Posted by Susan Scrupski on July 19, 2007
What is not to love about Mashup Camp? This is my first unconference event, and I am an easy convert. It defines the free-form, emergent foundation of enterprise 2.0 in that it is completely user (developer) driven. No formal speakers, no imposed structure. What’s interesting is that developers mix easily with vendors and sponsors because from what I’ve seen they’re all intellectually curious and are asking a lot of the same questions. I don’t see a lot of marketing and selling going on here.
The day starts by mapping out a series of sessions the camp wants to discuss with peers. Developers get to pick time slots first, then sponsors, then other vendors.
Next, each session is posted on a large, paper schedule that is transfered by David Berlind onto a wiki that everyone can access and annotate with session notes all day long.
Then, everyone self-assembles and visits sessions that interests them. There was a lunch a break (day one), and the favorite part of the day for me was “speed-geeking” which consisted of 5-minute demos of about maybe 2 dozen mashups located at tables in the grand hall at the computer museum. Each participant had five minutes to explain his or her mashup, show its main features, and answer questions.
All the mashups were impressive, but I know I and Jeff Nolan were particularly impressed with the Plaxo mashup demo. Straight from the press release, the 3.0 version:
“has a content sharing feeds system, which several networks are leveraging, especially after the combined success of Facebook apps with its newsfeeds feature. Individual feeds for Plaxo users will initially include those for Flickr photos, blogposts, Amazon wish lists and Plaxo contact info modifications.”
I videotaped the demo here for you to see for yourself. I apologize, but the “night vision” option was accidentally selected on the camera I shot it with. Grrr… Still viewable, though. This is Joseph Smarr, Architect for Plaxo, demoing Plaxo’s new 3.0 version.
Posted in AJAX, conferences, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, RSS, SaaS, Web 2.0, Wikis | 2 Comments »
Posted by Susan Scrupski on June 10, 2007
I fear poor, fellow Enterprise Irregular Dennis Howlett has been bitten by the startup bug. After taking the product for a test drive– I completely understand! FreeAgent is an online record-keeping, invoicing, banking, project management, tax liability keeping, time management, AND community-based, knowledge-sharing resource for freelancers, contractors, and independent contractors. (I probably missed a few dozen other features.) I was originally delighted by the pleasing user interface and easy to navigate design of the application and site. But what really impressed me is the depth of the product resources.
Having been an independent consultant many more years than I have been an employee, this product is a consultant’s dream! I’m not sure what the long term plans are for the product, but with some minor modifications, I could easily see this product morphing into a time-tracking powerhouse for large consulting firms or growing ones, such as ours.
For today, however, my only beef with the product– and it’s a good problem to have– is why UK-only? Us small fish –in the colonies out here– might be worthy of the privilege of such a fantastic product. Not only do we have local banks of origin outside of the UK, we typically serve global clients. I know my best client was based in Amsterdam when I was an independent consultant, and I had other international projects and clients. It would really have been handy to have a global platform where I could have been paid in Euros in a European bank. I can think of dozens of others of freelance friends of mine who were ex-pats living in Paris, London, Germany doing freelance writing and consulting gigs. My hope is FreeAgent will spread the love throughout the British Empire. 😉
On a more serious note,
I remember snatching up Dan Pink’s, Free Agent Nation, when it first came out. The book resonated with me because I don’t typically fit in well with large companies and much prefer to fly solo, like so many of my writer, analyst, consultant, and researcher friends. But the worst bit, anyone will admit, about being an independent is the @#$%^ bookkeeping and paying the tax man. What’s interesting to me about FreeAgent and Dan Pink’s first book is how web 2.0 technology has created the platform to deliver on the promises of what Pink forecasted for the new frontier of work. But even if you’re a digital Bedouin who happens to work for a corporation, like some of the guys I work with, it’s clear to me that whether we can thank AJAX or Ruby or a larger zeitgeist virally propagating as we collaborate and share across boundaries and nations via the next generation Internet– so much of the baby got thrown out with the bathwater in the 1.0 dotcom bubble.
In Free Agent Nation, Dan Pink says, “The basic unit of this Free Agent Operating System– the 1s and 0s of the underlying code– is trust. Trust , as scholar Francis Fukuyama noted in a magnificent book of the same name, is essential not only to a just society– but also to a healthy economy.” Trust is the currency of web 2.0 and its business partner, enterprise 2.0. As the individual continues to supplant the organization in power and influence, I’m continually reminded of these early visionaries that set the stage for the freedom we’re seeing today on the web.
Posted in AJAX, Consultants, Enterprise 2.0, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, SaaS, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »