Thankful for 2016 as 2017 dawns

Thankful for 2016 as 2017 dawns

In 2016… I started a new role and helped fund some great companies. Worked with some great founders and some really amazing colleagues. Spent time with people. Some of whom I met through Twitter and met physically for the first time in 2016. Spent time in Hay on Wye in the glorious sunshine with some good friends. Helped a smart man run a Coder Dojo program. Spoke at some conferences Úll and Predict and went back to Congregation. Read some books but not enough. Learned much. Ran too little. Talked to a robot. Buried a Guinea Pig. Explored. Pushed boundaries. Waded a bog. Drank tea with many good people. And realised I need to drink tea with many more. Warned people about a vampire. Fought battles. Won most. Ate breakfast overlooking the sea in Baltimore. Walked where the Tuatha De Danann fought. Played board games with some wonderful people. Broke bread with others. Watched the sun come up and go down in Dublin and Wicklow and Kerry and Cork and Mayo and Galway and Tipperary. I said goodbye to some people. None of whom was famous but some of whom had a very big impact on me personally. Walked with my children as they grew and flourished, saw them learn and sail, and shout and smile and cry and grow. Loved my wife and realised how lucky I am. Here’s to 2017 To more running, more friends and more family memories, To hopefully fewer guinea pig funerals, and fewer other funerals, And to breaking bread, and a chat and a cup of tea with...

Note to self

I’ve just taken up a role as Venture Leader in NDRC. My 11yo describes it as “being a talent scout for technology” and a friend called it “being a matchmaker”.  I think the combined description is a good start. As a note to self I’ll remind myself of something I borrowed from Rowan Manahan and quoted first 6 year ago. Still true. Still part of the plan Follow your passion Find playmates smarter than you are Solve important problems Share your toys Build tools Make...

Thriving in turbulent (Digital) times

These are a few of the slogans flowing around Digital and Business Transformation and my reply in brackets. Digital is eating the world (Yes) The World is being disrupted (So what?) The future is too hard to predict (Not really) The overspill of digital technology is impacting every business. Scare stories abound and they don’t offer much of a solution. The reality is the internet has changed how you do your job. And it is going to continue to change how you do your job. If you don’t change someone who will change will put you out of business, or make your organisation seem too inefficient by comparison. Copying the work of the kid at the next desk doesn’t work. Learning together, open conversation and preparing and adapting to change does work. It is not the strongest businesses, nor the smartest, nor the one with the most money (though that helps) that succeeds. It is the ones that adapt to change fast enough. We’re running a workshop on this topic in a few weeks. If you’re interested in this you can find out more...

Digital Age Orientation Day

If you have two and a half minutes take a look at the video below on Bronze Age Orientation day. It’s short, it’s funny and it’s true. It underlines that the concept of change is not unique to the our digital age. No Company ever likes to transform itself (if the caterpillar had a choice, would it become a butterfly?) but in most cases they have learned to accept the fact that they have to. Companies have been dealing with mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, restructuring, de-localisations, re-localisations for a long time. If you’ve been through it you’ll know this sort of radical transformation is slow and painful: the all-or-nothing approach forcefully pushed by many consultants is not popular and also falls flat a lot of the time. The Digital Age is here. It’s been coming for twenty years and to succeed in this environment every business needs to be a Digital Business. We’ll be running a daylong course at the end of the month on Digital Change and how to manage it in your organisation. Our approach is gradual, offers numerous intermediate steps, defines clear deliverables and measurements and ties companies to their specific context. It’s Digital Transformation tempered by Change Management methods and experience You can find out...

Candid: Mary Carty From Curiosity to Creativity

This was the fourth in our series of #Candid talks with the wonderful Mary Carty on the 22nd of October. Rowan Manahan who was in the audience kindly did this guest post for us. The Craft of Creation – Mary Carty A #Candid talk on by the ever-candid, crafty and bogglingly creative Mary Carty quickly evolved into a high-energy dialogue about curiosity. Mary pivoted the talk early onto that subject and immediately challenged the room to think about genuine curiosity and to ask ourselves why aren’t certain questions being asked in our world. She shared with us the question that she and Anne-Marie Imafidon asked themselves last year – “Why are there so few women in tech?” More importantly, they asked themselves, “What are we going to do about it?” And thus Outbox Incubator was born. That story of 115 young double-X chromosome geniuses coming through one big house in London is familiar enough to those who followed the rise of the Outbox Executives last summer. Mary took us behind the scenes into the world of “Fun. Free. Food” – which were the pillars on which Outbox was built. Suffice to say to ensure the smooth running of any future enterprise involving young women from the ages of 11 to 22, always ensure that there is a quiet, get-away-from-it-all staircase and a bounteous stash of hot chocolate and Mars Bars. Some of Mary’s other notable questions: “Have you ever seen a panel of VCs all smiling, all at once, all day?” “Why don’t we push against or find answers to the known unknowns?” “Why don’t you give yourself permission to be curious, really curious?” Take it from a woman who has...

Algorithms : prose written by people

As the ACLU highlights the problem of Algorithms that discriminate we need to remember that Algorithms are only as good as the assumptions that they’re based on. In reality we’d be better off if we replaced the idea of Algorithms as “clean unbiased maths” with “prose instructions written by fallible people.” But alongside the potential for bringing about social progress, the Internet also holds the possibility of contributing to unlawful discrimination. An example of this potential negative impact is a patent recently acquired by Facebook that could conceivably permit loan servicers to gain access to the credit ratings of a loan applicant’s social network and then use that information to determine whether the applicant qualifies for a loan. The patent combines the possibility of serious invasions of privacy with the realistic prospect of illegal lending discrimination. More here.  The Guardian also had a piece on some of these problems two years ago. Image of Justice via...