Archive for People from United Kingdom

Howard Rheingold- 21st Century Literacies

by on August 4, 2009 at 6:11 pm

howard-rheingold-by-JDHoward Rheingold’s message is that we need to attend to 21st-Century literacies. meaning that we need to know (or learn) how to sort out the good from the bad.

Howard suggests the critical skills are: attention; participation; collaboration; network-savvy and critical consumption (what Howard often calls crap detection). (more…)

European Entrepreneurs Come to Life with their Latest Creations

by on August 1, 2009 at 8:14 am

Seedcamp jpeg I spent a day at London’s Seedcamp earlier this month, where I met with a number of England and France-based startups, some of which have a presence in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

Seedcamp’s goal is to provide a catalyst for the next generation of great European entrepreneurs and help them take risks, think big, and succeed.

Participating in Seedcamp gives startups enormous validation and access to a world-class network of advisors, which helps entrepreneurs with every aspect of their business, plus a direct route to seed and venture capital. (more…)

A Chat with Think London’s Barbara Grull-Cacao

by on August 1, 2009 at 8:12 am

I had a chat recently with Think London’s Barbara Grull-Cacao. We ended up engaging in a bit of a Q&A. Her thoughts below.

Renee: what technology saves your life every day and the one you are most grateful for?

Barbara: It’s quite simply accessing emails and the Internet on the go. My PDA is more valuable than my office access card as I win at least an hour per day to get things done.

I usually liaise with people in both the US and Asia, and in the early mornings I can still juggle night workers on the West Coast and queries from Asia at the same time. Now all I need – at the moment – is a solar charger to untie myself from the need for a plug.

I’m actually most grateful for the fact that I never have to set foot into a supermarket again, thanks to online shopping. That’s another important time saver and may be symptomatic to the way Londoners embrace online consumerism.


Renee: what technology and/or gadget or both makes you more productive than any other?

Barbara: Again, it’s my PDA, which allows me to crunch time for accessing emails, online news and information and tweet live from events.

Renee: What’s your role at Think London?

Barbara: I manage Think London’s ‘London Now’ marketing program. This is all about reaching out to potential overseas investors into London, stakeholders and partners, making the case that there has never been a better time to invest in London.

This program is the umbrella for a huge number of marketing activities, ranging from campaigns, events and webinars to media outreach and messaging support for influential partners and stakeholders.

Renee: what’s your goal for Think London in the next year?

Barbara: Find the web 2.0 or possibly web 3.0 key to engage most efficiently with our vast number of communities, which are spread across a dozen different sectors and more than 40 countries.

Help even more fast growing companies from the US and other countries to jump on the opportunities that the current market conditions have created in London, before that window is closing.

This city has been maintaining an incredible buzz and is now cheaper to live in than New York, has got more affordable top property and talent readily available than ever before, is on the path to transforming itself into a sustainable city and has the 2012 Games and 75,000 business opportunities on its doorstep.

Protecting People Against Surveillance & Fraud

by on August 1, 2009 at 8:10 am

During my recent trip to Cambridge, I ran across Steven Murdoch, who is a post-doctoral researcher and developer at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and is working on the Tor Project, which is free software and an open network built to help protect people against surveillance.


The Tor Project is being used today by human rights workers, journalists, bloggers, law enforcement, and ordinary people.

Tor also helps resist censorship, allowing people to access websites which are being blocked, and protect themselves when publishing sensitive material. I am working on how to improve the performance and usability of the Tor.

Another project Steven has been working on is around banking security.

Since 2006, the UK has moved to using smartcards for credit and debit cards — so called Chip & PIN. While in many ways this is an improvement of security over the older system, there are a growing number of fraud victims who are not being refunded by their bank.

The banks claim that Chip & PIN is secure, and so anyone who states that they are the victim of card fraud is either mistaken, lying, or has been negligent.

Steven’s research evaluates the security of the Chip & PIN system and, along with a team, they have been able to show that there are numerous security vulnerabilities which can (and sometimes have) been exploited by fraudsters.

Further information on the banking security work can be found here.

SaaS Goes Open Source: Kaltura’s Yekutiel Tells Us Why

by on July 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Kaltura’s Ron Yekutiel talks to us about open source and video. They organized and participated in a SaaS Goes Open Source panel at AlwaysOn this week, together with SpikeSource, Zimbra, Acquia, Fenwick & West and Alfresco.

It’s disruptive he says, but tears down those gardened walls giving corporations better control, flexibility and better integration. More from Ron on the SaaS model, video and open source below.

A Kiwi’s Mission to get Millions of Women Pregnant

by on July 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Below is Shamus Husheer, the genius behind DuoFertility, which is being launched in the UK this month. Shamus’ Mission? To get millions of women pregnant.

Shamus and Duo Fertility (1)

Below Shamus holds the monitor that consists of a discreet, hand-held reader and a small sensor, roughly the size of a £1 coin, which is worn underneath your arm. The sensor measures your temperature continuously and uses this information to pinpoint your ovulation and identify when you are most fertile, helping you to get pregnant more easily.

Shamus and Duo Fertility (2)

Below Shamus talks to me in a video interview during a dinner held at the oldest college at Cambridge University: 1284, hence the quality of the audio.

