Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Today is an interesting day in the UK for anyone involved in finance.
Banks are on trial. As Galbraith puts it: 'the world of finance hails the invention of the wheel over and over again, often in a slightly more unstable version'.
And we have seen a very unstable set of wheels falling off.

The men on trial in front of the commons select committee today stand accused of greed that has destroyed the wealth of a nation. But a moment of introspection is called for here. These were men of phenomenal integrity and drive. I have never been a great personal fan of Sir Fred Goodwin, but his enormous talent should not be underestimated. So the question for capitalism now is not how do we punish these men (although that might be an essential part of the healing process) but how do we ensure we waste less of the human capital represented by truly great people who inevitably become caught in the ancient trap of hubris.

This is not really a comment on technology, but the flow of capital is really the heart-beat of innovation. It is the process whereby society decides what ideas to proceed with and which ones to leave in the ditch.

I still think capitalism is the best idea we've got....

Thursday, 5 February 2009


I published a paper, I think in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, entitled 'How High Are the Clouds'. It was fun to find myself then, in a completely new professional incarnation at a conference on Cloud computing on Monday and Tuesday this week. Powered by the Cloud was its name.
Despite the snow a few people made the trip to Millbank and for me it provided a glimpse of where the computing hardware industry is going.
The vision is to make computing power a bit like money or electricity (especially in that there will probably analogous issues of 240/120v, USD/GBP, European US plugs, etc).
A pure commodity that can be bought, sold and exchanged in an automated market place, allowing businesses to expand and contract without the fixed cost of investment in computing assets.

This Blog will track my thoughts as I try to get a handle on the impact of this and other (probably randomly selected) technological changes to my world.