Becoming part of Indie Phone

There’s some big changes around here. As of Monday, I am now working with Indie Phone for 50% of my working time.

What is Indie Phone?

Indie Phone is a huge, and very ambitious, project. We’re building a smart phone that allows you to own your own data. The majority of companies on the web have a simple, and potentially dangerous, business model. These companies give you services for free, and sell your data on to third parties to make their money (think Google, Facebook, Twitter).

This has opened our data up to a lot of potential abuse, including the government dragnet surveillance employed by the NSA and GCHQ (and other governments). For users aware of these problems, we can either choose to share our data, or be excluded from the majority of services (and social interactions) on the web. Worse still, the majority of general consumers on the web are unaware of these problems. There are loose, and often misleading, privacy settings on these services. Few people realise that they’re still sharing their data with the companies that own their services, and many other third parties. Even fewer people realise that their email and private messages are being stored, and potentially read and shared, with these services and third parties. To find out more about these issues, I really recommend watching Aral’s talk, ‘Free Is a Lie’, and watching ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply’.

Indie Phone aims to create a smart phone that isn’t just for the tech folk that want to take control over their data. We want to create experiences that combine hardware, software, and the cloud, as well as appealing to the everyday consumer. The fact that it’ll be open, and allows you to take control of your data, and choose what you want to be shared, is an essential bonus. It’s incredibly important that these tools are available to everybody. We don’t want to discriminate against those with less tech experience or knowledge.

There’s nothing like Indie Phone. There are a few fantastic companies and products working towards other indie technologies. Together we can try to make technology, and the web, more open and user-friendly.

What’s indie tech?

Data-hungry services have become the norm. Indie Technologies have sustainable business models and offer alternatives to these services. These alternative products need to be design-led and consumer-friendly so they can realistically compete in the consumer market. At Indie Phone, we’re spearheading indie tech, we want to be a great example to other indie technologies. We also have plans to help support and promote other indie tech projects.

Why work with Indie Phone when I love client work so much?

It’s been very trendy lately to switch from client work to a side project or product. A lot of designers and developers don’t enjoy client services. But I do. I really really love working with clients, and helping them achieve their goals. It’s similar to why I love Indie Phone. I like providing services to people who otherwise may not be able to create their own site or understand what would work for them on the web.

I’ve been Chief Sounding Board for the last 10 months, as Aral has researched, planned, brainstormed and agonised over Codename Prometheus and Indie Phone. It’s been his life for nearly a year, so in turn has been a huge part of my life. I have absolute faith in his ability to see it through. It’s been hard sitting on the sidelines, desperately wanting to help, but not being able to dedicate the time and money that a project of this size really needs.

After the sale of Aral’s family’s home in Ankara, we finally have funds to afford other people to work on the Indie Phone up to crowd funding. Money is still tight, we can’t afford me to work on Indie Phone 100% of the time, and this works for me. The money is far better spent on other valuable skills required to get us up-and-running.

What I do for Indie Phone

Design and web development. Web is my specialism, so the most expertise I can offer Indie Phone is in producing the websites, mini sites and other web-based materials. I also work on the branding and other general graphic design tasks. Sometimes I do some writing, and I do a lot of editing. All of my work is collaborative. Aral, Jo and I all review and critique each others’ work, and this is an exciting new experience for me!

What about the other 50% of my time?

I can still carry on the relationships I have with my existing clients, and take on a few new clients, with a decent amount of time to dedicate to client work. I love the variety of client work, and I really enjoy working with different people.

I want to work with other indie tech projects

I’ve always been picky with new projects, I only work with clients that I care about and projects that interest me. That’s how I do my best work. And lately, as I’ve been absolutely influenced by Indie Phone, I really care about the success of indie tech projects. Is your project design-led, free and open, and independent in line with the Indie Technology Manifesto? Then I’ve got a deal for you…

20% off for indie tech projects

I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I want to work on indie tech projects so much, that I will work for 20% less (on my hourly rate) for an indie tech project. This will be expensive for me, but I want to do more to help indie technologies.

What can I offer an indie tech project?

  • Design. I’m an all-round designer. With design-led projects, the majority of indie tech projects probably have a designer in place already, but I’m here for support and strategy.
  • Branding. From logos to typography to icons for your avatars, I can create your brand and show you how to use it effectively.
  • Web design. I love the web. If it’s working out the experience for your app, I can help you with design and front-end development. With marketing sites, I can promote your product with an end-to-end solution (copy to content management system, I can do all of that.)

If you’re interested in my 20% discount, please send me an email at me@laurakalbag.com.

It’s huge, but also not so huge

In some ways, this hasn’t changed much. I’m still working from home, as the Indie Phone office is currently occupying the largest room in our house. I’m still working on projects I love with people that I love. I’m very lucky :)

2 comments

  1. What a great idea Laura! I really hope it goes well for you. Having a side project that you’re passionate about can make your client work even better too I think. It’s having that freedom to do something where you can see your creativity bloom while making a difference that is great about side projects.

    Reply

  2. Ran

    Keep us posted on Indie Phone, sounds good.

    Reply

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