Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How do you think?

A friend on Facebook recently posted about some people not having an internal monologue when they think.

This got me thinking (funny that) and realising that I have a strange combination of thoughts, that help me in different situations:


  1. 1. Internal monologue:
    Typically used to read and sometimes remember names & places (e.g. repeat it over & over to get the noun to ‘sink in’). On other occasions hear my internal monologue and quickly repeat it out loud without checking what I’ve heard… this is when I get accused of “speaking without thinking” - just ask my embarrassed wife - which is actually the opposite of what happens.
  2. Non-verbal idea:
    These are usually more abstract and are when my mind wanders (especially in the loo & shower for some reason). It is at these times I come up with innovative stuff, typically by mashing together different concepts.
  3. Visual thoughts:
    This is where I use my brain to draw / create something (sort of like a 3D object in a computer programme). I think it comes from my engineering studying days and is now especially useful for visualising technology ideas, where I need to work a problem out or crate a solution. However, this is best done by drawing out on paper / whiteboard what is in my head and then getting myself or others to change/add to it.

How do you think?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Wow, what a year 2019 was

I've had some pretty interesting years in my life (so far), but 2019 surely has to rank up there with busiest and most productive from a work perspective.

Aside from managing a Digital Strategy, technology and Marketing consultancy for the 12th year.... throughout 2019 I managed to pull together various transport / mobility and data specialists to form the Open Transport initiative. They worked to deliver two draft API specifications, one a transport account data interoperability standard and the other the design for a centralised transport operator information look-up (a directory service, giving the URL of each transport / mobility provider’s account API).
On the 3rd January 2020, following a wide-reaching peer review and feedback period, these specifications are now due to become ratified Open Standards and made publicly available. Thus, allowing the transportation and mobility industry to freely use them without conditions.
Yes.... I know. I am giving away a load of intellectual property that I've built up over many months of work from different subject-matter-experts... but the industry needs it (well, it actually needed it many years ago, but nobody ever got around to doing the work).

This work is available here (https://opentransport.co.uk
The aim of the initiative is that over time every transport authority (central and local government), transport operating company and their software vendors all recognise the customer value that this openness brings to the entire transport industry and therefore implements it at early as is feasibly possible….and possibly before it becomes legalisation.

My personal thanks goes out to all those who have helped. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Developing Open Transport isn't about the the technology

I have been pretty involved in the creation of the Open Transport Initiative. A project, along with some very clever folk in the transport industry, to create a new interoperability open standard for transport / mobility accounts.

It has been personally rewarding (so far) and on 14 October we launched a near-finalised version of the customer account specification for peer review & feedback.

Several people have commented that this is a pretty significant technology, which (assuming it is adopted across the transport industry) could provide a similar level of integration and openness as Open Banking has provided to the Financial Services industry.

But the reason for creating this Open Standard and giving it away (eventually) isn't to show how technically proficient I and those around me are. It is to meet a growing need that has been identified... that a customer's transport data such as: purchases, usage and concessions is locked away in an account for each mode of transport.

Steve Jobs once famously remarked 'You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.' and this is what we have done. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Why the cost of your cloud infrastructure could be too high

I've recently been been looking at some significantly increasing cloud hosting costs for a client.

There are a lot of reasons why this is happening... but in short, a lot of additional cloud costs come from these three causes:

1. Incorrect cloud architecture
This could be: not using “build & burn” practices, failing to automatically spin up (and especially spin down) components as needed, etc.

2. Processing more data than is needed
This could be: the creation of too many environments, badly sized test databases, etc.

3. Having unnecessarily stringent NFRs for non-production
In this could be: the high specification of development or test environments, running batch jobs too often and when not needed.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Open Transport Initiative is gearing-up for launch

I've been quiet on this blog over the last 6 or 7 weeks, as I have been working hard on a number of client projects and also getting things ready for the launch of Open Transport.

As well as the actual website: https://opentransport.co.uk/ there is now a Linkedin page online:


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Knack Bags earns 5 star rating on TrustPilot

I'm very happy today that a Press Release for our client Knack (https://knackbags.com) has just gone live.

Knack have (justifiably IMHO) gained a 5 star rating and some great reviews for their website, service and products. 






Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Transformation in Travel needs rethinking

If Digital transformation is all about the connected customer, then how can transport be truly transformational if it doesn't provide what the digital customer wants?

A customer doesn't want a fragmented mobility experience. They want a cohesive one that is consistent (but not necessarily exactly the same) across all digital channels. But how can transport deliver a truly mature digital experience when:

  • Every train operating company (26 in the UK) is a difference franchise, most of them providing their own online account
  • Many local bus services don’t have online self-service accounts and those that do have one for each operation / franchise (despite these services being run by the same parent company in a lot of cases)
  • Public transport services have private competition which only allow their tickets to be accepted via their own mobile app
We therefore need a rethink of how every customer account for each transport provider integrates. And that this way of integrating is not locked to a particular operator or technology provider. To ensure that if I have 4 accounts with 4 different operators... I don't have to log in to each one to get a holistic / aggregated view of my entire transit purchases or trips.