How “America First” is hurting Silicon Valley, how Silicon Valley is hurting “America First”, and how China has Silicon Valley in a necklock.

I wrote this for the Irish Times which duly published it on February 9th last.  The impact of Silicon Valley on blue collar jobs,  and of China on Silicon Valley,  has not been much discussed to my knowledge in the media..

‘The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins remorse from power.’ So mused Shakespeare’s Brutus, contemplating his response to the increasingly tyrannical behaviour of Julius Caesar. Caesar introduced term limits for important governing positions while making his own appointment indefinite; installed his own men to control the senate; appointed his own pool of magistrates; reduced social support funding; and outlawed professional guilds. Continue reading

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Ethos, Logos and Pathos

This was published in the Irish Times on the 19th January – a view on the progression of advertising.

“At the tone, it’s 8PM, B-U-L-O-V-A Bulova Watch Time”. Thus in 1926, the world’s first radio advertisement grabbed attention. Bulova (now owned by Citizen Watch Co.) was founded in 1875 by a Czech immigrant in New York. It rapidly came to prominence with the move from pocket to wrist watches during the First World War, and then introduced the first full line of wrist watches for women. Bulova also aired the world’s first TV commercial, immediately before a Brooklyn Dodgers home baseball game in 1941. Continue reading

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A lie told often enough becomes the truth.

This was published in the Irish Times on December 15th 2016.

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” The internet reverberates with catchy populism. The more attention that a piece attracts, the more that people promote it to their friends and community. The more a piece is amplified, the higher credence given to it by web software. Then the higher a piece appears in search rankings and social network feeds, yet the more attention it receives. Positive feedback can frequently amplify a lie to become a convenient truth. Continue reading

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Why Ireland is a unique location for start-ups, having something that not even Silicon Valley has..

The unique advantage to Ireland for start-ups is not Croke Park (colloquially “Croker”).   Croker is the Irish national centre for our national sports – GAA football and hurling.  Playing there represents the pinnacle of achievement:  equivalent perhaps to Wembley Stadium in the UK,  or playing in the Superbowl final.  No,  the advantage to start-ups is not Croker but something else… This article appeared in the Irish Times on 24th November 2016. Continue reading

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The Gig Economy – and the Unions

I wrote this for the Irish Times on November 3rd.

“The black market was a way of getting around government controls”. So asserted Milton Friedman, a Nobel prizewinner in Economics. Last Friday, the Central London Employment Tribunal came to a somewhat similar conclusion regarding the behaviour of Uber, a ride-hailing app company. GMB, a trade union for private drivers, successfully took a test case on behalf of two Uber drivers. The union asserted that Uber was acting unlawfully in that its drivers were not self-employed but in effect employees. Continue reading

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Ireland’s drone opportunity

This was published in the Irish Times on the 31st August 2016.

“Life is too short for traffic”. Poorly set traffic lights, few encouragements to keep traffic flowing, hardly any red light camera enforcements, and sheer volume of traffic all conspire to make driving in Irish municipal areas more inefficient than perhaps it could be. The immense waste of kinetic energy and particulate pollution caused by frequently stop-starting thousands of multi-tonne vehicles, each in mid-journey, damages our environment and our health every day.

Is there a better way? We need real automobiles: automatic machines for transport. Continue reading

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What kind of start-ups, and what kind of investment ?..

This column piece was published on 10th August 2016.

What does a venture capitalist do? Answer of course: invest in start-ups! But what kind of start-ups and what kind of investments?

Continue reading

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