Martin’s May Day

It’s my birthday today, 1st May. I am still closer to the landmark nerd birthday of 32 rather than the next one at 64, but not by much. As it is my day of indulgence, I would like to ask for a gift from you.

Help me to dream up better kind of Internet

I am deeply grateful for the creativity and storytelling gifts nature and nurture have given me. Someone recently called me the ‘prophet of telecoms’, and without being arrogant or big-headed, it is essentially true. The work I do with my collaborators on new paradigms for distributed computing is unsurpassed. It takes in new science, fresh engineering methods and breakthrough mathematics.

Yet my quasi-autistic gifts (and I’m not so sure about the ‘quasi’) also come with a painful curse: I cannot turn off my information-seeking behaviour, pattern-finding mind, or my unquenchable desire to communicate what I see as a ‘seer’. I can meditate for milliseconds on a good day, and can handwrite all of ‘attention deficit’ if I focus really hard right to the end.

It long ago became clear to me that I belong at the edge of mainstream organisations and institutions, not on the inside. I simply can’t have a traditional corporate career, or an ascendant academic one, as it drives me (and those around me) batshit crazy.

A proud track record, with a price to pay

My wayward intellectual wanderings have resulted in many successes and breakthroughs. I can lay claim to be a pioneer of many communications topics, often linking together disparate ideas by far greater thinkers who went before me. The feeling of “I bet nobody has ever thought of that before” has hit me quite a number of times over the years.

I have helped to combine management science with network science; hypermedia with the sensor world; the mathematics of quality attenuation with the recursive distributed computing architectures; the future of voice with a data-driven world; the nature of messaging with the conversational needs of commerce; the economics of multi-sided markets with software-driven networking; and the theory of service semantics with the practical policy regulation consequences.

I have no regrets about the oftentimes hard path I have taken, as it has been extraordinarily rewarding and frequently great fun. Yet the stress of always worrying about resources has recently taken a toll on my health and wellbeing. Hence, with much prodding from dear friends who love me, I have decided to humbly reach out and ask for community help with my writing mission.

What’s in it for you?

The Internet we have today is not the “real deal”, and merely hints at the extraordinary potential ahead. This is a straightforward deal: help me to have a fully independent platform from which I can fearlessly dream of a much better one, no matter who it upsets (and it definitely will upset some vested interests and false idols).

Everyone who supports this expedition will get a signed copy of my published book, The Internet is Just a Prototype, with a thank-you from me. I cannot promise a timescale yet to complete the journey, as I cannot know in advance what will be discovered. I anticipate it taking 1-2 years, depending on my other work projects and family commitments. I may undertake side-projects like videos on the way that capture the story as it unfolds.

I do not see anyone else stepping up to the task in the near future who has the intense motivation, technical knowledge, relevant experience, crazed imagination and communications skills. By sharing the positive potential that I see, I hope to pull a better future forward faster than it would otherwise occur.

Four practical ways to help

Here is how you can contribute to dreaming up a better future:

  • As a benefactor. The programme of research that I have lined up means taking a lot of time away from consulting, and going to meet the best minds in person.
  • As a patron. Make an ongoing contribution, no matter how small, so I can stop having to think about everyday bills and can get on with doing the job. Even if it just covers a square of my gourmet chocolate bill, that’s a start.
  • As a client. I enjoy selling very smart conversations. Sign up for a retainer and I will give you my best insight on demand. I am generous to a fault, especially to those on a moral mission.
  • As a provider of in-kind help. Sometimes all I need is a safe, welcoming and interesting place to stay with people who provide stimulation, and to whom I can offer my kind heart and mischievous mind in return.

I shall be announcing some additional ways to contribute, getting something for something, in the near future.

I do not accept corporate sponsorships that require me to prostitute my reputation, or individual amounts that would make me beholden to any one interest or funding source. However, I will accept resources to help those who I in turn, out of public sight, sometimes haul away from the fiscal abyss.

Your contribution will help me to locate the most wonderful possible networked future, describe the joy and bliss it can bring to those who follow us, and illuminate the best path towards realising it.

To discuss being a benefactor, client or in-kind giver of help, hit “reply” or email me at

To become a patron of a new and better kind of Internet, simply visit the Patreon link here.

Thank you. I wish you all a good May Day.

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