Having fun with the future

PC World

“Few companies innovate with the intensity and frequency of those working in mobile, and today’s present is a future that only a handful of people would have predicted just a few short years ago. While most of us happily soak up rampant innovation as mere consumers, a handful of people in the hallowed corridors of mobile R&D labs are already working on the next big thing – the phones we’ll be carrying around in our back pockets in 2012 and beyond”

Check out my latest PC World column for a few off-beat, random, fun thoughts on the future of mobile.

Unintended consequences

This is a subject which always fascinates me – “potential negative outcomes” from “perceived positive acts”. I’ve seen this kind of thing in the field before, but today found a blog which brings it much closer to home and, as a result, makes it far more relevant to far more people.

On her inspiring “Good Intentions are Not Enough” blog, Saundra Schimmelpfennig gives us “5 questions you should ask before donating goods overseas”:

Is the donation appropriate for the local climate, culture, and religion?
Do they actually need the donation?
Are the goods available locally?
Will the people receiving the goods be able to afford to fix or replace the donated item?
Will donating this item do more harm than good?

This reminded me a little of the opening of one of my older posts, which shared some application development observations in the social mobile space:

Understanding is important

Sometimes we think we’re doing the right thing because our intentions may be good, but things don’t always turn out that way.

Saundra is currently taking a year off to write “Beyond Good Intentions: How to Make Your Disaster Donations Do the Good You Intended”. Her book and blog are an attempt to start a conversation about the endemic problems in aid and how we, as donors, can impact its quality. I can’t wait. In the meantime, you can follow Saundra on Twitter.

The Social Mobile Long Tail explained

What follows is a short extract from the recent “Soul of the New Machine” human rights/technology conference hosted by UC Berkeley, in which I explain my theory of the Social Mobile Long Tail.

This video is also available on the FrontlineSMS Community pages

Social Mobile Long Tail

A full video of the session – PDA’s and Phones for Data Collection – which includes presentations from InSTEDD, Ushahidi, DataDyne and Salesforce.com, is available via the FORA.tv website.