Day 1: I am Rohingya #51Days

Today as part of my #51days act of solidarity, I shall change my twitter profile to

‘I am Rohingya”

The Rohingya are an ethnic group that live in Myanmar – formerly Burma – they are mostly Muslims in a country that is predominantly Buddhist.

For a toxic mix of reasons – ranging from religious difference, land grab, ethnic hatred to simply being  – the Rohingya have been persecuted almost out of existence. First by successive military juntas and now from a democratically elected government itself led by a former political prisoner and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Rohingya seem to be the favorite whipping boy of everyone with power in Myanmar and the world seems mostly deaf and mute to their persecution.

Myanmar is signatory to multiple human right treaties and conventions  – pretty much all the ones that matter. It has obligations to protect the rights of indigenous people, women, children, the disabled and pretty much everyone in its jurisdiction.

The Rohingya do not deserve to be murdered, their women raped, their leaders tortured and disappeared. No one does. If they have committed a crime – charge and apply the law against them. To the best of my knowledge, their only crime, as a group, is to exist.

The violence and discrimination is both by agents of the Myanmar start under the pretense of security and by private militias with the tacit and often, active, support of the State.

Today, I stand with the Rohingya.

Please learn more about this here:


Photo by AK Rockefeller

51 days of solidarity and advocacy.

There are 51 days until Christmas 2016.

For each of those days,I will change my name on Twitter to reflect a cause I want to support and bring some attention in a small way.


There is so much wrong with the world. There is so much that is right too.
We are each nodes in a big network of humanity and when we refuse to pass on the right or suppress the wrong, we degrade the network. It stops working and it lets the mundane overshadow the truly meaningful.

But I’m only a node and over the next 51 days, I’m going to be a little better at being that.


I’m pretty active on Twitter. I blog about things that interest me, I jump into conversations, I rant. My tweets are shared, liked and retweeted that creates reach beyond the 3000+ people that follow me. A change in name  – especially one that provokes curiosity spreads my message. It might just provoke the right action from the right person.

What can I do to help?

Retweet me, like my tweets.
Tweet about this action – if you support the same cause or simply want to support my activism.
Share this post.
Share the messages that have the hashtag #51days – they will be about the issue of the day.
Join me – if you’re on Twitter, change your twitter name in solidarity.

Or simply just share about this stupid thing Mike is doing now.

It all helps.

Just. Don’t. Do. Nothing.


Photo by OnTask

Photo by jared

What happens on #Twitter when someone like #Mandela dies

I was going to title this post – ‘What billions of silent voices screaming at the same time look like’ – but it seemed too dramatic.

As I was about to release the pre-beta of my new app Hashies, the news came on the wire that Nelson Mandela had died. I wasn’t particularly shocked – more relieved actually. I do feel like I have lost a beloved grandfather – I think most of the world feels the same. But in the last few months, the situation around him and the media frenzy was grotesque to say the least. I wished nothing more than a peaceful passing on for Mr Mandela and when it came I felt only relief and gratitude for a beautiful brave life.

Hashies tracks what people are saying on a hashtag in near real time. Given the news, ‘#Mandela’ seemed the way to go. Before I heard the news – it was going to be ‘#JustinBeiber’ – glad it wasn’t!

Enough said, here is what it looked like.

And just to be sure – there is no one quite like Mr Mandela. And there is unlikely to ever be. RIP Madiba.

10 things I learnt from being off the Internets for 30 days.


I took 30 days off all social media and most of the distracting internet. That really meant – no Twitter, no Facebook , no LinkedIn and most news sites were off. The only things in were Github and stackoverflow and a handful of other sites directly connected to my work.

