Decoded courses

I have been always interested in the wider / transformative potential of mobile and this blog has covered elements like Smart cities etc.

I have been more recently interested in education – specifically in the idea of teaching concepts of programming languages to kids (as opposed to a specific programming language)

Also, every year, I try to do a ‘fun course’. This idea is adapted from Bill gates who takes learning/reading holidays.

In 2010 it was the Arduino course taught by Andrew Eliasz which later became the  foundations for Apps for Smart cities

So, with these two ideas in mind, this year, I am doing a course from Decoded which I first heard from Monty Munford’s blog

I like their vision on education and its the similar goal I am trying to achieve in teaching concepts of programming languages to kids

So, putting myselves as a learner to create an app in one day would be a great ‘learning holiday’

The MLOVE festival – the TED of mobile is in June ..

MLOVE is an awesome festival where I would love to speak (was going to this year but have to be in Amsterdam)

Its an awesome event which we support and created by great friends like Harald Neidhardt, Jonathan MacDonald, Fee Beyer and others

The link is MLOVE 2012 

The MLOVE Confestival brings together 200 thought leaders and innovators to discuss the powerful potential of mobile to act as a catalyst for community, change and inspiration.

Set in a 100 room, 19th Century private castle in Germany over three nights and 2 days, global mobile industry executives, entrepreneurs and developers will mix with architects, scientists, musicians and social entrepreneurs to share and develop experiences in a highly interactive format and learn from each other about the opportunites that mobile presents today.


The link again is MLOVE 2012 

 Update - 

MLOVE sent me the following which I update below

Free Start-Up Tickets for MLOVE Confestival Berlin for Mobile Start-up Competition

MLOVE is announcing its start-up competition for this year’s European MLOVE ConFestival, set in a glorious castle south of Berlin from June 27 - 29, 2012.

The most promising and innovative five start-ups will receive free tickets to MLOVE ConFestival 2012 and be invited to present their company on stage to the audience of mobile influencers, innovators and investors.

MLOVE stands for disruption, innovation and inspiration and the judges will be looking for start-ups that reflect these values. Cool new apps, or disruptive new mobile services should all apply. The competition is open to companies worldwide that have risen less than $2 million (€ 1.5 m) and were founded after January 1, 2011.

MLOVE ConFestival has been described as “the best Mobile event” by WIRED, ‘anything other than a usual tech conference’ and a ‘TED for Mobile’.

The jury includes Ralf-Dieter Wagner (Senior Executive at Accenture), Gabriella Draney (Executive Director of Tech Wildcatters), Marguerite Imbert (Editor in Chief, Venture Village), Peter Borchers (Head of hub:raum the new incubator of Deutsche Telekom), Mike Butcher (European Editor at TechCrunch). Andrew J Scott, a serial mobile entrepreneur based in London and San Francisco will be the host of the competition.

“Mobile is changing our future and how we interact with entertainment, advertising, mobility and many more aspects of our lives. These new opportunities for start-ups and enterprises alike are brought together at the MLOVE ConFestival,” added Neidhardt.

Startups should apply at the official Website – the deadline is June 16: or contact [email protected]

I am on SAP’s top 50 Influencers for mobile list ..


This morning I find that I am on SAP’s top 50 list for mobile influencers – It’s a great list with some very clued on folk who you should follow

Policy Bloggers Network – Rousseau and the missing perspectives in Digital Policy discussions

Over the years, I have been slowly evolving the Policy Bloggers Network site. From the outset, the goal was to create a community to extend the policy discussions beyond the traditional audience (Policy makers, academia and industry). The community has grown over the last few months and we are now at the next stage of its evolution.

The french philosopher Rousseau said: Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains. Many of us who follow the ethos of the Internet – appreciate the liberal mindset and the freedom the Internet has brought to society. We understand that the Internet is not ‘free’. Today, with the anti SOPA campaign and the rise of organizations like the Internet Defense League – Internet activism has reached mainstream.

However, that presents a unique problem.

For all its freedom, we are still presented with one sided views of the Internet i.e. as the Internet coalesces around certain perspectives/ freedoms – other freedoms/ perspectives are ignored.

