Sunday, November 27, 2011

Considerations when responding to an RFI or RFP (a view from the receiving end)

Having been on the receiving end of Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) responses, from an evaluation perspective there are ways respondents can make it easier for the evaluation panel to assess what it is being proposed and ultimately have greater success on getting through to the next round. These considerations are from my experiences with Software package selection and with Delivery partner selection, but should be applicable to many other selections.

1. First impressions count.

Even before the RFI/RFP response is opened, an evaluator can be swayed by the presentation of the response and the level of engagement getting there.
Key considerations:
  • Ask questions during the response period to validate any areas lacking clarity, but don’t go overboard.
  • Make sure you meet the response times.
  • Use good quality paper and colour (if required to present a  paper copy).
  • Binding can make a document look classier.
  • If the response requests that all questions and communication go through a particular person or channel, then abide by this. 

2. Make it easy for an evaluator to find information they are looking for.

When performing an evaluation I will assess the RFI/RFP response against an evaluation template where I score the responses from each vendor. In order to ensure that I am being fair in terms of the evaluation, I assess each line item of the template across all RFI/RFP responses at the same time, as opposed to scoring each vendor separately and then moving on to the next.
Key considerations:
  • If there is a RFI/RFP response template provided, use it.
  • Have a table of contents on Page 2 (or thereabouts) of the document, and ensure there are page numbers throughout.
  • Have your logo on the front page of your response. This makes it easier when the reviewer is looking through documents from multiple vendors.
  • Be very clear about what is and isn’t included in any pricing. Even if you have the information in a scope section, it is worth highlighting the key inclusions, exclusions and assumptions in the pricing section too so that if an evaluator is looking at each solution in parallel you are not seen to be overly expensive or hiding something.
  • Don’t have information split across multiple documents, unless explicitly requested to. 
 

3. Consider what an evaluator is likely to be assessing the solution against.

Whilst there are a number of questions asked in an RFI/RFP, there may be other things that an evaluator is wanting to see demonstrated in the response. If the response is silent about something, then the evaluator may rate this lower than it should be.
Key considerations:
  • Show an understanding of the requirements.
  • Explain how the proposed solution meets the requirements. Diagrams are good.
  • Show an understanding of the business / industry sector.
  • Use case studies that are in the same region / country where possible.
  • Cover the methodology that is proposed to deliver the solution (if appropriate). This should however not read as if it is a shopping list of methodologies straight from a text book.
  • Explain your level of flexibility to adapt the methodology and/or solution to better fit the organisation.
  • Demonstrate thought leadership and best practice guidance. This may be by providing alternative solutions or explaining standards or processes that will be adopted.
  • Explain different pricing model options you are open to; Fixed, Time and Materials, Monthly, Pay per use, ...
  • With a software package selection, explain what is possible with configuration, what will entail customisation / development, and if so how this will impact any upgrades.
  • Explain additional opportunities your solution provides.
  • Cover whatever else you think is of interest to the evaluation panel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono is a very easy read and provides a good simple approach for exploring ideas and problems through thinking from different perspectives in a structured manner. There are six hats, each of which have different characteristics:
  • White Hat: facts, figures, information
  • Red Hat: emotions and feelings, hunch and intuition
  • Black Hat: devil's advocate, negative judgement
  • Yellow Hat: optimism, positivity
  • Green Hat: creativity
  • Blue Hat: controlling of the hats and thinking, orchestration 

The idea of the hat is that a person will put on or be asked to put on a hat and to express a view from that perspective. This gets people thinking in different ways and since it is play-acting people are more willing to express views from under the security of the hat that otherwise may be left unsaid.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Exporting from OpenOffice Base database to SQL

I was wanting to export the contents and design of an OpenOffice.org Base database to SQL with the intent of migrating to MySQL. I struggled to find out how to do this, but finally found out how.

To generate an SQL file that contains both the contents and the data of the database I used the following command from the “Tools –> SQL…” menu:

SCRIPT 'C:\temp\file.sql'

When I tried to write it to the C:\ root directory I got a security error, but using another directory worked fine.

Thanks to http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=32333 for pointing me in the right direction.

