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Damon Hart-Davis

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Here's the thing: We've pressed pause on my startup

Radbot Previously, you intimated that most of you would not relish a night out on the tiles with our team (boo). No pony for you So, it turns out that this is the real world, and even when the CEO wishes for a pony*, it doesn't always trot up. And that means, dear readers and commentards, that you get to hear when it doesn't go to …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

The Naked Product Launch: 30 seconds to sell a robot

Radbot Previously, you made it clear that most of you think that test harnesses are a GoodThingTM. Ready for launch: zarro boogs found Getting ready to crowdfund a product is not quite like shipping or releasing a normal product. We did find and kill at least the most critical of the bugs that I agonised over last week (hurrah) …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Testing times: Between some IoT code and a hard place

Radbot Every company has its ups and downs. Those downs could be exploding phones or a sudden unmovable overstock of Clinton merchandise (or conversely an uptick in Trump-the-statesman t-shirt demand). Bigger organisations can better absorb the illness of a member of staff or a surge in demand beyond all expectations, although no one …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Power to the (outsourced) people – globalisation starts small

Radbot Pleading poverty, we don't have huge quantities of cash to throw at the necessary elements of a crowdfunding campaign such as the main video and its fleet of videolets for social meeja channels. Yes, we're cheap. Or "efficient": quick, find me a CFO to make it sound better! So one way to get this material made is to have …
radbot -images copyright damon hart-davis

Marketing... or how I lost my soul to Lagos

Radbot Last time you said that a fair chunk of you have used crowdfunding to buy product. Allegedly, building a better mousetrap does not have the world beating a path to your door all by itself, maybe not even putting the design on Thingiverse. As our caped hero is finding out, you need to let your potential customers know that …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Hardware ain't hard, money is: Crowdfunding, bootstraps and startups

Radbot Our quiz on startup branding revealed that a worrying number of you are not to be trusted with a hot iron - branding, soldering, or even wool setting, it seems. I made a slight oversight in that while in banking I did not "put aside" (as a friend calls it) the megabucks to become a gentleman of leisure and science, so we need …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Adventures in (re) naming your business: Fire up the 4-syllable random name generator

Radbot Our goal as a company is to get hundreds of millions of our smart devices out there, in the hands of Joe Public. Saving money and carbon, and mental energy for the things in life that normal people actually care about. But, as I’m learning, we can't do it all at once: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Lean in and pivot: Even Steve Jobs didn't work alone, startup boy

Radbot In which Damon Hart-Davis talks about life as a tech entrepreneur and tells us about his product. I toiled in banking for circa 20 years, amongst other gigs, including at the much-loved Lehman Brothers (motto: “Where Vision Gets Bilked” or whatever) and RBS, and a previous fintech start-up of mine, though I’m also an …
Phone on fire, photo via Shutterstock

Brexit makes life harder for an Internet of Things startup

At about the time when my startup will be wanting to sell to the EU at scale, Brexit may make 80 per cent of that market harder (more expensive) to reach. I run a green-tech startup, OpenTRV, selling smart radiator valves. Our natural core market is the EU (including the UK), which comprises about 500 million people and about …
lottery

Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups

The reality of running a new business or doing something innovative is that you're hunting for cracks and niches that others have not yet filled – spaces too small for the big girls and boys already in the market. And many of those niches are fragile, formed in part by chance, opportunistic spaces in the current markets and …
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Comment I like this tweet: History of Europe: War War War War War War War Arguments about bananas. To be honest, I'll probably go with banana arguments. #remain — Pavilion Opinions (@pavilionopinion) 29 April 2016 Never mind any arguments about the UK being sucked into a superstate and whether that's a good thing or the …
Wall St bull image via Shutterstock

The Hound of Hounslow: No $40m Wall Street wobbler

I'm keen on energy efficiency. Some would also describe me as a cheapskate (I'd sue 'em all if I could find a cheap lawyer.) In our living room we have nice (cheap) pair of lined, M&S curtains with a (cheap) solar reflective blind hanging behind on the same hooks, which helps keep the room lovely and cosy in winter and cool in …
Snail photo Jurgen Schoner CC wikimedia

'Granola-eating tree hugger' takes plunge, becomes IoT upstart

Doing my own 'ting When I wrote my last startup-diary instalment I was still at my desk in the City a few days each week. In the months since then I and my co-conspirator in OpenTRV have both handed back the keys of the courtesy helicopters and Ferraris that all IT folks get there (uh huh…) and gone full-time on our planet-saving mission - halving …
A fresh horse dump

