Category Archives: Technology

Radio 4: The Value of Failure

I collaborated on one of these five pieces for BBC Radio 4 on The Value of Failure.BBC

Doctoral thesis published

I graduated from Cambridge University with my PhD in April 2013.Keith Cotterill PhD Thesis

My thesis can be downloaded here. Enjoy !

Design Conference Paper published (CADMC, September 2011)

I presented the following paper at the Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference (September 2011), co-written with my collaborator, JP (Joao Fonseca da Silva).



Submission of PhD Thesis

After three years, I submitted my thesis to the University of Cambridge for examination.

Title: “How do attitudes of habitual high-technology entrepreneurs to early-stage failure differ in Silicon Valley, Cambridge and Munich?”


Online education making a difference.

I’m proud to be associated with TenMarks, a cloud-based service that provides a personalized practice and learning software to help teach students of varying skill levels mathematical concepts. They just closed their first full funding round. Its the future.

Congratulations to Inkspot Science and Red Hat

Congratulations to the Inkspot team in Newcastle, UK. Their collaboration with Red Hat raises a good question – what requirements in academic research are driving capabilities in cloud computing?
Some disciplines (bio-computing, neuroscience, drug discovery, etc) need short burst access to massive computing resources. Changes in funding around the world are driving increased online, secure collaboration between universities and companies. These academic and scientific needs have profound implications for the commerical world. Watch this space !

East and West

I was struck today by what is happening in Silicon Valley software. Currently, most new startups are consumer and social network-related, a frenetic hub of activity which is distracting us from the shift in the global economy. Sure, the consumer sector (e-commerce) is important, and technical innovation is always cool, but while the cream of western society in the US (and the UK) fixates on high-risk, fast-paced startups, Asian entrepreneurs are building things in massive quantities. Crash

Massive shifts in global affairs appear to be preceded by an elevation of the trivial: decadence in pre-war Berlin, a peak in imperialist sentiment before the Great War, before the fin-de-siecle crash. I think we are seeing it now in technology: massive excitement in a new wave of social network services, preventing us from concentrating on the fundamentals we will need in a decade or so.

On (BBC) Radio Four this morning, an analyst explained how in Asia, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis is now referred to as the North Atlantic Crisis. This is true. Technological innovation in the trivial distracts us from what we really need to be doing. Building things.

Simple presentation

Here is a great explanation of how the web works, with all its consumer tracking activities. (Thanks, JP).

Semantic Web made easy

A major reason for venture failure is having a poorly articulated value proposition (what and why, to whom, for how much?). Most technology is complex, and telling its story simply is difficult.

I love this Metaweb video (shame they just got bought by Google) for telling a complex story so well – all in the length of a pop record.

Academic training starts today

Cambridge University Crest

Cambridge University Crest

I take my first lecture today as a student at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). Twenty five years after my last serious academic endeavour, here I go again.
I spent yesterday collating all the reading I have done in the past year using a research tool (EndNote).  A boring, repetitive task but worth the effort. I then spent an hour catching up on podcasts and videos on the web, where technology startup leaders talked about their experience. The contrast between the diligent, time-consuming reading of academic materials and the immediate injection of ready-for-digestion experience is stark. Part of my research will need to assess all sources, and make sense of all the noise.