Incidentally, on my way to the final solution I also came across the following command to generate a CSV file of a table’s contents:

SELECT * INTO TEXT "output_csv_file_name" FROM "table_name"

The version of OpenOffice I was using was OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 – OOO330m20 (Build:9567) and I running this on a Windows 7 machine.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NZSki is making great use of RFID to enhance customer service

I went skiing yesterday and was impressed with how NZSki is using RFID to enhance customer service.

I started the day by going into the Queenstown Snowcentre to buy a ticket for the bus up to Coronet Peak. Instead I found I could buy my ticket for skiing as well, which was great. The queue was short and when I got to the counter I was asked if I had used NZSki before. I hadn’t, so the person serving me proceeded to ask my name, took my photo, and casually asked me where I was from.

Before I knew it, a plastic re-usable pass for the mountain had been printed for me with my name on it, a reference number and the fact I was an Adult and Male.

P1010878_cropandresizesanitised

NB: Reference number blanked out in picture.

After a 25 minute bus ride, I was at Coronet Peak and then proceeded to the chair lift. What I then found was that at every chairlift and t-bar I went to during the day there was a gate to go through where you needed to hold your pass up to (typically there were 5 gates, one for each seat). This worked fine through my jacket, however for the first gate since I had my cell phone in the same pocket it didn’t work, but the liftie let me through anyway.

I also noticed that as each person went through, the liftie had an iPad that had pictures of who was coming through each gate so they were doing checks to see that people weren’t using other peoples passes.

There were also top-up machines located at both the snowcentre and near the ticket offices up the mountain, where you can use buy your ticket yourself without needing to go to the counter. Similarly, you can also buy your ticket from the comfort of your home through registering and logging in online (more about that later).

The whole process worked well and helped to keep the flow going (not that there was much of a queue today; it was in fact almost non-existent).

I had a superb day on the mountain. The conditions were excellent, beautiful blue sky in the morning (there was a little bit of cloud in the afternoon, although this was minimal and there was still unlimited visibility), no wind, great snow and almost non-existent queues. My legs and feet were a bit shocked by the exercise, but I still managed to do a decent number of runs.

362033636

Once I got off the mountain I went to the nzski.com mypass website, entered the reference number on my card and then proceeded to enter a username and password. Some details such as my name and city were already populated. What was also nice was the statistics displayed, showing how many metres I had descended and how many runs I had done (NB: this will be missing my first run, since they just let me through).

graph_sanitised

There are also leader boards of who has descended the most in the day, season etc. and who has done the most runs.leaderboard_resized

Today I went back to this site and purchased an afternoon pass for The Remarkables. It was all very simple to do.

I was impressed with how well RFID was used to enrich the customer experience.

<Cross-posted to http://sinnjoy.com>

Friday, July 22, 2011

HTML5 input type does not submit name for images

I had some very simple code that worked well in the Chrome web browser, but it did not however work with Internet Explorer or Firefox and didn’t generate any errors. The functionality was simply to pass a parameter (in this case ‘auth’) to a PHP page; once on the page I am simply checking that it is set. I was attempting to do this by attaching the parameter to the image input type but was having no joy. Rather than look at alternative options, this made me curious so I went searching.

After a bit of digging, I found that the HTML5 spec requires just the x and y coordinates clicked on for the image to be appended to the form data submitted. After realising this, I changed from using the name/value attributes on on the image input type to using a hidden field and all browsers were happy.

In terms of my very simple HTML code, to make it work.

Before:

      <form action="index.php" method="post">
          <input type="image" src="img/sign-in-with-twitter-l.png"
                 alt="Connect to Twitter" name="auth" value="1">
      </form>

After:

      <form action="index.php" method="post">
          <input type="image" src="img/sign-in-with-twitter-l.png"
                 alt="Connect to Twitter">
          <input type="hidden" name="auth">
      </form>

For completeness, in terms of how I check the field is being passed through:

if(isset($_POST['auth'])) {…}

Thanks to http://www.onenaught.com/posts/382/firefox-4-change-input-type-image-only-submits-x-and-y-not-name for pointing me in the right direction.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Barcamp Auckland 5

With 300 attendees registered for this year, there were a lot of Web developers, designers, lawyers, investors and others in one place with several un-conference sessions running in parallel at Barcamp Auckland 5.

A summary of my interpretation of key points from sessions I attended is below.

