The DPA industry of shiteware

Since I left University the growth of the cloud has been unstoppable and while mostly it’s been a world of accessing anything anywhere and tracking my friends as they travel it’s also meant I’ve spent a lot of time using awful software.

I’ve had the fortune to work for companies that look after people’s data: first it was banking info and now it’s health information, but as the world gets increasingly knowing more and more of us in the UK (and, I assume, Europe) are being forced to use awfully designed software to get what we need to get done done and stick within the law.


The problem is that most of ‘the cloud’ floats above America, or more commonly, nowhere specific. Terms and conditions say things are kept in the UK, in the EU, perhaps and that’s a problem because it means that we can’t use what everyone else around the world does.

The law, well intentioned and very good at protecting our data, has created an industry that doesn’t seem to realise why it’s making money – or, in fact, that realises exactly why it doesn’t need to make software any better.

They chose the right bit of The Internet

We can’t use SurveyMonkey, MailChimp and countless other ‘best in class’ services because they store their data ‘somewhere’ – and that’s not good enough for our Data Protection Act.

So instead we’re forced to use SurveyWizard2000 and E-Email SenderPRO.

Randomly named semi-clone services, winning business from UK businesses not because they’re good or because they do anything particularly well but because they’re using the right bit of the Internet to store their stuff.

And until companies like MailChimp realise they’re losing out on business (if they haven’t already), or something complicated happens with the law here, we’re stuck with what we’ve got: acceptable clones that just get the job done.

So if you fancy a quick buck without an original idea, why not join the DPA industry of shiteware?

No bells, no whistles. Just a chance to invest little in development, a tiny bit in sales and the ability to charge 3 times what your nearest’cloudy’ competitor does.

Photograph by David Bleasdale.

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