My Top 20 – Ewan McIntosh

Continuing an editorial strand started a couple of weeks ago, digital consultant, Ewan McIntosh, shares his top 20 blogs, websites, iPhone Apps, software tools, etc.

Ewan is the founder of NoTosh Limited, an Edinburgh-based outfit that supports digital media companies as they create new products and helps organise investment for them in the UK, while providing consultancy to the public services on how they might think and act more like start-ups. 

Previously, he was the national education and technology adviser to the Government, and Digital Commissioner for Channel 4's Innovation for the Public Fund, and invested over £1million in digital media projects in Scotland.

The first My Top 20 was from Edinburgh-based producer and director of advertising campaigns, Tim Maguire, with former Scottish Television reporter, Bob Cuddihy, providing the second. Atholl Duncan, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland; marketing consultant, Mark Gorman; and technology writer, Bill Magee, added a third, fourth and a fifth. A sixth is from Oliver Farrimond.

1. - blog – “My favourite design blog from a 30-something designer in Brooklyn. Never fails to raise a smile and provide inspiration for the projects I'm working on, whether I'm helping redesign a school space or web platform.”

2. - Social network – “This is the social network I created just to get a sense of who was doing what in the Scottish and Northern Irish creative industries. It's still unearthing new talent and is the place to go to find good events where folk can learn new skills or get an outlook on current developments.”

3. – website – “If you want a frank take on why some things get investment and others don't, then look here.”

4. - blog – “Euan was a great help to me when I wanted to get started as an entrepreneur, and his blog continues to raise my thinking and my game. He also shares the same gripes as I do.”

5. - blog – “A good amount of my time is spent learning about learning, and Stephen Downes' daily feed is a must for anyone who wants to know what people are thinking and doing in the education space. He is, almost literally, the bearded prophet.”

6. - blog – “Merlin John Online is the UK equivalent of – again, as someone working in education it's become a must-read to see who the cool kids are and what they're doing.”

7. - blog – “Seth Godin posts regularly and concisely on marketing. Generally, he picks up on where me, you, everyone is getting it wrong, and proposes a fresh way of looking at things.”

8. - blog – “Russell is behind my favourite 4iP commission (I only wish he had come to me with it). Newspaper Club lets anyone print their own, real newspaper from stuff they find online. Simple, clever, something you'd talk to your friends about. A bit like his blog.”

9. - blog – “I met Mark Earls at NESTA years ago and he lost me early on. I like that. It means I wasn't thinking hard enough. Mark makes you think, re-address everything you're doing and come up with something new.”

10. - blog – “Mike Coulter has become a pal, buddy and business partner over the years since I attended the first Edinburgh Coffee Morning. His blog is a collection of cool shit, mostly unrelated but all of it could become part of one's 'larger plan'.”

11. - blog – “I'm a sucker for pretty things and David Airey spends his whole day making them. And then shares them, the process of making them pretty and the secrets of making them powerful. I admire his stuff because he's gone from having every blogger's start (two readers, you and your mum) to being somewhat a rockstar. I wish I could afford him to redesign my blog (and no, of course I haven't asked how much that actually costs…).”

12. - blog – “Jenkins is an MIT legend and if you do anything that relates to digital media and/or young people then this has to be on your list. His research, interviews and papers are not exactly fast reads, but they are essential.”

13. - blog – “Danah Boyd's anaylses of social networking and young people is always spot on, and tackles the issues around social networks and attention that most people wouldn't touch with the proverbial.”

14. – blog – Matt Locke is a great friend, mentor and commissioner at Channel 4. As he says, he finds talent, gives them money and gets the hell out of the way. But the experiences he has he shares, and his blog is a great starting point for anyone contemplating the creation of a new platform or product online.

15. – blog – “Another mentor and friend at Channel 4, Adam Gee is a veteran cross-platform producer (ie. he helps make online stuff to contemplate the telly stuff). His bookmarks are varied and always interesting.

16. -blog – “I couldn't not mention my own online bookmarks: it's full of stuff that I normally find from the great folk that I read on a daily basis. Go on, have a raid of it or subscribe to my blog to get the links AND my posts.”

17. – blog – “I have put in my own blog because I'm proud of it. It's the most highly read education blog outside North America, and I always use it to question and provoke discussion around the way our money, teachers and efforts are used to further the education of our youngsters. Nothing, frankly, is more important today than those kind of discussions.”

18. – feed – “Subscribe to this feed for some of the most varied discussions and “look what I noticed”s on the web. My latest “oh, yes” treat was on the design of airplane boarding cards. If we thought about design in the way these authors do the world would be an easier place to live.”

19. - social networking tool – “I could have named a Twitter account, but I'd rather people just invested some time finding interesting folk they want to have a chat with. I've got some lists you could start with on my own Twitter page ( and that's where you can see most of my online life unravel, and see what other sites and apps I love, that I couldn't fit on here.”

20. – search engine – “This is how I'm going to recce the folk that leave a comment on this post or send me an email. What exactly does your own Google footprint say about you?”

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