Write once, run everywhere HTML 5 applications

  • SmartBiller
    • HTML 5 based desktop/iPhoneAndroid app.
    • Used jQTouch as a framework; supports Webkit only. jQuery Mobile wasn’t ready at time, but this would be preference if rebuilding (better support).
    • Sync driven from server.
    • Device detection being done adhoc on client & server side.
    • Would use MVC if writing again.
  • fluidapp.com for Mac wraps any website and makes it appear like an application.
  • Need to consider how to handle multiple open windows
    • Check instancecount then “ping” other instance may be an option.
  • Screen size, browser quirks / CSS, Interaction and Default focus needs consideration. c.f. Default focus can launch keypad on mobile devices which may not be desirable.
  • Write once, then optimise.

Node.js & NowJS

  • NodeJS is server-side Javascript.
    • Runs on Google V8 engine.
    • Focus is on networking.
    • Evented, non-blocking I/O.
  • NowJS (nowjs.com)
    • creates a magic namespace “now” accessible by server and client.
    • can easily write a chat client with very little code.
    • functions & variables added to now are automatically synced in real-time.
    • Call client functions from the server and server functions from the client.
    • When you post a message on the server it goes to all attached clients.
    • Good for real-time updates.

Designing in Social & Legal norms

  • Check out Kim Cameron’s 7 laws of identity.
  • Don’t look at privacy as an after thought. If it’s important, built it into your application up front.
  • Privacy is about boundary management.
  • From an identity perspective we all have different personas.
  • Fireeagle and Google+ are great examples of sites that built in privacy from Day 1.
  • Interaction design cues such as dragging a person to a circle are very important.
  • “Owning a customer” = Slavery.
  • If customers respect your privacy they are more likely to give you more information.
  • Check out “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers (Wiley Desktop Editions)” book.
  • Designers should design privacy and security in up front  and make it easy for customers.
  • If you let people be able to take data out they are more likely to give you more data since they know they can get it out.

How to make money from services

  • Consider not selling to users but to companies.
  • Email potential buyers. If no reply, phone them.
  • One of the founders of a start-up must have a passion for the market you’re aiming for.
  • Hire to support and cover your weaknesses.
  • Learn by talking to your potential customers.
  • For pricing, can you show a customer that there is $x of benefit? If so, take a dollar off (or whatever is appropriate for your pricing model) and they are likely to buy it.
  • CapsuleCRM – check it outa a CRM option.
  • Identify who in an organisation you need to sell to. It may be multiple groups/people; Sales, IT, Exec, ...
  • If You Build It Will They Come: Three Steps to Test and Validate Any Market Opportunity” is a book to check out.
  • Try selling to customers you don’t care as much about first and learn from the experience.
  • Rather than build everything yourself, if it’s a feature applicable to only a small subset of customers consider making it available via an API if possible.

Panel session about the Internet

  • Big things to care about for the Internet in New Zealand:
    • Data Caps.
    • Content
      • Copyright.
      • Access to Services and Content (e.g. Sky).
    • How Internet can help Economic Growth and encourage Innovation.
    • Competitive Pricing.
    • Rural Divide.
    • Social Divide
      • Need to be careful not to leave people behind.
    • Productivity
      • So with faster Internet connections, what do people want to do?
    • Intellectual Property & Patents.
    • Transforming Government to be Open.
    • Governments should not regulate things they do not understand.
  • Rules for Broadcasters (e.g. Sky) and Internet should be the same moving forward.
  • With Sky people would like to be able to buy one channel vs a bundle (c.f. wanting to only buy an apple from the supermarket, but needing to buy a bundle including chickens and oranges too).
  • Government should support start-ups; tax credits, innovation centres.

