Author Archives: Simon

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


As J.B. Priestley noted – “The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – a thought captured elegantly in this series of photos documenting our obsession with mobile phones by Benjamin McMahon

Stripe Partners

Earlier in the week we pressed the button on a new company website. The business is called Stripe Partners – and although the founding partners have been working together for a short while on initial client engagements we’d not previously … Continue reading

Ageing numbers

Picture cred   The Office of National Statistics (ONS) in November pumped out another batch of data relating to the ageing of the UK – here are some of the highlights: The number of state pensioners will increase by around … Continue reading

‘That full complement of riches’

For those who attended the “Why the world needs anthropologists” symposium in Amsterdam yesterday here are the slides. For those that didn’t attend I hope the notes with the slides help provide a bit of context to the more visual … Continue reading

The state of digital

A long but comprehensive ‘state of digital world’ presentation from Business Insider. The future of digital from Useful Ideas

Culture and utility

Re-reading a chapter in Marshall Sahlins’ Culture and Practical Reason, Le Penseé Bourgoisie today I could have cited multiple chunks of though-provoking writing. Instead, here’s a simple passage outlining, in brief, the argument of the book.

Feeding the City

Next time you stand in front of the refrigerated fixture at Pret a Manger pondering the choice of Ham & Gruyere or Line Caught Tuna baguettes, feel a little envious for those who, in Mumbai, get to consume home made … Continue reading

Mating rituals

This is what happens when a David Attenborough commentary on the natural world is overlaid on the ‘mating’ rituals of humans. Feels like a rich seam that could be mined here covering all aspects of human behaviour…

Markets and Public Institutions

The final paragraph of a long piece in the October 24th issue of the London Review of Books by Stefan Collini on the thorough-going marketisation of the British higher education system absolutely nails the massive paradox at the heart of … Continue reading

Colour tinted glaciers

Restored footage of the ill-fated 1924 British expedition to reach the summit of Everest, this clip being of ice formations at East Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet. The Epic of Everest on

Thinking differently? Really?

As a follow up to last night’s session at @unrulymedia which I really enjoyed, here’s a short but penetrating piece by Thomas Frank, author of  “Pity the Billionaire.” and “One Market Under God“. It’s a stylishly coruscating attack on the genre … Continue reading

Giving ideas away

I’ve giving a talk – well 5 minutes of comments which will likely be off the cuff etc and probably not not worth posting here – at the first Unrulyversity session of the 2013/14 academic year. The session is titled “Where Do … Continue reading

Dance of the algorithms

“…our lives are influenced by technologies not simply as objects but invisible systems that surround us, and whose architecture shapes the patterns of our lives. To live inside these invisible systems, whether they be insurance forms, loan requests, job applications … Continue reading

← Older posts