Standing on the shoulders of giants

We are all shocked and saddened by the death of Aaron Swartz. Some of my colleagues at GDS were fortunate to have met him; others were involved in the many projects he worked on; all of us are in some way indebted to his legacy. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee said, ‘we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.’ Here in the UK, it inevitably brings back the pain six years ago of losing Chris Lightfoot, another brilliant and passionate polymath whose capabilities and achievements extended far beyond his years. Tom Loosemore, Etienne Pollard and I held a number of roles in e-democracy charity¬†mySociety, and saw at first hand how Chris drove its thinking to challenge Government and create services which have paved the way for our current attempts. Many of us in and around GDS have waited years to apply in Government the techniques and analysis that Chris and his colleagues pioneered outside of Government, and we are fully aware that the opportunity that we have been given is in part as a result of their work. Aaron and Chris were remarkable...

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