The Open Enterprise & Red Hat

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) & Red Flag (in China) are the predominant versions of Enterprise Linux.
  • Red Hat doesn’t sell software or  licenses. They do however sell Certification (Ops and Developers), Training and Support and add-ons.
  • Based around a no Capex model, making $ from Opex. This doesn’t appear to hold for add-ons.
  • Red Hat supports back several (all?) versions.
  • Red Hat Network Satellite is a management tool for RHEL.
  • JBoss ON is a management tool for the Middleware stack.
  • Commercial vs Open alternatives (from a Red Hat perspective):
    • VMWare ==> KVM
    • EMC ==> MPIO
    • Veritas ==> GFS2
    • *nix ==> Enterprise Linux + Security Enhanced Linux
    • Middleware ==> JBoss
    • ESB ==> JBoss SOA
  • Moving to also having IAAS and PAAS offerings

Ask a Lawyer (with a focus on start-ups)

  • NZ tax system doesn’t make it easy to get options vs US system.
  • Consider takeover code; this kicks in if you have 50 employees
  • Have hard conversations up front and agree in writing:
    • Who owns what?
    • Who makes decisions?
    • When can shares be sold?
  • Have a Shareholder Agreement.
  • For an Employment Agreement, the Department of Labour has one available online.
  • Keep a copy of your IP, including Contracts. This is particularly important for if you are selling your company.
  • If you have no Constitution, then the Companies Act covers this; this is “okay” but it doesn’t include pre-emptive rates.
  • If you need US employees or  US bank account, get legal advice.
  • Privacy Policy should comply with Privacy Act. Non-compliance with Privacy in some countries can have significant penalties.
  • Cannot have an offer publicly to invest (e.g. Facebook, Twitter); considered to be conditioning the market.

What does the start-up community need?

  • Mentoring, Direction, Advice.
  • Help with pitch deck & local/international investors.
  • Find further funders.
  • Business Strategy advice.
  • Investment for start-ups of small to large $.
  • Education.
  • To hear Success & failure stories.
  • Skills –to who who they can talk to about xyz.
  • Help to open doors (consider using Twitter for this too).
  • Sales & Marketing advice and assistance through contacts.
  • To get advice from credible people.
  • Local & foreign $.
  • Transparency.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Where do I start?

A simple approach I have found works well when thrown something to look at and unsure of where to start is to focus on what you are trying to achieve and working back from that.

I first had this approach shown to me using post-it notes (aka sticky notes) and have used this approach (albeit usually with Visio) many times.

The steps to follow are very simple:

  1. Write down on a post-it note what the ultimate outcome is.
  2. Write down on separate post-it notes for each activity or output required what needs to occur before you can get to the ultimate outcome, and stick this to the left of (1).
  3. For each task that is a predecessor of (2), write it down and stick it the left and repeat until you are back far enough that you have a plan of attack.

The beauty of post-it notes is that you can’t write much on them, so write just enough in simple terms so that you know what is required (which may be outputs, tasks, workshops or anything else of value). It is also easy to add missing tasks as you go and to change the ordering if required.

image

This does not need to be an overly detailed process and I don’t worry about classifying whether something is an output or activity but instead use this as an approach to understand what needs to happen first and to also be able to communicate the plan to others.

Communicating with others is also very valuable in terms of validating and refining what needs to happen (and in what order) and getting their buy-in. One trap I have fallen into is that if you get too detailed then this will scare some people, so sometimes abstracting to a higher level may be more appropriate for some audiences.

Monday, March 28, 2011

TOGAF 9 - dry, but some good content

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a framework - a detailed method and a set of supporting tools - for developing an enterprise architecture, developed by members of The Open Group Architecture Forum.

To say that the TOGAF 9 documentation is dry is an understatement. Some areas are lacking in depth and whilst TOGAF is a process framework I would like to see it evolve to have templates, document samples and checklists. There is however some good content and I will be referring back.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Webstock 2011 Presentation

I have uploaded a presentation outlining the key points from each session I attended at Webstock to Slideshare.  Enjoy!


This is an accompaniment to the two previous blog posts I have compiled on Webstock 2011:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WebStock 2011 - Conference day two

Yet another excellent day of thought provoking presentations.  Big thanks to the conference organisers, helpers and presenters for such an excellent event.

For my notes from yesterday check out “WebStock 2011 - Conference day one”.  The collaborative note taking effort was also in action again today at http://webstock.waveadept.com/ .


