Corporate Blogging: What happens when you leave?

December 3, 2007

Om Malik posted today about how Motorola zapped the blog of the ex-CTO:

In the pre-blog world, when you left a company, they would escort you out of the building. Now they zap your blog. There are rumors that Motorola CTO Padmasree Warrior had resigned and was leaving the beleaguered mobile phone maker. Well, those rumors must be true. Suddenly all the entires on her popular blog have been zapped. And if you try and go there, you get redirected to a generic Motorola page.

Ouch.

However, when it comes to the web, deleting is merely an illusion. In the comments to the GigaOM post, Dave points about that the posts can still be found on web.archive.org.

When I left Intel, they kept all of my blog posts live. I even heard from a friend that my web 2.0 blog was still more popular than any other Intel Software blog for months after I left the company. 🙂 Since it was generating traffic, there was no benefit in deleting it.

My gut feel is that removing ex-employee blogs is a rarity and is likely to hurt the company in the long run. Blogs provide valuable content and search engine juice for the company. In the vast majority of cases, keeping the blog live, but removing the employee’s access is probably the best way to handle it.

Other Fast Wonder Posts:


Can the Average Person Get Rich Blogging?

November 28, 2007

Yes and no (there is never a simple answer).

Now that I am back from lounging on the beach, I thought it was time to get back to blogging, and what better way to start than with a debate over whether or not people can really make money blogging. On Read/WriteWeb today, Alex suggests that . Well, yes and no.

I really liked Anne Zelenka’s response on Web Worker Daily. Her take is that

you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the centerpiece of your professional promotional and networking activities, leading indirectly to new money-making opportunities. Plus, blogging offers psychological riches — through the opportunities for personal expression and social connection it brings you.

The best reason for an individual web worker to blog isn’t to make money directly with the blog. It’s to boost your online persona, to make professional connections, to learn about your field, and to attract new opportunities, whether paid or unpaid. And note that unpaid opportunities are not necessarily less important than paid ones — because they can provide you with attention, reputation, education, and new connections.

(Quote from Anne Zelenka: Web Worker Daily)

I absolutely agree. I don’t make any money directly off of my blog (no ads here), but it has made a huge difference in my career. My career was in a bit of a lull until I started blogging a few years ago. At the time, I worked at Intel and did my job really well. I received great internal recognition, but almost no one outside of Intel knew who I was.

When I started blogging and actively commenting on other blogs, people started recognizing me. I went to conferences and people would approach me! I started getting emails from people who read my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in being on panels for conferences. While I do not make money off of Fast Wonder directly, I do think that I have made more money indirectly through blogging. Through blogging and getting involved in a bunch of unpaid tech community activities (organizing BarCamp, Ignite, etc.), my career has improved in so many indirect ways (financial and job satisfaction).

Related Fast Wonder Posts:


You are Invited: Jive Show and Tell Dinner

August 27, 2007

Jive is releasing a new version of Clearspace with what we think are some really cool improvements on September 13th. We thought it might be fun to invite the Portland blogging, podcasting, and influencer community in for a sneak peak on Tuesday, September 11th. Everyone is welcome to attend!

The Details:

Date: Tuesday, Sept. 11
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Where: Jive Software 317 SW Alder St Suite 500 (5th floor)

You can RSVP on Upcoming if you are interested in attending.

Jive’s Agenda:

  • We get to do a demo of our new Clearspace release
  • We’re happy to answer questions about our new VC investment from Sequoia, about our job openings, or any other topics.

What You Get:

  • Free food & drinks
  • The ability to blog, podcast, etc. about these new features 2 days before the official release
  • Time to ask questions about Jive Software

How to Get Here:

The Jive Software Office is on SW Alder between 3rd & 4th. Parking is available in a nearby parking garage, and it is short walk from the Max / bus lines (Directions).


What Does it Mean for Movable Type to go Open Source?

