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Category “Life”

Designing Transportation Systems

Recently I’ve become very interested in the technologies being developed around optimising and improving transportation for people.

From my very initial reading, it seems that in the next 5 years we will have commercially available self driving cars and in the next 20 years, entire networks of self driving cards that will be available to most people in the developed world.

This week Google released an update on where they are at with the development of their own self driving technology. (See above)

I’m particularly interested in the infrastructure that will be needed to be built to support this breakthrough. It doesn’t seem hard to imagine a scenario where you use an UBER type application on your smart phone to book a car to take you out to dinner or to work each day.

Exploring the businesses models around these developments is very interesting. It may be that our kids will never actually own a car, rather they might pay an annual fee to be able to hire a car on demand. Most of the time our cars sit idle costing us money, so an on demand service makes sense.


Self driving cars, apart from being safer, will also be more economic, being able to drive other people around while you are at work.

Above is a sketch of a multi story car storage and maintenance centre where the cars could also charge, assuming they are electric. Existing energy companies like BP, may in the future own these buildings which could be used by any number of cars made by different manufactures providing they have a standard charging interface.

I’ve not read enough yet about this work happening in this space, but I’m looking forward to learning more and sharing some ideas around how we might be able to design the transportation systems of the future.


UPDATE: There are a group of engineers and designers from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who have a goal to become the first city in the world to have a driverless car network. (See video below)

Interesting statistic: 80% of driver accidents are caused by human error. There are 1.2 million deaths globally caused by cars. Remove the drivers, and we save around 960,000 lives. This number of course assumes the driverless technology is evenly distributed globally which wouldn’t be the case initially, but its a goal to work towards.

Post 27: Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat

We are attempting to build a product that helps people tell their professional story on mobile devices. We’ve been working on it for a couple of months.

A few weeks back I wrote about what happens when you try and solve all the problems of a product at once – the business model, the mobile interface, the desktop interface, the company log in, the individual log in, etc. etc.

Basically I was trying to do too much.

The focus since then has been to design & build prototypes that mimic an experience that we think could be valuable for individuals and then showing them.

(You can watch the first prototype test here).

The video above is of the second prototype in use, and yesterday we shipped a third version (you can install it on your iPhone from this link

So far the feedback has been… meh.

No one has turned around and demanded we build this product. No one has bought a round of shots in celebration. There have been no high-fives.

“This is interesting, there is something in it…” is the best and most consistent feedback we’ve been getting. Oh and “This looks like Twitter.”

Untitled-1At the moment the whole app is based on exploring someone ‘cards’. Above are examples of the first card you might see from user. Surprisingly to me, while the first card looks horrible, the feedback has been that it is most interesting and potentially useful.

This is a tough point in the product development cycle. You have to keep making calls often based on gut instinct, whether you keep exploring or change tack and look at something else.

Right now, we think we need to keep pushing.

Tony & I really want a place to tell our stories online, so at least we know we will have two customers.

Oh – and this is actually live. You can sign up and create a card right now. It looks like crap, but we don’t mind. Go here —>

Photo 16-04-2014 11 17 25 pm




full-office-cubicles-449-297“When did not having purpose become the norm?”

I don’t remember who said it, me or the person I was talking to, but that questions summed up a lengthy conversation last night about education, design and other things.

It’s true that it’s now the normal to go through life without purpose, without the feeling that you are working towards something worthwhile, something important to you as an individual.

When did that happen? And more importantly, why? More importantly again, how do we start to reverse it?

Early this week in a Medium post, Nick Crocker said “If you said to me, go and design a Diabetes store, I would just take you to the supermarket.”

I wonder if you someone asked you, “Can you design me an environment that reduces the chance of someone discovering purpose in their work and life”, whether you would just take them to a standard university or office suite.

Everyone is passionate about something, everyone is capable of finding purpose in their work, but to achieve that we might need to start rethinking how, where and why we learn and work.

Deliberately designing models and systems that encourage the discovery of purpose in life and work and in everything, should surely be one of societies highest priorities.





Technology is great as long as it doesn’t interfere with the human stuff. Everyday a new product or service is launched that aims to make our lives easier or better in some way. Some of these ideas work well, some are okay and some die hard.

Two months ago I started wearing black bracelet on my wrist that claimed to help me ‘live better’ by measuring my sleep patterns and counting the number of steps I took each day and then showing me in an infographic-style display on my smart phone what my body was up to.

So did it live up to it’s claims or is it now collecting dust?

Surprisingly it’s still on my wrist. I wear it everyday. And the most surprising thing is that it had a real impact on my life. There is something about seeing that you only slept 5hrs 32mins when you wake up that makes you feel really guilty, like you’re being an asshole to your body. They say that the average person should walk 10,000 steps per day. I had no fucken idea what 10,000 steps was pre-UP. Turns out it’s not that easy to hit that target, but it ain’t that hard either if you change your habits.

On my first day with the UP I took 5,776 steps. So the next day I decided to ditch the car (now saving a lot on petrol) and start walking to the train etc. I also set my alarm for 6:25am to try running (something I hadn’t done since high-school). I’ve kept this up and now I’ve normally cranked out about 7,000 steps before 7:30am and the rest just happen walking to and from public transport. My goal has actually increased to 12,000 steps per day now.

I feel a lot better which is the whole point of this kind of thing. Also lost a few kg’s too.

This is how my June looked.

Average sleep per night: 7hr 14min
Average steps per day: 9,987.3

3 Small Cons

No Watch – Jawbone suggest you wear your UP on your non-dominant wrist. For me that’s my left and also where I used to wear my watch. My mate also picked one up and he too ended up sacrificing his watch for the UP.

The Cap – Last weekend I lost the tiny cap that sits on the end. It’s more of an aesthetic thing, but not ideal. If you live in the U.S.A, Jawbone will ship you a replacement one for free. If not, you have to buy a pack of replacement caps for $10.

Remembering to Switch Modes – There have been a couple of nights (normally when I’m exhausted), when I’ve forgotten to press the button to change from awake mode to sleep. It’s not a big deal, you can manually add your sleep in the next day just a pain.

Overall I dig the Up. I’m keeping it. I’m fitter and I sleep better because of it. Just wish it also told the time.

You can buy an UP for $130 – $150 here.