Recent posts

A film about the Stripe Partners Studio

Over at Stripe Partners we’ve shot a film of our studio process. Studios are our way of ensuring that the benefits of an ethnographic approach to developing understanding are shared by our clients through their engagement in the worlds they … Continue reading

Goodbye…Hello (2005)

Some thoughtful commentary on job hunting by Amy Santee, a UX researcher based in USA provoked me to dig out this blog post from 2005. I wrote it when shutting down Ideas Bazaar – a company I ran for about … Continue reading

Gall’s Law

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with … Continue reading

Love and Service

“It is not difficult to see why we are so keen to widen our knowledge and why we are so little concerned to increase our capacity to love – knowledge translates directly into power; love translates into service.” – Richard … Continue reading

Advice on Television

When I came to write up my Ph.D thesis about TV in India, mid 90s, I soon realised that the moral nervousness about the medium in India was the playing out of similar debates that had occurred wherever TV had … Continue reading

Models Etic and Emic

From Trawick’s Notes on Love in a Tamil Family

Biographies of collaboration

Interesting read from Ethan Zuckerman exploring the tendency for the figure of the lone genius to triumph over teams and collaborators in accounts of innovation. Two excerpts: “It doesn’t lessen Jobs to recognize that creative genius comes from collaboration. Letting … Continue reading

The meaning of neural activity

“The meaning off neural activity lies outside the brain…brain activity can be understood, that is, has meaning only to the extent that it is a representation of the state of the body, of the external world, or of a potential … Continue reading

The consolations of isolation

“Isolation offered its own form of companionship: the reliable silence of her rooms, the steadfast tranquility of the evenings. The promise that she would find things where she put them, that there would be no interruption, no surprise. It greeted … Continue reading

Squeaky Dolphin

From an article about the anxieties of big data by Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford. 2014 is the year we learned about Squeaky Dolphin. That’s the Pynchon-worthy code name for a secret program created by British intelligence agency GCHQ to monitor … Continue reading


“Nowadays being an explorer is a trade, which consists not, as one may think, in discovering hitherto unknown facts after years of study, but in covering a great many miles and assembling lantern-slides or motion pictures, preferably in colour, so … Continue reading


  From a blog post by FT management writer Andrew Hill.

Chips and kinships

This whole information business

One of the many revelations from reading Jon Gertner’s magisterial history of Bell Labs, is learning more about the story of Claude Shannon. He was one of any visionaries at the labs, but seems to have been preeminent amongst a … Continue reading


“We can’t rely on influencing, landing messages, representing, spinning. The game’s up. The great lumbering beast that is late, western capitalism has to turn itself to face the great mass to which it’s suddenly accountable – activist and accessed, wired … Continue reading


Nice little movie that simply describes how packet switching allows the page you’re now reading to get delivered to you in under a second:

Anthropology & design

“Anthropology provides a kind of thick description that contextualises design processes and products, and design offers anthropology creative means of exploring and representing what it means to be human” anne galloway

Permissionless Innovation

Life and apologies


“Material thing are often like that. They have a certain humility. They jump up and down and confronts you as a critical symbols of yourself or your relationships. They don’t theorise themselves or abstract themselves. Often one only really pays … Continue reading