Poncy Creatives, my ass!
I recently came across a tweet from the “Not Jony Fucking Ive” parody Twitter account, which ran thusly:
“People often ask me, “Would you ever work as a designer for Samsung?”. Considering how they steal all my sh*t, I’d say I already f*cking do!”
It may be crude, but it certainly makes more sense than the average Ive soundbite. Consider this gem from his appearance at the London Design Museum last week, quoted by Matt Warman in the Telegraph (clue, it’s about wearables, apparently):
“Brilliant people have spent the last few centuries dealing with these issues. The parallels with the technologies associated with timekeeping and what we’re facing are really quite uncanny, and this I think is part of our human condition. If you saw one of those clock towers and it has a personal relevancy and it’s very tall and very clever and you go round the corner and it’s completely redundant to you, I do think there is this natural part of our condition that when you see potent phenomenal technology there is somehow this desire to make it smaller – the first thing you do you can put wheels on it and drive around in it – and then you make it cheaper, more accessible and you make it better. That was the transition and it was a multi-century transition from the clock tower to something that ended up eventually on your wrist. So I think what we’re doing maps to this really robust historical precedent.”
Reprinted in full. Answers on a postcard, please?
Uber the Marmite of transportation apps?
The pendulum of public opinion swings against Uber this time. The controversy mongering yet dangerously popular “ride sharing” app, that is basically a freelance taxi company, has probably been the breakout start-up success story of the year, hijacking social media feeds and Tech news headlines, like a, I dunno, amateur driver swerving in front of a hackney cab and nicking all of its customers. Last week, however, Buzzfeed journalist Ben Smith claimed that during a private dinner, Uber Senior executive Emil Michael was overheard recommending the Company spend 1 million dollars to hire a team of researchers to “dig up dirt” on journalists who criticise the service.
Michael suggested this new team should study critics’ “personal lives, your families”, ruthlessly turning the tables on busybody hacks trying to sniff out damaging stories about the Company and its people. Although Uber have moved quickly to deny the story, with both company spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian and Michael himself issuing statements distancing themselves from the comments, these have largely been drowned out by sarcastic cries of “taxi for one!”
Twitter holds first Analysts day as Public Company, tries to head off negative market sentiment with listicle
The phrase “too big to fail” used to be associated with hubristic banks and their cocky, “masters of the universe” employees, but could it have become more applicable to social media giants such as Twitter? One of the most recognised brands on the planet, with a ludicrously massive number of users, but a fairly sketchy idea of how to wring any cash from their service, CEO Dick Costolo must have been feeling a little nervous about answering questions on falling user growth and dwindling management turnover. That is until the humble listicle came to his rescue.
Twitter utilised this nifty boredom dodging device at their first ever analyst day, making a series of promises about changes they would be making to the service, from “instant timeline”, allowing new users to see tweets from more than just their first few followers to make them feel more at home and willing to participate, to content organised around geography and events, and a new video service with “record, edit and share” functionality. In response, Twitter stock rose by 7.5%. So there you have it, founders, next time you have to defend yourself in front of disgruntled investors, you know what to do: “7 gimmicks that will either save my ass or bankrupt me”, “10 things I am working on that explain why I am making such a pigs ear of this presentation”. Because it wouldn’t be great if Twitter sank without trace, right? Myspace, anyone?
Get it all off your chest with a postcard
This week The Times revealed that American businessman Frank Warren has been inviting strangers to send him postcards revealing their innermost secrets, the kind of things you keep even from your loved ones, such as how much you want to throttle them most of the time, for example. Despite an initially reticent response from melancholic vacationers in the UK, now that PostSecret has begun holding events in London, the confessions are coming thick and fast.
Amongst the more outlandish declarations to have been aired, written or scrawled in blood on the back of a cards displaying steam trains or bawdy seaside dioramas, are a university professor declaring “every lecture I have delivered this term I have been stoned”, and a presumably jilted lover admitting “I read the obituaries daily, hoping to see my ex-husband.”
Warren has published 6 books on the subject matter, and suggests there are 2 kind of secrets, “those we keep from ourselves, and those we keep from others”. Deep. So here goes nothing: dear Mr Warren, I look great in high heels and a wig. Actually that’s not a secret, it’s just the truth!
Heart-warming story of the week! Appilepsy, Epilectic fit detection app, launches in 1 week, places 2nd in Tech Crunch Disrupt challenge
When Phil Efstathiou pitched a product that had come into being just 2 days previously at last month’s HHH Co-Founder dating meet-up, he couldn’t have known how useful it would prove to be.
Phil is a 1st year Computer Science student at Kings College, London, who once designed a simple game into which he added an algorithm capable of detecting shaking movements, so players taking their frustrations out on their phones would receive a message, “you mad, bro!”
When he got talking to a colleague whose friend suffered from epilepsy, hearing there was very little technology to help them cope when a seizure came upon them, Phil realised he might have serendipitously found a solution.
Phil pitched the idea for Appilepsy, essentially an app to be used with a smartphone or wearable device which can detect shaking brought on by a seizure, and automatically ring or text an emergency contact, report the sufferers location, and find the nearest medical facility, in front of a crowd of 100 or so people at the Hipsters, Hackers and Hustlers Co-founder dating event at Google Campus.
Buoyed by the reception he got, Phil entered the Tech Crunch Disrupt Hackathon several days later, where he and his team placed 2nd overall in a field containing 89 teams, and over 300 participants, a pretty amazing achievement considering the lead time. The judges described Appilepsy as “the kind of hack that is both cool and useful”
The app is already attracting interest from universities and charities keen to help Phil develop the product, and a launch date of April has been mooted, to coincide with the launch of the Apple Watch.
“It’s not perfect yet from a user standpoint”, Phil says, “we need to rethink certain elements and revisit every stage of the building process, but the goal is to have a fully functioning app on both IOS and Android by early 2015.” Kudos to Phil and his lateral thinking! Read the full story here.