Here are some insights from my time away:

  1. The first 3 days were the hardest.
  2. I had a habit – who knew! Checking my timeline and Facebook updates within 2 minutes of waking up is WTF!? This habit is really about my needs to learn and to feel part of a community, to be an audience for others and to have an audience for my ideas too.
  3. Deleting Twitter and Facebook apps on my phone and my laptop were essential to breaking the habit!
  4. Not checking Twitter and FB the first thing after I wake up gives me more time to cuddle my wife.
  5. My internet of everything is actually pretty small. The internets is vast but actually I only visit 5 to 12 non-work related sites a day. Mostly news and startup blogs – a miniscule percentage.
  6. I use my mobile mostly for Twitter, FB and email. With 2 switched off and the last on essential service only, I really didn’t need the expensive plan or expensive phone.
  7. Having a great interaction on Twitter or FB does not mean I actually like the other person or they like me or we will every be friends. It is a mirage of a relationship and it was rewiring my brain. There is more to a person than their tweets or Facebook updates. Without knowing this person, my brain fills in the blanks based on their tweets. If I like their tweets, chances are I like them and vice versa. This emergent behavior is pretty concerning, I am making value judgements based on very little data.
  8. I get a lot more done without all that Twitter and Facebook checking or updating – at least once I got my head away from thinking about going on them.
  9. I didn’t miss how I was using Twitter and Facebook. I think there is a better way to use both that gives me and others far more value. The really interesting conversations I wanted to have need more than a tweet. They need some thought, perhaps a blog post (more than 140 characters) and some conversation. I think this is where the power of Twitter really is. What I really missed was TED. I think it’s awesome and I need to keep watching – just a little less.
  10. Twitter and Facebook as I currently use them are not very useful to me. Moderately entertaining maybe, but not really useful. A useful network is more than people –  it needs purpose. Twitter is a channel –  a pretty meaningless one for most of the time until someone gives it substance and context – like an Arab Spring.

What Next?

There’s no denying that there are some interesting conversations to be had on Twitter and Facebook and over the last 4 years of using both I have had lots of conversations with lots of seemingly interesting people. But those conversations have overwhelmingly been shallow and throw away. If I consider the time I spent on Twitter as an investment, the returns are pretty low. So I’ve decided to significantly limit the time I spend on it even just having it running in the background.

Check in a couple of times a day

So I won’t be running Twitter whilst I work, it’s way too distracting. In fact I shall be using the cool OSX Mavericks feature of ‘Do Not Disturb’ to make sure all notifications are muted.

Since I work with a timer utility and my working day is divided into timed units, I’ll simply add a couple of 5 minute slots in the daily routine to see what interesting things are going on, reply to mentions or queue up longer post-replies on my blog. This goes for Facebook too and for the TED talks that I watch.

Less social distraction. Blog more about what I care about.

One of the things I really love about being on Twitter are the thoughts that the tweets I read inspire. What I really want to do is to reply deeply but the medium does not allow this. So I will blog a little more rather than tweet and post the blog as my response to those tweets. If the conversation is to continue it will need to do so on my blog site in a much easier to follow thread.

I would highly recommend taking a break from all things connected – you get more of your life back. Your real life –  the one with people and feelings and stuff. You also get your time back – to think, make and do versus simply being titillated by cute cats and clever 140 character quips.


Off the Internets for 30 Days

I’m getting off the internet for the next 30 days. Specifically I’m off Twitter, Facebook. I’ll stop watching the news, reading and writing blogs, watching TED etc. I will also keep email to a minimum – as in zero.

Why? I seem to be spending a lot of time online. Tweeting, reading, learning and just generally whiling away time. And I need to get that under control.
But this is not simply about time – it is also about dependence. This is also about freedom – unintended dependence is a horrible thing and I really can’t be having it. I need to know that I can decide when and why I go online.

It is also about understanding what needs being on the internet are being met and whether there are other ways to meet them.

Caveats. I work with tech and I also trade Forex. Both of these require connectivity and so I shall still be using the tools that I use in both of these endeavors. I will also use online search etc.

What I hope to learn: Why I go online and what needs of mine are being met. How can I be more effective at meeting them.

See you in 30 days. Maybe.

May 28 – Data is Fascinating


I think I’m back in my stride!

