A picture of me standing at a lectern, working on a laptop computer, on the stage of the FWD50 digital government conference

Hi! I’m Alistair. I write surprisingly useful books, run unexpectedly interesting events, & build things humans need for the future.

Category: Writing

  • A life less optimized

    When data lets us optimize everything, the sub-optimal will be novel. Is optimization the enemy of taste?

  • Our timeline, ourselves

    In ten years, we’ll run every aspect of our lives with a personal timeline. That’s a slippery slope into walled gardens and towards the singularity.

  • On data and music

    From Mozart’s flourishes to today’s music streaming, I’m going to spend part of 2015 looking at how data is transforming music.

  • Blue-collar AR

    Hipster-wearing Glassheads aside, the real future of AR is blue collar work. Just wait until the unions figure out that’s a Trojan Horse for robots.

  • Old laws, new problems

    Instead of writing new laws to deal with tech, maybe we need to adapt the existing ones.

  • Everyone knows it’s broken

    One of the biggest frustrations innovators face is that of trying to change things that are obviously outdated or flawed, but for which the organization seems unwilling to alter its product, market, or delivery strategy. Modern retail banks make money from re-investing the money you store with them at a higher rate. But increasingly, they […]

  • The challenges of 2-sided marketplaces

    After four conversations about 2-sided marketplaces this week, I’ve summarized some of my thoughts here.

  • Carriers are taking a page from discount airlines

    With one fight in the net neutrality war lost, carriers are borrowing a page from discount airlines and using free services as a Trojan Horse for the tiered Internet.

  • When can becomes must

    One of the biggest challenges for incumbents is to know when a marginal trend will become mainstream, and to react to it. Being too early is like being wrong, only more expensive. Being late can be fatal. Predicting these tipping points is the key to knowing when to commercialize innovations and shift budgets. When should […]