Tag Archives: mobile phone

INTERVIEW: Stefano Buliani (founder of Cloudbase.io)

by Jake McMillan

Stefano Buliani Cloudbase

February 2013

On a stereotypical grey and wet London Sunday afternoon, I persuaded the founder of Cloudbase.io  (a technology service provider to mobile application developers), Stefano Buliani, to take a short break and talk to me about himself and his new venture. Surrounded by laptops, PCs and monitors, I joined him for a cup of tea in his Islington flat.

So would you describe yourself as part techie, part entrepeneur?
In a way yes, but, I am only entrepreneurial out of necessity. As a techie in a big company it is rare you get to do cool stuff, but by setting up my own business, I can do the cool techie things I am interested in.

You’ve been involved in quite a few successful  technology start ups, but this is your first very own venture?
More or less, I get wacky ideas every month about doing some project or business idea, but this is the first that has been developed into a real business. The start ups I have been involved in previously have been successful and they are all still going: Yoda, an Italy-based IT services company (now called Y-Tech); Meganexus, an online secure data sharing and monitoring service and most recently Covestor, an investment management service for people to follow experts in investment management.

Cloudbase.io is a very techie service, is it possible to explain what it is to a lay person?
Haha, yes, it is very techie, the market for Cloudbase.io is developers and entrepreneurs in the mobile phone sector. In simple terms Cloudbase.io is a smart cloud hosting service aimed specifically at mobile application developers. Rather than the developer having to spend a lot of time and money creating and supporting their own infrastructure cloudbase.io offers all of that right out of the box. Sign up and within minutes you are developing your app rather than spending your time configuring servers and writing your own backend code. We’ll take care of everything else.

How long has Cloubase.io been going?
It started last year (2012) and we already have a growing a customer base and support every single mobile platform available. The vision is for it to be the pipes of the mobile application industry.

Cloudbase uses the .io domain, which is set for the British Indian Ocean Territory, why is this?
The .io is actually a very geeky reference to input and output as this is exactly the service that cloudbase.io provides, data goes in and out.

And the name Cloudbase?
This is simply a combination of cloud and database. It has nothing to do with the headquarters in the sky of Spectrum from Captain Scarlet. I’m not THAT geeky.

What are the main benefits of Cloudbase.io?
I have already mentioned the speed to market. So the first point is saving time. No need for them to configure, develop and maintain a backend infrastructure. This means saving both time and money. Developers only have to pay when the app is actually up and running in an application store.

Cloudbase’s scalable infrastructure and will manage the growth and sale for you without requiring you to do any maintenance. If a company wanted to do this on their own it would take a lot of time and would be very expensive. So whether you are a kid developing an app in your garage or a large app development house, we make it easier for you.

Stefano Buliani Cloudbase Interview

Here you are working hard on a Sunday, does this mean you are a workaholic?
[laughs] No, I’m not a workaholic, but I do have a slight problem or case of OCD when I have an idea. I cannot sit still or relax until I have thought it all through or resolved it.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I like to travel, ride motorbikes and go to the pub! I am also involved in a charity (Adventure Ashram) that provides education in rural india and help to organise fundraising events every year.

How is it being an Italian in London?
I love being in London! I’ve been here since 2005 but maybe moving to Vancouver in the future as my partner is from there.

Cloudbase.io is made up of quite an international team isn’t it?
That’s correct, the team come from all over the world. This partly reflects the international nature of London and it is good to be able to draw on global pool of talent. This is important as Cloudbase is a service that is not restricted to a certain country or territory.

I understand that all your IT knowledge is self-taught?
Yes, that’s right. This comes from being an IT geek at high school and I’ve haven’t stopped since!

Do you have any advice or tips for someone starting up their own business?
If you are going to start a business, do it and dedicate yourself to it. However, avoid working from home as it can become an obsession. It can be difficult to get a good work/life balance as you can easily let it take over and you need to find a way to disconnect and switch off. For me, it means not working from home, but going to an office but when I come home, I am going home to relax, not to work.

