Archive for the ‘Media Coverage’ Category

From what I can tell so far – this app is amazing!

January 31, 2009

Lough Ouler Overnight

DUBLIN, IRELAND – It’s great when two worlds collide, and when someone describes themselves as “an IT guru by day and a Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue volunteer by night”, I know they’ll be a good judge of Decisions For Heroes. I picked up a Mississippi blogger’s post last night via Google alerts:

I stumbled across a webapp yesterday called “Decisions For Heroes” and decided to give it a run down since I’m the IT guy for our unit. From what I can tell so far – this app is amazing!

Brilliant, brilliant :-)

For one, it was developed by someone who is a rescue volunteer so he knows exactly what is needed. So many times I see custom apps built for people that just don’t work because the coder has no clue how things need to be done.

And that’s the reason I believe this will be a success. We’re so niche, we can be the best in the world. Thanks for the write up – seriously, this feedback is great.

full post


(Image Credit: The Glendassan Valley in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 3 weeks ago after camping out at Lough Ouler overnight, by Author.)

D4H on O’Reilly Radar

November 2, 2008

DUBLIN, IRELAND – I am in awe today, our service Decisions For Heroes has been featured on the front-page of O’Reilly Radar. Jesse Robbins (serves as co-chair of the Velocity Performance & Operations Conference and was responsible for’s website availability as “Master Of Disaster”) wrote some great words and is now ‘my hero’ ;-)

One of the most interesting DisasterTech projects I’ve been following is “Decisions for Heroes” led by developer and Irish Coast Guard volunteer Robin Blandford.

Decisions is like Basecamp for volunteer Search & Rescue teams. The focus is on providing “just enough” process to compliment the real-world workflow of a rescue team, without unnecessary complexity.

This is the winning approach for building systems that “serve those that serve others”, and is echoed by InSTEDD’s design philosophy and the Sahana disaster management system.

This is an innovative project with tremendous potential, and hopefully an early signal of coming changes in Emergency Management.

It feels unusual, it’s the first time emails have come in from around the world with congratulations for the coverage – before I even knew about it! Today, I spent the day on a mountain in Wicklow with the national Search & Rescue Dogs Association acting as an injured dog’s body. The discipline shown by the animals was awesome in this big game of hide & seek. I twittered photos live from my phone.

Hiding in wicklow mountains waiting on search dogs Waiting to be found by rescue dogs in wicklow.

Read the full article on O’Reilly Radar.


Inside Cover Boy – “Young rescue worker makes Decisions for Heroes”

October 10, 2008

Robin In Northside People

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Oh have I got stuff to tell you about progress! But I can’t now, I’m late to go train in being winched up by a helicopter from a boat (no joke!). In the meantime enjoy this great article about me in our local paper. I love local papers ;-)

I tried about as hard as I could to avoid it being a person+laptop=technology photo but they insisted on me having a laptop in it. Thanks to Darren who came to do the shoot.

Thursday, 02 October 2008, Full text.

A YOUNG Northside entrepreneur has combined his talent for computer programming with his passion for the emergency rescue services to create a new potentially life saving technology.
‘Decisions for Heroes’ is a new computer management system, which Robin Blandford hopes will help emergency services save lives by allowing them to make better decisions in the field.
Howth local Robin is a cliff rescue climber as well as an experienced programmer and he now hopes to combine his talents and become a young entrepreneur.
Earlier this month Robin spent a week at Seedcamp, an event where business ideas compete for funding from venture capitalists.
The Decisions for Heroes team, consisting of Robin and his business partner David Doran, weren’t selected for funding at the end of the week, but Robin says he learned a lot and met some of the top names in the industry, leaving him more determined than ever.
“There were over 400 applications from across Europe and we were among just 23 people who made it to the final selection process,” he told Northside People.
“From this, only seven groups were able to win but we still got to meet teams of advisors as well as some of the top executives in the business.”
Robin came up with the idea for his programme while volunteering as a cliff rescue climber with the Irish Coast Guard in Howth.
He gained professional experience in digital media after leaving university, being identified early in his graduate recruitment cycle at Thomson Reuters as “one to watch” and placed on an accelerated management programme within the company.
“I realised that there were no good rescue team management applications which could analyse rescues and help decision making,” he explained.
“I decided that I would work on it and create something for my team to use, I was so happy with my work that I thought I would make a business out of it.
“The good thing about it is it’s based on practical experience of how search and rescue operations work and what they need.”
Robin’s philosophy is that things should be kept as easy to understand for the user as possible, believing user requirements to use his application should be nil.
“Nobody likes reading manuals – if we have to write one, we’ve got too complicated,” he said.
“Before this there was an awful lot of paperwork involved in rescue which could not be instantly accessed.
“Instead of archiving the information as paperwork, we act as a platform, generating real-time profiles of members, available resources, and activities.
“Decisions for Heroes uses this data to deliver live and intelligent information to devices in the field.
“It is a powerful application and I am lucky to be working with David as he is young but is one of Ireland’s best developers.”
The Decisions For Heroes application is currently being tested out by a number of groups and Robin hopes to begin charging for it in the coming months.


(Image Credit: Northside People)

Now With Added Crunch!

September 30, 2008

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Web2Ireland put out a call for all Irish web applications to add themselves to CrunchBase. I love CrunchBase and Crunchbase-y type sites.

Here are all the companies who’ve done it so far. It’s so important people in Ireland talk with each other – join the online community of people doing the same thing as you and shout out to the world about your stuff. Thanks to Crunchbase today I found some new Irish start-ups, Babelgum & Iceberg.

Here’s our widget.


