December 7, 2007
David Pogue at the New York Times wrote an interesting piece about naming in the web 2.0 era:
These days, startups take the lazy way out: they choose goofy-sounding nonsense words. They think they’re being clever by being unclever.
These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Fark. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo.
These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they’re so offbeat, but they’re wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won’t remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble.
(Quote from David Pogue in the New York Times)
I will agree that some of these names are pretty ridiculous; however, naming in the online world today is pretty damn difficult. In the old days, people had to go through the hassle to register a business or trademark a name to prevent someone from using the same name. Now, any domain name squatter can spend a few dollars to register the URL to prevent people from using it.
As a result, all of the good names are “taken” and you have to get pretty creative to find a name that has an available URL and sounds good at the same time. We’ve been trying to name our non-profit for the past month, and just haven’t been able to come up with anything good. Maybe I’ll try browsing through Dr. Seuss books for inspiration. “And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo/And Bring Back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo/A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!” (Quoted from If I Ran the Zoo). OK, maybe not.
November 10, 2007
Anne Zelenka posted some interesting thoughts on GigaOM about the current web 2.0 environment in her Web 2.0 Manages to Sober Up post yesterday. While Steve Rubel predicts doom and gloom ala the 2000 dot-com bust, I think Anne does a great job of providing a more balanced perspective on the current environment.
I think that there are two main differences this time around.
- First, we are dealing mostly with VC investments in this round instead of public money going into insane IPOs. This means that the impact on the economy will be more limited if the bubble bursts.
- Second, most companies taking investment money have actual products. The days of funding technology ideas with no tangible output seem to be mostly (but not entirely) behind us.
In the pre-2000 days, you couldn’t build anything as quickly or inexpensively as you can now. Ajax applications come together quickly and hosting is really affordable. People are building things quickly with little money to see what works. A bunch of ideas will fail before you see the next Flickr or Digg emerge. The funding tends to go into those that have shown some success already.
While my general outlook on the industry is still positive, I don’t think that the future is all roses and kittens. Some companies are probably paying way too much while trying to catch the next big thing. Will Microsoft really get $240M worth of benefit from Facebook? Maybe, but I’m a bit skeptical.
Other Fast Wonder posts you may want to read:
May 15, 2007
Yesterday, we issued a press release about Jive Software’s new Clearspace X product. Clearspace X is:
a special edition of Clearspace for companies interested in creating productive and engaging online communities for their customers and partners. In the past, companies have had to “glue together” separate applications for blogs, wikis, documents and forums, resulting in disconnected people and content, and low participation rates. Clearspace X unifies these collaboration tools into one system, bringing them together through a clean, user-friendly interface and integrated incentive system.
Using Clearspace X, companies can quickly and easily create compelling public-facing communities, enabling users to share information and ideas with each other via discussions, structured wiki documents, moderated blogs and even files (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF). Users can keep abreast of recent activity in the community through email notifications, instant message alerts and RSS feeds. (quoted from the Press Release)
We use Clearspace internally to manage our company as a community with constant interactions using discussion forums, document sharing, wiki editing of documents, internal blogging, tagging, and much more. This software is the main reason that I was able to be so productive my first week on the job. Clearspace X is similar to our Clearspace product, but tailored to the needs of an external community.
An added benefit of my role as Director of Developer Relations at Jive is that I get to give the product away for free to non-commercial developer teams. This includes open source projects, student coding projects, and other non-commercial teams of software developers. I’ll have a simple web form for requests available on the Jive Software website in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, drop me an email if you qualify for a free license of Clearspace X: myfirstname at Jivesoftware dot com.
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?