Who do you look up to?
Steve Jobs, John D Carmack (CTO at ID Software) and a Doctor friend of mine in India.

What kind of boss are you?
I like to think I’m a good boss as people seem to be happy to work for me. I think the team realise I understand techie’s, as I am one, and so gain respect this way. I also give people the freedom to work they want to. I tell them two things, what needs to be done and the delivery date. The rest is up to them, I’m not going to micro manage them.

What 5 things would you take with you to a desert island?
[after quick discussion of which ocean it is in – Pacific is agreed upon] I would take my swimming trunks, my girlfriend and my offroad bike.

But that’s only 3 things and one of those, the swimming trunks, is not entirely necessary?
Those three things will do me nicely [smiles].

Stefani Buliani Cloudbase 1 Stefani Buliani Cloudbase 2 Stefani Buliani Cloudbase 3

The Selfie

by Jake McMillan

Thanks to the progress in digital photography, mobile phones and the growth of social networking sites, there has been a massive rise in recent years of the “selfie”, in particular, by women. Not that men don’t do it too (my current Facebook profile pic is a self photo), but for women it is extremely common and seemingly a skill modern women need to know as much as being able to do their make up.

The use of it seems to vary considerably and I have been talking to women of all ages across the world about the self-photo, from some who would never do it, to some who do it all the time. It’s been interesting to hear the different views on the subject as well as receive some tips on how to do it well.

An attractive friend of mine from Amsterdam, typifies the view of women who would rarely, if ever, do the ‘self-photo’, “I think it’s a bit exhibitionist to put self-snapped pictures online everywhere, especially the ones where you look sensually into the camera. yuck”. She explained she has better things to do with her time and prefers to keep it real.

This is in stark contrast to my friend Noelle from Singapore who is a self-confessed camwhore and the “Queen of Pout” who takes many many photos of herself. This is partly because, she explained to me, she knows which angles of her face work. Sometimes people will offer to take a photo for her and she will reject it because she knows the arm placement that best works for her. She also has 24(!) photo apps and knows which one has the filter she wants, which one have the frames she wants, montage features and a recent favourite of hers is the timer app.

My partner in crime from the Bounce Off dating blog, Risa (who is from the USA), has a similar view to Noelle, ‘I like to self-photo sometimes more than asking someone else to do it (especially a stranger), you risk the chance that the person will do a shitty job – like not framing the picture properly, getting the lighting wrong, cutting off parts of the landmark, not capturing the important things, etc. Then it feels awkward to ask them to take it again and again until they get it right so why not just self-photo?’

(some examples of Noelle’s self-photos)

From my many discussions with women about this subject I knew that there are judgemental views on women who do lots of self photos so I asked Noelle about this and why she took so many photos of herself? I first have to say that Noelle is not a narcissistic loon and that is because I promised her I would not make her come across that way and also, most importantly, it is not true. She is a very genuine and straight-talking person.

“Why photos of myself? Cos I’m hot. hahaha! Well, it’s almost like twitter isn’t it? Just a pictorial version of my life, what I’m wearing, where I go, etc. like a visual diary.” Some will be taken in front of her computer, using Photo Booth and many others are using her iPhone. She freely states that selfies are pure narcissism and doesn’t care if her sister or friends see her posing as the minute she wants to take a self-photo with them in it, they are all smiles too.

“I like make-up, dressing up, going out, so I feel the need to chronicle that while I’m still attractive”, she told me. I then asked whether the self-photos will stop when she gets a bit older and wrinklier? She joked, “LOL who wants to see that shit? then I’ll put some scenery up … but at least I can look back and go, damn, I was pretty hot. HAHAHA narcissistic AND shameless.”

Being serious, she put forward the notion that there are different kinds of women. “It’s an extreme narcissism that comes with the self photo and usually stems from having been living in public life for a while.” Noelle has been blogging for almost 10 years and she has complete strangers who come up to her in Singapore to say they read her blog.

