Saturday, April 25, 2009

Say everything or hold back?

I've been working on the Animated Data Engine over the weekend and it's starting to shape up really well. Once it's properly hooked in Excel I should be ready to show a few people what I've been upto. The question I ask myself at the moment is how much do I share?

For those I know the answer is easy - I trust most people therefore we share everything. However, on my public forums, the blog, website etc should I hold back - I think yes, but I'm really not sure. Is it better to deliver something small and then talk more openly - probably.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Top 50 Internet Milestones

Like it says on the tin, I found this little nugget of internet goodness from ZDNet

Monday, April 20, 2009

QRCodes on the desktop

QMCodes are commercialising QRCodes to link print media straight to rich web content. The idea is that you photograph the little code square, it looks like an empty crossword, with your mobile and it links you straight to more interesting stuff. This is a great idea, URLs especially on mobiles are just a pain, but I can't help thinking these links would more useful for desktops as well as mobiles. Maybe the mobile reader could auto-generate an email that goes to your email account - anything to reduce typing. Linking print and web is in it's infancy but it will be huge.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Max and jaq have built the chook shed, we've fox proofed our fence, we've bought the feed, all we need now is the chooks. I like to think that all associated with RooCube will have good free range eggs to eat whenever they want. Does it get any better than that - all we need now is the bacon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wholesale Investor

Last week I was in Melbourne and went to a WholeSale Investor briefing, presented by Steve Torsoand it was very useful, but a little dis-heartening at the same time. There were many gems of information from the evening, the important ones for RooCube were

1) It's normal to work with advisors to raise finance, these advisors take between 5% and 10% of the money raised, the less you raise the more they want. The advisors also work on a monthly retainer. The upshot of that is raising $500K, can cost >$50K.

2) When raising money as well as a strong business plan you also need an Information Memorandum, this pitches your company strongly to investors and outlines the exact nature of the offer. As such it contains a lot of legals and that means there are further professional expenses - ideally from a big end of town law firm.

3) Software is different, not in terms of the preparation we have to put in, but in the amount of money/risk investors are prepared to take.

4) The IM is a marketing/selling document, investors love a video, press coverage, and existing customers. We can deliver all three, but getting customers at this stage will take time. Our approach will be a closed beta with some industry players involved early.

Wholesale Investor will get our IM infront of 4000 potential investors and help out with getting the IM looking good. It's an incredibly useful service and a great idea. They're approach could be described as good value, especially in comparison with raising funds any other way, but it does come with a serious price tag.

The upshot of this situation is we need yet more professional input to get the submission we need to raise the cash that we need and so on. I'd like to be asking for money as soon as we can demo the software, but that's now unlikely. OTOH the extra time will give us space to get a good beta team together and more coverage in the press.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Aussie government builds the fibre network

Before I rant on too much, I'd just like to point out that Telstra, Australia's incumbent telco, are a badly managed monopoly who don't play nicely with anyone - customers, governments Telstra don't care they're rude to all of us.

Now Telstra, for reasons only they really understand, had decided to not pitch for the contract to build Australia's broadband network. That left 3 others in the running, until today. The government has pulled the entire contract and decided to go for a Public Private Partnership, now that just reeks of problems.

1) What does the government know about building a good internet service in Australia - remember this is the same government that's trying to impose mandatory web filtering - they really don't get the whole web thing.

2) By ditching the responses from the other telcos they've let Telstra back in, and pissed off all the other players. Telstra seems to have the most to gain from this decision.

3) If Telstra are involved, that means great tech hampered by one of the most belligerent corporations in Australia - and that's a hard thing to win, we know all about dodgy governance and shady dealings - AWB anyone.

Bottom line is this could be really good, but smacks off long term problems.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordel rocks my world

I've seen word clouds and tag lists in various places and I've really like what they can do. It's an almost magical distillation of a complex document into a word picture. Today, in a moment of serendipidity, I'd finished the draft business plan and found a cool online version called wordle. Combining the two gave me what you see above.

I'm immediately drawn to Product, Community, DataMovie, Market, Tools, Users, Data - how does a piece of software do that? Clever, very clever, shame it's not open source. Does anyone know of something which works like this for .Net?

Origins of the internet

Courtesy of Australian Anthill I found this brilliant animation.

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

Here is a complicated subject, dissected and delivered in a 10 minute film that is memorable and entertaing. Just think what you could do, if only you could create presentations this good? As a software person I'm thinking 'what would a tool have to do, to make that easy for everyone?' We all have ideas we want to share, we often don't have the skills to do it.

We need tools that make it possible for us all to share our knowledge and ideas this well.