Archive by Author - Craig Newmark

Traveling Geeks favorite tech tools

by on August 12, 2009 at 11:09 pm

CamHey, the folks who went to the UK on the Traveling Geeks tour listed what tech tools they use every day.

Here’re mine:

Pine, an old-timey email application


Google calendar

Google docs

Google maps

Seesmic Desktop


iPhone apps, including Rimshot and Trombone (sound effects)

Seedcamp 2009 for European high tech

by on August 3, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Recently, I was part of the Traveling Geeks tour to the UK, a team of talented bloggers, photographers, and then there's me.

We visited Seedcamp, and I saw a lot of good work from folks across Europe, some of which I'm using now.

If you're a startup entrepeneur somewhere in EMEA, you want to take a look at Seedcamp 2009 being held in London.

There's good access to serious mentors, VCs, and tech specialists who can really help out.

Moor hen!

by on July 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Moor.hen Here's a moor hen on the River Cam in Cambridge.

Yes, I'm easily entertained.

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by on July 16, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Ducklings On the River Cam, Cambridge UK, with the Traveling Geeks.

UK, US shared challenges to transformational gov’t

by on July 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

22 In the UK, I had the opportunity to speak with a few people involved in
the transformation of UK government. They include Labour and Tories,
elected officials and civil servants.

Much of the leadership and much of the civil service is committed to new
forms of digital engagement and public service. If someone needed
convincing, the events of November fourth in the US were compelling
regarding the role of the Net and social media.

The challenges all involve translation of that commitment to large-scale
action with real results.

The technology is the easy part; the real challenge involves professional
and emotional buy-in and commitment from the mass of government tech
workers and from the citizenry.

That's true in the UK and the US as well; probably true in many nations.

Sure, there are substantive operational differences in both systems, but
the gist is that both are nominally command-and-control systems. In
reality, performance is a function of the commitment of the workers. If
people feel that their work has meaning, if they feel they can be part of
something bigger, they will respond in force.

In both countries, public servants have already been doing so, providing
new means of customer service and engagement. It's slow-building, but
real. In the US, much of that leadership comes from the Federal Web
Managers Council.

This is the beginning of the transformation of the US and UK systems, and
it faces specific challenges:

  • leadership must show a clear commitment to transformation, to address organizational inertia
  • obsolete regulations must be revised
  • there needs to be some organization or coordination of efforts, at least so everyone has some idea of what's happening
  • security and privacy concerns must be addressed

In a sense, we're complementing systems of representative government with
mass engagement, that is, online grassroots democracy.

This is "an idea whose time has come," as it was in the UK in 1688 (the
"glorious revolution") and in the US in 1787 (the Constitution.)

Traveling Geeks… scandal!

by on July 15, 2009 at 12:07 am

My God, Scoble, Did You Think We Wouldn’t See These?

What happens in London when a group of American blogger types heads over to geek out? They get drunk, put on wigs and get friendly with the locals, apparently. Former Guardian columnist Paul Carr (@paulcarr)
sends us links to a disturbing group of photographs, likely taken about
five minutes apart. What was Scoble, the poster boy for RackSpace’s new
Building 43 project, thinking?

The acceptance of failure as a spur to innovation

by on July 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Recently, I was part of the Traveling Geeks tour of UK tech, including the
Reboot Britain conference. (The Geeks are a collection of talented
journalists, and myself.)

I was struck by the repeated comment that failure is stigmatized in UK
business culture. In Silicon Valley, failure is just a normal phase of
one's career. You might succeed in your first endeavor, probably not, so
you're ready to persist in subsequent efforts.

That is, there's some expectation of failure and the expectation that
you'll get over it.

This is not unique to Silicon Valley, but it's far more expected here than
anywhere I've heard. The attitude is the norm here, but in a lot of
places failure continues to be stigmatized, and it's hard to recover.

It seems that widespread innovation and success requires the acceptance of
failure, and then a readiness to move on.

That's generally true in Silicon Valley, maybe needs to be true in the UK
and maybe everywhere else.

UK government terms used differently

by on July 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Well, I was confused at the start of the Traveling Geeks tour, but have learned a coupla things. This is my (over-simplified) version.

The "government" in the UK is the majority party, who selects ministers including the Prime Minister.  It's somewhat analagous to "administration" in the US. (The majority might be a coalition.)

There's no formal transition period in the UK, and far fewer political appointees.

The opposition party maintains as "shadow cabinet" which is ready to replace the existing cabinet immediately.

Feedback appreciated, I'd really like to get this right.

UK Traveling Geeks tour: a (mediocre) slideshow

by on July 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm

(Yes, I’ll keep my day job. for photography and writing by serious bloggers and journalists.)

A view from Whitehall

by on July 12, 2009 at 6:05 pm


Part of the Traveling Geeks tour.

Millennium Bridge, and St. Paul's in the distance.

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