June 5, 2007

While I like to see Movable Type going in the direction of open source, I am also a bit skeptical. According to Movabletype.org:

“The Movable Type Open Source Project was announced in conjunction with the launch of the Movable Type 4 Beta on June 5th, 2007. The MTOS Project is a community and Six Apart driven project that will produce an open souce version of the Movable Type Publishing Platform that will form the core of all other Movable Type products.”

Aside from their inability to correctly spell open source (or run spell check), they are not particularly clear about what will be in this new open source “publishing platform” vs. their commercial products. By announcing the new open source project along with the beta of their new version (not open source), it is a bit difficult to see how the open source project will fit in with their commercial products. I suspect that some of this announcement might be to put Movable Type in a better position when compared to open source rival WordPress to reduce the numbers of people migrating off of Movable Type due to licensing concerns over the past few years.

Skepticism aside, I really do like to see commercial companies embrace open source. If Movable Type embraces the open source community in a collaborative fashion, this could be a great step. Companies who work with a community to create an open source product that is awesome by itself when used without the commercial product can successfully sell commercial products with additional functionality and services needed by enterprise customers. I sincerely hope that this is the direction that Movable Type is headed.


Dogfood: aka Week 1 at Jive Software

May 10, 2007

My first week at Jive has been a whirlwind of activity, and I think that I have been super productive for the first 5 days on the job.  I’ve completed a first draft of how we might build Jive’s new developer community on our newly released Clearspace X infrastructure. I am re-working the process for how we give away free licenses of Jive’s Clearspace and Forum products to open source projects. I’ve put together a new demo script for our CEO to use at BarCamp – customized for what I think will be the audience at BarCamp. I was also able to get confirmed speaking engagements at Defrag and OSCON this week.  All this while being constantly distracted with last minute BarCamp details as the co-organizer of the BarCamp Portland event this weekend (note to self: next year, do NOT start a new job the week that you are holding BarCamp!)

How was I able to get all of this done while getting up to speed in a new company?  It comes down to dogfood, specifically, to eating our own dogfood at Jive.  We use the current Clearspace beta product for all of our documents, to hold discussions, for blogging, and more.  Most of the information that I needed was already in Clearspace.  For new information, I just started discussions in Clearspace where I asked other Jive employees about things like what to name the new developer community, how to promote our new developer community, and more.  I posted all of my work as wiki documents in Clearspace, and because everyone uses it, I was able to get feedback and information from across the company.

We are also avid users of our Openfire / Spark IM solution with every Jive employee already populated in our buddy lists from day 1 on the job. I worked with an employee in Canada over IM to help him reproduce an issue that I was seeing in our beta product, discussed our Ignite community with our CTO, negotiated with our web developer on resources to get some web forms completed, and much more.

I have to say that Jive seems to be a great fit for me.  I’m working with people who are just insanely smart, who live web 2.0 technologies, and we’re working on some really cool collaboration software.  Did I mention that we are hiring?


Thoughts on Anonymity and Identity in Communities from SXSW

March 10, 2007

I just listened to an interesting panel at sxsw on World Domination via Collaboration. One of the many great conversations during this discussion related to anonymity in communities. One panelist allows anonymous comments on her blog because she wants to know what people really think, even if she don’t like it or agree with it. Another panelist mentioned Slashdot’s use of anonymous coward, which highlights the fact that people value comments more from people who share a name and identity. I also allow anonymous comments on my blog (with captcha and other spam filters). Some trolls hide behind anonymity to say nasty things, but I have been lucky so far to only have a few of those comments. I find that the vast majority of people commenting will chose to share a name or other identity, but I am not comfortable forcing it on people. I prefer to have people share an identity because they want to, not because it is required in order to leave a comment. Like many people, I value the comments from people who associate their comments with an identity over those who choose to remain anonymous.

