I've founded my own companies, have built many products from scratch and was CTO of a news/machine learning startup.
I have extensive experience in serious journalism. My deep investigative and multimedia reporting from Venezuela, the Americas, and Middle East has been published by everyone from the New Yorker to Reuters, where I was a Senior Correspondent.
I've got a Master's in physics as well as two decades of full-stack programming experience.
Please get in touch if you're keen to chat. I'm always open to meeting enthusiastic and interesting new people.
I grew up in Slough, a town just outside London scoffed at by anyone who knows it for being both the setting for The Office and the subject of a 1937 poem which opens, "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn’t fit for humans now." We lived in Chalvey, the part of Slough that people from Slough look down upon.
I started teaching myself to code at eleven, assembling computers, writing software and building database-driven websites from scratch. A popular music site I created in my early teens was listed by MTV as one of the then nascent web’s top twenty sources. I received scores of free CDs from record companies while unwittingly honing skills as a programmer, reporter, writer and entrepreneur.
I was the first person in my family to go to university and began studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge though, unexcited by the medieval city's social life, moved to Manchester where I focused on Physics. My primary interests lie in spacetime, quantum mechanics and particles. However, my Master's project, the abstract to which was published, was more practical: a simulation of the heart to investigate atrial fibrillation.
Outside physics, I ran the news section of the studentnewspaper, learned drill and discipline in the Officers' Training Corps and went backpacking around South America—leading to a drug-filled Bolivian prison and a rare flesh-eating bug, leishmaniasis, which required three weeks on an intravenuous drip of sodium stibogluconate.
For five years, I ran a sustainable business in a notoriously difficult industry. Across text, photos, radio and television, I worked with some 40 news outlets and stood up to sloppy reporting, slow payments and unpaid work.
As a Senior Correspondent at Reuters covering Venezuela, I demonstrated—always with documents—multi-billion-dollar government oil corruption, military missile inventories, details of soldiers arrested for treason and rebellion, fabrication of electoral results and that the country’s Chief Justice was arrested on suspicion of murder. My investigative work on Venezuela took me to the United States and all over Latin America. I also continued to cover the country's ever-worsening hyperinflation, social decay, food riots and protests. During my final few months there, I produced the in-country elements of a documentary on its downfall. Outside Venezuela, I spent time in Kabul and covered Islamic State's final days in Mosul.
Alongside my reporting, I wrote web, mobile and watch applications to provide live and historic data on Venezuela's dire economy. I wanted to understand the country's crisis from first principles and was shocked to see that companies such as Reuters and Bloomberg relied on staff pressing refresh on websites to get hold of data.
My software was used by thousands of people including politicians, investors and journalists for everything from live black market exchange rate fluctuations to details of the brisk money-printing that fueled the world's highest inflation. I also wrote code to automate data acquisition, simple story-writing and other mind-numbing tasks that pull resources from reporting.
However, I left journalism and expanded the Venezuela Econ platform into a company, Data Drum, which offered automated, clean and elegant global macroeconomic data for half a dozen countries. The idea was to make public data accessible to the public. I worked tirelessly on a meticulous product but never quite found its market.
I then spent just over a year in Mumbai where I built a data science unit at a public policy non-profit. Over the years, I've created smaller-scale products of my own—GlobalOTP, Readwise2Roam, According To Documents and Math for Journalists. Now, as Chief Technology Officer at Stanford-conceived, Google-funded startup Deepnews, I’m building a machine learning algorithm to identify quality journalism at scale.