Today I donated $500 to Mayday.us a Political Action Committee setup in a country where I am not a citizen, to change elections that I cannot vote in. But US campaign finance reform is an issue that we should all take note of, not just those who hold a US passport. As long as America remains the most powerful nation on earth so too will her politics all off us.
And nothing corrupts US politics as much as money.
In Lesterland, his swift deconstruction of American campaign financing, Lawrence Lessig (founder of the Mayday PAC) explains how money, routed through Political Action Committees and provided by the tiniest slither of the population (1% of the 1%) corrupts a Presidential race; removing any candidate who will not advance their views and giving the electorate just two muddied candidates to chose from the in the general election.
Mayday PAC aims to create a Political Action Committee to end all Political Action Committees. To fund candidates who will repeal Citizens United (the case that gave rise to the PACs) and engage in real debate about campaign financing reform.
Read about it, speak to your American friends, and if you can, donate.
Whether you’re US citizen, or not.
May has been been a good month for running, here’s the break down.
Ran a total of 127km including 71km in the last 14 days of the month. I came 16th in the Finsbury Park 10km with a time of 41.03 and improved my half marathon time to 1.36.29.
Unfortunately I’ve got to pull out of the Hackney Half due to some family commitments, but I’m going to try and break the 1.30.00 mark in some training runs to compensate.
I’m on Strava if you’re interested.
There was a sombre mood at the talks I attended at Hay Festival this year. Not because of the rain or the failed digital strategy, but because of a palpable sense of fracture within the British electorate. A sense that an already small island was dividing itself further still.
The ascendency of UKIP, the chance of an independent Scotland, the chance too of an independent Wales. The earnings divide between the south-east and the rest of the country, the chance of a no vote in Europe, of tighter boarder control. An ineffective ‘Better Together’ campaign and an even more confusing pro EU one.
Fast forward to 2017 and what do you see? An isolated, middle order nation who struggles to get on with itself, let alone the rest of the world.
I found myself wondering why no one could tell us what it means to be British. What were the things that make our union worth defending. Maybe we’ll find out more in the coming general election? I think it’s unlikely…
About a year ago I gave Spotify a hard time about some features that it lacked. I stayed true to my word and have remained a die hard Rdio user
Spotify has always had many advantages over Rdio: its catalogue is better; it’s faster; and more of my friends use it, it’s more ‘social.’ But as a way to organise music it’s always lacked behind Rdio and that’s why I stayed away.
But then last month Spotify launched a complete redesign of its product. The UI was refreshed and a critical new feature, ‘Your Music’, was added. It was a dreadful launch however. After being announced to the public it then took me a week to see the new version on the web. Another week to see the desktop app, and a further week to see it on my Android phone. It was inconsistent and messy, and it’s still not been updated for tablets.
But the dust has settled and what’s left is a really promising update. So I can confirm the rumours that I am ‘back on Spotify.’ Just strange it took so long…
Like many people I was excited about Nest’s arrival to the UK. I was excited about the price point, the free installation and I was excited when I finally opened it and found the integrated spirit level. But that’s where the excitement stopped.
What’s followed has been nothing short of a clusterfuck. It’s now been three weeks since I first purchased my Nest and it’s still sitting on my kitchen table in its beautifully designed box. I’ve spoken to two different contractors, as both thought they were responsible for installation, and they’ve sent me two dozen emails between them. Then there has been a similar number of emails from Nest themselves - mainly to apologise - and as of last night one cancelled installation because “he was stuck on a hard job” in Bromley - nothing to do with the fact that it was 6.30pm and he had to travel to North London I’m sure.
Steve Jobs taught us that experiences are end to end. It’s not just about solving a problem someone has, but making every touch point they have with your company pleasurable. This led him to focus not just on software, but hardware, packaging, retail, content and the list goes on.
Nest have ignored this maxim. Yes it’s a beautiful bit of hardware, yes the packaging is great, yes I’m sure it will be a joy to use, but selling me the hardware and then fobbing me off with some average London property groups just isn’t good enough.
UPDATE: I’d argue that stories that Zuck has begun the ‘unbundling’ of the core Facebook experience adds further weight to my claims below. It’s not about being the single destination, but being the player in an ecosystem of communication apps.
Facebook’s recent spate of acquisitions has drawn comparisons between itself and Disney.
The comparison is a fair one, or at least could be. Consider it this way. The content produced under the Disney branding is no longer the best content the company produces. In fact the best stuff is coming out of Pixar, Marvel and Maker Studios - all part of the The Walt Disney Company, Inc. Disney makes this work as all the companies it acquires are all great content producers and contribute to its core mission.
Now think about Zuck’s mission - to make the world more open and connected. Well nothing there suggests this objective can only be achieved through facebook.com. In fact by acquiring and incubating companies like WhatsApp, Instagram and even Oculus he’s marching on towards that goal.
Clearly it will take a long time for his acquisitions to prove as successful as Disney’s or Google’s, but the company’s recent trajectory has filled me with a little more confidence than it once did. Does that mean I’d invest in FB? No, not until they radically improve their core product and prove they can grow meaningful revenues from their new purchases, but it also means I haven’t written them off entirely just yet.
“I’m only 36 and I’m already Kanye West”