  • Co-founder of Tumblr, Founder of Instapaper
  • It’s never too late to edit for the good of your product
  • What to build
o   You don’t need to cater to geeks
§  We’re not loyal and will jump to new products
§  We’re unnecessary as an audience; we’re very small
o   Be useful to non-geeks

  • You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) rely on another service
o   Don’t give your power away.
§  E.g. using Facebook for login
o   You need them for everything and they use you for nothing
o   No service is universal
o   You can take advantage of services without requiring them
§  E.g. send to Flickr

  • Be useful to the first user
o   “A wonderful nonstick frying pan is useful even if you’re the only person who ever buys one” Bill Gates

  • Your product should be remarkable
  • Remarkable products don’t need to advertise
o   Word of mouth is important
o   If your product isn’t good it won’t work (with either advertising or word of mouth)
o   Bloggers need content for their blogs.  If you make something remarkable, there are people who will make positive remarks about it.
o   Your product can help by advertising itself

  • You should think about revenue from day one
  • You don’t need to publish ads
o   Ads should be your last priority (or a secondary stream).
o   Try to make money by other options first.

  • People will pay money if you let them
  • You don’t need (and won’t get) every customer
  • You don’t need to listen to every feature request
o   Let others guide you but not direct you.
o   Product design is not a democracy
o   E.g. nobody would ever have asked for a glass phone with no buttons, looking at predecessor phones

  • Managing feature requests
o   Everyone wants your product to do “one more thing”.  But it’s a different thing for everybody.
§   
o   “Pick the few features most….”

  • Features requests are one input of many
o   Stand up for your own vision

  • You are going to need a good technology foundation
o   There will never be a good time to change
o   Use technology conservatively
§  There’s always something new
Buggier, Lack Replication, Less ability for problem resolution etc.
§  Boring == stable
§  Don’t be the biggest deployment of anything.
Let the likes of Google, Yahoo!, Facebook fix the problems first
§  You don’t need “cloud” hosting
LAMMP,R,oP
Instapaper
o   Linux, Apache, MySQL
o   webservers: 60+ request/sec
o   MySQL with SSDs:
o   Memcache
o   HA Proxy

  • Be orthogonal where possible
o   Design things so they are isolated from other things as much as possible.
o   Language: Nearly impossible
o   Data store: Usually hard
o   Cache: Easy
o   Proxy: Easy
o   Large-file storage: Easy
o   Host: Easy
o   Cloud host: Hard
o   Amazon S3 is great for storage and easy to move off. Amazon EC2 is a lot harder to move off.  Google App Engine is almost impossible to move from.
o   Write wrappers around almost everything to allow things to be swapped (more) easily.

  • Minimise overhead
o   You can start in your spare time.
§  You do have free time

  • So: A great product + Revenue from the start + Low Overhead = You may not need funding
  • Everyone will tell you to do what they did
o   Do your own thing.


  • http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/
  • Designing information visually so we can see connections we didn’t see before or discover things that were not obvious initially
  • Visualising information is about bringing it into focus.
  • Video showing visualization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US4_jFpwJPo
  • Numbers are hard to get; it is also hard to identify relationships in the data
  • Data is the new soil
  • Infotography
  • Infographics is the new photo journalism
  • Tools
o   Uses Adobe Illustrator for designs; lots of manual work.
o   Stores data publically in Google Docs

  • What goes wrong
o   When you visualize data without a story it doesn’t help the situation.
o   Circular isn’t good.  Looks complex.
o   Design should be about taking things out.  Optimise.
o   Ugly cartograms
o   Fear of whitespace
o   Info that isn’t interesting

  • Information design must also uncover a story
  • Data: You should be able to play with it, mix it up and have fun with it.

Main auditorium

  • Touch screen interactions feel more personal, intimate, natural, intuitive
  • Content should define the app, not the machinery.
  • Graphics need to direct the interaction with content.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of “hum-drum”; they have been tries and tested.
  • “Why does an e-book reader need a page-turn effect? Like having a fake needle on a CD player. Or horse-shit coming from the back of a car.” @blprnt
o   Animation provides feedback to your design metaphor.

  • Familiarity & intimacy invite touch
  • Don’t have metaphor clutter. 
o   Choose one and stick to it.

  • If it looks like a physical object people will attempt to interact with it like that object.
  • Think about the purpose of the app and whether buttons are needed
  • Gestures are the keyboard shortcuts of touch interfaces (instead of clicking or buttons)
o   Big screens invite big gestures.

  • Twitter app for iPad encourages exploration, thereby removing the need for a back button.
  • The more features you have the more controls you need
o   Clarity should trump density.  Just enough is more.

