Thoughts on the conversations and creativity that we’ve lost in going remote

All of a sudden, we’re all working from our living rooms and using remote tools and video calls to stay as connected as we can. The once-steady migration to working from home has suddenly leapt to 100% adoption. But in our collective loss of shared physical space, did we also lose all the things that come with it? Things that lead to freer, more organic conversation and feeling more together?

When we share a physical space, there’s hundreds of tiny inter-personal interactions — opportunities for conversations to start — combined with a shared physical context. These give rise to something…

Humans are self-training machines, and in the context of the internet, we’ve trained ourselves to ignore the intrusive adverts which increasingly clutter our screens. If something looks vaguely like an advert, we don’t even make eye contact with it — a behaviour known as ‘banner blindness’.

In the context of Google results, often we skim past ad search results because they are the least likely to be relevant on the page (they’re having to pay to be there, after all).

But what happens if you can’t tell which is which anymore?

The latest Google search UI redesign sneakily tries to…

Done with leaving meeting people to random chance? 🎲

One of the main reasons coworking exists is to facilitate useful connection between people — each person sat in a coworking space is surrounded by dozens or more of potentially useful connections (and generally some pretty cool people).

But how many potential opportunities are lost due to people not being aware of the background, skills and experience of others around them? …

Working solo can be challenging.

For one thing, there’s solo productivity and time management:

When working on a project in-between existing commitments, it can be easy for things to drift and not get done as fast (or as efficiently) as they could otherwise.


Because they are battling for priority against other tasks, and there are no hard deadlines to provide adequate time pressure.

It’s extremely common for solo work to be unfocused and unstructured with no defined start, stop, or any tangible goals per block of work. …

After a screeching landing on the tropical tarmac in Bali, I shuffled through the airport — and as I wanted to hit the ground running, I bought an Indonesian SIM card straight away. For the first few days, this was great — connection all over Bali is strong and surprisingly fast (you can even FaceTime from the beach). It was only when I sat down to work that the issues started…

A number of the online services I use would send me an SMS authentication code: roughly 6 digits that I needed to enter into the service to prove that…


I’m going to attempt to build 20 startup experiments of varying sizes within the space of a year, with the aim of maximising exploration, learnings, and further pursuing one or more of the startups beyond the #20startups experiment.

Yes, it sounds ridiculous (and maybe it is).

This experiment is inspired by the likes of: Pieter Levels, Jon Yongfook, Andrey Azimov and my own experiences of building products.

Why am I doing this?

This process will aim to test startup hypotheses while overcoming the following problems:

1. Delayed failure

By being a perfectionist and polishing ideas before sharing them, failure and learning is merely postponed. Rather than working…

Design challenges for conversational UIs

Conversation. The key to human-to-human interactions; a spectrum ranging from cavemen around a camp-fire, to lengthy political debates, through to awkward small talk with your dentist. Something that we've really got sussed - we quickly make decisions about whether someone is interesting, not paying attention to us, if we want to date them or employ them, based on it. If we want to get something done, we talk about it - it's how we transmit information and transact between people.

So, it just makes sense that we would use conversation to interact with services and products - right?

Right. But…

At 5am on a cold, misty morning, my plane tumbled to a stop in a strange land where I didn’t speak a word of the language. I was about to embark on one of the best (and most bizarre) adventures I’d had so far — working as a designer at LEGO HQ in Denmark.

I was fresh-faced, just a few weeks after finishing university, and about to be thrown into the deep end of my first real design job.

Over the course of my time there, I would work on a secret project, a real life ‘LEGO House’ — a…

Thoughts from the Global Social Business Summit in Berlin

Where are we today?

Recently, Beijing’s perennial pollution problem reached such a point that restrictions had to be put in place, closing schools and mandating that citizens could only drive on alternate days — the first time the city has had to issue a red alert.

99% of global wealth now sits in the hands of the wealthiest 1%. By some estimates, 4.2 billion people worldwide live in a form of poverty.

All such things would suggest a system which doesn’t seem to be working effectively in terms of ecology or political economy.

The creation of short term wealth doesn’t seem to take the…

Johnny makes ⚡

Building 20 startup experiments in public: • Thinking about social dynamics, the future of work, Bitcoin

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