Hence the reference to Rousseau i.e. to be free but still to be in chains.

Ironically, that’s not conducive to Internet freedom ..

Here are some examples of interesting thinking I am following:

  • We are always concerned about privacy. But is the EU privacy/ data protection approach curtailing growth for the EU – especially at a time when growth is badly needed
  • Is internet a place where certain rights (such as intellectual property, but not only) just cannot be enforced?
  • In a recent book, Nick Harkaway proposes that IP and Privacy are related because they both relate to ‘ring fence certain information’  - In sum: both Privacy and IP are assertions of a moral right over information created by an individual’s encounter with the world. Both exist at the boundary of a person and the external, communal experience. Both are essentially in the hands of others. Both require, in order to survive, a collective acceptance of their right to be recognised.
  • Martin Geddes asks if we should have a GNU (General Internetworking License) modeled on General Public License (GPL) i.e. a sophisticated legal and social agreement to encode freedoms beyond the dreams of those who fathered and founded the Internet?


So, if we are to bring out diverse/ missing perspectives, the aim of the Policy bloggers network is:

a)      To highlight the ‘missing perspectives’ and the people who shape these ideas i.e. bring together uncommon voices

b)      These views may not be necessarily my personal views but they add value to the intellectual discussion about the future of the Internet.

c)      On much of the Internet, the conversation is not in the ‘long form’ i.e. we encourage longer, more intellectual discussions on the Policy bloggers network site and community

d)     Database journalism will be an important part of the site i.e. a reliance on data to support arguments

e)      Traditional journal publishing is broken. It is closed, expensive, slow and irrelevant. We aim to provide a new form of publication/ journal that focusses on the missing perspectives in the evolution of the Internet

Ideas are powerful.

Sometimes they take a bit longer to play out – but eventually they do. Rousseau’s ideas led to the French revolution and to the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought

That is an inspiration for our ethos.

Comments welcome as usual


Image source: wikipedia

anniversary of matthias Rust’s flight ..

Today is the anniversary of Matthias Rust’s flight. Amazing how one person can make a difference.


Application developer alliance: The app economy has a new catalyst

I have been watching the evolution of the Application developer alliance with interest. Late last week, I had a chance to speak to Jon Potter – President of the Application developer alliance.  On first impressions, there are existing ‘network of networks’ in the app developer space

However, the application developer alliance addresses some key gaps in the market which I illustrate here.

  • A ‘network of network’ creates network effects for the ecosystem. This is needed because the App economy is now a global ecosystem with benefits for grassroots developers.
  • The policy emphasis makes it very interesting. There are two facets to Policy. Firstly, policy makers often do not realise the significance of the App economy because it is so new. Secondly, because the App economy is a global industry – developers are affected by many regulations – especially around the domains of Privacy, Intellectual Property, Broadband Spectrum, Cyber Security and Mobile Payments . The app developer alliance is working with these issues which help the ecosystem. Hence, they are on my radar through both OpenGardens blog and the Policy bloggers network
  • Developers are small entrepreneurs and they have some common issues (globally), The apps alliance seeks to provide services which cater for such needs.

Why is all this significant?

The “App Economy” refers to economics and the value chain of mobile apps where developers create applications and distribute them digitally to a broad/global audience. The term was first mentioned by Business week in Nov 2009. It differs from previous software initiatives since it combines a technology platform and a marketplace. A set of core companies form the foundation of the app economy creating a set of interlocking ecosystems (ex Apple, Google, Facebook and even some Telecom operators with large developer programs like Bluevia/Telefonica).

The combination of technology, innovation, empowering grassroots innovation and a marketplace are at the heart of its economic value and job creating potential

See a recent report which indicates that the US could drag itself out of the current job crisis (and in the EU – that’s even worse!) through the App economy (pdf)

Some highlights from the report:

  • Nothing illustrates the job-creating power of innovation better than the App Economy.On an economic level, each app        represents jobs – for programmers, for user interface designers, for marketers, for managers, for support staff. But how      many? The report estimates roughly 466,000 jobs in the United States, up from zero in 2007 when the iPhone was introduced.
  • The biggest job creators include Zynga, a San Francisco-based maker of Facebook game apps that went public in December 2011, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Amazon, and AT&T, Google and Apple.
  • Despite being only four years old, the App Economy is still growing at a rapid pace despite the recession
  • By one estimate, the App Economy generated almost $20 billion in revenue in 2011.6 This includes app downloads, in-app revenues, sales of virtual goods, and sales of physical goods and services.
  • A related study (also referenced in the report) of app-related jobs focused only on Facebook. Three academics estimated the number of jobs created by Facebook apps using data on number of downloads and number of developers.They estimated that “the number of employees employed by third party developers [of Facebook apps] to be 53,434.” Then they calculated a range of spillover effects into the national economy, leading them to conclude that “a conservative estimate of the employment impact of developers building apps on the Facebook Platform in the United States in 2011 is 182,744 full time jobs.”
  •  There is a geographical disparity. App Economy jobs are spread around the country with  23.8 per cent in California, 14.8 per cent in the San Francisco Bay Area and 6.9 per cent in New York.
  •  The growth in the App Economy has followed the classic S-shape with a slight dip in early 2009, reflecting the deep overall recession followed by a dramatic acceleration in 2009, 2010 and early 2011

Hence, I believe that initiatives like the Application developer alliance is significant to the App Economy because

a)     For the first time, small developers can sell globally.

b)    The App Economy fosters grassroots innovation and

c)     The App Economy creates a service layer for the Internet

Images below from the app economy jobs study  You can also join the Application developer alliance for free at Application developer alliance



My presentation at LTE summit 2012 – Exploring the Deployment Feasibility of LTE to different M2M Markets


Exploring the Deployment Feasibility for LTE in different M2M Markets – LTE summit 2012 – Barcelona

Governments and Standards


The UK government has launched a consultation on Open Standards. Having been involved for more than a decade in discussions around ‘Open’ – mainly from a Telco perspective – my views are more complex. Here, I elaborate them. Firstly, since Oct 2011, I have had an ethics statement HERE which gives you an idea of my views and ethos. You should read them to understand more about me.


I am addressing this consultation narrowly from the perspective of two specific questions based on my experience:

a)      Should governments get in the business of mandating specific standards – (Open or not)?

b)      Should such a definition exclude Telecoms from the scope (i.e. create an artificial dichotomy separating web standards and non web standards)


Here are seven reasons elaborating my thinking

a)      Listening to people no matter how they choose to communicate:The UK government consultation admits that there is no specific definition of Open standards – but still seeks to create some form of selection process/ hierarchy for standards. I like the idea of Open standards and understand their benefits – but the libertarian in me does not agree to governments mandating specific standards – because the primary function of governments is to ‘listen to people’ in the many languages that people may choose to communicate. In other words, whatever the intentions, if a government mandates that they will use a specific standard (open standard or not) – they send the message that they will choose to selectively listen to people based on that standard. This goes contrary to the primary function of government –to engage and to interact with people. Thus, governments cannot tell people what standards to use when they communicate with them. If you extrapolate this to its natural extreme, this gets worse in case of a national emergency – ex the Japanese tsunami – when it is vital for governments to engage and listen.  So, a government cannot say in that case that it will choose to engage only through Open standards.

b)      Exclusion of telecoms in a post PC world: By many standards, we are already close to a ‘post PC’ world and to a world dominated by mobile devices. Recently, the usability guru Jakob Nielsen caused a controversy by his advice related to mobile. The OECD has published a long set of guidelines for m-government. It focusses on services. Ultimately, citizens will benefit from responsive governments. M-Government – Mobile Technologies for Responsive Governments and Connected Societies. So, in this context, it is perplexing to see why the Open standards consultation specifically excludes mobile. In the world of mobile, the standards ecosystem is much more complex and the world of standards and IPR coexists.

c)      Ignoring the boundaries between Open standards and open source: The boundaries between Open standards and open source are now more complex. Open standards and Open source are both designed to create a level playing field for players and to essentially shift innovation to higher levels. Originally, the two worlds of Open source and open standards were separate. Today, the two are more interconnected. For instance, the apache license incorporates IPR. Open source licenses have implications for standards.

