfolk to prototype the first version.

Phone and binoculars

We let a hundred or so friends try it, we took it to SxSW. We worked part-time on it, we got angel money. We quit our jobs and worked full-time on it for a year or two.

At Dopplr

Dopplr Friday

Dopplr Friday

Our most active users loved it. We moved in with our friends at Moo, and inadvertently rebranded Old St as ‘Silicon Roundabout’.

Papercamp preparations

We released new functionality every two months or so that we were enormously proud of.

DOPPLR: Porthcawl

Dopplr's New City Pages

DOPPLR: Dopplr group home

DOPPLR- Matt Jones

My Dopplr personal annual report has arrived

We had ideas of how to make money, but getting to critical mass was hard. We were mobile (SMS!) friendly from the start, but too slow to build an iPhone app.

We suffered from being hard-to-define, falling between awesome logistical tools like Tripit, and pure social networks. We kept going. We even ‘pivoted’ a little, and created a ‘social atlas’ of recommendations built out of analyzing crowdsourced data, but perhaps too early before services like Foursquare showed how it really should be done.

I left to join Matt & Jack and build BERG, Dopplr got sold to Nokia. Dopplr kept going even though none of the team could work on it while they were at Nokia – testament to Matt, Tom and Boris’ code-chops.

And now it’s going away for good…

I learned a hell of a lot designing and building Dopplr. I still stand by a lot of the principles that we as a team tried to follow. Don’t build a website, build a part of the web. Be polite, playful and pertinent. Use copy as UI as well as possible. And perhaps most importantly in the last few weeks: always let the user leave – easily and gracefully, with all of their data.

Bye Dopplr

So, thanks to Marko, Matt B., Tom, Boris, Celia, Dan, Lisa, Noa – and our investors/advisers especially Saul Klein.

It was great being your fellow traveller.

With two ‘l’s’ of course…


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