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 Dopplr.com 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…

The chairman writes:

*Everybody’s got a theory about the Internet-of-Things and its killer applications.

*It reminds me of the days when the Information Superhighway was all about 500-channel television. Nowadays we’ve got five zillion channel television, and it’s scarcely recognized as an existent technical reality. Those historical acts of foresight are so beside the point now that they’re “not even wrong.”

The mini-kaiju are teething, which means very little sleep in our household.

I had about an hour’s nap mid-afternoon yesterday, kindly afforded by Foe taking on twin-wrangling for a bit. I had a really vivid dream, which I can only recall snatches of. Blogging about dreams would be naff even if I were twenty years younger and it was twenty years ago, and this was livejournal, so I’ll keep this short.

The context, I think was a pub conversation about books read and not-read – you know the sort where people enthuse about something you absolutely must-read, that they can’t quite believe you haven’t. In it, a book called “The Refrigerator” came up.

Either I couldn’t believe someone hadn’t read it, or they couldn’t believe I hadn’t. Anyway, it’s many merits were listed by those present.

“The Refrigerator” basically put, is a hard sci-fi take on Lovecraft – interstellar space is dark and empty apart from the dark, empty, unknowable and relentless things in it – which glance against our little solar system in the near-future, causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I think the majority of it was set on some kind of colony or station in the Kuiper Belt that cops it before the rest of us.

I mention all this as it mustn’t of popped in there all by itself – and there are certainly shades of Greg Bear’s “Forge of God“, Lovecraft, Warren’sOcean“, and his nasally-extinguished God from The Authority, Vernor Vinge’s “A Fire upon the deep” and even Pitch-Black.

So.

Aside from all of those, have I described to myself a book that I think I should read?

Do you recognize a book I should read?

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