d)     Governments should not get into the politics of Open standards: Open standards have a certain commercial / political maneuverings behind the scenes.  The old ‘transmission systems and light bulbs’ analogy is often used i.e. in the initial stages, there were many types of transmission systems. Over time, they harmonized – then innovation shifted to creating types of light bulbs – i.e. to higher levels of the stack. Thus, one man’s ‘open standard’ is another man’s business model. We see this with content vs. devices – i.e. device makers want content to be free so that people buy more devices etc. These commercial dynamics play out over and over again in different domains. However, it is not the remit of governments to choose sides one way or the other in this regard.

e)      Good intentions – wrong motivations: Governments have the best intentions – but the wrong motivations. For example, recently I heard a government official say that the biggest motivation for ‘Open data’ was ‘cost reduction’. In other words, the idea was supposedly – all these developers were going to create applications for citizens and save the government money .. I had some news for him .. Good developers are in very high demand. They are probably building iPhone apps – and making a lot of money! Why would they want to ‘work’ on Open data applications for free? This did not make any sense to me. Thus, ‘Open data’ is a noble intention – getting people to work for free is not ..

f)       Embedding:  What happens if a closed standard document is embedded in an open standard document? Many such hybrid use cases exist because the meaning of a ‘document’ has changed.


g)      Hardware is becoming like software and cannot be separated: Just like the dichotomy between documents and telecoms is contrived, the differentiation between software and hardware is blurring. Here are three examples

1)      Hardware acceleration for JavaScript is the next frontier in the browser wars.

2)       In a curious twist of treating hardware like software (perpetual beta), the Raspberry Pi team did not seek CE marking — a certification that ensures the manufacturer has complied with European regulations – because it believed the single-board computer was not a “finished end product” and did not require the certification.   $35 Raspberry Pi Linux PC delayed once

3)      We now have open source hardware – of which I am a fan – such as Arduino

h)      Be like the USA/CIA – be pragmatic: U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors. Presumably, the ‘toolkit’ includes whatever works (twitter,facebook,GSM etc) – no artificial dichotomies/hierarchies here.

So, to conclude:

a)     The consultation is overly simplified. It is not possible to separate ‘software and telecoms’ and also ‘software and hardware’.

b)      Governments are not in the business of setting standards – they are in the business of engaging with people.  I like the idea of Open standards and understand their benefits – but the libertarian in me does not agree to governments mandating specific standards – because the primary function of governments is to ‘listen to people’ in the many languages that people may choose to communicate.

c)       Similarly, governments need to appreciate the politics of open standards – it is not a simplistic ‘motherhood and apple pie’ discussion

d)      Many forms of licensing, mix of open source and open standards with permissive licensing like Apache will co-exist

There is wonderful statement attributed to Napoleon – where Napoleon says: ‘All my generals are ready and able to fight the LAST war’. This discussion reminds me of that statement. We ignore the forthcoming complexity by focusing attention on past ecosystems.



I am speaking at the LTE world series in Barcelona – Exploring the Deployment Feasibility for different M2M Markets

I am speaking at the LTE world series in Barcelona ‏@LTEWorldSeries  #ltews LTE world series Zone 2 – 14:20 – Exploring the Deployment Feasibility for different M2M Markets - only there for a day but still meeting a few people. If you are there – happy to meet – email me at ajit.jaokar at

Capital I series interview – Computer Mediated to Computer Meditated: Innovation Interview with Ajit Jaokar, author of ‘Meditation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter – From Shamanism to Transhumanism’

Great interview of me by Kim Chandler McDonald - who is interviewing innovators worldwide in her Capital I series whose aim is to ‘consistently strove to find people who broke the mold, led the pack, moved their own particular mountains’

This series has included in the past former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright; former President of South Africa, FW de
Klerk; film director, Terry Gilliam; theoretical physicist, Brian Greene; and authors John Irving, Amy Tan and Tom Wolfe. (list is HERE)

Very pleased to be in this company. Also the interview itself is long and detailed and I love the depth of Kim’s thinking!

The interview link is - Computer Mediated to Computer Meditated: Innovation Interview with Ajit Jaokar, author of ‘Meditation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter – From Shamanism to Transhumanism’