William Tunstall Pedoe of True Knowledge Talks Semantic Search

by on July 29, 2009 at 10:26 am

True knowledge logo True Knowledge improves the experience of finding known facts on the Web. Think: semantic search. Their first service – the True Knowledge Answer Engine – is a major step toward fulfilling a longstanding Internet industry goal: providing consumers with instant answers to complex questions, with a single click.

Picking up where search engines leave off, True Knowledge’s Answer Engine automates the laborious, time-consuming work that users generally must do to get final answers to their questions.

True Knowledge does this by structuring data in a way that enables computers to work and think like humans do, drawing inferences and conclusions when needed to find the information that’s requested.

Another key differentiator: True Knowledge is tapping subject matter experts around the globe to build its information repository – bringing together the benefits of machine-driven automation and people-driven intelligence.

In the below video, I’m chatting with the founder William Tunstall Pedoe in Cambridge England.

Wise Advice From a Wise Geek

by on July 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Advice from Jeff Saperstein on Changing Careers

While I was in Cambridge on the Traveling Geeks trip, I decided to interview one of the wisest geeks I know- Jeff Saperstein for some tips on how to make the switch. If you’re at all looking to change careers this is the video for you.

A Chat with East of England International

by on July 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Karyn Barnes and John Dow chat with me about their roles and goals at East of England International. (EEI)

EEI enables business in the UK’s most innovative region, working across a range of industries and technologies including ICT, Clean Tech and MedTech/Lifesciences.

The organization supports regional companies to develop business in international markets. They deliver UK Trade & Investment services and products in the region and offer a wide range of services, including developing international strategies, providing in-depth information on target markets, cultural briefings and identifying business opportunities.

EEI’s Investor Development programme supports overseas-owned companies in the region stay abreast of key issues and receive ongoing support for growth.

Econsultancy’s CEO on Innovation & Social Media

by on July 27, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Econsultancy logo We spent some time with the Econsultancy folks in London during our recent visit, which included a series of roundtable discussions.

Here’s a piece on their blog which touches on innovation through the recession. They’ll also be hosting an awards ceremony specifically around innovation next year.

They have had a Members Forum on their own site for over ten years and are active on LinkedIn and Twitter as they have found these platforms to work best for their target market of digital marketing and e-commerce professionals.

A few words from Econsultancy’s CEO and founder Ashley Friedlein on technology and social media.

Says Ashley, “we have over 10,000 followers on our Econsultancy Twitter account now, which is mostly automatically created tweets from our blog.”


Staff members also have professional twitter accounts, such as Editor Chris Lakey, and they’re starting to create more targeted feeds for their jobs.

Ashley says of their use of Twitter in a Q&A I did with him, “we use Twitter for a number of things. Partly just to drive traffic to our site, which is then monetized via advertising and membership; partly to drive more inbound links to improve our search rankings as a lot of Twitter activity migrate to blogs; partly for customer service where we respond to customers directly on Twitter; and partly for product and service development where we use Twitter to listen to what people want.”

On LinkedIn, they are members of over 80 digital marketing focused groups. For example, the Digital Marketing group, with over 16,000 members, is run by eConsultancy staff, as is the Marketers on Twitter group.

They use these groups less to drive traffic and to market to directly but more for ‘rifle marketing:’ targeting people they’d like to speak at their events.

I asked him, “what do you think are the most important changes in terms of technology implementation for you in the past year?”

Ashley says that the major change has been the complete rebuilding and relaunching of their website and web platform, which included a move from a Microsoft environment to Ruby on Rails. Another more in-depth interview about their relaunch and the unfortunate SEO implications they experienced as a result of the site migration.

“The area that we’re most excited about in terms of what our new technology platform allows us to do,” he adds, “is around data and APIs and the services that this allows us to create.

Services which add value to our site and external sites via syndication of content, functionality or data both into our site, and out onto other sites.

For example, we are already using the Twitter API to automatically post our blog content to our various Twitter accounts as well as import, and show on our site, what is being said about eConsultancy on Twitter in real time.

We’re using this for live event feedback too and plan to roll it out as a feedback and review mechanism for our reports and training too.

We’re also using the Google Analytics API to be much smarter with our analytics and starting to tie the quantitative data that GA provides us with to the qualitative data we get, say, from user surveys. This allows us to start to understand not just “what is happening” but “why.”

We’re also working on exciting new services, using the GA API, to automatically deliver great insight and reporting to our advertisers in our Digital Marketing Supplier Directory.

Things like the Google Charts API, is also giving us ideas for vastly improved user interfaces and ways of showing data in a more compelling and useful way.

And increasingly we’re using our own APIs to provide our clients and members with completely customised versions of our proposition. So, our site and content becomes a true blend of our knowledge and their knowledge.”

I asked him what kind of innovation he needed that doesn’t exist today. I laughed at his first response: a special gadget that turns one hour of normal time into five hours’ worth of time.

He says, “our biggest challenge isn’t coming up with ideas or innovation, but it’s having the time and resources to implement those ideas. And, knowing how to prioritize our ideas.

Perhaps the hardest challenge now is less around technology and more around user experience and user interfaces. It is really hard to come up with brilliant user interfaces to make the mass of content and information we have, let alone all the other stuff we could aggregate, easy and useful to interact with.

So good interaction design, and good copy, are as hard as they’ve ever been, and even more important. Further innovation in user interface design would be good to see.”

Below a few shots during our Econsultancy roundtable event.

EConsultancy roundtable lunch (2)

EConsultancy roundtable lunch

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