BT Hothouse – Unifed Comms Video Short

September 23, 2008

DUBLIN, IRELAND – When I worked for Thomson Reuters I was invited to a BT Hothouse as a client. The hothouses are incredible fun… 3 days, 100 developers, 200 pizzas, 300 KFC buckets, unlimited Coke, you get the picture! Oh and an end-goal to have working software that the client (Alan & me) are happy with. I actually reconnected with someone at the Seedcamp interviews who I met there.

I wrote about it here at the time.

BT Group plcImage via Wikipedia

BT has adopted a rapid-prototyping scheme in which new projects are adopted or rejected during three-day “hothouse” sessions, working with early-adopter customers. Thereafter projects must deliver results on a 90-day cycle, inspected by an external examiner, or face the chop.

I just got sent the video (they’ve just password protected it, boo!), I do a short talking part in it where yet again, I try to sound all important.

Watch here (est. 4min clip – flash required). (they’ve just password protected it, boo!)


Young Irish firm’s emergency services technology

September 22, 2008

DUBLIN, IRELAND – We’re on today too.

After a hectic few days at the Seedcamp venture funding competition in London, Irish start-up Decisions for Heroes is preparing to turn its emergency services technology into a fully paid-for service. The young Irish firm — set up by technical expert David Doran and Robin Blandford, a volunteer cliff rescue climber with the Irish Coast Guard — was the only Irish company to make it to the finals of the UK seed funding event, which attracted around 400 initial applications. Their technology, which “help[s] emergency services save more lives by making better decisions”, is currently up and running in a pilot phase with teams in five countries around the world, and Decisions for Heroes is now planning to start charging for its services. At the Seedcamp event, Blandford said his company envisages it can earn EUR160,000 in re-occurring revenues per year, within 12 months. He estimated the worldwide market for such services to be worth around EUR5 million to EUR7 million, and said the company plans to expand into 42 countries. Although the company failed to secure any of the prize funding, it has been invited back to the next Seedcamp event in December.

Don’t I sound official!

(Image Credit: David’s Flickr Stream)

“close, but no cigar” says Guardian

September 22, 2008

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Jemima Kiss from the Guardian interviewed us on the final day of Seedcamp. You should read the entire article on the Guardian site. Below is an excerpt about D4H…

Decisions for Heroes wasn’t selected for funding at the end of the week, but ByteSurgery founder Robin Blandford made it clear that the project is not dependent on that funding to go ahead. It’s a unique idea and one that polarised the Seedcamp crowd, said Blandford. “We save lives. We run a rescue team management application that helps rescue teams reduce their response times and help them make better decisions while they are on a rescue,” he explained.

The mountain rescue, coastguard and lifeboat teas around the british Isles organise their rescues through an ad hoc system of texts and phone calls. Decisions for Heroes coordinates that, so that if both the doctors on call register that they are offline for the next six hours, a warning message will be sent to the team leader. “We’ve gained a huge amount of confidence from meeting these guys,” said Blandford – himself a volunteer for the Irish Coast Guard. “We had an hour with Marten Mickos of MySQL and Andy McLoughlin from Huddle – to have people that senior say that they love your idea is a huge confidence builder.”

“The application has the element that the end user could be a charity or a publicly funded body, and that has polarised a lot of people about how big the potential market is. Some people saw the ision as much bigger, like Umair Haque – he said we should work with the Red Cross over in Asia so they can bring tranparency to disaster relief.”

It was noticeable that there didn’t seem to be anyone from UK Trade & Investment at the Seedcamp wrap-up session. Blandford said that if this had been in Ireland, he would have expected to see the equivalent people there. And he has a meeting today with Dublin’s Hothouse programme, which could offer Decisions office space, salary subsidies and more funding.

“I think there were some teams at Seedcamp who were reliant on winning to get funding, especially the ones that are a consumer play who needed who needed the promotion. But we’ve got revenue starting to come in the next six to eight weeks – we’re hoping to convert 30% of our trail users to pay accounts.’

Is Robin back in the office today? He’s on call. He might even be dangling down a cliff face on rope right now.

Please click through to see the article in its original context.

(Image Credit: Jemima Kiss, Guardian)

Seedcamp on Financial Times ( Video

September 17, 2008

LONDON, UK – You can now see Seedcamp on video. Worth watching to see some of the teams we’re working with.

Click here to watch.

Seedcamp On Reuters News

September 16, 2008

LONDON, UK – Decisions For Heroes is at Seedcamp for the week. Just a shout-out for my pals in Reuters, we had one of your cameras here for the day with Matt Cohen, Technology Correspondent. You can watch the video here.

*wonders if Irish press will pick up on our presence here?*


ByteSurgery In The Irish Times

April 1, 2008


SINGAPORE – I’ve been away travelling since this so thanks to James and Bernie for notifying me via their blogs.

I was subject of a Blogspot review by John Collins in the Irish Times. Not having a print copy and with the whirlwind of winning the Best Technology Blog at the ‘Irish Blog Awards’ I managed to miss taking in the significance of it. Some friends have suggested I document some of the quotes here for me to browse back on in the future.

“Blandford has proven to be a popular choice with his fellow bloggers. Possibly because he’s been based in London and Singapore for much of is blogging career–he is on a technical graduate employment scheme with Reuters–Blandford stands at a remove from the local blogging scene. As a result, he can bring a fresh viewpoint to issues that often are the subject of a cosy consensus at home.”

“Blandford also makes an effort with the appearance of his blog rather than relying on one of the minimal templates that have become de rigeur. He illustrates posts with pictures from his travels in southeast Asia and also recently overhauled the design of his blog with quirky headings and graphics.”

I’ve added it to the Media Coverage link on the right, which hasn’t see anything new for a long time.



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