Since the beginning of WeTransfer all the way back in 2009, our team has envisioned technology as a tool to help humans and facilitate creativity — and nothing more. Simple.
But as the tech industry has matured over the past decade, it’s become very obvious that others have taken a very different approach.
Humans are ‘Users’ and treated as such.
We are targeted based upon our habits and fed dopamine hits to keep us coming back. In the rush to monetize and boost engagement rates, ads have become disruptive to workflow. …
When WeTransfer started back in 2009 we were placing long bets that certain market conditions would move in our favour. We believed that ‘small’ data and transparency would build long term trust.
With the rise of fake news and the increased understanding (particularly in Europe) of data rights and privacy punctuated by GDPR, market conditions shifted. Towards us.
Today some 42m people in over 192 countries use WeTransfer every month.
Some of the basic settings that have become de facto within WeTransfer — namely;
No sign up
A lean data policy
30% of media gifted to the arts
A medium version of my weekly email digest.
Here’s this weeks slightly shorter than normal summary of the things that got me thinking. In each edition I’ll touch on topics around Technology, Climate and Creativity.
Unforgettable. Robbie Stamp has an imagined conversation with his late business partner and friend, the amazing Douglas Adams.
Listen: 13 mins
The next time you’re on tinder ask yourself whether the person you’re engaging with is real or an AI. IRL Virtual Connections.
Listen: 28 mins
“Hey, you know the computer, the Lisa. Was it named after me?” “Nope. Sorry Kid.”
This piece from…
Just after I left school, the UK government tried to recruit new teachers using the catchy slogan ‘Nobody forgets a good teacher.’
A great teacher, they announced, makes all the difference, and become unforgettable, as they play such an important part in the formative years of a young person’s life.
This is true. You’ll probably encounter one truly great teacher in your educational career. But for me the slogan reveals the fact that 90% of my teachers were terrible. Of course you’re going to remember the good ‘one’?
I attended a co-ed private boarding school in Canterbury, Kent. My parents…
Yellowstone National Park is a 2.2 million acre expanse of mountains, trees, geysers, wildlife and rivers. The world’s largest herd of bison roams freely, as do more than a hundred wolves, running in ten packs.
If you have the opportunity to visit in winter, you’ll be one of just 25,000 guests, as opposed to the craziness of four million tourists who flock to Yellowstone in the summer months with the hopes of glimpsing a bear or at least witnessing the thrill of the meticulously timed cone geyser named Old Faithful, which still erupts regularly, faithfully, once every 44 to 125…
2017 was a year of the good, the bad, the contested and the questioned. A lot of real stuff happened in this year of the fake.
It was a year that started with Not in my Name and ended with Me Too. The Trump news was too large, ongoing, never-ending — ten years of misdeeds packed into one. The film industry was rocked, newspapers were rocked, the art world was rocked, Vice just got rocked. Companies that began the year as darlings were lurching by year’s end. …
Being the pioneer is tough.
Sticking your neck out leaves your neck exposed. You might need that neck later.
Going the extra mile often turns into ten extra miles, and the road gets steep and slippery in places.
In the US, the attribute needed to surmount these obstacles is ‘grit’.
I struggle to find a better word to describe what it takes to knuckle down — be careful of those knuckles — and create work, or music, or build a business, or construct from thin air some other project that will stand out in its field.
Grit is needed when…
There’s a statement I hear all the time at tech events.
Someone will stand up, take the mic and anger and frustration will suddenly seep into their voice;
‘It’s all very well and good you saying that data isn’t important,’ they’ll say. ‘When you’ve got 40 million users, you can afford to be smug.’
‘Well,’ I’ll reply. I’ll sometimes stretch out the word. ‘We didn’t exactly have 40 million users in 2009. And we were as shy on data then as we are now.’
They’ll usually take the point. But the conversation won’t come to an end.
‘How does a…
“There isn’t a design studio in the world today that isn’t playing some sort of radio or music through a radio or device.”
I remember sharing music. I remember making mix tapes on an old stereo: writing out songs on the inserts; messing around with recording levels; then presenting the object to someone, keen to ensure they’d listen to the tape in its entirety. Mix CDs were the same. It felt good to hand over a mix to a newly curious listener, even if that was most of the time my sister.
Curiosity is an important trait for anyone creative…
I was recently fortunate enough to talk at the Tech Open Air Conference in Berlin.
I gave a ten minute talk on trust, empathy, and digital citizenship entitled ‘Data Theft, Distrust and Digital Stockholm Syndrome’. A nice, light fireside chat. Or not.
The Germans are a tough crowd. Despite wearing my newest T-shirt and my tech-iest uniform, including a pair of polished, bright white Stan Smith sneakers, the reception was cool. Despite using every ounce of my charm to get a laugh, I barely garnered a smile. I get it. The weather was terrible. It was right before lunch. …
President@WeTransfer. Previously co-founder of Present Plus. Los Angeles, California.