Visit Traction Software at E2 Boston 2013 this week to meet Traction Software partner Rosemary Vu, consultant to Biotech and Pharmaceutical firms. Rosemary will be with me to talk about her experience with practical and vital business applications using Traction TeamPage. Her experience is squarely in the Biotech space where she's used and extended TeamPage for a variety of critical up-the-chain reporting and risk management uses.
In his Jun 2, 2013 blog post, Chess Media analyst and author Jacob Morgan asks: How Open is Too Open? He asks "Would you be comfortable working in an all glass building where people can see everything you do and every move you make?" Jacob outlines the benefits of transparency: "Keep everyone on the same page; Build trust and fostering better relationships; Allow employees (and customers) to contribute ideas and value when they see the opportunity to do so." Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, but not being transparent enough may do more harm than good. He ask: "How open is too open?" I agree with the benefits Jacob outlines, and believe the answer to Jacob's question depends on the answer to a critical question: "Transparency for what purpose?" I'll start the ball rolling in with this post, including some real-life customer examples.
In Co.Design May 24, 2013 Peter Morrison of Jump Associates writes The Future of Technology isn't Mobile, it's Contextual. He says that the way we respond to the world around is based on situational awareness."The way we respond to the world around us is so seamless that it’s almost unconscious. Our senses pull in a multitude of information, contrast it to past experience and personality traits, and present us with a set of options for how to act or react. Then, it selects and acts upon the preferred path. This process--our fundamental ability to interpret and act on the situations in which we find ourselves--has barely evolved since we were sublingual primates living on the Veldt.
How well you work with your colleagues, online and off, will make the difference when trying to win the next deal, design the next product or craft the next winning strategy. Consider how important people are to process and how social collaboration (versus some pre-ordained workflow) is the barrier to or the enabler of successful outcomes. We see immense value when people document their knowledge, streamline their communication and track actions to completion in TeamPage. We hope you can join us to see TeamPage and learn from the leading analysts and practitioners at E2 Boston June 17 through 19.
The Manhattan Project, Atlas and Polaris projects cited as roots for traditional phased stage-gate Project Management didn't use that model; new high innovation projects shouldn't either. Think Agile that Scales. A fascinating 2009 paper by Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch of INSEAD, cited on Twitter by Glen B. Alleman who calls it "breathtaking".
Stan Przybylinski - @smprezbo - of CIM Data advised an audience at Social PLM 2012 on inevitable social side of product lifecycle management. In the talk (video on YouTube here), he identifies companies including Traction Software (Minute 9:06) whose platforms are being used by product teams for everything from building requirements, to managing risks and simply discussing product issues.
Bill Ives, @billives, points to Nathan Eddy's eWeek column titled Businesses Still Reliant on Email as Social Media Use Grows. The column reminds us that Email is still the dominant go-to application of choice and that's not changing any time soon. Rather than run away from email habits, social software in the enterprise has to embrace it. Back in 2004, I gave a presentation at the INBOX conference advocating for the use of Email as an on-ramp for collaboration and an off-ramp for notification.
As we've put more attention to our cloud hosting (see Traction Software and Traction Software Japan) with free trials and an increasing hosted customer base, I'm seeing first hand how the customer relationship can become much closer, more interactive and more informed. In the last 24 hours, I was able to quickly help:
I gave the following presentation at the first ever meeting of the Boston Chapter of the Knowledge Management Association today. As this was a first meeting, I thought I'd raise the issue that "managing knowledge" is about as daunting a task as "herding cats."
Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. This year I've chosen to write about Suni Williams, NASA Astronaut and US Navy Captain currently commanding Expedition 33 on the International Space Station. I hope young women reading about Ada Lovelace Day now are encouraged by her example to pursue their dreams where ever they may lead - here on Earth or as the first Earthling to set foot on Mars.
We're working on new features for the next release of TeamPage that allow people to create events on a calendar. For the edit event dialog, we needed date and time pickers that allow people across different time zones to edit the dates and times of events. We ended up creating new GWT controls and adding them to our open source gwt-traction library .
"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow." - Neil Armstrong, The Engineered Century.I was sad to hear about the death of Neil Armstrong on 25 August 2012. I'll always remember meeting Armstrong at an event for high school science students in the spring of 1966. He'll be remembered forever as the first person to set foot on the Moon on 29 July 1969. He coolly navigated the lunar lander to the surface despite computer alarms, avoiding rocks at the planned site, and landing with gauges showing about 20 seconds of fuel left. But that wasn't his only close call as an astronaut. In March 1966 Armstrong and David Scott successfully returned Gemini VIII to earth after a runaway thruster spun the Gemini and attached Agena target vehicle to a roll rate of about 300 degrees per second, making chances of recovery "very remote".
It's common to read about corporate culture as a big barrier to successful adoption and use of social software in business. It's easy to understand people's reluctance to change and adopt a new way of working. There are many good reasons to be wary of the promised benefits of change if you don't have relevant direct experience ("I've used this and it works"), clear examples, trust in your organization, and trust in your leadership. Books like Jacob Morgan's new The Collaborative Organization offer great practical guidance, examples, and answers to important questions. However, most social business advice makes a common and good-natured assumption that your organization is healthy - or at least has good intentions - but is just hard to convince. That's not always true.
"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed,"writes New York Times columnist Nick Bilton - not pictured on right - in his July 8, 2012 Bits column, Disruptions: Life's Too Short for So Much Email. He's cranky just because he received 6,000 emails this month, not including spam and daily deals. Nick says: "With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace."
I've read an advance copy of Jacob Morgan's upcoming book, The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social and Collaborative Tools. I'm very happy that we decided to give Enterprise 2.0 Boston folk a chance to meet Jacob and get their own free, signed copy at Traction Software Booth 418 next week. Jacob says: "The purpose of this book is to act as a guide for executives, decision makers, and those involved with collaborative initiatives at their organizations". I believe he hits the mark with a book of lasting value, as do reviewers including Vivek Kundra, former Chief Information Officer of the United States; Erik Brynjolf, MIT Center for Digital Business Director, and others.
Free copies are limited. I'll post rules for an online Enterprise 2.0 Twitter quiz you can use to put yourself first in line for a copy. You must show up in person to claim a book, but the Twitter quiz should be fun too!
I really like how Kashya Kompella from the Real Story Group offered a great dose of context for his E2.0 Marketplace Analysis Q2 2012: "Slightly modifying what the ancient Greeks said, you cannot dip your finger twice in the same (activity) stream." Simply said, there is not a lot of room for risk when an enterprise makes an attempt at an E2.0 effort, whether they are trying to build knowledge in a wiki, approach project management from a perspective managers actually like, or wrap up the whole effort with blogs, discussion, and a social networking layer on top.
Thanks to Jacob Morgan, Chess Media Group for his Tweet this afternoon while we were chatting on the phone. Last October Jacob reviewed Traction TeamPage in his Emergent Collaboration Vendor series, and liked what he saw, including TeamPage pricing. He said: "I had the pricing explained to me so I understand it but I think it would be helpful if they made it easier to understand for all site visitors because it really does make sense." We agree on both points! In updating the Buy page, Chris Nuzum used Apple Store product configuration pages as benchmarks for clarity and ease of use.
From Nora Ephron speaking at Brown University, President's Lecture series, "Adventures in Screenwriting" April 24, 1997. Paraphrased notes by Greg Lloyd: I took my first journalism course in high school. The fellow who taught it left after two years and opened a hardware store in LA. I think I was the only person he taught who went on to work as a journalist.
At the Enterprise 2.0conference two weeks ago, Tony Byrne (President, the Real Story Group) and Rob Koplowitz (VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research) were joined for the SharePoint Analyst Panel. David Carr's Information Week column Does SharePoint Have Future As A Social Platform frames the debate as lopsided with a simple conclusion: No.
Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. I've chosen to write about Betts Wald who was a branch chief in the Communications Science division of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) when I first met her. I joined NRL in 1974 as my first real job - after serving in the US Army when I was drafted as a graduate student at Brown. It was a great experience. NRL was full of wildly talented, energetic and brilliant managers who knew how to get impossible things done in engineering and government, and taught that skill to their teams. Betts was one of the best: leading and inspiring her team, running interference, providing just enough technical guidance (i.e. to avoid permanent damage) while constantly encouraging and developing her team's talents. Women in science and technology should be encouraged to consider career paths as leaders as well as individual contributors: Betts is a great role model. Although I never heard Betts shout: "To the difference engine!", except for the pipe it would be in character. And I'm not certain about the pipe.
Hat tip to Professor +Andrew McAfee for pointing out Do Happier People Work Harder? my nomination for Required Reading of the Day (#RRD). Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer an independent researcher wrote a great New York Times Labor Day opinion column. They cite sobering results from a Gallup-Healthways poll of 1,000 adults every day since Jan 2008: "People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations and detached from what they do." They also suggest that the problem is manageable - by what I would define as great enterprises.
I enjoyed reading Dion Hincliffe's Putting Social Business to Work and G+ discussion led by Luis Suarez on Laurie Buczek's The Big Failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business. I agree that top down - and isolated - Social Business parallels the faults of top down - and isolated - Knowledge Management. I like Laurie's analysis and recommendations, including her top level: "Make social tools part of the collaborative workflow." This is good for both social business and knowledge management. The question is: how to extend the fabric of work?
