Recent publications, commentary, and data use


  • No One Makes you Shop at Wal Mart (link), Between the Lines Press (2006)
  • What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy (2015).

Book chapters

  • “Private Sector AI: Ethics and Incentives”, (in progress. Workshop here), in A Handbook of Ethics of AI, Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • “Airbnb’s Business and Arguments about Data”. Address to the 4th Annual Asper INTLaw Conference, University of Manitoba, April 2018.
  • “Trust and Platform Cooperatives” in Ours to Hack and to Own, edited by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Scheider, OR Books 2017.

Invited Essays and Contributions

  • Airbnb is Facing an Existential Expansion Problem, Harvard Business Review digital article, July 11, 2016.
  • What’s Yours is Mine, AFR Weekend, Australian Financial Review, May 28, 2016 (book excerpt)
  • The Sharing Economy isn’t about sharing, Alternet, March 27, 2016 (book excerpt)
  • The Sharing Economy’s Dirty Laundry, Jacobin, March 2016
  • In Praise of Fake Reviews, The New Inquiry, October 2014
  • Storm Warnings, Literary Review of Canada, September 2014. A review of To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World, by Vincent Mosco
  • Sharing and Caring, Jacobin, January 2014
  • Charity Assets, The New Inquiry, November 2013
  • Hacking Society Literary Review of Canada, September 2013. A review of Networked: The New Social Operating System, by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, by E. Gabriella Coleman, and Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace, by Ronald J. Deibert
  • Open Wide, The New Inquiry, June 2013
  • Seeing Like a Geek, Crooked Timber, June 2012
  • Click to Judge, Literary Review of CanadaApril 2012. A review of The Reputation Society: How Online Opinions Are Reshaping the Offline World, edited by Hassan Masum and Mark Tovey
  • A Caribbean Longshot, Literary Review of Canada, May 2011. A review of Internet Gambling Offshore: Caribbean Struggles over Casino Capitalism, by Andrew F. Cooper, with Jamie Supeene.
  • Shopping ’Til We Drop, Literary Review of Canada, November 2009. A review of The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization, by Gordon Laird

Reviews of “What’s Yours is Mine”


Quotes, and articles using my Airbnb data

Report: How Airbnb hid the facts in New York City

Together with Murray Cox of Inside Airbnb,  I produced a report on Airbnb’s removal of 1500 listings in New York, just in time to make its public release of data look good.

Mainstream media:

New York & real estate:

Tech press:

Other things:



Why “Whimsley”?

My book “No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart” needed a place to set some stories, and that place needed a name. “Whimsley” was a mixture of something whimsical and something down to earth, both of which those stories are meant to be. The whimsical-whimsley part is obvious enough. The “ley” is a reference to the many millstone grit towns of Yorkshire – Burley, Ilkley, Batley, Bramley, Barnsley and probably hundreds of others, but particularly Otley. Also, there’s the “sley — slee” similarity.

Once I’d used “Whimsley” in the book, it seemed like a natural name for the place where I keep my writing.



Writing and commentary

  • 2006: No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart, Between the Lines Press
  • 2006-present: Writing on technology and politics, on this blog and in various print & online publications
  • 2011-present: Invited contributor and speaker on open data and on the sharing economy.
  • 2015: What’s Yours is Mine, OR Books


Senior Product Manager, SAP SE.

(In 2011 Sybase was taken over by SAP SE. The views expressed on this site are, of course, independent of my employer.)


Sybase Inc., Waterloo, Ontario — SQL Anywhere R&D division.

  • 1994–1996: Technical Writer
  • 1996–2005: Manager, Technical Publications
  • 2005–2011: Senior Product Manager


Director of Scientific Support, Hypercube Inc, Waterloo, Ontario.


Postdoctoral Researcher, Theoretical Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario with R.J. LeRoy.1991


Postdoctoral Researcher, Inorganic Chemistry, University of Oxford, with D.M.P. Mingos.


Administrative assistant, McMaster University Centre for Peace Studies


Contract researcher: Energy Probe


National Vice President, Canadian Union of Educational Workers


Ph.D., Theoretical Chemistry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, with the late R.F.W. Bader.

B.Sc. (Hons) First Class, Theoretical Chemistry, University of Sussex.