Asking for a friend: Awesome coder wanted for awesome venture

A mate reached out to me today asking if I knew any geeks who would be interested in working with him on a startup project. Here are the details he shared:

“I am looking for a super-intelligent web and app all-round coder, hacker and mash-up artist to work on a seriously awesome new venture.

We have developed some outrageously good Intellectual Property and concepts, and the plan is to rapidly prototype for 6-8 weeks before seeking the next round of funding – in order to increase the likelihood and valuation of a VC deal. The concept is a location-aware, social, mobile, commerce play with Augmented Reality, voice recognition, photo recognition and barcode scanning thrown in (of course).

You would be joining Me, as well as George the Hustler (proven entrepreneur) and Amir the Hacker (mad Israeli propellerhead). We don’t expect you to give up your day job initially, although you may have to start quietly sucking at it.. We will pay you $2,000 per sprint of loosely agreed scope, which you’d build in your spare time. After 2 months and 4-6 sprints, we’d be looking at raising capital and offering you a real job and equity.”

Then to clarify I asked what the stack would be for his project and he replied:

“We haven’t decided on a stack, so can’t really tell you, however it is more important that we find someone with sound front-end coding knowledge and the intelligence and breadth to play with any of Java, .net, php, html5, objective c. Does that make sense?”

If any of that is of interest, or it sounds like your bag, then click here and I’ll put you in touch.


Please note that this opportunity is presented on an as-is basis and that you should undertake your own due diligence to ensure that it meets you personal needs.

Real time, right time – it’s all about ‘me’ – so what about Twitter?

A recent article The Future of Mobile is Right Time Experiences by Maribel Lopez got me thinking about mobile and the future of the web.

It is an especially important topic to consider now that Twitter is seeking to further control and constrain the way that its users interact. A good outline of the issues at play here is Nick Bilton’s piece: For Twitter-Owned Apps and Sites, a Cacophony of Confusion.

At Web 2.0 Summit 2011 (video) Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, noted that he is inspired and ‘mentored’ by Apple. Any admiration for Apple and the way it does business is likely to be coupled with a desire to control the user experience.

The interesting thing to note is that control of the end user experience has never been a big part of the Twitter world. Instead their strength, and indeed a reason for their survival to date, has been a willingness to throw open their doors to a broad app ecosystem.  Further, significant innovations that have improved Twitter (e.g. hashtags) have come from the community and have been adopted by the company.

But Twitter is a company that is growing up, emerging from its startup phase and evolving into a ‘real’ business.  ‘Real’ businesses do things like consolidate infrastructure to better manage costs, and they seek to add layers of management control over the business.

This desire to control the user experience is fairly typical of a ‘real’ business.  It signifies the development of an organisation that is developing a command and control structure typical of the late twentieth century.

The problem is that end users of the platform have started to evolve beyond command and control models. We are using many different devices – PCs, tablets, smart phones – and we use them as we need and in different contexts.  We do not necessarily want the same experience across each device we use. Increasingly we are using a mobile rather than a fixed device, even in the home or office.

What we do want is the right experience in the right context.  We are hungry for a kind of ‘just right’ interaction with our favourite platforms. And we also seek to remove friction from our online interactions.  We flinch away from interactions that are scratchy, our friends say ‘come over here, it’s better and easier’, we use the power of our social networks to seek out the newest way to improve our online existence.

This means that the API revolution has arrived at just the right time to meet user needs.  And it means that businesses that resist the desire to exert absolute control over the user experience can harness a vibrant API ecosystem to power their business.

I think that consistency of user experience across multiple platforms is overrated. But I do wholeheartedly encourage consistency in APIs so as to enable rich user experiences that drive engagement on the user’s terms.

Businesses that fail to realise that the command and control world of the late twentieth century is dying risk killing their businesses.  It is already happening with the news media. It can happen with newer businesses too, such as social networks. As Mark Pesce noted we face a business environment that is “fast, frictionless, and on fire“.

Note: I had a brief chat about the recent changes to the Twitter consumer app ecosystem with Stilgherrian, Leslie Nassar, and Henare Degan on the Patch Monday podcast, one imagines it will be up on the ZDnet site in the fulness of time.

Social media for social good #socent

I discussed Social Media for Social Good at a City of Sydney Talk on 27th June 2012.

It is an important issue.  There are many decrying social media for increasing isolation and disconnection between people.

Social media can be used as a force for social good and social inclusion. Social media is not just about ephemeral amusement, it is also an important way to harness forces for social change and social innovation. In short, it is an excellent platform for activism.

Many people are using social media to create platforms for change around the world and here in Australia.

Probably the example of this that is closest to me is Social Innovation Sydney. Started by three women about two years ago, we’ve hosted events that have connected hundreds of change makers with each other. Our goal was to use social media to find people who are interested in social innovation, and then to hold events that got the change makers together in real life.

We’re not the only ones doing it.  Some other good local examples of social media for social are listed in my slide deck below.