  • Touch can help create fluid applications that manage complexity
  • Use content as the controls
o   Was “The medium is the message”, now “The message is the medium”

  • Explore multi-touch gestures
o   It does however require two hands (in most cases)

  • Treat the entire screen as the control
  • We can learn a lot from Game developers, they show us new rules
  • You won’t get things right the first time, don’t give up,


  • There are rules and they are made to be broken
  • How to decide what advice to follow, choose your own path
  • Tech support is sales
  • Blogging can consume your life if you follow the rules
o   None of the rules matter; do what works for you.

  • Lesson
o   1. You set the rules
o   2. Advice has context
o   3. “I’m not a _______ person” is twaddle
o   4. Trust your inexperienced gut
o   5. “That’s how it’s done” is bull5h1t

  • Features are like sex: one mistake and you have to support it forever
  • Dimensions of advice:
o   Rich/King
o   B2B/B2C
o   Bootstrapped/Funded
o   Lifestyle/Growth
o   Pleasure/Pain
o   Confident/Introspective


  • I copy therefore I am
  • Pirate Bay
o   >100k tracker connections/second
o   Responses to US legal threats:
§  1. Photo of a polar bear; We’re being eaten by polar bears
§  2. Circled Sweden on map of world “we’re not part of the US yet”
§  3. Reply to cease and desist font distribution with letter reformatted with fonts they were told to stop using.
o   See http://thepiratebay.org/legal.php for Legal threats against The Pirate Bay
o   No one dares to censor in Sweden anymore after an ISP CEO was sacked for blocking Pirate Bay and other sites
o   A private investigator following Peter registered his car to a company called “private investigators”
o   Social Micropayments
§  Many small streams will form a large river
o   Pay a monthly rate (set by you) and each month it is divided among the people you’ve “Flattr-ed”


  • Formally from Apple
  • Why are you at Webstock?
o   Webstock is about the message
o   “You are awesome” on a pencil
o   Build & ship for human beings
o   Your job has an expiration date

  • You are (at most) three years away from building something new.
  • At the (metaphoric) table are:
o   Engineer
§  Needed so that you don’t end up with chaos
§  Engineers believe in a perfect system
§  Strives to reduce chaos because its inefficient
§  There is a right and a wrong answer
§  Willing to take the time to go deep and understand
§  Predisposed problem solvers
§  They are paranoid, prepare for the unexpected, architect to protect their work
§  Love signal, hate noise
§  An urge to build a thing
o   Designer
§  Without a designer you end up with Gmail (wildly successful but could do with a designer’s input)
§  Needed because the engineer can’t make things look good
§  Understand what the user wants
§  Prioritising, focusing and expertly describing the want.
§  Using the knowledge to surprise and delight users.
§  Responsible for the user experience.
§  Describe the “want” perfectly
o   Dictator
§  You don’t get anything without a dictator.
§  “I’m the one telling you how it is”
§  They know what they want
§  This is the enforcer; the person you can go to for confirmation.
§  Steve Jobs & Bill Gates are dictators; Bill is nerd dictator.  Steve Balmer is not (he’s part of the MBA crowd).
§  Consistency
Team members have the fear of deviating from the awesome
§  Death to Ambiguity
§  Velocity
Getting things moving
Makes decisions
Says no

  • Quora, Facebook and Google are examples of companies run by Engineers.
  • The challenge with engineers is that we think if we can build it we can also design it.
  • Apple stores are designed after museums, because it’s a good way to look at art…. Lickable hardware.
  • There is no evident file system on iPad
o   Would an engineer or a designer have made that decision? No, only a dictator would say “All I want is for people to be able to email a picture of their cat!”


  • Helps make people’s lives more interesting, productive and fun.
  • 1.62GB presentation, 162 transitions on one slide in 32 seconds
  • Networks of the web - changing, evolving, breaking free from the browser
  • The Persian Royal Road wa so effective that armies 30 days march away could get their orders from the heart of the empire the same day.
o   Moved materials, trade and armies.
o   World’s first great communication network

  • Transformative Infrastructures
o   A new infrastructure like this can be totally transformative.
o   An infrastructure like this is not an end unto itself, each upgrade massively increases the possibilities of what we can do.