On Aug 5, 2011, Andrew McAfee opened a public discussion on Google+ by sharing How Apple (unintentionally) revolutionized corporate IT by Aaron Levie. McAfee commented "Story from CNNMoney about how Apple is unintentionally revolutionizing corporate IT. About time, too." and asked "Does anyone doubt that the Cloud + mobile + social + new devices is going to have a huge impact on corporate technology infrastructures and costs within the next 5-10 years?" Off to the races...
Like many people in the tech industry, I've been happily exploring and enjoying Google+ for the past week or so (thank you Susan Scrupski for the early invitation). I like the Google+ bar, polished integration with Google Profiles, Photos, and Video, as well as the new Huddle and Hangout capabilities. And I'm looking forward to Google+ integrated Search.
Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner Group presented great slides and hosted an excellent webinar on July 7, 2011 based on his research and experience. Free registration gives public access to a recording of the Webinar and a copy of Larry's slides - at least for a few days (after than please check Gartner Webinar Archives). Please register and learn! Larry will also be leading sessions at Gartner Catalyst Conference 2011 San Diego, July 26-29. Larry's framework is very crisply stated, general and useful. The 65 slides include very helpful diagrams, examples, scorecard decision aids, and more. These are just top level points from my notes.
See the lively McKinsey & Company What Matters debate, Tyler Cowen: "Yes. The big gains in the 20th century resulted from transformative innovations that are much rarer today." versus Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson: "No. We’ve only just begun to reap the productivity benefits of digital technology." Read the analysis, lively comments, and jump in! My two cents (also posted as What Matters comment): I agree with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson's analysis that digital technology - including but not limited to the Web, communications and computer technology - is a GPT that "leads to fundamental changes in the production process of those using the new invention." and whose impact on productivity will be felt over decades, not years.
There's been a lot of Web and Twitter discussion about the value of activity streams to promote broad awareness versus the potential problem of showing too much information and having important signals get lost in the flow. I believe that the best solution is to allow people to selectively zoom into activity streams, status and discussions - clipped by space, project, person or milestone - to focus on any particular activity in context. To focus more precisely, click a watch button to get notification when anything is added, changed, or discussed in a context you want to monitor carefully.
Euan Semple's Literate Business post of May 4, 2011 is well worth reading. In preparing to write his book, Euan noted "There's something wrong with the names we use for social web tools in business... whether Enterprise 2.0, Social business or whatever."
In our own Customer Forum, Rolf Isaksen (click here for blog's main page) recently asked: "Why do we need incentives to share?" Some of the follow-on conversation converged on "we don't" with some good pointer to experience and research supporting that premise. Rather, focusing on intrinsic motivation rather than rewards can net greater benefit and long lasting E2.0 success.
We've been using the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) for about 2 years and have also gone to the past 2 years of Google I/O. It's been a fun and useful conference and there was no question we were going to go again this year.
The Computer History Museum's This Day In History March 11 reminded me that today is the birthday of Vannevar Bush (born March 11, 1890), a distinguished educator, engineer, Vice President and Dean of MIT, and President of the Carnegie Institution. As World War II Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush managed all US wartime research, reporting directly to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After the War he was instrumental in creation of the National Science Foundation. Bush is also known as the author of a famous July 1945 Atlantic Monthly essay As We May Think, where he described a possible "new relationship between the thinking man and the sum of our knowledge" including the Memex - a literary machine which inspired the invention of hypertext twenty years later - and indirectly lead to creation of the Web. See the video archive of the MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think for a great collection of talks by Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay, and others inspired by Bush and and his work.
Yesterday I read GigaOM analyst and editor Haydn Shaughnessy's Future of Work Platforms report (registration required, free seven day trial available). I commented: Haydn -- A very thoughtful and useful analysis – a combination that’s all too rare! I’m particularly happy to see your thoughts on observable work (see the full report for Haydn's excellent analysis).
Ever since Jon Udell coined the term, it struck me as good way to talk about practical benefits and a business purpose for collaboration. In my opinion it helps by pealing back issues of privacy in context and activity streams, along with subtleties required to support the social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you without getting swamped. This is much closer to jazz than the world of canned business transactions. It requires a level of attention to ease of use and user experience that’s just as important but in many ways more challenging to do well in a business context than for the public Web.
Our long-time Japanese reseller partner Applied Knowledge Co Ltd has done a great job bringing Traction TeamPage to the Japanese market. They are an excellent sales and consulting partner for Japanese market customers. AKJ also has deep experience applying Enterprise 2.0 principles, the Traction TeamPage SDK, Japanese Language localization of the TeamPage interface, and Japanese advanced linguistics and faceted navigation capabilities of Traction's Attivio powered Advanced Search.
In my role as an emergineer, I talk a lot about best practices and how they can be leveraged in a given customer deployment. One practice that works in any sphere from email to social software and journalism is to write a good headline.
TUG 2010 Newport just wrapped up after four busy and enjoyable days. It's hard to express how grateful I am to the customers, partners, friends - and the Traction Software team - who made this such an enjoyable event. First I'd like to thank keynote speakers Jim McGee, Chris Nuzum, Jon Udell as well as customers, friends and partners whose thoughtful talks and enthusiasm made Wednesday's sessions so rewarding.
A few days ago the Enterprise 2.0 Blog published Venkatesh Rao's excellent post The Real Reasons Enterprise Search is Broken. When he hears ironic jokes comparing search on the public Web versus internal enterprise search, Venkatesh notes: "People move on because they seem to think that this is incompetence at work. Search is soo 1.0 right? It's been solved and we're just fumbling the execution, right?" He says: "I have reached a radical conclusion: broken search is the problem, but fixing search is not the solution. Search breaks behind the firewall for social, not technical reasons...Let's start with the blindingly obvious, and then draw some weird conclusions." I think they are perceptive conclusions based on sound analysis, and agree with most, but come at the problem from a different angle.
To be continued Jim, Brian, John, Mary, Jack, Paula, Mark, Gordon, Rawn, Jose, JP, Tom, Deb and the rest of the World - over to you. The best way to follow the evolution of the Observable Work trail is Twitter's #OWork tag. All of the participant's seem to use Twitter as a commons linking posts that either directly respond to the Observable Work conversation, or are related in some interesting way, such as Tom Peter's Strategy: Space Matters ("who sits next to whom in your office can make a huge difference"), JP Rangaswami's Musing about learning by doing, Deb Lavoy's Common Operating Picture - share facts, debate possibilities, John Tropea's link to Keith Swanson's excellent slide set, and John's soon-to-be-published post on Adaptive Case Management.
Unfortunately neither Twitter nor Google's hash tag search seems complete and reliable. So far as I can tell not all Tweets mentioning are found by either service. There's room for improvement on the public Web as well as the Enterprise 2.0 domain.
I really like Jim McGee's Jun 23 blog post Managing the visibility of knowledge work. Jim makes the excellent point that "Invisibility is an accidental and little-recognized characteristic of digital knowledge work." and points back to his 2002 post Knowledge Work as Craft Work to reflect on what Jim calls a "dangerous tension between industrial frameworks and knowledge work as craft work". Early in his 2002 post he says:
I believe that principles of open, observable work – like open book financial reporting to employees - is a simple and powerful principle that people at every level of an organization can become comfortable using. In my opinion, wider adoption of observable work principles can succeed with support and encouragement from true leaders at every level of an organization - as Peter Drucker defines that role: "A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates."
While building our new GWT-based Proteus skin for Traction TeamPage 5.0, we created some widgets and utilities that we thought other developers would find useful. Most of these are pretty simple, but we hope they save other GWT developers some time. As we factor out code that can be shared with others, we'll add more to this gwt-traction Google community project.
Since introducing the idea of Social Process Reengineering? earlier this week I've socialized it virtually and personally (at E2.0 Boston) with at least a dozen customers, bloggers, analysts and other leading thinkers.
Consensus on the concept was generally positive with a variety of feedback ranging from the matter that the "facebook" approach doesn't just work in the enterprise to the matter that the social, structural and business pain have to be taken into account for successful E2.0 efforts.
On Tuesday June 15, 2010 we'll introduce Traction TeamPage Release 5.0 to the world at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. TeamPage Release 5.0's new generation Proteus interface technology is fast, simple, and looks great. TeamPage 5.0 leverages this technology to add extensible personal profile pages, Twitter style personal status, group live blog technology, slick and simple Feed summary and more as a natural part of Traction's award winning Enterprise 2.0 platform.
As much as I hesitate to introduce this term into social software lingo, I think it's exactly what Enterprises are doing with social software on the road to Enterprise 2.0 - striving for a fundamentally new way to work.
I talked to two customers yesterday, both who came to me with some questions about attaching and linking to excel files.Easy enough, but before responding with a simple answer I challenged them: Why are you using Excel?
For the second annual Ada Lovelace Day, March 24, 2010 - celebrating women in science and technology - I've chosen to write about Frances E. Allen, IBM Fellow, Turing Award winner and pioneer in the theory and practice of optimizing compilers. I've never had the honor of meeting her in person, but I'll take the liberty of calling her as "Fran", as she's referred to by everyone I've met who personally knows her and her work.
Professor Andrew McAfee posted a very good business analysis of points made by Garry Kasparov in his Feb 11, 2010 New York Review of Books article on Diego Rasskin-Gutman's book Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind. Kasparov's summarized of his own thoughts as a Chess Grandmaster and world chess champion playing against - and losing to - IBM's Deep Blue chess computer. But the interesting part comes when Kasparov talks about a recent match open to grandmasters who were allowed to use computer chess programs of their choice to augment their own chess skills: "The surprise came at the conclusion of the event. The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time." McAfee quotes Kasparov and continues:
"DOUG Engelbart sat under a twenty-two-foot-high video screen, "dealing lighting with both hands." At least that's the way it seemed to Chuck Thacker, a young Xerox PARC computer designer who was later shown a video of the demonstration that changed the course of the computer world." from What the Dormouse Said, John Markoff
Oliver Marks wrote a very good post: Facebook: The Legal Rumblings Start Dec 17, 2009, on the Facebook's potential legal exposure due to its controversial changes to member privacy capabilities and settings. My comment: Oliver -- Very good followup on Facebook's awkward (to put it mildly) changes to selective privacy capabilities which were a large part of their differentiation vs Friendster and MySpace.
With over 70 million folk apparently hooked on "social" games like Farmville, targeted ads that seem to belong on late night TV, and incredibly lame attempts to nag folk get their friends to use Facebook more (giving "viral" a new and flu like meaning), I see Facebook becoming a downscale carnival midway more than a neighborhood. They certainly have a right to do that.
Originally I thought the equally lame and manipulative privacy changes would just contribute to the downmarket feel of the place.
But as you point out - EU privacy laws may land them in legal entanglements too.
Facebook is becoming a bad example rather than a good example for use of social software in the enterprise - or anywhere for that matter. Look out below!
I'm flattered that Professor Andrew McAfee cites Enterprise 2.0 Schism in his Nov 20, 2009 blog post Enterprise 2.0 is Not THAT Big a Deal, kicking off a neat discussion on serious points behind my tongue in cheek analysis. McAfee agrees that Enterprise 2.0 is a big deal - but "... I don't see E2.0's tools, approaches, and philosophies making obsolete managers, hierarchies, org charts and formal cross functional business processes". There's no need to use a 2.0 version for the Enterprise, but:
Earlier this week Oliver Marks wrote an excellent post on his Collaboration 2.0 Blog: 'The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer' - Peter Drucker Centenary. Oliver celebrates the Nov 19, 2009 Centenary of Peter Drucker's birth with two of his favorite Drucker bumper sticker quotes: " ‘Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes‘ and ‘There is an enormous number of managers who have retired on the job‘, which somehow seem to fit together very well." then uses these quotes as context to discuss the disturbing findings of the 2009 Shift Index report and followup analysis by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davidson of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation. Please read Oliver's full post - you'll like it. Oliver was also used kind words to build on my earlier Enterprise 2.0 Schism post. Here's a slightly extended version of the comment I posted in reply, along with my two favorite Drucker bumper sticker quotes and several links to celebrate Drucker's birth and life.
I have to confess that I've enjoyed watching recent rounds of Enterprise 2.0 discussion and mud wrestling. The fact that so many people enjoy debating definitions, values, doctrinal principals - even the existence of Enterprise 2.0 - makes me think that E2.0 might best be framed as a religious debate. With that in mind, I'd like to introduce a new and exciting element: schism.
Update 6 Jun 2013: In the original version of this post I used Strict Technarian to refer to those who believe there is a purely technical - specifically Web or Internet - solution to every problem. Since then the term solutionist has gained popularity, generally through the acerbic criticism of Evgeny Morozov. I switched the awkward Technarian to Solutionist.
I'd like to thank all of the Traction customers, partners and friends who traveled to Providence last month to make TUG 2009 Providence as enjoyable as it was enlightening. Special thanks to keynote speakers Carmen Medina, Chris Nuzum, Stewart Mader and all of the customers and partners who participated in the Oct 14 Main event. And my personal thanks to everyone on the Traction Software team who worked so hard to bring TeamPage R4.2, the Oracle RDB backend, Attivo Advance Search, and the Proteus Google Web Tookit (GWT) UI to life. I don't know what we'll do to top TUG 2009 next year - but TUG members provides some excellent ideas! See TUG 2009 Providence | Keynotes by Carmen Medina, Chris Nuzum and Stewart Mader for links to TUG videos, slide shows, interviews, tech talks and more, along with how become a TUG member and join the conversation. TUG registration is free and open to the public.
You may have noticed a slow down in blog posts by Jordan and myself, and attributed that to our work for TUG 2009 Providence last week, and you'd be partially right (but it was fun - as you'll learn). You can also blame our slower blog posting to time spent on Twitter, both as individuals: @roundtrip (Greg Lloyd) and @jordanfrank and using the Traction Software corporate feed @tractionteam (which broadcasts the title and a shortened link to new content posted on TractionSoftware…. as well as original tweets).
Enterprise 2.0 Social Software is appealing for many reasons, but a core value is the facilitation of emergence. Many in our community may quibble with McAfee's definition of Enterprise 2.0 but I think all will agree that the need to support emergence is a key trait. However, an emergent discussion shines a light on the interacting role of structure and emergence.
On April 17, 2008 Professor Andy van Dam of Brown University delivered the keynote address of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2009 Tokyo. Andy's title is a play on Vannevar Bush's July 1945 essay As We May Think.As We May Think inspired creation of pioneering hypertext systems by Andy, Ted Nelson, Doug Engelbart and others, leading to Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web. The creators of these hypertext systems originally envisioned an environment where individuals could write, link, comment on and share what they wrote as well as search and read what others had written - core capabilities of what we now call social software for the public Web or an Enterprise. Andy's keynote is a personal history, and a vision of how the Web provides a new context for work as well as public communication, socialization, commerce, scholarship and entertainment. For the full slide set see As We May Work (.ppt 8.8MB), posted here with Andy's permission.
Glen Alleman at Herding Cats offers really nice distinctions in Risks and Issues Are Not The Same. In the course of working with a lot of teams as they deploy TeamPage as a project wiki, I've seen a wide range of terms for project artifacts. The more these concepts are discussed and hashed out, the better.
At our market launch in 2002, I recall all kinds of skepticism passing off the wiki and blog markets as a fad. Today, with a complete social software platform and the most robust wiki framework on the market, we are skiing on Gartner's Slope of Enlightenment. Gartner reports that Social Software suites are headed for the trough of disillusionment (a good and necessary transition before hitting the slope of enlightenment), though our customer case studies show little illusion about the tangible and necessary business value delivered by Traction TeamPage.» Read Gartner's press release and ReadWriteWeb's report.ReadWriteWeb's writeup.
I found Tom Davenport's discussion of Why 1.5 is Greater than 2.0 by way of Bill Ives in Mixing Old and New School Communication. Davenport talks about the social reasons in favor of a blend between social and traditional approaches. I think an answer to How 1.5, in this context, is Greater than 2.0 is both social and structural.
Gil Yehuda wrote a very good post today Enterprise 2.0 Thoughts to end the week. He talks about Enterprise 2.0 maturity, second wave adoption, focus on work, and levels of the conversation. It's a great post you should read in full and reflect on. One particular point caught my attention; Gil says: "...having a wiki, forum, blogs, etc. on the intranet and using a wiki, forum, blog effectively to improve the transparency and productivity of collaboration are very different indicators of progress."
May 12, 2009 5:38pm rotkapchen Great explanation: Traction Director of Engineering Andy Keller tells why Traction's chose GWT (Google Web Toolkit) for TeamPage's new interaction layer. View video inline below or youtube.com/watch…
This conversation started with Stewart Mader and continues with Bill Ives. While most of our customers run the easy installer and are up and running readily, many benefit from our front end advice as well as more formal professional services engagements. This exchange offers two simple benefits that are strategic to the customers and to the software producer (and, in turn, to the customers).
Last fall, I pointed out an issue of trust as part and parcel of Web 2.0 security (See What Web 2.0 and E2.0 Security Means to Me). When we accept social services like Facebook and Twitter as Two of Three Places for People, we entrust them to manage our data securely, to keep consistent terms (i.e. they don't suck us in and then suck us dry by starting to charge for basic services), and to be there when we need them. Today, I felt muzzled as I was touched by the uptime issue. I got this "over capacity" memo when I went to Tweet an answer to Dave Lamp's Question. I've received the "over capacity" messages several times and will continue, for now, to trust they'll iron things out over at Twitter HQ.
I took a long needed vacation last week and came back to the usual firestorm of post-vacation pile-up that makes one pause before entertaining the idea of another break. Anyhow, after meeting a few high priority deadlines, I had time this afternoon to review everything posted to our TeamPage server in the last 2 weeks.
For this first Ada Lovelace Day I've chosen to write about Professor Lee Sproull an internationally-recognized sociologist whose research centers on the implications of computer-based communication technologies for managers, organizations, communities, and society. Professor Sproull is a pioneer and visionary in the rigorous study of what we now call social software.
Last week a friend who just signed up on Twitter said: "... just like Jon Stewart, I can't figure out how it works or why anyone would want to tweet or get anyone else's twitter. I had no idea what grunt and stalker is but I am assuming that is reality too. I put this all in the pocket with second life (stupid bulky awkward and totally useless)." So I reluctantly joined the crowd attempting to explain why people who have a job and have a life might be interested in Twitter. I decided to describe Twitter as one of three distinct places on the Web where I socialize every day: the public commons. The others two are my neighborhood and my workplace.
