An e-book from @kaviguppta & me: Disruption in the Developing World


Over the last decade or so, technology has changed all of us, some more so than others, and crucially, some parts of the world much quicker than others. Access to technology is a core part of this, with the steadily lower cost of production putting technology into the hands of those who never had this privilege. This has changed behaviours, relationships – and governments.

Last year, I  started a weekly newsletter called the Other Valleys to chronicle some of the inspiring creative and technology projects emerging from far-flung corners of the world that were not as familiar to the Western tech press as Silicon Valley might be. Kavi Guppta, who writes for Forbes amongst other things, thought this was a good idea too, and we got chatting online. That’s where the seeds of this project were sown: what are some of the best ideas that all of us, and people in public roles especially, should be paying more attention to? If we were part of a government in Asia, Africa or Latin America, most of whom are grappling with huge societal challenges, what kinds of tools might just help make life easier? Kavi and I decided to put some time and energy into exploring these ideas in a slightly more detailed manner.

‘Disruption in the Developing World’ is a short e-book that is the result of our collaboration. We’d like it to create awareness of some of the brilliant activities already underway across the world, and create debate about what might be able to be done better. If it then leads to even one person changing something somewhere to make life better for a group of people, we’d consider our time well spent.

You can download the e-book here for a recommended donation of $2 (or more – hopefully you will think it is worth it); money that will go to organisations engaged in Nepal relief efforts. If you can, please spread the word to your friends and colleagues on Twitter and LinkedIn too – much appreciated.

Celebrities with a cause at Adweek Europe


Wrote this last month during Adweek Europe, reposting here.

Originally posted on :

Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation, PHD gives her view on Celebrities with a cause at Adweek Europe.

SalmaSalma Hayek in conversation with VP of Facebook EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn

Salma Hayek had a lot of things going against her when she started out in Hollywood: for one, she was a dyslexic female soap star facing language barriers in an industry notorious for being closed and unfriendly. But she went on to become one of the very few female film directors in the industry (who account for just 7% of the total), and got to the point where she was able to bring an iconic film like Frida to the screen as the sole producer, with a story that no other producer was willing to touch: that of a fat hairy woman in a problematic marriage – all the wrong things a studio would look for in a script!

As you can…

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Thanks for @thedrum post @hamishpringle! Video of @we_are_squared hangout now live

Last week, I was invited by the current cohort of Google Squared students to participate in a Google Hangout on ‘Global brands, local consumers, glocal campaigns’ (forgive the portmanteau, it wasn’t my idea!) from their recording studio in London. Also participating were Hamish Pringle, Strategic Advisor to 23red, Stephen Woodford, Chairman of  Lexis (both Hamish and Stephen were past Director-Generals of the IPA), Arlo Brady, Managing Director at PR agency Freuds, and via video joining us were Nicole Yershon, Director – Innovations at Ogilvy, and Gregor Lawson, founder of Morphsuits.

Hamish has written an article in The Drum about the main points we spoke about, but if you have an hour, you can watch the whole discussion here.

My Other Valleys newsletter is now also a searchable blog: is this an interesting feature to you? Answers on this form pls!

My Other Valleys newsletter has been going for over 35 weeks now. I love writing it, and like any writer, enjoy the feedback I get from readers now and then. Recently though, I’d begun to feel that I needed a way to search my Tinyletter emails for things I knew I’d written about but couldn’t quite find in the newsletter sea of words. I wanted to reference them somewhere else, mostly, or sometimes just remember the details of a project. Newsletters aren’t search-friendly – I suppose they aren’t meant to be. It’s not a blog, right? The Other Valleys *could* be a blog on its own, but I like the relationship with readers and the general process of writing a newsletter. And being able to search a newsletter of the type that the Other Valleys is, which has profiles of interesting companies listed every week, was something I was beginning to want.

I was discussing this with my friend Paul Battley a few weeks ago, and after throwing around a few ideas, he said it might be worth trying to hack together a searchable blog based only on my Tinyletter posts. So that’s what he’s done for me. It does what I wanted it to very well – and the search functionality is way better than many other blogs. It also has an Atom feed.

Here’s what I want to know: if you write a newsletter, is this an idea that’s interesting to you? Answers below please. It might not be, which is fine, but I’m curious to know if there are other people like me…

Reminder: please fill in the @adaslist survey on govt policies relevant to women in tech


A while ago, the Ada’s List team envisioned a survey to find out what our community of 1000+ women in tech (and the women in tech they know in turn) really think about government policies and priorities leading up to the UK general elections in May. The survey is finally ready, and it would be brilliant if you fill it in if you’re a female working in tech yourself, or pass it on to people you know who are. The survey is here.

To be clear, we welcome anyone who is 18+, identifies as female and is working in technology in the UK (or, for non-residents, have an affiliation with the UK/UK politics) to take this survey, even if they are not currently a member of Ada’s List. This means if you have women in tech networks or groups at your workplace or in your community, we would love to have them fill it in as well. Please share it with all of them – the more data we have, the more robust the output will be. They are all also welcome to join Ada’s List if they are not already a member, but it is by no means a pre-requisite to fill in the survey.

The responses will be completely anonymous – we will not have any information as to who is filling it in, so please be as honest as you want to be.

Those not based in the UK – if you could share the survey with any UK-based women in tech, we will really appreciate your assistance in getting the word out.

The last date for responses is Monday, March 30th. This will give us the time we need to collate output. We intend to share our findings with the wider world by the end of April.

Sincere thanks are also due to Ada’s Lister Rebecca Martin, who has created the survey for us on Tickbox, a new platform to encourage engagement in politics, launching in April before the elections.

Here’s the link to take the survey again.

Thank you to all of you for participating in and sharing the survey in advance.

Well done @iotwatch @anabrdly @theleadingzero, @techcityiwd 2015 rocked

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the third Tech City International Women’s Day. It was a great evening, mingling with makers, authors and entrepreneurs including projects like Tara Binns (a book by Lisa Rajan and Eerika Omiyale that actually has female role models, unlike the so many that are written with boys in mind), Tampon Club, Civic Shop, Project Blush by Microsoft Research, Pacif-i by Blue Maestro, ethical fashion retailer Birdsong and many others. I was interviewed for the showcase video for the event (below), and more than anything else it gives you a sense of the vibrancy that diversity brings to technology. Really glad I went; great job organising by Alex, Ana and Becky.

Creativity does not want to be locked out: the problem in a nutshell (via @davewiner)

I guess all industries have lock-out. The moneyed people own everything, and in order to create, you have to fit in. And most really creative people don’t.

Then you have systems that are not locked-out, like Twitter and Facebook, but are subject to revision at any moment. This is imho better than not having APIs at all. At least the world can get a glimpse at the idea before it’s shut down. In a fully locked-out system, new ideas are stillborn.

Dave Winer