  • The world has changed dramatically; road, sea, rail, air
  • The history of any object the room around us  is a long chain made possible by the connected network of trade.
  • But what about the web?
o   In the last 10-15years there has been huge progress.
o   We have collectively transformed the world.
o   We started off with silos
o   APIs are the roads between services along which data can travel to be assembled and reassembled.  This means every open site or service is another component we can build on and extend

o   Built totally on other products

  • Upgrades to the web of data
o   Social Software
o   Social Networks
o   Geolocation
o   Real-time data
o   Data Visualisation

  • As cost drops we will see more and more connectivity in all objects.
  • Objects as Services
o   Why bother owning something at all?
§  e.g. a washing machine. Why bother buying one, just rent one and pay per usage.  It could report back via a network that it needs servicing etc.

  • MUJI (http://www.muji.eu/index.asp ) is a Japanese company that specialises in ultra simple, clean design products for the home.
  • Consider how to integrate the network into objects to makes them more useful.
o   E.g. Electronic scales (http://withings.com) that post info to website where it can be analysed.
§  Costly now, but will reduce over time

  • Could link weight data to Nike, Health sites, and other places.
  • Towards the networked city
o   Layer our network over existing infrastructure
o   IBM Smarter City initiative
o   London cycle hire
o   San Francisco Parking Meters
§  People can use phone app to see parks that are free
§  Pricing changes based on time of day etc.
o   Reactive buildings that change
o   Our environment is being network aware and reacting …

  • Where do we go from here?
o   Sites talking to each other
o   Instrumented planet, connected planet, responsive planet.
o   A new network of sites and services built on top of the world that lets data flow through the world like an animated spark making everything more efficient.

  • What happens when Ideas, Building, Objects, Media, Environments, Appliances, Vehicles and Information have Sex?
o   Bloody amazing things happen.
o   This environment of conceptual sex is what is so inspiring.

  • “We want a web of data by any means necessary”
  • Problems
o   Different languages and cultures
§  We need standards for open data
o   Privacy
§  It is not dead, but we need to decide what is reasonable for people to know about us and have that encoded in law. We could be entering a golden age of privacy, because we are having meaningful debate over what is important.
o   Inequality
§  Not everyone has benefited equally.
§  We want to try to stop companies/ people dominating the web of data.

  • Connecting things transforms the world and we are building more and more things every day
  • The planet and everything on it are our canvas and our brush.
  • Everything the network touches is our playground.


  • In any 8” box of air in front of you there is information; until it is decoded it is just an empty box
  • We are animals and it is in our nature to see ourselves in everything.
  • http://picmoticon.com is a great place to go for things and places that look like faces
  • Visual communication is a two way street; it takes collaboration between the artist and the audience.
  • Powerpoint can be a powerful presentation tool
  • Simple imagery can be combined in a modular way to make complex data more understandable
  • Visualisation + Synchronisation males it easier to remember
  • “If I don’t need to THINK it, I don’t need to SEE it.”
  • Static pictures are brilliant as memory anchors
  • Comics have a special syntax.
o   There is a column response; something within the panels and then something to imagine between the columns
§  It comes down to the imagination of the audience

  • Everybody has a need to find meaning; even if there is nothing there.
o   Any two images together will suggest some sort of narrative or story

  • Single panel stuff is not comics because it is not a sequence.
o   Anything tells a story with a sequence

  • Strips and Books are different
o   Strips are very friendly for the web
§  they work within a node of short attention spans (e.g. http://www.xkcd.com/ )
o   A comic book is harder - the overriding goal is that the reader loses themselves in the story

  • Comics are not just cartoons, but even hieroglyphics can be seen as comics due to the space time relationship
  • For graphic novels, print is still where the best stuff is currently happening.
  • It is a terrible mistake to take content designed for one medium and then just use it on another medium without transforming it.
o   Repurposing is evil

  • Why have suitcases only recently been built with wheels?
o   We’ve had suitcases for ages
o   Wheels have been around even longer
o   Why?
o   Lack of imagination

  • Escape is a powerful instinct.
  • Comics are a legitimate window back into the world.
  • They need to play to their unique strengths


  • You’re never going to be ready
  • Even heroes are scared shitless
  • Everybody is scared.
  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • If you're going to run through the shit storm, let yourself get covered in shit, but KEEP RUNNING.  Keep moving, keep making cool stuff.