Fake Stats

With the recent spate of fake news (why can’t we just call them lies?), I started thinking about the growing chasm between statistical/fact creators and media consumers. Historically we have put our trust in the Fourth Estate to analyze, filter and present to an audience. For better or worse, today anybody can call themselves a journalist– … Continue reading Fake Stats

Data-derived Products

I love creating data-derived products. I’ve been saying one man’s metadata is another’s data for years, and now that we are in a golden age of data brought on by cheap cloud storage/compute, sensors/devices everywhere and the rise of data scientists, the age of data is upon us. However, getting past the high fives and … Continue reading Data-derived Products

RFF: Quantifying Municipal Growth

I’ve been pursuing several ideas as an independent researcher– some scratch an intellectual itch and others have the makings of new opportunities that require further exploration before they can be commercialized. I call this a request for feedback (RFF). Part of the exploration is throwing ideas onto the Internet and see what comes back, so … Continue reading RFF: Quantifying Municipal Growth

Prop Trading, Hedge Funds and Startups: Looking for Alpha in All the New Places

High-tech startups, hailing from Silicon Valley, and large, well-established banks, hailing from Wall St couldn’t be more different. Yet the golden opportunity of FinTech holds the promise of (somehow) bringing them closer together. This post isn’t about disruption, executive pay, alternative credit scoring models or other topics du jour. It’s about a possible future where … Continue reading Prop Trading, Hedge Funds and Startups: Looking for Alpha in All the New Places

Can Silicon Valley Try Life in the Present, for a Minute?

Perhaps more accurately this should be titled “My Problem with Silicon Valley,” but I have a hunch I am not the only one who feels the region has become a caricature of itself, which is I suspect why many of us love the HBO series Silicon Valley– not because it’s funny, but because it’s eerily … Continue reading Can Silicon Valley Try Life in the Present, for a Minute?

Freedom of Information Act at 50 and Newly Improved

For those of you who care about access to government data for reasons of transparency, feel-good openness, competitive advantage or other, June 30 was an overall ok/good day.Obama signed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 in an attempt to solidify his administration’s legacy as the most transparent in US history. Many are skeptical, including your author, … Continue reading Freedom of Information Act at 50 and Newly Improved

Finally, Skepticism in Open Data

Over the past 10ish years I’ve often spoken critically of the hand-wavy open data love fest. Stumbled across an article today that does a great job of putting into context the rhetoric v reality. Centering on toilet usability data, Giuseppe Sollazzo makes a solid argument for rethinking the definition of value in opening data to the … Continue reading Finally, Skepticism in Open Data

Derivative Data

Since selling Urban Mapping last year, I’ve spent more time thinking about how data is can be and is used for alternative purposes. To me, the idea of packaging up organisational data exhaust and redirecting it to non-adjacent markets is an opportunity hidden in plain sight. I’ve been whining that one person’s metadata is another … Continue reading Derivative Data

You Don’t Always Get What You (Pre) Pay For

I was excited to back a Kickstarter project for an IoT enabled sensor lasts Spring. It arrived last month, seemed a little buggy (ok, a lot buggy), so I decided to give it a rest. Never got back to it, but today I received email from the manufacturer this morning indicating significantly degraded capabilities. I’m … Continue reading You Don’t Always Get What You (Pre) Pay For


When The Guardian broke the story about the NSA demanding 'telephony metadata' from Verizon, a new word was introduced into the public lexicon. In the world of enterprise data management, metadata gets a bad rap. It's generally perceived as a pain in the ass-- something that must be tended to, like a perpetually leaky tire or cleaning up … Continue reading “Metadata”

The Long and Short of Geo (Part 1)

In my 10+ years growing Urban Mapping, the web-mapping business I started in 2005, I've seen history repeat itself. A lot. As a self-proclaimed member of the georatti, this current wave of geotech euphoria is nothing new, but product and corporate development tend to go through the same cycles over and over again, choosing to … Continue reading The Long and Short of Geo (Part 1)

What’s in Your Network?

If you care about actively managing your career, you are on LinkedIn. With user growth from around 50,000 in 2003 to nearly 400 million today, chances are everybody you know has an account. Therein lies the problem, or so I posit. Absent a strong affinity, as networks grow, engagement falls. Basically, the network is exciting/compelling … Continue reading What’s in Your Network?

Health Care Rage, Continued!

As a follow-up to my previous post, I’m thankfully doing much better. Still weak in one leg, but largely on the mend. But wish the same were true for my anger at the nearly twenty percent of GDP that is sucked into space.Because this happened to me out of network, I was not eligible for any … Continue reading Health Care Rage, Continued!

REWIND: To the North (of Ireland)!

When I went to high school in Dublin in the late 80s, the Troubles were synonymous with the North–neither were discussed, and a trip to depressed Belfast and its environs were never a question. Fast forward 25+ years, a reconciliation, several recessions, maturation of the EU and voila– a region waiting to be visited! Spent … Continue reading REWIND: To the North (of Ireland)!

Healthcare rage/frustration

I’m certainly not the first person to complain about the dysfunctional nature of healthcare in the US, but with a recent health issue, I’m that much closer to the source of my near-rage.I have an HMO plan in Northern California; Kaiser is highly-rated for quality of care, and of course trade-offs are inherent when choosing … Continue reading Healthcare rage/frustration

Rewind: Nepal!

Rewind: Nepal! One of my most memorable experiences trekking in Nepal had nothing to do with the indescribable views, the warmth of the Nepalese or spending time with Krishna, my trusted guide. It was descending/ascending into villages. It was the (mostly) blue and yellow signs that did it for me, announcing arrival to a village. … Continue reading Rewind: Nepal!

I’m in Pain

After spending the past seven days on my back, I’m thrilled to say my nerve pain has decreased from “unimaginable” to “excruciating” and is now verging on “incredibly painful.” So that’s progress…I’ve spent some time thinking about pain scales as my (dis)comfort level has been the main topic of conversation. The Wong-Baker is a very common ten point … Continue reading I’m in Pain

Crowdsource my MRI?

Curently in heaps of pain due to intense nerve pain down my left leg. Because I’m out of network (currently in NYC, of course health insurance is useless if you travel) and have been trying to hack my way to health—already saved $1,000 by going to a cut-rate MRI facility in Astoria. Next up is … Continue reading Crowdsource my MRI?

Digital Nomading: what you need to go

Living out of a backpack for six months can teach you a lot. The most important thing I realized was that none of the shit on your back matters. The only thing that does is your not-yet-uploaded SD card. It’s liberating to recognize this and it changed my mindset. It means that everything in your … Continue reading Digital Nomading: what you need to go

It’s A Wrap!

It’s a wrap. Six months and change on the road and I’m back in San Francisco to work on Ian 2.0, but I won’t be diving in head first–will be doing some (more) traveling, but I think nothing as exotic or long. There’s a lot more I wanted to post, so I’ll do a few … Continue reading It’s A Wrap!