Author: tony

  • My Books of 2021

    Fiction I fell in love with the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie this year. Half of a Yellow Sun was probably the best fiction book I read all year. GreatHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichiePurple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Song of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline MillerThe […]

  • My Books of 2018

    2018 was a year that unconsciously revolved around power and entropy. The 48 books were dominated by Robert Caro’s incredible LBJ series, a late fascination with the physics and neuroscience of time and a renewed love of sci-fi and fantasy heralded by N. K. Jemisin, Cixin Liu, Ted Chiang and Naomi Alderman. History and Biography […]

  • My Books of 2017

    I managed to get through 38 books this year. Book of the Year was Bertrand Russell’s mammoth History of Western Philosophy, written by one of the few people who could write about Aristotle as a peer. Most inspiring were the Theodore Roosevelt biographies by Edmund Morris, while most absorbing fiction was Michael Shaara’s Killer Angels. […]

  • My Books of 2016

    I fell one short of my book a week goal at 51 books in 2016. This year I’ve excerpted some books where I thought a particular passage was self contained and gave a sense of the whole. However, books that were not excerpted should not be considered less eloquent or inspiring, some of the best defied […]

  • Looking Back: Seven Years at Chartbeat

    I broke the news over on the Chartbeat blog today that recently I resigned as CEO from the company that has dominated my every waking thought for the last seven years. I feel like it’s time to get my hands dirty again in the mess of building a new company. I was able to do […]

  • My books of 2015

    In 2015, I got the chance to read 54 new books, though they seemed to fall into narrower fields than in previous years. I’ve divided them into categories and the starred books at the top of each are my top picks. History and Biography *Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari *Alexander […]

  • 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 […]

  • My books of 2014

    As Chartbeat has grown to 95 people, I’ve found it harder and harder to devote significant time to reading. I found more escape than usual in fiction and some months felt very meagre indeed. Still, the 54 books I did make it through in 2014 gave me much to think about. If I had to […]

  • My Books of 2013

    I missed my goal by four and read 56 books in 2013. Some I had to struggle through for a month (I’m looking at you Advertising Media Planning) and others left me speechless at their brilliance. I’ve put an asterisk next to the books I particularly recommend and given short notes about those and a […]

  • Never Give Up

    I should say this is a story about an expedition,  a grand adventure, a test of human endurance. I should say that. This is a story about failure. Right now, one of the people who knows me better than anyone else in the world is sitting in a hut in Punta Arenas, Chile and staring out […]

  • My Books of 2012

    Here are the books that devoured my weekends and early mornings this year. Fiction I loved Tom Robbins and Gillian Flynn this year, but didn’t see the fuss about Hilary Mantel and Wolf Hall. I relished every perfect morsel of Saki’s short stories for the sheer craft that they displayed. Old favourites such as Wilt […]

  • 2011 in Books

    In 2011, 41 books taught, challenged and entertained me (down from 43 in 2010, a worrying trend). This was how it played out. Philsophy Straw dogs by John Gray The Enchiridion by Epictetus The Writings of Musonius Rufus translated by Cynthia King Straw Dogs was recommended to me by a close friend and it was […]

  • The Problem of Prediction

    Here’s a talk I gave at the Mashable Media Summit recently where I attempt to argue that everything you need to know about the real-time web you can learn from a Japanese automotive engineer who was born in 1912 and never saw a web page. [youtube][/youtube]

  • 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: […]

  • Why I listen to Country

    There’s no reason on earth why I should listen to country music. I’m British, grew up in London and live in New York. I dislike music that panders to god or shallow patriotism and country music often does that in the same sentence. It frustrates me when people make a virtue of ignorance (‘a little […]

  • 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 […]

  • The American rebellion by Rudyard Kipling

    Twas not while England’s sword unsheathed Put half a world to flight, Nor while their new-built cities breathed Secure behind her might Not while she poured from Pole to Line Treasure and ships and men – These worshippers at Freedom’s shrine, They did not quit her then! Not till their foes were driven forth By […]

  • Ironman John

    Last year I wrote about my friend John Lake, who battled his way past brain tumours, depression, suicide bids and time in mental institutions to run the London Marathon and in some way find his purpose again. John took something from that day and, to abuse a pun, he ran with it. On September 7th at […]

  • 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 […]