I'll call this the "I just picked up more cat food" and beyond use - and yes I believe than many people do have friends and family from whom a stream of these tiny updates is enjoyable and valuable even when the content is as mundane as the dullest blog in the world. Tweets are very short and don't demand a lot of attention. The background chatter of friends or family - like the chatter of children playing - is comforting, enjoyable and entertaining especially when you're physically separated. You should note that Twitter currently allows you to either make your account public (anyone can read) or private (only followers you OK can read what you tweet) so using Twitter for private "friends and family only" tweets become awkward at best and precludes use of the same account for public conversation on Twitter.
Facebook: To me this place is a neighborhood where you can choose your own friends and neighbors. I use Facebook mainly for informal friend, family, alumni keep in touch posts and links. Because Facebook friending automatically builds a two-way follows relationship versus Twitter's one-way user model, it's easy to build and maintain a neighborly feel by default. I enjoy status updates and posts (like tweets with structure for videos, web links and Facebook apps) from "friends" and keep my posts open to members of my college's Facebook Network. The Facebook posts I write and read are generally for smile value or status updates that would only be of interest to folks who know one another and find the chatter comforting rather than noise. Although it's possible to turn down the volume of posts from folk who tend to update a lot, signal to noise is not really a problem with a neighborhood of tens to hundreds of folk. Just like in real life you know how to act and what to expect in your Facebook neighborhood.
See Kuka Systems for an excellent TeamPage story Jordan wrote in cooperation with this Traction TeamPage customer.KUKA is one of the world's leading suppliers of robotics as well as plant and systems engineering and has been in the automation technologies business since 1898. They build robotics systems for factory automation and are a leading worldwide supplier of assembly and welding systems, and other related machinery, servicing the automobile, aerospace and energy industries.
Chris Nuzum and I had a chance to speak to the Providence Geeks about what we've done with Traction TeamPage and how "Pages are Crushing Documents." I do a history of our company and transition into a history of communication and collaboration that runs the course from stone tablets to books through email and documents and finally culminates in wikis and blogs. Now that wikis and blogs are becoming the new currency of collaboration and communication, my presentation focuses on how "packaging matters" with particular focus on the ways pages can be re-used and distributed in ways that can improve communication performance and enable innovation like we've never seen it before. Caught on "film" are my talk followed by a video podcast interview.
Matt Hodgson's the ROI of Being Social at Work points to recent MIT research suggesting 40% of productivity for creative teams is a direct result of communication and employees with the most extensive digital networks are 7% more productive.
In tough economic times organizations are faced with hard budgeting choices as they weigh the cost and benefit of investing in durable goods, people, marketing and software. Here are some reasons why software should be at the top of the list:
So, if you are trying to figure out how to put together your 2009 budgets, consider software. And if a track record of technology leadership is any indicator, get Traction.
If you haven't been paying attention to this week's flap on Facebook's revised terms of service - posted three days ago and retracted today - Andrew Lavelle of the Wall Street Journal published a good recap today. The controversy relates to what rights does Facebook get to content that an individual Facebook user posts? There are a lot of good arguments about what rights people think Facebook should be able to retain, but there's a second level of discussion that relates to how people expect Facebook privacy settings to work, and how these expectations make it difficult to craft an agreement that seems fair, makes sense, and corresponds to what Facebook actually implements and enforces.
I read Monday's version as a promise to track sharing rules based on Facebook privacy settings as you may change them over time. If so, it looks like developers who use the Facebook API need to reference the current value of per user privacy settings that are authoritatively maintained by the Facebook platform. Not a bad position for Facebook as the gatekeeper for all runtime access - but not easy to craft an agreement that “make sense”, is broad enough to protect Facebook, matches what they actually implement, and can be enforced on their Facebook API developers who also need access to user content.
We've seen our US Government and state level customers seek out and achieve great success as they make their own migrations to "2.0" style collaboration with TeamPage. While "grasss roots" action at the agency level is encouraging, top down involvement and mandates tend to accelerate the proces. With Obama's Transparency and Open Government mandate, perhaps we have it!
I like what Seth Godin says in What are you good at? Where he talks about the distinction between content (domain expertise) and process (emotional intelligence skills you have for managing projects, visualizing success, dealing with priorities and so on).
One more data point in line of my Whither Web 2.0 Social Networking Discussion which questions the revenue models of web services (with web social networking as a focal point): An on-line service the scale and scope of Microsoft's Online Services is running into red ink of proportional scale. It lost $471 Million per last quarter. The clear and present issue is not whether a profit may be turned at some even-large scale, but what will change about the business model and how will that affect users?
John Markoff wrote a really good Jan 11 2009 New York Times profile, In Venting, a Computer Visionary Educates on Ted Nelson and his new book,Geeks Bearing Gifts: How the Computer World Got This Way (available on Lulu.com). Markoff notes that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, but: "Lost in the process was Mr. Nelson’s two-way link concept that simultaneously pointed to the content in any two connected documents, protecting, he has argued in vain, the original intellectual lineage of any object... His two-way links might have avoided the Web’s tornado-like destruction of the economic value of the printed word, he has contended, by incorporating a system of micropayments."
I was one of the skeptics who thought that the World Wide Web with its fragile one-way links would never take off as a global hypertext platform. Classic hypertext systems (from HES and Augment though Xanadu, Plato, Intermedia, Lotus Notes, and Dynatext) went to great lengths to preserve the integrity of links, relationships, and content.
By moving communication and knowledge exchange to web pages, social software breaks down the walls that traditionally divide e-mail communication and traditional folder based document sharing. As discussed at the conclusion of So, What About Enterprise Social Networking?, this style of interacting online opens avenues for content enrichment and exploitation.
Last week's post, Wither Web 2.0 Social Networking? and My 2 Cents., offers my perspective on the murky future of web facing personal social networking, as well as a recipe for its survival. The Enterprise Social Networking market, meanwhile, is growing up more steadily in the wake of its Web 2.0 sibling and, despite some commonalities, faces a different value equation, use cases and market forces.
Michael Fitzgerald's MIT Tech Review column Are Social Networks Sinking? summarizes the inevitable deflation (though not all-out devastation) of the Web 2.0 Social Networking market (not to be mixed with the Enterprise 2.0 market - which is growing more steadily in-the-wake-of, rather than in-step-with, the Web 2.0 market) bubble.
On Dec 9, 1968 Doug Engelbart stepped onto a stage in front of about 2,000 people. He adjusted his headset and sat down before his mouse, chord key set, and twenty-two foot TV projection screen. His NLS/Augment system prefigured the Web, shared screen teleconferencing, much of what we know as hypertext, in what's often called the Mother of All Demos.Read this authorized clip from John Markoff's excellent book What the Dormouse Said or see the video of the Demo.
I hope SRI or Stanford will post a video of the event. It's awfully ironic that the birth of interactive hypertext collaboration will be celebrated by a Stanford paid admission event with no live Web broadcast or promise of a public record video.
There seem to be conflicting views on what kinds of IT applications and vendors will get hit the hardest in an economic downturn. Will it be point applications like Wikis and Blogs, or Enterprise 2.0 Suites? Or will it be big ticket collaboration platforms from vendors like Microsoft, OpenText and Documentum?
from Michael Angeles, Traction Software Director of User Experience: Live Blog is a new plug-in for TeamPage 4.0. The new Live Blog interface works like Twitter or IM. It creates an automatically updating browser window you can park on your desktop (or iPhone). You type a brief note and everyone with access to that Live Blog sees their window update in seconds. But unlike Twitter or IM, Live Blog is backed by Traction's TeamPage platform that provides scalable storage, security, integrated search and all of the other capabilities that make TeamPage the leading best platform for Enterprise 2.0. For a video introduction see below. If you don't have Traction yet, remember that Traction is free for up to five project spaces and five users.Get a free Traction TeamPage/5 license and start Live Blogging now!
We're happy to announce that 2008 marks the sixth year of consecutive revenue and customer growth at Traction Software. With the support of our growing customer base, thousands of TeamPage deployments, and a product that consistently earns reviews that put TeamPage at the top of the pack, we're able to continue our product and market leadership despite challenging economic times for competitors who charge more and deliver less.
Since TeamPage 4.0 was released in June 2008 we're happy to report that reviewers and customers have consistently applauded the innovation TeamPage 4.0 brings to the market. When you want to be able to use wiki-style collaboration on products, plans and projects - as well as free-form encyclopedia pages - it quickly becomes obvious that you need to be able to distinguish between the 'latest stable version' of a constellation of pages and the 'work in progress cloud' created through collaborative editing.
E2.0 technologies must manage a delicate balance between collaborative freedoms they promise with the security, dependability and audit trail requirements that any enterprise has to have to let them in the door.
At the age of 12 (or so), I tried board-sailing and totally failed. I had no sense for how the mechanics of the sail and the wind worked together to point my board in any given direction. Then I got in a sailboat which, for whatever combination of reasons, made sense of the whole sailing process.
On Oct 1 DonorsChoose opened their Blogger Challenge 2008 to help spread the word about a great model for charitable giving. It's simple: Teachers ask. You choose, Students learn. Click the badge below to learn more and bring some light to classrooms where any contribution can make a difference. You'll feel good on a person-to-person level, and help children succeed in life.
