Hi. These are the things I'm doing.

Growth Marketer

I craft and implement systems to enable UK professional service companies to grow.

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For example, one sort of system is the audience-content-expertise-audience growth loop:

  1. identify the best hyper-niche areas
  2. establish impeccable online expertise in those areas
  3. leverage this expertise to find clients who are looking for precisely that expertise

Over the last 15 years I have founded three companies, and used this experience to help many early stage startups get going, and grow. I love the strategic thinking and problem solving, and I take a great satisfaction in making a big difference to business success.

Companies that I've founded

My current start-up is in music education and practice.

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On the basis that the only way to become an expert is through regular practice, we want to provide an app that makes daily practice both effective but also joyful. We don't feel that anyone has quite got the technology right yet in the music practice sector, so we're excited about the impact this could have.

From 2010 to 2019, I managed and grew immigration advice firm White Rose Visas, alongside my wife Kim Day. White Rose Visas continues to grow under Kim's direction, built on amazing reviews and word of mouth recommendation.

From 2005 to 2010, I set up and ran Sesame Vegetarian Catering. We were at the forefront of many food trends that are now widespread: vegetarianism, veganism, organic food, seasonality and hyper-local suppliers.

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Sub Machine: electro-rock duo

Sub Machine is my current musical project.

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Our debut album "a message from your future self" was released on all online platforms, and CD, October 2019.

Listen to the album on Spotify, or go to the Sub Machine website.

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Questions I'm currently working on

Economics and History ...

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  • What is the economic system best aligned to saving and restoring the natural world? Thesis: the root of all social/ political/ environmental problems is the mismatch between economic value and *what we value*
  • What is the most effective way to apply history to predictive sociology?
  • The effect of digital items on traditional economic understanding of value: does the former destroy the latter?

Phsychology and Happiness ...

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  • From an empirical, evidential standpoint: what is the most effective route to Enlightenment?
  • Thought and self-identity: is all thought just 'voices in the head', or are some (but not all) thoughts 'really me'?
  • Is synechdoche - collapse of the whole to a part - the defining feature of contemporary inter-personal relationships?

These are big questions, for sure. But also necessary - especially the issue of economics and environment, which is critical, and urgent. It is a main aim of mine for 2020 that I make genuine progress on these questions.

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Philosophy of History

From approx. 1998 to 2012 I worked on the Philosophy of History, first as PhD student and then while lecturing at the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds, and Nottingham.

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Selected publications include the following (publisher or journal in brackets):

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I've always loved designing, playing, and modifying board and card games.

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The following are some of my favourite games that I've created. I've created others, but these are the simplest, cleanest, and most original. Looking through the list now, I realise that my most fruitful period as a "games designer" was while still at school ... something about boredom being the mother of invention maybe.

Catapult: a two player card game, using a regular deck of cards. The aim is to build villages, and soldiers and catapults to destroy your opponent's villages. It's a little like gin rummy, but with a lot more strategy and variety.

Car racing on grid paper: this is wonderfully simple, yet tricky to get right. First you draw a race track on a sheet of graph paper. You then drive your car by varying the velocity on each axis by a maximum of one in either direction. If you go over the track line, then you have crashed and you're out. Otherwise, it's the first to make it all the way round the track, back to the finish line.

Car racing, eyes closed: yes, this is the same theme as above, but it has a completely different game mechanic. Draw the track on a sheet of plain paper. Then drive your car by shutting your eyes and moving a pen round a pre-drawn race track on a sheet of paper. Your opponent is watching out for when you crash into the side (or perhaps into an on-track obstacle). After a crash, it is your opponent's turn. On your next turn, you resume where you last crashed.

The Boat Game: this one's harder to explain ... it's a wargame with a naval theme, where the central mechanic is to rely on strength or speed, and to mitigate your opponent's opposite tactic. I hope to upload the rules, pieces, and board one of these days.

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Past musical projects

My passion is song writing, which I've done for quite a few years now. In addition, I'm lucky to have played in a lot of great bands.

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This is a song I wrote called "Loss" from a short lived (2016) Trio called the Feral 3. The Feral 3 pretty much turned into Sub Machine, my current musical project.

I've done music for some really fun immersive theatre experiences, created and directed by my sister Katie Day. The best, musically, I think is this dreamlike/ hallucinagenic audio tour of Lightwoods Park in Birmingham.

Way back in the 90s ... I was in a Uni band called "Bone Rain". You know, some of our stuff wasn't bad. This song is called "Let Me See Her".

And here's one of my favourite electro tunes that I wrote, also from the late 90s, with an organic drum and bass sort of feel.

At the heart of my music has always been playing the piano, and singing. Picked almost at random from the many, here is me in 2012 doing a version of Jeff Buckley's "Morning Theft".

To complete my band history ... as well as Sub Machine, the Feral 3, and Bone Rain (all mentioned above), I've also played guitar in Reasons to be Cheerful (punk and new wave), piano in Jellybean (jazz), was a semi-pro solo jazz pianist for a while, and played guitar and keyboard in the appallingly named (but musically good) Better Ford Clinic in the early 00s.

Best of the web

There is much noise ... where is the quality? Where should someone go to find fascinating, inspiring, life changing ideas and stories?

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I imagine a page - 'The Best of the Web' - which is a meta-index, a curator of curators, with the most stringent possible standards for inclusion. Obviously, and necessarily, highly subjective, but no less valuable for that. I would include:

The New York Review of Books. There's nothing as good as the NYRB for not only book reviews, but discussion of fascinating topics in science, philosophy, politics, pop culture. The worst thing you can say about it is that it's a little skewed to US politics and New York life - but then, the clue is in the title.

The New Yorker is obviously also wonderful, perhaps the finest writing of all, though personally I tend to read the NYRB more. I find the New Yorker more whimsical, more narrative, less analytical. Of course, both approaches have their place.

The Kevin Rose Show is my favourite podcast. Kevin gets an amazing array of guests on to his show, often (but not only) from the Silicon Valley world. Given that Silicon Valley culture is the vanguard of global culture, I find that this podcast hits all the major areas of contemporary and future culture, business and tech.

And, well, that's it for now. I'll add more as I encounter (or remember) other great sources. But that barrier for inclusion will remain high. And anyway, the best thing is always to read a real book, or listen to some amazing music.

Short stories and essays

These pieces, all unfinished to some degree or another, date from around 2010 to 2016.

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2010: The Wars of the Roses

2010: The Dream Land

2011: What is Magic?

2012: Chinese Capers (a future history)

2015: What is Rewilding?

Evolution is the process that amplifies unusual happenings in the universe

I once saw this wonderful idea credited to Daniel Dennett

There is nothing alive which is not individual

Richard Mabey credits this beautiful realisation to Oliver Sacks

What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and wildness? Let them be left.

O let them be left, wildness and wet:

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid. To my despair, we seem to be on a mission to find out what the world would be like without wildness.

Individual web pages as they first appeared in the 90s had the flavor of personhood. Facebook has organized people into multiple-choice identities.