The panel members talked about how people in a community can be anonymous from the standpoint of not sharing a real name / real identity, but having a log in and identity on the site. This is a better solution from a community perspective where people tend to interact together over a longer period of time. Community members get to know each other based on the site identity. I have noticed this recently with my interactions on Jyte. Some people share a real name, others share some other identity, but you get to know these people based on this identity whether it is an “anonymous” identity or a “real world” identity. Jyte uses OpenID, which is a great way to facilitate identity management within a community, since it gives people control over their identities and allows them to use their identity (or multiple identities) across sites.

I am looking forward to more really great sessions at sxsw this weekend!


Web 2.0 Reality and Hype

November 26, 2006

I have a huge amount of respect for Bill Thompson, but his recent article in the Register Developer takes an overly harsh view of web 2.0. Admittedly, the term is now associated with an amount of hype not seen since the last tech bubble of the dot com era; however, web 2.0 ideas and technologies also have strengths: an architecture of participation facilitating user generated content, an increase in citizen journalism, improved user interfaces, and more. Bill Thompson seems to be willing to forgo these benefits and dismiss the technologies that make them possible as pure buzz and hype with no substance.

“Now we must decide whether to put our faith in Ajaxified snakeoil or to look beyond the interface to distributed systems, scalable solutions and a network architecture that will support the needs and aspirations of the next five billion users.

Over it all stretches the ‘Web 2.0’ banner, a magical incantation that will bring attention, funding and respect to any programmer able to weave a little Ajax into their interface. It seems that it only takes a browser that can interpret JavaScript and a server that will let a page call for packaged data through XMLHttpRequest and we can have all the benefits of distributed systems without the need to write too much code or rethink the way that the different components of a service communicate with each other.

If Web 2.0 is the answer then we are clearly asking the wrong question, and we must not be fooled by the cool sites and apparently open APIs. Most of the effort is – literally – window dressing, designed to attract venture capitalists to poorly-considered startups and get hold of enough first-round funding to build either a respectable user base or enough barely runnable alpha code to provide Google or Yahoo! with yet another tasty snack. We need to take a wider view of what is going on.

Web 2.0 marks the dictatorship of the presentation layer, a triumph of appearance over architecture that any good computer scientist should immediately dismiss as unsustainable.” (Bill Thompson, Reg Developer)

A good architecture is always important, but we can also have a great user interface and user experience along with it. Shelley Powers does a great job of putting this in perspective:

“I’m not sure who is touting Ajax as a replacement for distributed systems. If that were so, I wouldn’t be writing a book on the Ajaxian technologies. Ajax is nothing more than a way to create a user interface that’s simpler, quicker, and easier to work with then more traditional web pages. It’s handy, its helpful, but it’s also limited and most who work with it understand this is so. Unless Mr. Thompson believes that user interfaces aren’t needed in his distributed utopian environment, I don’t see the technologies going away. Nor do I see them interfering with distributed development.

Even his dismissal of JavaScript and XML makes little sense. According to Thompson, we cannot rely on Javascript and XML since they do not offer the stability, scalability or effective resource discovery that we need. Need for what? XML is a standardized markup, a syntax, a way of organizing data so that multiple application can access the data without having to come to some kind of agreement as to format. It’s use in syndication, for instance, has led to an explosion of communication; a version of which forms the basis of this page–in what way does this not scale, lead to resource discovery, or demonstrate instable behavior?

As for JavaScript, it’s almost as old as Java, and is considered the most commonly used programming language in use today. It is not a replacement for Java, nor is Java a replacement for it. If I wouldn’t think of using JavaScript to build a distributed system, neither would I consider using Java and EJB to validate my form data, or provide for live commenting. Apples and oranges.” (Shelley Powers on Mad Techie Woman)

No single technology (or even a group of technologies, like AJAX) will ever be the “perfect” solution to every problem. We need to keep this in perspective and focus on using the right technology for each job. Dismissing whole categories of technologies as hype without acknowledging that they have legitimate uses is not a productive discussion. It is black and white argument in a very gray world.