The “I only know people who voted X” effect

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Sadly one of the biggest issues with social media and the “relevance” algorithms is that we each only see (for the most part) posts from people who share our own views. What this means is that Facebook, Twitter and the like are (maybe indirectly) more in control of the campaigning than those who are trying to disseminate a message. This makes social networks a very dangerous and polarising platform for political debate.
When will people wake up to the fact that having corporations in charge of our “free speech” is dangerous. We need a free and open platform for conversations and information sharing – a truly open inter-network maybeūüėČ.

Please think before you allow your mind to be made up by what an app or website tells you what to believe in!

Why do companies revert to hierarchy?

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A question that I’ve asked myself many times over the last couple of years has resurfaced in light of the recent GitHub restructuring. Why do companies resort to hierarchy? So many set out with the grand ambition of keeping a flat structure – and many manage for a long time. People are happy, they are respected, communication is good and everyone can contribute to the future of the company in meaningful ways.

But with almost predictable inevitability it is at some point decided that structure is required to make the company more efficient. Whether it’s at 50, 100 or 500 people (which is a surprising spread of company sizes), visibility decreases and communication falters in a way that seems to say “we need structure” – but why; and is it even true?

So many traditional business experts seem to consider the way that start-ups organise themselves to be cute or naive and, whilst potentially fun, doomed to failure. Is there only 1 sensible way to structure a business? Or is there something significant we should be learning from the new generation of young companies desperate to prove that it can be done another way?

From my own experiences I know that it’s easier to go with the status quo. But I can’t figure out the reason why the flat structure becomes too much hard work. If there is a clear understanding of responsibilities and an efficient communication channel why can we not have a company made of many small teams that are themselves still operating as a start-up would?

Maybe it’s just a pipe dream but I’d be interested in finding out if anyone has made it work, or understands why it fails…

2016, a whole different year

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I think this year is going to be an exciting one¬†for me – first and foremost it’s going to mean finding a whole new bunch of fantastic people to work with. I’ve made the difficult decision to move on from FanDuel and I will be¬†leaving behind the amazing people¬†I’ve spent the last 5 years getting to know.

Since we sold Kotikan to FanDuel last year they’ve been very welcoming of the whole team and we have seen great collaboration with the various internal platform teams. This means cool new¬†things for the mobile apps that we were already working on and the possibility of exciting¬†new features that just were not possible as an external agency.

But having decided to move on where will I be? All over the place! I’ll be spending some of my time working with technology start-ups – offering advice or support in creating, growing or developing¬†their software delivery teams. Initially I’m looking to work with Codebase and Bright Red Triangle based companies, but I’d be happy to chat to teams from other backgrounds too. I’m also going to be spending some time working on Open Source Software (such as the IDE I’ve been working on) – there are so many great things being pushed forward and I want to be part of the future of free software and the communities taking it¬†out to industry and consumers.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s been involved in my journey¬†at Loc8Solutions / Kotikan / FanDuel – I hope to work with you all again soonūüôā

Multi-touch on Enlightenment

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At FOSDEM yesterday I was demoing the Enlightenment IDE that I have been working on. My laptop is a touchscreen and I had it in tablet mode for the demo, so far so good. Until a couple of sharp attendees noted that there was no multi-touch. Huh, neither it does.

Enter rasterman – “Did you enable xinput2.2?”, erm no, no I didn’t…

Passing –enable-xinput22 to the efl ./configure fixed it! magicūüôā The image above shows 2 taps simultaneously in the elementary_test Gesture Layer 2 demo.

Job done. Now to fix a couple of multi-touch gesture bugs I have foundūüė¶.

Attaining work life balance

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Technology and start-ups are both renowed for being able to take over your life. Therefore it’s probably unsurprising that after 8 years in tech startups I’ve completely lost the concept of a balance between life and work. One thing that I began to realise is that “work” is not just that which your boss expects of you, the targets that have been set or what your company pays you for, it’s also everything that you have become obliged to maintain – that online game you wrote, some websites you host or an open source project you released but then stopped using.

Take a look at your life. How many days, evenings or even hours are you truly able to put your feet up and relax? Play a game with your family? Go for a walk or cycle in the great outdoors? Do you see your friends enough and when was the last time you just chatted to your parents?

I reflected recently and decided there was nowhere near enough time put aside for these things. It probably contributed to worse than average health too. So in an effort to bring things back into balance I’m heading into 2016 with the plan to spend more time with friends and family, seeing the countryside and generally relaxing. To that end I’m wrapping up 2015 by moving house, heading out of the city and into the countryside. Sure weekdays may still be busy and I still need to prune the list of projects I have on the go, but if I can spend the whole weekend in a different context I think it could really make a difference!

Image thanks to tech.co