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HAT News Monthly, November: Tech for Good

6 December Subscribe
Dear *|FNAME|*,

We took on Facebook this month, as covered this week in the MadHATTERs Editorial, and found our stalwart adversaries (😄) to be nothing less than polite, considerate and intelligent about the future of theirs and all data businesses. 

The conclusion of that conversation, and our path forwards into the bonny future, are online in a ringing "yay here we go" that is otherwise known as Irene's voice on Medium (plus an article comment to light the world on fire). It is here in how have we come to terms with the social behemoth and here in being incendiary. 

A rule in early stage startups is "don't build things and then wait for your users to come. Instead, ask your users where they want to go, and lead them there." This rule is true, until it isn't. If you know where your users will go -- if you know where your users will go -- you can build a road and wait for them to take it to get there. We are fundraising, and so we get to have daily conversations about the directional future of app development and personal data infrastructure. And in them we ask if it is it even a little bit possible that they will forever continue to host your sensitive information on their servers, when doing so is expensive and what they get for doing it sucks?

It is not. 

There's lot's more happening in the ecosystem, like the Symposium for the Digital Person from where I write you this missive, and new customers and more. Read on and I'll see you again end of May.
Yours in HAT,

Friends on Facebook

While HAT owners may not answerable to the social media behemoth, we are

20 April | Three weeks ago, Facebook issued a gentle summons to our illustrious band of misfits to explain ourselves. We brandished our technical documentation and Ts & Cs and so explained. They iterated that they will not put any restrictions on us that they do not put on themselves ie FB doesn’t “sell” their users data for cash now, and we shouldn’t enable HAT owners to do so either.

Fair enough! Irene writes that, “Yes, the data does belong to the HAT owner and he should be free to use it any way he chooses including selling it but I can see why the technology that aids in that sale may be complicit. It’s like saying your body is yours and you should have the right to do with it how you please which means no one can stop you from selling your organs but the mall or the broker that facilitates the sale would be irresponsible and immoral. Applied to the selling of FB data, it has clearly been shown that such data could result in world changing events such as influencing elections etc. so facilitating an overt selling of the data would certainly border on irresponsibility and/or immorality.”

Still lots to get into as we grow. You can read more here.


"HAT APIs make real-time, on-demand data owned by human end-users real. They make data mobility direct from individuals possible. That means personal data does not need to be hoarded by an app. It can be inquired, not acquired. The data that goes into the HAT goes in as a subject access request, and so the ownership is real." From Irene on Medium.


The HAT (HATDeX really) (well DataSwift really) is raising our Seed financing. Very interestingly in our history, we've never been a Cambridge financed startup, despite being a startup wanting funding out of Cambridge. We're looking at that now, from venture capital like Amadeus and IQ, and Angel groups like Cambridge Angels.


Still the best seed stage investment market for technology companies is London, and as a result we've been lucky to receive warm introductions to venture capital funds like Octopus, Notion, Forward Partners, and Kindred. Many more still to meet.


Since January, our customer OneZero-Me has turned into our first live application spinning up growth on HAT-based infrastructure. OZM does social pricing for insurance products without exposing raw data to the providers. Congratulations to them, and good luck taking over the world.


Hot on their heels, customer Mark and Maven has also launched a live application on HAT-based infrastructure, building digital resumes that will (someday) compete with the paper versions that are so overwhelmingly pervasive today. Similarly, congratulations to them and good luck taking over the world.


'Tis the season for hangouts - HAT team members from across the UK, Malaysia, and Europe have gathered in Barton to abuse Irene's hospitality and sort our collective professional lives out after three months working remotely. If you've got a nefarious plot to take us all out at once, now's the time.


A warm welcome to partners Chris Kerrisk, Andrew Wang, and Ash Guy, an Australian band of misfits to join our European band of misfits. If you've friends or business partners (or ambitions) down under get in touch.


Similarly there's an exciting partnership signed with a team of coders and techies in Cyprus who have come to the light. Jungle Coders have prestige in Scandinavia and New York and they live where Irene has an an oceanview villa so, you know, they're friends.


It's going to be a busy couple of months. We're giving talks and hosting booths events in Liverpool, Netherlands, Spain, and at CogX in London in the next two months. That last highlight is a riot - if you're going to be there (or want to come) get in touch as we're hosting startups and can access tickets.


Hosted annually, the HAT is a ringleader of an event at Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge called "The Symposium on the Digital Person." It's always a call to action on how the world of data is to evolve, and highlights this year were to forecast the death of big social, supplanted by ad-free and premium alternatives. A joy - thanks to everyone involved (Hayley, Theresa, Linda, speakers, volunteers, Wolfson) for getting it off the ground.

The Hub of All Things is a way to own your own personal data. It’s a microserver — a database, with a computer brain — that helps you store for yourself the information you give your calendars, social, media, and phone. Here, this video explains it better than we do.

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