It’s an IndieGogo project, 56% backed, with a month to go, so if you’re interested, check it out. It’s a cautious first project, but with large ambition. I’m going to back it, and I wish it well!
I’ve mentioned before that we’ve used FPro as a type of Rapid Application Development Platform. Building a fully functioning prototype using this high-level (largely graphical) database application has allowed us, as non-coders (albeit with a decent understanding of how a properly architected database should be structured), to develop our therapy-smarter tool in an iterative way, without spending large amounts of money.
Another benefit is that the product we are using remains fully accessible to us at the architecture and data level, and is largely self-documenting. FilemakerPro produces human-readable graphical representations of its database structure as a standard report and the functional scripts are basic-like in their use of real language, and thus easy to follow.
What this means is that, for a team like ours, without coders, the scary step of commissioning native code from people whose work we will ultimately not be able to judge in detail is made much less risky. When we judge that the time is right to take the system to the next level – when we need it to go faster and handle more clients, we will have to get the thing recoded – and this will mean bringing developers in.
For startup teams without coders, this is a terrifying point. How do you find the right person? How do you choose which framework, which language, which platform, which architecture? How can you even begin to judge the recommendations you are hearing? How can you describe the features you want?
In April I introduced MyPhysioLink – the physiotherapy start-up that I and my co-founder, Cris Costa, have been working on. With the beta launch of the service imminent, we looked long and hard at the name and decided it wasn’t good enough.
So we are now Therapy-Smarter.com. Visit our website to see what we’re up to, and for the latest news on our progress. Physiotherapists can sign up for a free trial.
I have an FP1 Fairphone. Not the greatest ‘phone ever, but the outcome of an amazing project started by a small group of Dutch activists to develop and sell a smartphone with the best possible ethical and environmental credentials (avoiding conflict minerals, paying attention to worker’s conditions, supporting repairs and recycling, amid other concerns). The FP1 was fairly compromised, but established the outfit, and sold 60,000.
The FP2 is a significant advance, independently verified as the most ethical smartphone available. Most importantly for me, it is based on a chipset which is ‘open’ enough that alternative OS development is practical ( not the case for the FP1). This means that the ‘phone will likely have a longer practical life, with updates potentially available from a variety of sources.
Fairphone understand and support this, and the impulse to write this post is the announcement that Fairphone are going to open the Fairphone OS (an android fork) for community contributions, releasing a set of software tools to support this.
I haven’t got an FP2 yet (not buying a new ‘phone until you really, really need one is the sustainable way, folks, frustrating though it might be). So I’m hoping that, by the time I do, there will be a strong community behind Fairphone, giving me more and better options for using the hardware – which should itself be upgradeable, thanks to modular design.
After being a little coy about what I’m actually working on, it seems that it is time to come clean.
It’s been a slow-moving project, partly as I’m still having to earn a living doing architecture, and partly because my co-founder is even busier. But we’re about to step up a gear, both in time commitment and with an upcoming test-marketing launch, and so the time has come to make it public.
My co-founder is a physiotherapist. We’ve known each other for ages, but it wasn’t until I had an episode of frozen shoulder that I understood a/ how good a physio he is, b/ how important physiotherapy is, and c/ how ante-diluvian the systems around physiotherapy are.
When, a year ago, Google bought, for a reported $400M, a small and previously little known British artificial intelligence startup called DeepMind, the acquisition was widely reported, the general press essentially saying; “Gosh golly, these tech type geniuses are, like .. wow! And they get rich too!”(1,2).
I have been, as they say, AFK for a few months. Away but not idle. In addition to finishing off my long-in-the-making sustainable doctor’s surgery in Herstmonceux, East Sussex (the new pharmacy is growing behind the hoarding just visible top right);
I have also completed a course in programming Android apps through Coursera,
and written a full-on software spec for a friend’s e-commerce site (you will be happy to know that there is no picture to go with this one…).
And, in the last 6 weeks, I have been working away on what looks as if it will progress from a shiny idea into a real attempt at a digital startup, which I am modestly going to keep quiet about for a while longer.
This last ushers in a new phase of this blog, then, which will likely have fewer long posts about events, and more short posts about things that have come up as I talk to the many kind people I am pestering for critical comments/constructive advice/words of wisdom. Time to put some of the things I learned last year into practice….