Tom Coates

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For those of a similar name, see Thomas Coats (disambiguation).
Tom Coates (February 2006)
Tom Coates in 2007

Tom Coates (born 19 July 1972) is a technologist and early weblogger based in San Francisco, California who has been writing plasticbag.org since 1999. He has written extensively about social software, the web of data, location services and future media distribution and launched the Fire Eagle location service for Yahoo in 2008.

Coates was educated at the Norwich School, the University of Bristol and the London College of Printing. He worked at the BBC running an R&D team for BBC Radio, and before that he developed the geo-coded online community UpMyStreet Conversations.[1] He has also developed online communities for emap and was Production Editor of Time Out's website.[2] His professional written work includes film reviews for the BBC,[3] contributions to Time Out city guides and comment pieces on technology for The Guardian.[4]

From late 2005 until 14 May 2010 Coates worked for Yahoo!, initially for the Tech Development team with Caterina Fake, Jeremy Zawodny and Simon Willison.[5] and later as Head of Product for the Brickhouse product incubator.[6]

Coates' weblog has won a number of Bloggies including Best European Weblog (2001 and 2002),[7][8] Best Gay/Lesbian/Trans weblog (2001),[7] Best British or Irish Weblog (2004 and 2005)[9][10] Lifetime Achievement (2005).[10] He also runs the online subcultural community Barbelith - initially inspired by the work of comic book writer Grant Morrison.[11]

He is also on the advisory council of the Open Rights Group.

Coates co-organised the London Hack Day in June 2007 with help from Matthew Cashmore from backstage.bbc.co.uk.[12]

The Evening Standard named Coates as one of the Most Influential 1000 Londoners in October 2007 and again in October 2008.[13][14]

In March 2008, Coates launched the Fire Eagle location brokerage service for Yahoo! at ETech. The service was opened up to the general public on August 12, 2008. Despite being well regarded as a significant contribution to location sharing and online privacy, the service was generally unsuccessful. Tom Coates has since left Yahoo.

In January 2011 he was listed in Wired UK's Smart List 2011.[15]

He is an advisor for several start-ups including Lanyrd, the social conference directory created by Simon Willison and Natalie Downe.[16] and founder of Product Club, a company that bills itself as doing "New Product Development and Invention". Coates has wired his San Francisco house up to Twitter as an Internet of Things-style experiment.[17]

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