Having got bizbuzz online, the data is flowing straight out of Twitter, of businesses that have the problem ServiceChat is designed to solve.  I’m getting the metrics to use in the conversation with these prospective customers.
It is providing amazing clarity and insight into the problems and I have learnt so much about the a worrying approach to corporate use of Twitter and in my opinion it is all wrong!!!  Businesses like Morrisons, Waitrose etc in the UK are missing huge opportunities in this space. Many use auto-responders (and I bet they sit in their boardrooms patting themselves on the backs for having a coherent social media strategy – please!!)

Wake up and smell the coffee, social media is not like anything you had before, trying to corral it into your traditional channels is going to cost you big time. Why are CIOs and CMOs not all over this?

Anyway – rant over…here is my check in (it is all glad!!)

  • Glad my data feed is online, 300+ prospects. Now, I’m the bottleneck.
  • Glad I decided against carpet-mailing my LinkedIn contacts , I now have targets and with a little effort I can narrow down the 20% who can get me to the decision makers in the businesses I want to speak to.
    Sometimes a hammer is not the only tool!
  • Glad the brainwave training stuff is working, I’m feeling less mentally fatigued, more alert and I think, quicker too.  I suspect fasting and exercise are also helping.
  • I’m grateful for Ruby on Rails.  I’ve been coding for nearly 20 years and it has never been easier to quickly make a beautiful  working version of something you imagined.  It is such a rich and giving ecosystem, that encourages me to give back to. So watch out for a Twitter reach gem, a beta marker gem.  They are all on my list.

I’m  in.

Improve On…

Keep to the schedule.

Increase automated code coverage on stuff that started as a hack.




My data reveals that, as of right now, there are 418 prospects from 766 unhappy customers, my strategy is to focus on the customers with most number of unhappy customers.

Today the major push is to have a conversation with a good cross-section of them, by the end of the week I want to have spoken/chatted with at least 20% of the customers of each of the top 5 target business in my data set.


The Trello board… is unchanged!


Be yourself, everyone else is busy. 

My tweets on 2012-12-24

  • @forakin oh ok. Fair legislation is complex in Nigeria even if you had competent legislators. Imagine if you don't. in reply to forakin 14:27:26
  • @forakin just trying to understand the context of the 'legislative fascism' remark. in reply to forakin 14:28:15
  • @forakin yes please. Is it online? Please send link if it is. in reply to forakin 14:31:06
  • @forakin i find that most govt. are not very good at saying 'this is none of our business' for stuff that really isnt. in reply to forakin 14:33:11
  • @mattgumbley you're welcome and Merry Christmas. in reply to mattgumbley 14:35:19
  • @forakin there is legislation required IMO. It should be the same as opposite sex relationships based on the same reasoning. in reply to forakin 14:37:35
  • @forakin i take that back. I dont know what the reasoning is. I assume it is based on love and mutual commitment not narrow moralistic view in reply to forakin 14:39:47
  • @forakin thanks. Will read later and comment. in reply to forakin 14:41:44
  • Havng moralistic laws does not make a society moral. If we take morality out of the hands of govt, who is best to promote society's morals? 14:47:20
  • RT @wfaler: @mhsutton morality comes from upbringing, family and local community. Anyone who thinks it can be forced on people from abov … 14:54:37
  • @SaintSal @1ila i feel sure it will be thoroughly lovely. my wife's family are with us in Ireland before we sabatical in spain for 2013. in reply to SaintSal 15:55:16
  • @SaintSal i would like to collaborate more with you next year. Must create the opportunities. 🙂 Buon Natale! in reply to SaintSal 15:56:47
  • @richardbranson @HollyBranson @sambranson kids grow up in love because you surround them with it. Merry Christmas Bransons 🙂 in reply to richardbranson 16:00:40
  • @SaintSal about 4 hours from Barca. 20 mins from Granada in the lecrin valley. we'll practically be neighbours 🙂 in reply to SaintSal 16:02:23
  • I love the #Samaritans, its been ages since I last called them, but they were lovely. Might ring and see how they've been 🙂 16:04:04
  • #13Hacks coming soon. 17:30:03
  • I have a gift for you this Christmas and for life. Try @Trello – its changed how I organise, it's given me superpowers.http:/… 17:35:06
  • Welcome to #shannonAirport and happy #christmas. This band is jamming! 19:50:31
  • i ditched #instagram, #streamzoo is cool (atleast until Facebook buy them). I really want something that I can post to my #wordpress blog. 21:27:03
  • RT @roxanamjones: The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebell … 23:14:17