If ye be seeking Enterprise 2.0 Skills, click Traction Software or prepare to be Boarded, Pillaged and Sunk by thy Competition! If thou knowes't not how Enterprise 2.0 Skills canst Protect thy Treasure - Unto thy very Corporate Life - Profesaarh Andrew McAfee can set thee aright. Arrhh!
Euan Semple breaks with tradition with a Top 8 list rather than a Top 10, and by explaining Most Companies Who Try to do Enterprise 2.0 will Fail (worst practices) vs. why they will succeed (best practices). From both sides of the IT fence (as a consultant and sales person at a VAR, an operations manager and product manager at a global content delivery service, and in marketing and consulting roles here at Traction Software) I've seen my share of internal failures and customer or prospect failures too. I've commented here on 3 of Euan's Top 8.
Smart enterprises are deploying blogs and wikis to power the Enterprise front line: Sales. Use cases may involve using Enterprise 2.0 technology to distribute timely market information, maintain a continuous loop of customer feedback, or maintain a wiki to manage selling points, FAQs, and collateral.
Fast access to new information and multi-tasking (to a point) can both contribute to overall performance. A pair of studies appear in an MIT Sloan Management Review profile, What Makes Information Workers Productive. The studies authored by Sinan Aral (Leonard N. Stern School of Business) and Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT Sloan School of Management) look at productivity at a recruiting business, and find some surprising results.
Mike Gotta points to new research published in HBS Working Knowledge analyzing which groups in an organization are most likely to communicate, crossing social and physical boundaries. The study, Communication (and Coordination?) in a Modern, Complex Organization, reports that "women, mid- to high-level executives and members of executive management, sales and marketing functions are most likely to participate in cross-group communications." It is these people who bridge groups in social structure.
The UK's National Health Service's Orkney region deployed Traction with great success in 2005 to address an unfavorable report about the state of internal communications. The original NHS Orkney Customer Story details how they used Traction for everything from wiki collaboration on policies and procedures to action tracking and even an internal blog to announce "stuff for sale." Since then, usage has only improved and Traction has also been deployed at the NHS Camden region. In June, David Rendall upgraded to the recently announced TeamPage 4.0 Release. I'm pleased to be able to share some of his notes and screen shots - to offer a glimpse into how an organization facing major Internal Communications deficiencies just three years ago is an Enterprise 2.0 leader today.
Register Now (free admission) to join in on the Enterprise 2.0 Virtual Conference on the 23rd of July. The Agenda kicks off at 12:00 with Gartner Analyst David Mitchell Smith's Keynote Innovating the Enterprise with Web 2.0 and ends with a Forrester Analyst Rob Koplowitz's Keynote Control vs. Chaos: The Enterprise Web 2.0 Effect.
Web-based social software makes it possible for people to discover connections and stay in touch on a global scale without imposing undue work on either the sender or receiver of information - unlike email, face to face meetings, or any other medium in human history. In Who’s on Your Team? Enterprise 2.0 and Team Boundaries Larry Irons discusses a 2002 study on distributed work that's relevant for Enterprise 2.0 collaboration. The study found that members of geographically distributed teams have a fuzzy notion the boundaries of their team (who was in, who was out) while collocated teams rarely disagreed. Larry suggests that wiki style collaboration and social networking will make team boundaries fuzzier - and that's a good thing.
Read Prof Andrew McAfee's recent blog post Curb My Enthusiasm for a very concise summary of the model, analysis and conclusions of a July / August 2008 Harvard Business Review article he co-authored with MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson. McAfee poses a polite challenge that I'll paraphrase: For a bold and important claim, where is he wrong?
He asks if readers have a better explanation of the pattern he and Brynjolfsson observe: that since the 1990's a combination of the Web and IT spending on enterprise information systems has shifted the ability of businesses to recognize and deploy good ideas; that this has raised the pace and level of competition, making effective innovation more valuable, and more strongly differentiates winners and losers in competitive markets.
If you want to benchmark your opinion on Competitive Intelligence practices vs. other respondents, this survey being run by Fuld & Company provides an opportunity. The questions in the survey are also thought provoking and great grist for internal discussion groups.
Ron Miller of EContent wrote a very good article AIIM Study Finds Enterprise Search Still Lacking about an upcoming AIIM report on Findability and disappointed expectations for enterprise search. Ron's title is more polite than some of the words I've heard (and used) to characterize enterprise search. Bluntly - if we all agree that enterprise search sucks, what is to be done?
One big problem for collaboration has been too many borders - technical or cultural - creating silos of information for no good reason - and many bad ones. There's also a big problem if you don't have a good way to mark borders that enable collaboration where there's a natural expectation of privacy.
For example - if you work for a law firm there's a reasonable - and legal - expectation that only the client and members of the firm have access to the collaborative space reserved for work with each specific client. But a member of the firm may be working with many different clients at the same time, and need to keep on top of many external engagements - and a host of internal engagements that are shared within the law firm but invisible to all clients.
This "hub and spoke" collaboration pattern is common for business. For example, if your company builds complex, customized products it's valuable to have separate collaboration spaces that connect each customer and your internal product development, sales and marketing team. Everyone on the inside has a bird's eye view across all customer specific work. Each customer sees a dedicated collaboration space for private working communication - and can also read or participate in spaces that you intentionally open to all your customers or the public Web.
Similarly, most businesses work with a network of external suppliers, resellers, technology or business partners and external service providers - including your law firm, accountants, PR firm and others. If you're interested in keeping touch with each of these external stakeholders and enabling your employees to have a birds eye view of what's happening across your entire business the hub and spoke pattern is also appropriate.
If your Enterprise 2.0 software doesn't support these patterns of collaboration with a user model that's simple and secure you're limited to internal or public collaboration. This limited form of collaboration is useful but doesn't enable employees in the hub to stay informed or participate in many of most valuable relationships where your business meets the external world. John Hagel and John Seely Brown call this collaboration at the edge:
WSJ.com's Ben Worthen quotes SAP chief executive Henning Kagermann "giving an interview in the back seat of a hybrid Mercury SUV instead of his usual Town Car, in accordance with SAP's new environmental policy". Kagermann is skeptical about the proposition that "large corporate-software projects will disappear, replaced by easy-to-use Internet-programs targeted at individual workers". Kagermann says:
... the most important features for the managers who buy business software are still a system’s security and reliability, and whether the system helps a business comply with an ever-growing number of government regulations, says Kagermann. Systems bought by individuals or departments don’t have the company-wide perspective necessary to meet these goals - The Reason It's Called Management Software, WSJ.com
On Mr. Kagermann's last point - systems from small, agile suppliers are perfectly capable of meeting security, reliability and other business requirements based on a company wide perspective. And small, agile mammals discovered their niche and evolved to reshape the world of ah... dinosaurs. No offense!
I'm just back from the 2008 Current Strategy Forum at the US Naval War College in Newport. This year the topic of panels and presentations (including addresses and extensive Q&A by the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and, the Commandant of the Marine Corp) was the Cooperative Strategy for 21s Century Seapower - a joint strategy for the US Marine Corp, Navy and Coast Guard. The strategy raises prevention of war - deterrence, cooperative relationships with more international partners, trust built through humanitarian assistance and disaster response - to an equal level as the conduct of war. In the very best sense this is a positioning statement: what a nation should expect from its maritime forces.
Our citizens were involved in development of this strategy through a series of public forums known as the “Conversations with the Country.” Three themes dominated these discussions: our people want us to remain strong; they want us to protect them and our homeland, and they want us to work with partners around the world to prevent war. These themes, coupled with rigorous academic research, analysis and debate, led to a comprehensive strategy designed to meet the expectations and needs of the American people.
To the best of my knowledge, Clay Shirky is responsible for popularizing the term Social Software. By his definition, it's primarily about patterns of connections:
Social networking promotes new and serendipitous connections among people (and in TeamPage 4.0 the content they create and comments they make within a business context). But the public Web - and bounded world of Enterprise 2.0 - also creates connections based on serendipitous discovery using search, syndication, and context.
Network scale search of blog content is one Web scaleable way to find out who's actively talking about or working on a topic that interests you. Once you find a relevant hit, you then have the opportunity to: 1) make a personal connection; 2) subscribe to a syndicated feed from that individual or group; 3) make your own blog post or wiki link to tell let others in your strongly connected group - and anyone else in the who can read your post - that you've found an interesting fact or connection. Blog / wiki connections make it possible to add situational context - including time based patterns of interest - to search, which is particularly valuable in the relatively small and link-poor enterprise.
Your post then becomes a new item which others can discover - or read if they subscribe to your personal or group blog / wiki - as a potentially valuable source. This weak signal amplification creates a spreading activation network that can quickly span the globe - and further extends and reinforces the network. It also reinforces the value of old fashioned and irreplaceable face to face connections by letting people keep in touch with their extended network without creating undue work for either the sender or receiver.
The "social" part of software in the Enterprise 2.0 opens opportunities for strongly connected groups to work together more effectively, while making valuable connections within and across the enterprise. These connections would be wildly impractical if we were limited to the physical world of airplanes, meetings and conferences, or the disco ball era of email! But the value of these connections can lead to real strategic advantage, not just reducing the cost of travel and frustrations of email.
Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing HBS Professor Andrew McAfee at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit Tokyo 2008. The forty minute interview was videotaped in Professor McAfee's HBS office based on questions submitted in advance from the Tokyo conference site (www.enterprise20.jp). Topics included the definition of Enterprise 2.0 versus Web 2.0; return on investment; risk of disclosure; factors for successful Enterprise 2.0 deployment - and a series of questions and followup on Enterprise 2.0 and competitive advantage that particularly struck me:
Kevin Marks, a Google engineer and Technorati veteran, said in a talk about the company's OpenSocial project and Social Graph APIs that e-mail is a "strange legacy idea."
"E-mail has died away for a group of users. for the younger generation, they don't use e-mail," he said, talking about the young Web users who have started to abandon e-mail for Facebook messaging and mobile texting. "They see it as this noisy spam-filled thing that annoys them every day...they see it as how you talk to the university, how you talk to the bank." Marks pointed to technologies like OpenID that promote the notion that online identities these days are defined by so much more than e-mail addresses--URLs and social-networking profiles, to name a few.
I don't exactly think email is dead - and don't think point-to-point email will ever go away - but as a medium for broadcast collaboration it should be considered as lively as Mr. Praline's parrot.
Blogs, wiki's and IM displace use of broadcast email for group working communication. Email is a great medium for one to one - back and forth - communication, but it's a terrible medium for group collaboration. Clay Shirky says:
All enterprises have more knowledge in their employees as a group than any one person, even (especially?) the CEO. The worst case is where one person has a problem and another knows a solution, but neither knows the other – or that the other knows. Despite e-mail’s advantages for communication, it falls down as a close collaboration tool on complex projects: E-mail makes it hard to keep everything related to a particular project in one place; e-mailed attachments can lead to version-control nightmares; and it’s almost impossible to get the Cc:line right. If the Cc:line is too broad, it creates “occupational spam” – messages from co-workers that don’t matter to everyone addressed. If the Cc:line is too narrow, the activity becomes opaque to management or partners. -- Social Software: A New Generation of Tools by Clay Shirky, Release 1.0 Vol 21, No. 5, 20 May 2003 (.pdf)
Sometimes "free" is hardly that, and TCO calculations don't begin to account for the "cost" of a failed initiative. Below is an anonymized e-mail sent from a manager in one division of a very large global enterprise to another manager in a separate division which is now evaluating Enterprise Wiki software.
David Weinberger has an incredible knack for putting information management issues into perspective, and always does so with just the right amount of humor and sarcasm (something I generally aim to achieve - but I imagine I fall short of a perfect Weinberger).
Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum research director, sees Enterprise 2.0 as a genuine opportunity for technology to act as a catalyst for changes in organisational culture.
"Enterprise 2.0 is emerging as the most practical way of sharing and managing knowledge in a range of contexts, from team collaboration to customer self-service forums. This leads to the ability to bring about cultural change with the personal power of informal networks such as wikis, blogs, profiles and forums."
"The root of its culture change power, however, is its ability to unleash the personal power of informal networks," said Hodgkinson.
Key ideas within this new system include:
* The need for a flat organisation, rather than an organisational hierarchy
* Folksonomy rather than taxonomy
* User-driven technology rather than IT department control
* Short time-to-market cycles; to continue and increase flow
* Global teams of people, rather than locating the whole organisation in one building
* Emergent information systems, rather than dictated and structured information systems
* The opening of propriety standards
Spending just a little time looking at specifics on your own collaboration patterns sheds light on the central role of communication and collaboration in the every day business process of a "knowledge worker."
Collaboration and knowledge sharing don't sound mission critical until
you consider this: Teams that fail to do both, fail to perform.Bridging Faultlines in Diverse teams(A Dummer 2007 study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review) details
the kinds of performance failures that result when teams fail to collaborate and share knowledge:
Good Morning Silicon Valley's Off Topic section for 18 Jan 2008 links to
this page as "the least entertaining game ever". Unfair, unkind, funny, but with an element of truth:
close to a perfect example of what I'd call a good cheap shot. To restore my karmic balance and express a personal opinion that the authors of the game might appreciate, see this page.
Dennis McDonald really strikes the "What Project Blogs?" nail on the head when he describes how, for lighter-duty "innovation oriented" teams, blog/wiki systems can be their core platform whereas for "heavy duty" teams, they "take precedence by making the availability of reports and data from the more structured tools more accessible." With blogs for projects, function follows form. More specifically, project teams need to communicate and share content over time - that's the form of a blog and is the principal rationale for why every project team should maintain one, or more, blogs. Additional project management functions required can be layered on top of the blog, or can be provided by other more structured systems when necessary.
As I read through a few posts from Lynda Moulton, Jack Vinson and Jessica Baumgart, all involved in my ASIS&T 2007 and Gilbane panels late last year, I am pausing to absorb the surprising rate at which we've collectively moved away from the double drawer file cabinets and dewey decimal systems that I learned to use only a decade or two ago.
In "Wisdom of Crowds is Cowardice," Central Desktop points to a Ross Mayfield statement (on the Conferenza blog) about the benefits of making decision rights more participatory and decoupling information rights from decision rights. Central Desktop concludes by urging "Lets just try to keep a little perspective when we talk about this stuff." OK. Lets do that...
James Robertson's article Collaboration Tools are Anti Knowledge Sharing? discusses the pros and cons of collaboration tools, with particular emphasis on the problems associated with proliferation of 100's or even 1,000's of information silos.Michael Sampson's response nicely vouches for the pros, while cautioning against having a hodgepodge of disparate collaboration tools.
Jim McGee did an excellent job in The Problem of Emergence of wrapping up our coffee talk with Jack Vinson on the pros and cons of emergence when adapting Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0. The simple fact is that Enterprise 2.0 is different from Web 2.0, and because of that, these differences have to be accounted for in the technologies implemented and in support of the adoption process.
Bill Ives of Portals and KM shifts his usual focus to raise a question near and dear to all of us who live in New England, Searching for the Perfect Fried Clam. He lists three tempting choices in Massachusetts, settling on Woodman's in Essex as his first choice. I'll certainly put that on my list, but must nominate Evelyn's Drive Inn in Tiverton RI for the Clam of Honor. Not only do they have great fried clams, but they're also my top choice for Rhode Island style (clear) clam chowder and traditional Rhode Island stuffies ("Fresh local quahogs halved and filled with our spicy blend of chopped clams and chourico").
One of my favorite aspects of the Traction platform is its ability to help human's "scale" to handle working with a large amount of information content. As I noted in Wikis Reduce Email, we have over 130,000 pages, comments and attachments in our own enterprise system, but it's very manageable. Traction turns information overload into underload and facilitates the transformation of text into human knowledge and intuition.Blosint agrees.
JP Rangaswami writes an excellent blog - Confused of Calcutta - where he shares his experience as an "accidental technologist" who moved from investment banking to the services arm of a telco. His post on Facebook and Knowledge Management tells a great story about what happened when he decided to open up his mailbox to his direct reports:
The success of user generated content sites and communities such as MySpace, Wikipedia and the Blogosphere leads many to question the merit of imposing any structure on collaboration. Leading thinkers like Jim McGee and Bill Ives recently offered their ideas and sought opinion from others on the FASTForward blog.
A new market report, this time by McKinsey& Company, says a majority of executives say they plan to increase investments in technologies which fall under the collective hood of Enterprise and Web 2.0.
As reported by Nicolas Carr, the Forrester report (a survey of CIOs) released earlier this year suggests 35% of companies are already using all 6 technologies covered in their report (including blogs, wikis, social networking, podcasts, RSS and Tagging). This is well above the 33% reported by McKinsey as already using or planning to use a wiki. Earlier this year, a study of the Inc. 500 reported that 19% have deployed blogs while 11% have deployed a wikis.
Joe McKendrick asks "Is Web 2.0 Really Dominated by the Young?" and offers some data suggesting its for people of all ages, though under 25ers are the majority in communities like MySpace. In the enterprise, however, there is a question as to whether 2.0 adoption is better started with younger or more experienced management-level employees.
Congratulations to our Japanese partners SEL and AKJ on a great showing for Traction TeamPage at LinuxWorld Japan 2007. SEL was a gold sponsor and launched a Japanese TeamPage customer forum in advance of the event.
Traction Roots: A Whirlwind Tour (.ppt 6.2MB) tells the Traction story in pictures: 1) Tim Berners-Lee's web trades stable links for utmost simplicity and bottom-up scalability without central control; 2) Traction creates spaces which are pleasant and stable islands with a rich hypertext model internally: bi-direction links; comments based on ternary relations rather than hacking the representation of the referent object; faceted permission models uniformly enforced for search results, cross-references, as well as content browsing; fully journaled actions, etc. 3) Traction generates HTTP addressable views of its content to enable any item in the Traction corpus to be read and linked like the rest of the web (optionally restricted by access controls). This creates a pleasant and stable island that's easily connected to other islands of stability on the Web - as well as anything in the storm tossed sea - not a stovepiped box.
In his Mar 26, 2006 post, Putting Enterprise 2.0 in Perspective, Mike Gotta agrees with Tom Davenport and Andrew McAfee that a balanced discussion of E2.0 should include "... how well an enterprise addresses the complex organizational dynamics that often inhibit change," not just "irrational exuberance regarding the technology."