Legalese and coding? Yup, it's the open-source FOSDEM shindig

FOSDEM doesn't get the ra-ra headlines or (thankfully) the "booth babes" but the conference does get networking and top technologists (and Belgian beer). I saw a couple of my tech heroes and big cheeses here a few minutes apart just before writing this, for example, and got some top advice for a specific tech issue a breath …
Suitcase bulging with cash

This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup

Doing my own 'ting I'm not a brilliant businessman nor a star academic nor a rocking developer, but I'm reasonable at a couple of those things and currently have a well-paid contract in the City (i.e. banking) where I have spent most of the last 20 years in a variety of BigCos. So why would I give it all up to save the planet and have fun, and …
Screen of Damon's DDOS attach

I thought I was being DDOSed. Turns out I'm not that important...

Opinion Stuck at home with man-flu (well, a grotty man-cold) I noticed a couple of days ago that I could not send outgoing mail because my mail server was refusing connections. Even from me. On my small (SheevaPlug) system I set it up so that the machine never need swap or page and stays responsive, and it just rejects extra work if …
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How NSA spooks spaffed my DAD'S DATA ALL OVER THE WEB

Pics Shock, horror, scandal! America's NSA secretly took data from my website for its fiendish PRISM web-snooping project - and it ended up blasted all over the internet! Top-secret slides detailing the massive electronic surveillance programme were leaked last week by ex-CIA techie Edward Snowden. A close inspection of the …
Night scene of bank station in central london

What did the Lehman Brothers implosion look like to a techie?

I was at Lehman Brothers (AKA "Lehman's", or "The Brothers", spoken in a slightly menacing US-Italian accent) from January 1996 to June 2008, bar a three year gap in the middle for dotcom japes. I was an IT contractor/consultant with several groups in the Fixed Income division, including Credit, which dealt with the infamous …
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Debian, Ubuntu patching up rocky romance

FOSDEM The recent FOSDEM was great this year, and Belgium still had beer left before, during and after. Still lots of people, though with an extra building open – it was a little less crowded. There were over 400 sessions on themes from Mozilla, Java, cross-distro and embedded to Ada and law. There was lots of Debian at FOSDEM, and I …
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Tame the gas monster with sensors, suckers and a spiffy new fan

Part 3 I'm pleased to say that what with the relatively warm 2011 and our conservation efforts we had the lowest consumption of electricity and gas at home of any year yet, a bit over 1,500kWh ('units') of electricity and under 4,000kWh of gas. (A typical UK household is nearer 3,300kWh 'leccy and 18,000kWh gas.) With our solar PV …
thermal2

When geeks turn Green: Performance tune your energy bills

Part 2 A few years ago I suddenly saw my energy bills as another performance metric that I could tweak just like optimising Lehman Brothers' derivatives calculations that I was nominally paid squillions to do. In fact, this whole area is full of numbers and graphs and science and gadgets and interesting techie puzzles, never mind the …
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My home is bugged ... with temp sensors to save me cash

Part 1 In the past, I've eulogised on the joy of metering and tuning my house, being money and carbon-neutral for gas and electricity at home, and my homegrown solar power. This time I scout out new tech, describe upgrading the insulation in my boy's bedroom with aerogel and how I'm monitoring its performance with spiffy iButtons, …
cable

It's not the size of your pipe, it's the way you use it

WAR on the cloud 6 In part 5, I tuned my site's home/entry page to load faster than Google's, in part because page-load time and general responsiveness are important to retaining users and those "sticky eyeballs". Now I want to make better use of my already-paid-for resources to handle assets that I didn't feel comfortable putting on a third- …
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Adventures in Tech: Dive on in, the IPv6 is lovely

Part 2 In the previous part I explored why you should limber up to IPv6 sooner rather than later, and now here's my experience actually walking the talk. Importantly, mine is not a big-bang approach. I'm not trying to have everything perfect for IPv6 immediately, but rather I want to do just enough to be visible in the brave new …
graph up

Adventures in Tech: Taking the plunge into IPv6

Part 1 The threat from the fast-dwindling supply of mainstream "IPv4" Internet addresses for new users is a bit like Y2K creeping up on us all over again. Almost no one can see beyond the cost of code review, systems change, hardware upgrades and general upheaval into the brave fairly-old world of IPv6 - but putting it off forever isn' …

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