Speaker Spotlight: Michael Kowalski of Kitsite

With so many speakers on the line-up, we wanted to give you all a chance to get to know them a bit better. We’re not talking about their professional biographies, but more along the lines of what makes them tick, what they enjoy about the web industry, what they drink and even how messy their desks are.

We’re planning to give you an insight to one speaker each week, so where better place to start than with…

Michael Kowalski of Kitsite

Michael Kowalski of Kitsite

Q1. What did you want to be when you grew up? (ie. did you ever think you’d end up doing what you’re doing now)

A. Astronaut or writer. No, astronaut AND writer – the first space-poet. What I’m doing now didn’t really exist.

Q2. What’s a typical day in the working life of Michael?

A. 7am start, coffee, walk daughter to school, squeeze onto the tube, coffee at Monmouth in Borough Market (plug: best coffee in London), a reflective hour before the rest of the team straggle in, then a long surge of work/talk/IM/research/coffee/facebook/doodling/email (interrupted – on a good day – by a nap on the sofa) till 6, then home again, dinner, read bedtime story, bit more work till 11, open a bottle of wine with my girlfriend, crash some time after midnight.

I’m functionally a workaholic.

Q3. What’s the best thing about working in the web industry?

A. Terra incognita. There’s always a new frontier, not just in technology but also in ways of working.

Q4. And the worst?!

A. The democratising power of the web has given a voice to mass stupidity.

Q5. In terms of technologies, what do you think is really exciting right now that could have a big impact on the future of web apps?

A. Facebook Platform is an intriguing pointer to how application aggregation might finally work, if not quite there yet. The iPhone is interesting too.

Q6. Whose work do you admire?

A. I admire Steve Jobs, warts and all. I like his ruthless, even shark-like, perfectionism.

Q7. Messy desk or clean desk?


A. This is what it looks like this morning, but it’s not usually quite this messy. It’s a cyclic thing. There’s a framed portrait of JG Ballard hanging above my desk – a present from the Guardian. Visitors usually assume it’s my father, which I find weird.

Q8. Beer or wine?

A. Wine.

Q9. Mac or PC?

A. Mac. Got a PC too, but use it with gritted teeth.

Q10. Do you have a secret talent?

A. Yes. But everyone knows you should never give away your secret identity, unless it’s necessary to save the city or something.


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