Writing on the human experience and how to build a better life.

All of my long-form thoughts on product design, psychology, motivation, and more, collected in chronological order.

Oppenheimer - authority and the bomb

I saw the movie "Oppenheimer" this week with my daughter, Star. One of the central themes of the movie is about authority, and the question of where it lies. Authority represents the power to define what is important or "true", and the most important distinction is whether it is outside of us or inside of us. This changes everything.

Rebuilding Mitch. Gentlemen, we can make him stronger.

Earlier this week I looked at my website, and feeling a little ashamed of it decided it needed a new coat of paint. To tell you the truth it wasn’t the highest priority in my life this week, or even in the top 3. But I opted to indulge myself a few hours to at least make a start.

At war with our well-being

I have been thinking recently about how we humans behave in general. It’s like we’re so focused on fixing one part of the problem that we’re totally ignoring how it affects everything else. We’re basically sub-optimizing ourselves to death!

Choose again

I can remember the first time I decided I wanted to be a better person. I was in my early twenties, and I was applying for a job as a systems analyst with a company in Wellington. I was a reasonably confident young man, and I had positive expectations of getting the job. I didn’t!

Share your eyes

This week I said goodbye to SmallWorlds.com; a venture I have invested more of my time in than any other single project in my life. It’s a timely moment to reflect on where I am in my life now, and how my priorities have changed in the last 10 years.

Getting better

Technology is evolving faster and faster.  This is placing demands on individuals and organisations to get better at learning how to adapt to a dynamic "environment".   The challenge for us all is remaining relevant when everything around us is undergoing change.

How to build products that actually work

One of the key indicators that strategy is working is a change in the behaviour of our customers. Strategy influences products, and products can influence people. However if the products don’t result in a change of behaviour then we haven’t made a meaningful difference. Well crafted digital products create a potential to produce better outcomes, yet ultimately its up to the person who might wield the tool to determine if that potential is realised.

There is no such thing as digital strategy

The word “ubiquitous” means everywhere, and aptly describes our experience with digital technology these days. The inventions of the internet and smart phones have created a world in which we can be connected to everyone and everything all the time. But its sometimes difficult to understand what’s really going on when you just look at the surface of something.

The business that mistook its IT for a Digital

Evolution is a process that uses yesterday’s innovations as building blocks to create tomorrow’s even-more sophisticated innovations. One the consequences of these ever-increasing new levels of complexity is that we sometimes lose sight of critical characteristics that distinguish one level from another.

Why product-person fit trumps product-market fit

Evolution is a process that uses yesterday’s innovations as building blocks to create tomorrow’s even-more sophisticated innovations. One the consequences of these ever-increasing new levels of complexity is that we sometimes lose sight of critical characteristics that distinguish one level from another.

Persuasion matters

The potential power of digital technologies is often unrealised. The rise of digital technology is transforming our lives. Digital products and programs to improve our lives are being generated at an incredible rate, and are getting better all the time. However, new digital technologies do not always realise their potential as people do not fully incorporate them into their lives.

Digital is not just Digital

One of the many wonderful facets of the digital age is that information is so readily shared. As a society, this accelerates our rate of a learning as we stand on one anothers shoulders. So last week when the Sunshine Coast committee of Regional Development Australia released a draft of its Digital Action Plan I was interested to see what new perspectives it might offer.

Innovation only makes a difference if it satisfies a customer

The question of how to shape strongly performing Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems is a very hot topic at the moment, and there are a growing number of programs and events that are addressing the practice.

In the beginning

I have been meaning to revisit my so-called “manifesto”, to expand on the thinking behind each of its 5 elements. In particular, I have found the first element - “Self Authorship” - to be somewhat problematic. First of all in terms of my capacity to clearly articulate what it means. And secondly, to ground the abstract nature of the term into a meaningful relevance that shifts it from the realm of high-minded philosophy, into practical usefulness.

Innovating New Zealand

You can’t move three or four paragraphs in business or technology news these days, without someone mentioning “innovation”. Innovation, it seems, is a messianic cure to all of our economic and social woes. Get yourself some good ole innovation and everything will be right mate.

On becoming an internet millionaire

Last week, I happened to come across Wired Magazine’s coverage of Ev William’s speech at the XOXO Conference in Portland last month. Ev Williams is most famous as one of the co-founders of Twitter, but prior to that he was behind the blogging platform Blogger, and since then, the blogging network Medium.

People, pairing and platforms

I have long held a fascination with technology platforms. I think of them as a kind of “super-product”, that brings together people to meet coinciding needs. Michael Cusumano of the MIT Sloan School of Management has been writing about technology platforms for many years now, and he, alongside a number of other original thinkers, are together building our understanding of the nature and potential for platforms

Hello world

In computer programming, a “Hello world” program is one of the first and most elementary possible, simply outputting “Hello world” on a screen. This post is my “Hello World” program.

Ice ideas conference talk

Auckland business incubator The Icehouse hosted a TED inspired day. This is a short talk that I gave at that event speaking to the experience of launching Smallworlds.