In every previous generation hypertext system, the ability to read, search, link and communicate came with a terrible price: it might work well, but only if you were willing to put everything you wanted to work with into some sealed box, and convince everyone you wanted to work with to use the same box. From the earliest days of Vannevar Bush's Memex, the vision was universal, but the implementation was a siloed. As Ted Nelson once said on the folly of using computers to simulate paper, Xerox PARC's first paper simulation was followed by Apple's contribution:
But the Web over the universal Internet turned the world-view of Lotus Notes (and the Sharepoint stack) inside out: no proprietary client, no proprietary representation, no requirement to work inside the proprietary box - and every motivation to make anything valuable you create or deliver compatible with the least common denominator representation outside the box - http addressable HTML.
This week, BusinessWeek.com reports the Wikipedia co-founder seeks to start over. While the blemishes of vandalism and some poor writing doesn't sway Wikipedia fans, Larry Sanger, one of the Wikipedia co-founders, disagrees.
Despite years of debate, constructive discussion and an occasional flame war as well as scores of wikipedia edits, there remains ambiguity and disagreement on "what is a blog" and "what is a wiki." In a series talks at KMWorld, Burton Group’s Catalyst Conference, IQPC’s IntranetWeek and others over the last year, I've offered my own definition. So, here goes my attempt at a baseline set of definitions, with a bit of historical context.
I enjoyed FASTForward '07 last week in San Diego - an excellent conference and 60 degrees warmer than Providence Rhode Island! It featured great keynotes (particularly Andrew McAfee on Enterprise 2.0 the Next Disruptor), sessions, networking and entertainment.
Andrew McAfee asks a great question in A Technology Flip Test: Introducing Channels in a World of Platforms: "... imagine that current corporate collaboration and communication technologies were exclusively E2.0 platforms -- blogs, wikis, etc. -- and all of a sudden a crop of new channel technologies -- email, instant messaging, text messaging -- became available. In other words, imagine the inverse of the present situation. What would happen? How, in the flip-test universe, would the new channel technologies be received?"
Everyone at Traction Software is honored to learn that TeamPage has been named a InfoWorld 2007 Technology of the Year Award Winner. In addition to InfoWorld, we'd like to thank customers and friends of Traction for helping us build a product that works well and serves a useful purpose. I'd personally like to thank Traction Software's employees and partners, as well as the inspiration from Andy van Dam, Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart. What a way to start the New Year!
I had the honor of speaking at the Boston Knowledge Management Forum on Monday. I was joined by Kathleen Gilroy of the Otter Group (who wrote a piece on the event
beforehand) , Susan Dobscha of Bentley College, and Kelly Drahzal of
IBM. I was also on an enterprise blog/wiki vendor panel led by Kathleen
Burton Group's Peter O'Kelly's report titled Hypertext and Compound/Interactive Document Models: Collaboration and Content Management Implications goes a long way towards explaining the benefits of and drive towards hypertext (a platform for blogs and wikis and more) as a backbone for collaborative work and communication. In the report, Burton Group says Traction TeamPage..."...comes closest to bringing the visions of hypertext pioneer Doug Engelbart to fruition, and that it is also a very useful leading indicator in terms of features other vendors will eventually add."
KnowledgeJolt with Jack writes about a study reported on Jakob Nielson's AlertBox about Participation Inequality: Lurkers vs. Contributors in Internet Communities. Jack agrees and expands on Jakob's recommendations for increasing participation. Both are on point for public internet communities like wikipedia, group blogs and product review sites. However, the problem can be simplified in enterprise settings when catering to beta bloggers.
Tom Siebert from OnlineMedia interviewed me last week for a story he broke on a Pro Wal-Mart blog which, as it turns out, was put together by a professional writer and photographer, and financed by Wal-Mart through their PR firm, Edelman, and a funded non-profit called Working Families for Wal-Mart.
In the management of a business obstacles may arise at any moment.
One of the better lessons I learned at business school (the one on the other side
of the river) is to recognize that the past does not predict the future
(I have also learned that in a casino or two). A related lesson was to
do sensitivity analyses on our data models and business plans.
The very first public document from the very first Hypertext Editing System (Andy van Dam et al, Brown University circa 1968) was a press release announcing its own creation. The Brown U Public Affairs department thought this was very clever. AvD and crew wrote a two page press release, which in the second paragraph claimed to:
Green Chameleon posts two wonderfully funny fake interviews: Explaining KM #1 (which roasts KM academicians) and Explaining KM #2 (which roasts KM consultants). I hope they go on to produce Explaining KM #3 to roast KM software vendors! Produced by (and starring?) folk from StraitsKnowledge…., which appears to be a very good Singapore-based consulting and research firm focused on knowledge, learning and innovation.
I have been asked by many current and prospective customers these days
about best practices for internal and external blogging policy.
Companies should include blabbing within their communication policy.
Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Blogs, Social Networks, Wikis, RSS and related
technologies are new channels for communication but should not change
the fact that there are and always have been public and private
channels including web sites, discussion boards, e-mail, telephones,
loudspeakers, newsletters, posters, and paper flyers. Blabbing policies
should provide guidance as to what sorts of information and opinion may
be communicated in what context, be it a confidential discussion with a
partner under NDA or a personal blog on the internet.
Three corporate communications execs paneled off on whether "a Wiki or Blog is right for you."
I presented yesterday and am enjoying being a fly
on the wall in the audience today. A refreshing aspect of the panelists
and audience members in this group is that none are pundits, blog
consultants or vendors (apart from me) so it was an excellent
opportunity to see the blog and wiki market from a pure user
perspective. Below are the notes I was able to scribble as the
dialogue went on. I tried to capture everything relevant as clearly and
truthfully as possible.
When I saw the "Application Integration & Middleware
Technologies / Portal Software" market projection sidebar on the cover
of KMWorld this month I thought "Great, 5 more years of solid growth
for portal license revenues." Then I looked at the numbers.
BEA's State of the Portal Market 2006
in Portals Magazine cites a Gartner study stating $6.4 Billion in 2005
software license revenues and an estimated 2.6% Compound Annual Growth
Rate (CAGR) through 2010.
Greg and I joined panels at CTC which brought together a really great set of speakers from John Seely Brown to Rod Boothby of Ernst & Young and Larry Cannell of Ford Motor. My take away from the conference? Collaboration isn't about documents anymore (and never was).
Regarding Yahoo's new The 9, Tim Bray writes:"This is the End, maybe, of
Civilization As We Know It. I’m thinking now would be a good time for the
Borg to come along and assimilate us all..." Come on Tim! Hardly the Apocalypse! Somewhere between the burning of the library of Alexandria and the first Entertainment Tonight.
Corporate blogging is one form of synthesizing and distributing information, and it has its own return (see ROI for Corporate Blogging?). Competitive intelligence (CI) and market research functions face a similar challenge: How do you value distribution and synthesis of information?
When I saw Michael Koenig's article in KM World, KM: the forest for all the trees,
I thought this might be another story about how ECM can save paper. No,
Koenig explains that KM is far from a fad, and took a stab at defining
Marvin Kabakoff of the National Archives and Records Administration
hosted a 1/2 day conference on blogs and wikis last Wednesday in
Boston. Marvin talked about the evolution of records management, Matt
Kowalczyk reviewed the use of Traction for a US Department of Defense
project, and Mark Levitt
from IDC pointed us to the role of Blogs and Wikis in contextual
collaboration. Over a bagel, I had revelation on knowledge worker
I really like David Berlind's post IBM's Suitor asks how you share documents. Wrong question, right time (May 2, 2006). David makes a great points including: "Think about freeing your knowledge. Then worry about the format (after your thinking leads you to regular document land)."
But I think David edges close to a similar problem in characterizing
blogs vs. wiki's - particularly with respect to Traction and other
products which purposefully blur the boundaries.
Traction starts from the blog end of the spectrum (actually it started
from link Doug Engelbart's concept of a hypertext Journal) in that it records collaboration over time. But, the knowledge product of the collaboration - represented as a web of editable pages, office or CAD files - can be recorded and versioned in Traction along with the external intelligence and internal dialog about the creation and evolution of the product. The knowledge product can also reside in an external repository and become the subject of dialog using links from Traction. Both the dialog and knowledge product are typically created and edited as a purposeful group activity.
Traction Software's products are based on a model of group group editing in place combined with group collaboration over time that pre-dates blogs and Wiki's by over 40 years - see Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart. For more information on Douglas Engelbart, the Godfather of effective collaboration, see Doug's Wikipedia page.
Rod Boothby wrote a great summary
of a presentation by Thierry Barsalou (CIO of Ipsen Phamaceuticals) on their Traction
driven Enterprise Blog system for Competitive Intelligence. At the 2006 Gilbane San Francisco conference, Thierry reviewed Ipsen's business requirement, technology
selection process, taxonomy planning, and path to adoption across all
their global offices. He concluded with remarks about using Traction
for other collaborative applications such as managing controlled
vocabularies (a wiki type application for compliance purposes), project
communication and other knowledge management related activities. » View PDF of the full presentation
July 1945 The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present day interests, but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships. -- As We May Think by Vannevar Bush, Atlantic Monthly, July 1945
the past fifty years, the inspiration of hypertext systems has been the
challenge of dealing with an ever-increasing volume of information.
