London’s Silicon Valley

With help from Facebook and Google, David Cameron wants east London to take on Silicon Valley. But his top-down approach misses the point, says Joe White, CEO of London-based web design service Moonfruit:

"If we need more grass roots, then large tech corporate sponsors are not the answer. Supporting local entrepreneurs who can inspire and support each other is the answer. Create more seed startups, allow more failures, start again then eventually you’ll have enough experienced, inspirational entrepreneurs to drive the startup community, and even start to drive the investment community."

110206 Tech startup stars: Jemima Kiss: Observer

Hail the New Democracy?

Avoid any easy hype about the potential of the internet to usher in a new age of democracy, warns Jackie Ashley.

Murdoch and the better-off are mapping their monopolistic powers over to the new digital medium while the old medium’s powers to question these elites are being sidelined:

We should be nervous when politicians start boasting, as they are, that the net allows them to bypass irritatingly persistent, difficult interviewers such as John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman. Obviously, they need to be scrutinised and cross-questioned by well-briefed interrogators, secure enough in their jobs to push the point. Democracy demands it. Putting up your own website, conducting online question-and-answer sessions, is a doddle by comparison. They allow the politician to control the terms of the exchange and never face a public challenge on questions they don’t want to answer.
Jackie Ashley, Guardian

Jumping on the YouTube

Video marketeers beware. As Paris Hilton and Tony Blair both get down with the new brand-driven YouTube – yay! the Official Paris Hilton YouTube Channel as well as Tony’s Transformational Government & Leadership Challenge, angry, bored, plain delinquent consumers citizens are sharpening their keyboards:

For a long time Governments have been looking around for way to get their ‘messages’ out to the public without the bothersome annoyance of journalists asking difficult questions. They may see YouTube as the fix for this.What they may not have taken account of is the video replies or text comments that people can leave in response.
Simon Perry, Digital-Lifestyles