Prescient Markets

One of my favorite phenomena over the past few years — and one of the stories I like to tell most about why the internet is awesome — is something I call “Prescient Markets”.  Marketplaces (or just producers in some cases) that take a large amount of the risk out of producing & selling products… Continue reading

Simple, and fun to use.

Whenever you start a project (and I’m thinking about building websites and web applications), you are balancing two somewhat opposed goals: 1) get something working right away and 2) satisfy all your hopes and dreams. The first, I think, is a good instinct.  The second is the real challenge — it’s your wildest hopes and… Continue reading

Digital Power Tools

This past week, I spent some time cutting a hole in the wall in between our kitchen and our family room. It’s a project we’ve been talking about for a long time, and we considered lots of different ways of doing it before we actually got down to it. We were concerned about the cost,… Continue reading

Web 2.0 Expo: The Opportunity for Civic Startups

Last week at the Web 2.0 Expo, I gave a talk on The Opportunity for Civic Startups.  I was filling in for Code for America‘s Jen Pahlka, and the presentation itself is an hybrid of a version I did at the t=0 Entrepreneurship Festival at MIT a few weeks ago, a version Jen did at… Continue reading

Iteration

This weekend, I built some shelves in my closet. It was pretty simple affair — some pre-finished shelving boards, wooden corbels, and a rod for hanging things. What’s funny is that the supplies for all this have been sitting on the floor in my office for about eight weeks now. Every time my wife asks… Continue reading

Wanted: The Self-Hiding Alarm Clock

This morning while cleaning up my office, I came across an old sketchbook from one of my design classes in college, circa ~1999.  In it was a gem of a product idea (if I do say so myself).  Without further adieu, here it is: The Self-Hiding Alarm Clock: So, who’s with me to set up… Continue reading

Hello, Brieza!

Two weeks ago, we were joined by the newest member of the fam: Brieza.  Brieza weighed in at a respectable 8 lbs 9 oz and has been busy sleeping away her days since.  So far, having 2 kids hasn’t been as overwhelming as some people suggested it might be, but I’m sure we’re just still… Continue reading

The Enterprise End-Run

This post has been a long time coming.  It’s the idea that keeps coming back; the slow hunch that’s been brewing and brewing for months.  For some reason, it’s taken me forever to actually write it out.  So here I finally go. Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of judging a round of the… Continue reading

The Wheels on the Bus…

As of 11am this morning, buses in Brooklyn are telling the internet where they are.  And I’m proud to say that our work is behind it. For the past several months, we’ve been working with the MTA on this one-line pilot, to demonstrate that it’s possible to achieve a workable bus tracking solution using existing… Continue reading

Big Data

Next week, I’m heading to Santa Clara for a few days of “big data” at the O’Reilly Strata Conference.  I’m really looking forward to it, and expect to have my mind blown several times over.  I’m on the program committee for the conference, though I joined late and missed the chance to review proposals, so… Continue reading

This is kind of a cop out, but…

As part of my goals for 2011, I’m trying to blog more regularly — once a week, right here, to be precise.  As I mentioned, I don’t quite have the rhythm down yet.  This is evidenced by the fact that I’m sitting in bed at 11:30pm on Sunday night writing this half-assed post, just so… Continue reading

Hey there, 2011

I love the new year.  It’s a so nice to have a time where a) pretty much everyone takes a break for a few weeks and b) you get to magically clean the slate and start fresh.  Rest, and a new start. Awesome. For the past few years, I’ve been writing down my goals for… Continue reading

CityScience

Earlier this year, my friend and former colleague Thor Snilsberg started a new nonprofit organization called CityScience to improve the quality and relevance of science education for urban students.  In their words: CityScience is committed to raising the quality of science education and supporting environmental stewardship. By using the natural and built environments of cities… Continue reading

Wanted: An Open Commonplace Book

I’ve been reading Steven Johnson‘s new book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.  It’s an enjoyable read, in large part because of Steven’s ability to draw connections across seemingly unrelated subject areas to tell a unified story.  I’m only about halfway through, but in a nutshell: innovation is a natural phenomenon;… Continue reading

Wanted: Strategic Networking Tool

I’d like to make an addition to my internet wish list for 2011: a Strategic Networking Tool.  Here’s what I mean: Online networks of all kinds are very good at telling you who you’re already connected with.  Who your friends are, who your professional contacts are, etc.  This is great, but it’s all looking in… Continue reading

Ritual and Tradition

Last week, I mentioned an article called The Making of the Corporate Athlete (originally published in 2001 in the Harvard Business Review).  If you haven’t read it, you should — it’s a short read.  Long story short: successful athletes take a “whole body” approach to optimizing their performance, and other kinds of professionals could benefit… Continue reading

Speaking from the Heart

Last month, I attended the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s annual unconference.  My favorite session, by far, was Bill Warner‘s “Building a Startup from the Heart”. I found Bill’s approach to be inspiring, and immediately went home to incorporate his ideas into some OpenPlans materials that I’d been working on (e.g., a new page on our… Continue reading

The DIY Empire

Last night, I attended an event at Harvard about the Knight News Challenge, put on by Hacks/Hackers Boston and the Knight Foundation.  The room was full of people who are interested in applying for the News Challenge grant program.  I was there to talk about our Knight project, OpenBlock, specifically, and about open source and… Continue reading

Time to Get Singing

    I opened my talk at last week’s Times Open event with this little video plugging Phone Idol.  It got a few laughs, which was the point, but unfortunately no new songs sung just yet.  Derek Gottfrid from NYT made the great suggestion that I print up some stickers and put them up in… Continue reading

Writing to your future self

I love seeing people write to their future selves. Here’s a note I came across in my very own inbox today, no doubt jotted down on my iPhone while I was half-drunk at a party. Drake. Neon Indian Groove shark – friends playlist    Darius.  Radius radius Brother “Radius radius” is my favorite part.  I… Continue reading