With the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) as a near universal
platform for commercial and scientific information, it is now possible
to use the WWW as a platform for collecting, analyzing, disseminating
and receiving feedback on competitive intelligence and other valuable
business information. This paper will use examples of weblog deployment
for competitive intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry to examine
broader challenge of enabling enterprises to more effectively deal with
the ever increasing volume of critical business information in general.
the weblog is itself part of the public (or private) Web it can
preserve a stable, addressable set of references, which can be linked
to by any other Web source, or analyzed by any application that has
permission to address that weblog’s content. This interoperability
addresses Engelbart’s primary concern about proprietary and opaque
representations (the norm prior to the Web) creating silos of
information that would make universal linking and interchange difficult
Berners-Lee’s original concept of the Web, use of weblogs and wikis as
easily deployed and relatively stable authored indices to arbitrary Web
content is a pragmatic compromise. The Web’s naturally evolving
infrastructure provides complementary Web search, RSS/ATOM syndication,
notification and search, augmenting the loose but massively scaleable
architecture of the Word Wide Web. ...
Traction Software is happy to announce a partnership with QL2 Software. This comes after 9 months of working together and our first production deployment at a big pharma company last fall. QL2 and Traction bring intelligence from the deep web into Traction's Enterprise Blog where it can be analyzed, annotated and quickly brought to the attention of blog readers. Pharma users can track clinical trials, adverse events and DNA sequencing submissions. Every business can become better at competitive intelligence and quickly respond to events reported anywhere on the web. Combining QL2's WebQL and Traction's TeamPage supports better, faster, more market aware decision making. » Read the Full Release
In a multi part series published in KM World magazine, David Feldman
is explaining Open Source software and the dynamics of the groups who
support it. The developer group organizations are as interesting to
understand (see Bob Wolf reference in Collaboration - Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow - Boston KM Forum) as where open source will make its biggest
mark (open source tools vs. operating systems vs. applications, for
Software & Information Industry Association (siia.net) members can log in to a very well produced webcast and podcast of the event, and John will post his analysis later.
Social software needs to be just as simple, and substantially more effective than email when used for working communication within and across groups. If the software is simple to use, it can be much easier to post what you want to say - or a question you want answered - to a place where others who have the same compelling interest can read it, than to craft an cc: list and force each individual to deal with a rat's nest of replies interleaved in a week's worth of email.
A blog, wiki, or IM space can be used to define that place you can go to, or search, or subscribe to - in order to keep in touch with a sales campaign, product development, client engagement, etc. But I believe it has to be a space that's a live record of the business activity - not just another place to look.
The source of the term Journal for the Traction TeamPage database is Douglas Engelbart's NLS system (later renamed Augment), which Doug developed in the 1960's as one of the first hypertext systems. Traction's time ordered database, entry + item ID addressing, and many Traction concepts were directly inspired by Doug's work. I'd also claim that Doug's Journal is the first blog - dating from 1969.
Doug’s first hypertext Journaling systems were deployed as part of the original ARPANet Network Information Center (NIC), starting with ARPANet Node 3 at SRI - i.e. the third node on what we know as the Internet.
Our Journal system was conceived by this author in about 1966. I wanted an underlying operational process, for use by individuals and groups, that would help bring order into the time stream of the Augmented Knowledge workers. The term "journal" emerged early in the conceptualization process for two reasons:
I felt it important in many dynamic operations to keep a log (sometimes termed a "journal") that chronicles events by means of a series of unchangeable entries (for instance, to log significant events while evolving a Plan, shaping up a project, trouble-shooting a large operation. or monitoring on-going operations). These entries would be preserved in original form, serving as the grist for later integration into more organized treatments.
I also wanted something that would serve essentially the same recorded-dialogue purpose as I perceived a professional journal (plus library) to do.
Red Herring short listed Traction® Software as one of 200 of the most innovative technology firms in North America. Criteria include financial performance, technology innovation, execution on strategy, management quality, and integration into their ecosystem. This assessment allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the
list an invaluable instrument for discovering and advocating the
greatest business opportunities in the industry. Red Herring's Spring 2006 event is themed The Pursuit of Disruption. Traction was selected to the Red Herring 100 for 2004 and we're pleased to be recognized as a leader this year by Red Herring and others including eContent and KM World. » Read Red Herring's Full Release. » link 'Read Traction Software's Full Release' public641
At the Boston KM Forum meeting today, Lynda Moulton and Larry Chait put together a speaker lineup that reminds us of past experience where collaboration worked, and highlights key trends that speak to trends making collaboration a credible activity in the future. I did my best here to capture a few best practices and key learnings.
Bob continued on presenting a great deal of research to be published in HBR. One more key finding: Trust is the most essential element in a social network.
According to INPUT research on government spending, the US Government will spend $64 Billion on IT contracts with $5 Billion of the total allocated to software. The top five government software spending priorities for 2006 show aggressive focus on software to store, manage and share information.
Arik Johnson (of AuroraWDC) and I developed a workshop on Collaborative Early Warning. We cover a range of topics from "the Wisdom of Crowds" to how to apply Jan Herring's Key Information Topic protocols to the early warning process. We then break into a teams to review a business case and conduct a war gaming exercise.
On the last night of my trip, I grabbed Sushi dinner with a customer and Suw Charman.Suw is a Corante analyst, author of Strange Attractor and author of Dark Blogs Case Study 01 - A European Pharma Group. Conversations ran the gamut as they should when a virtual colleague is first met in person. Among other things, Suw briefed me on the Open Rights Group, which she heads in her copious spare time, and, we exchanged ideas on social software adoption. We are both steeped in various implementation projects and have seen some similar, some divergent trends. What's clear is there are no hard and fast rules, but lessons to learn from each deployment.
While in London I delivered a presentation at a Pharmaceutical Competitive Intelligence conference.26 January 2006 | Untying the Distribution Challenge detailed several aspects of how to build a blog-driven market monitoring and early warning system. Based on requests for a copy of the presentation, it was well received. One example worth sharing related to how blogs play a role in interpreting markets.
I returned Sunday from a 5 day London trip which capped off an 8 day Pharmaceutical Competitive Intelligence conference tour. And have just now gotten over jet-lag, life-lag, and the desk clearing process required to allow focus here.
While in London, I made a point to see most of our resident customers and partners. On Thursday night I hosted a dinner at Memories of China (for the foodies out there: 67 Ebury Street, London) which is now at the top of my favorites list (warning: a restaurant generally must have at least one meal with "scorching hot'n'spicy" in its title to make my list)
I think it's better to build software with training wheels that are easy to recognize and remove, than to continue to build tricycles that no-one can grow out of. As Alan says, its a terrible mistake to assume that kids and and grownups will not spend the time to acquire new skills, so long as the payoff is great enough and mastery of the skill is itself a source of enjoyment. Mastery of Emacs can be just as enjoyable and rewarding as mastery of a video game.
Alan Kay: ... If you have ever seen anybody use NLS [Engelbart's 1968 hypertext system for which he invented the mouse and chord key set] it is really marvelous cause you're kindof flying along through the stuff several commands a second and there's a complete different sense of what it means to interact than you have today. I characterize what we have today as a wonderful bike with training wheels on that nobody knows they are on so nobody is trying to take them off. I just feel like we're way way behind where we could have been if it weren't for the way commercialization turned out.
Doug Engelbart: Well, strangely enough, I feel the same. It's part of the thing of the easy to learn and natural to use thing that became sortof a god to follow and the marketplace is driving it and its successful and you could market on that basis, but some of the diagrams pictures that I didn't quite get to the other day was how do you ever migrate from a tricycle to a bicycle because a bicycle is very unnatural and very hard to learn compared to a tricycle, and yet in society it has superseded all the tricycles for people over five years old. So the whole idea of high-performance knowledge work is yet to come up and be in the domain. Its still the orientation of automating what you used to do instead of moving to a whole new domain in which you are going to obviously going to learn quite a few new skills. And so you make analogies of suppose you wanted to move up to the ski slopes and be mobile on skis. Well, just visiting them for an afternoon is not going to do it. So, I'd love to have photographs of skateboards and skis and windsurfing and all of that to show you what people can really if they have a new way supplied by technology to be mobile in a different environment. None of that could be done if people insisted that it was an easy-to-learn thing. ...
Alan Kay: Looking back I think that one of the paradoxes is that we made a complete mistake when we were doing the interface at PARC because we assumed that the kids would need an easy interface because we were going to try and teach them to program and stuff like that, but in fact they are the ones who are willing to put hours into getting really expert at things - shooting baskets, learning to hit baseballs, learning to ride bikes, and now on video games. I have a four-year old nephew who is really incredible and he could use NLS [Engelbart's 1968 hypertext system] fantastically if it were available He would be flying through that stuff because his whole thing is to become part of the system he's interacting with and so if I had had that perspective I would have designed a completely different interface for the kids, one in which how you became expert was much more apparent than what I did. So I'm sorry for what I did.
This is a group blog for employees of Traction Software Inc of Providence Rhode Island. You can read about Traction Software's customers products, partners elsewhere on this web site, but here you'll find a public conversation about anything and everything.Blogs is just one page of Traction's web site, but every news item, customer story and product note is a Traction blog post. Everything on this site is powered by a single Traction TeamPage server showing the content of Blog, Press, and Public projects (blog/wiki spaces) using a custom skin (for a similar example see IJIS.org). Welcome!