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Based in Geneva and working in Europe and the US, I currently advise companies and startups on Internet strategy. My primary area of expertise is defining new products and design of existing ones, with a focus not so much on what you see (website graphic design) but how products work and the business strategy that defines them.
Venture partner at Siderian Ventures, seed investors in sustainable businesses.
(Massive caveat - I'm an architect but I can't lay bricks. Similarly, I'm a UX guy but built Wists, largely myself, to learn to program. It's old, pre-Ajax, and it sucks UX wise, it's a mess because I had to switch off half the functionality to make it scale - so it's as if I'd built a brick wall myself, rather than just draw it - but the design concept was sound and people still use it. However, Pinterest have built a visual bookmarking system largely as I would have designed it!)
Wists was the first service to develop the concept of visual social bookmarking that has become popular with Pinterest and Tumblr. Launched around the same time as Delicious, the difference was that each bookmark automatically created a thumbnail from a image of your choice on the page you were bookmarking. The idea is that you could create a wishlist of things you might want to buy, not tied to any particular service, such as Amazon.
I helped co-found the incubator MRL Ventures, led by PayPal founder, Max Levchin. My remit was 'local' and when we realized how big the Yellow Pages market was and how bad these services were online, the opportunity seemed pretty simple. I was involved in the early days of Yelp and chose the name, among other things, but left the incubator to go to New York before it was spun out as a separate company.
Moreover was the first Internet news search engine, powering Altavista, Yahoo, MSN and sites like the Economist. After Altavista received tons of traffic to its Moreover powered news during 911, Google decided to create Google News. I founded it with Angus Bankes and Nick Denton (who went on to create Gawker Media). We sold it to Verisgn. My favorite application created at Moreover was Newsblogger, which we did with Evan Williams who later went on to do Twitter.
The British and Irish genealogy service, Origins was the first website to provide access to UK government data. It was profitable within its first year of operation and is still going strong.
The history of RSS is somewhat arcane and often misundestood, suffice to say its not so much a standard but a meme and that Dave Winer deserves most of the credit. The main contribution from RSS 1.0 was the idea of modularity.
RSS ping is a standard I developed with Wordpress creator, Matt Mullenweg, that never really took off but the concepts apply to what's now called the Realtime Web, the idea was to extend weblog ping mechanisms to say adding information about exactly what has been updated or published.
One Line Bio: personal headlines, RSS for people
Many of the most useful innovations on the web such as permalinks or the reverse chronological list have been seemingly trivial. with one line bios I tried to create the equivalent of news headlines for people, so that they could be simply disambiguated (John Doe, car mechanic, Michigan is different from John Doe, Lion Tamer, Nebraska). Today they are used by more than 500 million people after Six Apart then Twitter and the Facebook adopted this trivial, but still necessary step in web conventions. Anil Dash did a nice write up of one line bio's, here.
Preserving the room where the web was invented
The invention of the web is arguably as significant as that of the printing press. But unlike Gutenberg's workshop it is intact. However, it is in danger of being forgotten (it's not even in the same country as the official plaque which commemorates it). after having corresponded with Tim Berners Lee to write down the history of what happened where, I have managed to help get it filmed and put onto on of the online mapping services. The next step is to try and preserve it.
Oobject is a lists site, where each list is a series of pictures of man made objects. The aim is to be like a digital Wunderkammer, and in the spirit of such it supposed to be fun rather than too serious. Oobject may look like yet another, crappy, weird things site, but delve in, I’ve put an unhealthy amount of effort into it
Cribcandy is a Wists powered product blog for architecture and interiors - it consists of visual bookmarks of the design items I look at every day, over breakfast.
Natural Selection as Information Theory
It seems incredible to me that the theory of Evolution by Natural Selection - something which potentially describes how laws themselves can emerge and therefore sits above them, is relegated to the relatively high level science of biology, rather than physics or mathematics. I think that looking at the problem in terms of computer science is the way to do this, and specifically its possible to show how any two systems self configure to transfer information between themselves, over time - how they learn. This is total crank territory, but if you are interested, this is what I spend a great deal of my spare time thinking about, and the heading above links to a summary. A friend at CERN, has figured out an ingenious way to test my crackpot theory there by firing a laser at two lab created atoms and measuring the precision of their energy states over time, to see if they increase.
Described best by Paul Kedrosky as an attempt to 'Tivo-ify the web', Smashing Telly was a blog which curated longer format Video available on sites like YouTube before there were things like Netflix on demand or Hulu and while it was difficult to find good stuff among the crap. It focused on primarily on documentaries although no longer updated, it's still worth a look for some of the more obscure stuff.
EDML - a standard for forms to build online forms
Before XML existed there was no way to create semantic markup in HTML, I sat down with my father for several months and tried to map the standards for Electronic Document Exchange (EDI) for purchase order and invoices and the like, to an HTML based standard.