Twittervations On 2012-12-23

  • @MollyJayne40 @TikkuMikku @RAtkinson1955 thanks. (i shall now brace myself for the torrent of RTs). in reply to MollyJayne40 12:38:08
  • It was so windy last night we had to cling film over the toilet. #noKidding. 12:40:56
  • Another thought I wrote down: Mounted Galway Hooker – its not what you think. 16:14:44
  • @johnsnolan disaster and classic comedy averted. Just. in reply to johnsnolan 16:14:57
  • As you decide whether its a digital radio or cheese-inspired socks for your loved ones at #christmas. Remember #syria, #haiti #palestine. 20:02:13
  • @MollyJayne40 @ratkinson1955 wow. What is it that makes someone throw caustic insults at a total stranger?
    Please stop. in reply to MollyJayne40 21:56:08
  • RT @dcancel: “Successful people pursue hard things. Unsuccessful avoid them” – Greg Glassman 22:42:26
  • Very strange. Just noticed 2 screws missing from case of #MBP. #WTF. Where can I get replacements? 22:43:43

What I Said On Twitter On 2012-12-20

  • @JohnFMoore @barackobama @whitehouse @un phew – I was being intentionally controversial – thanks for the reassurance in reply to JohnFMoore 12:23:53
  • @JohnFMoore @barackobama @whitehouse @un What of the #ArabLeague? what can they do? in reply to JohnFMoore 12:24:39
  • @JohnFMoore totally agree. Military only needed cos we ignored all the earlier signs that might have needed small critical acts of diplomacy in reply to JohnFMoore 12:27:27
  • Dear @barackobama
    belated congratulations.
    I would love you to go all out with your vision in your final term. Be bold, be brave.
    kthxbye. 12:28:58
  • @JohnFMoore thanks – that said, I often think that some 'leaders' can only lead in a crisis and so things allowed to fester until BOOM! in reply to JohnFMoore 12:29:49
  • @ideally_world oh, now I see. Thanks!!! Absolutely in agreement. in reply to ideally_world 12:52:50
  • love that latest #vlc update is seasonal #christmas 12:58:53
  • the bedrock of #politics is outsourcing. We (the people) outsource our rage, passion to these wordsmiths and emotioneers. 14:00:13
  • @JohnFMoore thank you for what i consider a huge compliment. 🙂 in reply to JohnFMoore 14:51:41
  • …and there I stood with bottle in my fist… #guysAndDolls #musicalThursday 15:04:59
  • we are in such a dangerous place,that we think govt. by politicians is to be trusted with both morality and taxes. That path lies folly. 16:04:03
  • I hope my tweets are not gloomy. They aspire to my perspective of reality. That we are beautiful, magnificent creatures who do dumb things. 17:35:12
  • @dnwiebe excellent observation. We don't only do dumb things. Just mostly. The rare not dumb things are magnificent enought to inspire hope. in reply to dnwiebe 19:04:10
  • To be fair, people kill people… With guns that are wayyy too easy to acquire in #america. 19:09:14
  • Saw the #hobbit. Not feeling as excited as i was with the first #lotr. Its like watching 1980 'Jason and the Argonauts'. 19:13:43
  • @WoodyZuill yes actually it was from the 60s. in reply to WoodyZuill 20:50:26
  • #AppInADayHackthon just started. I'll demonstrate how it goes in a little while. 21:27:09
  • @TikkuMikku or…I underestimated the maturity of his followers vs Justin Beiber's. perhaps the gap is not nearly as wide. in reply to TikkuMikku 22:29:06
  • @WoodyZuill Thank you for valuing my input enough to invite me to read and comment. Hope I made the sense I was intending. in reply to WoodyZuill 22:29:49