Nora, half-Swedish/Spanish lady currently living in Los Angeles, is someone I would describe as being a little crazy, but in a good way, and uses social media to show her working out, walking her dog, eating nice food and wearing nice things. “I love the way I look and it’s fun, like if I’m bored I just take some pics of myself”, she explained to me as well as completely ignoring anyone who judges her for it, “haha don’t hate and enjoy yourself. Relax and have fun.”



(some of Nora’s self photos)

I think the key to making self photos interesting and not just narcissistic is to have fun with them. Inge, a 24 year old photographer from Tennessee, is a big fan of what she would refer to as a self-portrait.  This is not a straight forward look into the camera lens but takes an artistic and often fun approach. For her, ‘it is just a form of self-expression, like painting a picture, dancing or cooking a good meal. It is my form of stress relief.’

She explained to me she is not a camera-whore, ‘I am an admitted actress at times, but it is usually because I like to entertain people not because I want to say “look at me! Look at me!” … I prefer to be part of a joke or to take funny, entertaining pictures any day of the week rather than a normal pretty one – much to the dismay of my friends, boyfriend and family.’ See a few of her own examples: Jump! Baby Bird, Jump!; Nervous Energy; or Some Days. She also recommended looking at Rosie Hardy, Brooke Shaden and Brian Wagner.

Hanna, a 19 year old student from Finland, often uses the mix of the straight forward selfie as well as taking the artistic or more fun approach of a self portrait. Like many, she is not a fan of people who pout a lot and put up ten new duckface photos on Facebook everyday.

Although self-photos may not seem ‘real’ or a genuine to some, in the 21st century we have to be aware of our image in social media whether we like it or not. Just like when we get dressed up for a night out on the town, we are choosing to present the best representation of ourselves, which may be quite different to how we appear normally. Women wear make up, high-heeled shoes and push-up bras on a night out and so there is nothing wrong with women (or men) wanting to be in a similar level of control about their photo on social media sites, especially, of course, internet dating sites.

However, be aware that excessive use of the selfie will inevitably cause judgement by others … it is only human nature.

Tips and Advice on How To Do a Good Selfie >>>

(A massive thank you to all those who gave me their thoughts and opinions and especially to Noelle and Nora who let me use their photographs)

Stop Using Your Phone At The Cinema!

by Jake McMillan

Just stop it will you! There is no need. Stop being a dick. Please stop checking your phone whilst watching a film at the cinema.

Thankfully, gone are the days when some people actually answered a phone call during a movie. However, there are still lots of people who feel the need to regularly check their phone during the film for text messages, emails, Facebook updates, etc.  If you are one of these people, please just stop it.

You’re not at home, you are in dark room with lots of other people who have paid to watch a cinematic spectacle in the dark. When you check your phone, everyone to the side  of you and behind you DOES see it and IS distracted by it. Why should our enjoyment of a film be tainted just because Bob, someone who you don’t even know that well, sent you a SongPop request.

The point of going to the cinema to watch a film rather than watching a DVD or Blu-Ray is that you are paying for the privilege of watching it in silence in the dark on the big screen surrounded by others who also want to do the same. We pay over the odds to do this so that we can enjoy the film without the distractions and annoyances of daily life. No knocks at the door, no interruptions,  no pets jumping on you wanting to be fed, no phone calls, no anything … just you watching a film.

If you can’t handle spending two hours doing this, then don’t go into the fucking cinema in the first place. Expecting to hear your wife is about to go into labour? Rent a DVD or watch one online.

There is no need to check your phone in the cinema as we all know your life really isn’t that important and interesting that it can’t wait 90mins before dealing with. When you check your phone, the rest of us can all see it and we all then realise you are a total bellend.

So, cinema goers, pretty please … with sugar on top. Stop with your fucking phone.