What we break when we fix for Ad Blocking

I’ve been doing an informal poll of journalists, media executives, ad tech people and VPs of sales over the last few weeks. Each of these people owe their livelihood to digital advertising and yet the overwhelming majority confessed to using ad blockers. At my own company whose mission is to ensure the future of sustainable […]

A correction around the death of the mobile web

David Pakman of Venrock recently wrote a good piece on where we spend our attention. He’s absolutely right that attention is the true currency of the media business and drops a lot of knowledge. However. He also repeats a common error. Specifically, Pakman says: “First, we spend 86% of mobile time in-app. The idea that the mobile […]

On Writing Well by William Zinsser: selected notes

These are some of the highlights for me from Zinsser’s book. RIP.  – But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every […]

Four things I learned on a round-the-world yacht race

11 years ago this month, I stepped aboard a 72-foot racing cutter affectionately called The Good Ship Logica and began a 10-month round the world yacht race, the only one to go around the world against the currents and prevailing winds. Below deck, I was the geek, making sure the satellite could broadcast despite 90ft […]

2010 in Books

These are the books that kept me company and taught me in 2010: Business Four Steps to the Epiphany: Steve Blank The Checklist Manifesto: Atul Garawande The Innovators Dilemma: Clayton Christensen The Innovators Solution: Clayton Christensen Positioning: Al Ries Lean Thinking: James Womack/Daniel Jones Perfect Pitch: Jon Steel Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance: […]

On manhood, rain and umbrellas

One of the few consistently thought-provoking and enjoyable reads I have each week is Kortina’s weekly newsletter. This week he remarked on the English contingent of our office’s habit of not using umbrellas. In Betaworks, it serves as a clear demarcation between American men who find it incomprehensible to venture into the rain without protection […]

In the beginning: the Logos and the Church

When stuck in a conversation with a fundamentalist who believes in the literal truth of the bible, it can occasionally be instructional to point out that there are actually more disputed versions of the bible than there are words in the bible. This is hardly unsurprising, given the multitude of different often conflicting sources that […]

How Streams might be killing our culture and Haiti might save it

In ‘Amusing ourselves to Death’ Neil Postman wrote one of the great books necessary to understand the internet. All the more impressive a feat because he wrote it in 1985. His work foreshadows emergent problems as the web begins to define its language and our culture for the first time, and just possibly points to […]

Observing the tech sabbath and running manhattan: my 2010 resolutions

After reading Kortina’s great list of his resolutions, I was challenged to do my own. I’ve never really been serious about resolutions before, they were always spouted half-heartedly and swiftly discarded. This year I wanted to start to really set out some major goals for myself. The intent in this is as much to exclude […]

Furthest North

On 6 March, Rosie Stancer stepped off Ward Hunt Island and on to the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean. With temperatures sinking past -50C, her eyelashes elongated with ice and every millimetre of exposed skin burning with the cold she pulled her sledge over serried ranks of 30 feet high barriers of ice stretching […]

Two Poles

The last six years of my life have been so singlemindedly focused on the poles, there so caught up with snow, cold and ice that I sometimes manage to forget that there is a polar opposite to this world. Recently I was lucky enough to head briefly down to Naples, Florida where i met some […]