An update on Technology for Africa ’07


I thought it’d be a good time to send an update on developments regards the conference so here goes:

Firstly, we’ve passed the “is there enough interest test?“. We’ve received more than 150 initial signups since posting the questionnaire and are still getting signups every day. Our goal now is to start fleshing out the details of the conference so that we can start increasing the numbers and creating more buzz.

Secondly, we’ve got some great speakers already committed to what we’re trying to do, and they are in no particular order:
Andy Budd (, Andy Clarke (, Demian Turner (, Malcolm Hall (, Ryan Shelton (

All of the above profiles save Ryan’s are listed already, so here it is:

Ryan Shelton

Originally from Zimbabwe, Ryan Shelton moved to London in the late 1990′s to pursue his passion for design. Having worked within the design industry for over a decade, he has ridden the waves of the .com era and seen it morph into the more grown up industry that it is today. During the .com crash Ryan co-founded BD4D, a design collective that sought to encourage and unite the global design community at a time when most of the world had lost faith in the internet. BD4D holds live events around the world where designers and techies, primarily in the interactive and online media fields, get together to share ideas and to push the boundaries of the medium.

Ryan is a partner at Mutado, a design studio based in London and Milan, where he gets to work with some of the most talented people he knows.

We’ve already had some great suggestions for speakers, so if you have suggestions too, then please feel free to send them on.

Thirdly, we’re about to start confirming dates with keynote speakers, so should have some more information for you as soon as possible.

Additionally, we’re working on expanding the website further so that we take it beyond the initial questionnaire – more on that soon too. In the meantime, you can check out some of the feedback trends from the questionnairre at:

Our only request of you is that you help us to spread the word as much as possible in the coming weeks and months, so that we really can make this a reality. Please tell as many people as you can, blog it, add the site to, (and others like Reddit and Newsvine), and tag it for We’ll also be sending news of buttons and such that you can put on your site shortly.


Stay tuned, we’re looking forward to seeing you later in 2007!

A watershed day today


OK, so in the last few weeks I’ve managed to fight the sleep battle and get about 10 days of 8 hours of sleep a night, and boy what a difference it makes. Yet here I am at 22:36 and I should be in bed by now – old habits are really hard to kick in the ass, but it is doable – so I’m going to keep this short and sweet like.

Today was probably one of the more significant days in my life over the last 5 years in London. Last week on the 18th of Jan it was my 5 year anniversary in the big smog – zoology graduate bushman leaves the relative safety of academia to fend for himself in the zoo that is London – and I hardly noticed it at all, is how busy we are.

Today I saw some serviced offices in Putney, and we as a team agreed to kick things into 3rd gear and take the leap. I was sold on the offices after “one month deposit and one month notice”, and “you can do whatever you want for telecoms” as well as “I don’t care what you do in here, just pay your rent”. Sounds like a dodgy place one wouldn’t want to find himself in, but it isn’t really – bright sun-lit office with a view of the Thames and Putney Bridge, space for more desks than we have people right now, and at a price we can afford. As in the words of Starsky’s alter ego – “do it!”.

Anyways, so that’s not the big deal really. So what, you’re getting office space? Well, yea, kinda, but the whole mental leap from the safe idea of the “slightl”y cramped home office with 4 of us working there, to the idea of having to pay rent as well as salaries, and then make enough money every month so we don’t crash and burn (yea, that’s business I hear) is a massive one.

I’ve been in 5 startups at varying stages of their growth, and let me say categorically that this is the most pressure I’ve felt in about 2 years. Bring it on.

So that’s the watershed – we’re doing some shit hot stuff here, and we’ve got at least two clients projects cooking that are going to break new moulds for web 2.0 and client / service agility and speed, so moving into the office is going to facilitate that immensely. It’s the gravity of the whole thing I think – we’ve actually reached one of the more important steps in the business plan.

Now, when we start giving demos of our WYSIWE CMS / web app platform, we can do it in a large meeting room on a projector; we can actually sleep under our desks if we want to; we’ll have a view other than the old and tired paintings my landlord really likes; there are HOT women in the business next door (means we’ll have to give up the hottie at the French coffee shop though… ;-(; and finally I’ll be able to hit a gym to work on the guns properly.

Stay tuned ;-)



What: FOWD London
When: April 18th 2007
Where: Kensington Conference Centre, London
Price: £59 limited early bird offer! £85 full price

Ryan Singer (37Signals)
Josh Davis ( tbc
Joshua Hirsch (Big Spaceship)
George Oates (Flickr)
Andy Clarke (Stuff and Nonsense)
Rei Inamoto (AKQA)
Florian Schmitt (Hi-ReS)
Denise Wilton (Moo)
Jason Arber (Pixelsurgeon)
Dan Saffer (Adaptive Path)
Jeff Croft (WorldOnline)
Mark Tutssel (Leo Burnett)
Simon Collison (CollyLogic)

Register at:

37Signals using Amazon S3 for file storage on Basecamp


Was just trying to download a file off of 37Signals’ Basecamp, and got an error message – turns out the error message was an XML snippet from the Amazon S3 webservice.. Which is not really that interesting to anyone other than real Geeks who are wondering who is going to supply their massive storage needs in the near future, and who else is already doing it to make their decision any easier … ;-)

_ Amazon S3, Amazon Simple Storage Service, Unlimited Online Storage: Amazon Web Services
Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.