Archive for September, 2008

Making Clearspace look and act a little like Facebook

September 30th, 2008

So, I wrote about an older Facebook plugin for Clearspace a while ago. This has nothing to do with that. This is new, and I do believe, a wee bit cooler. Oh yeah, baby.

Derek The SuperDude™ spent about four and a half hours writing a plugin and theme that makes Clearspace look and act like this:

You know you want the code.

(Sure, it doesn’t behave completely like Facebook, but really, do you want all that in your enterprise right now? I didn’t think so.)

The configurable widgets in the plugin include:

  • My Status (use instead of Clearspace’s standard status update widget)
  • My People Feed (use instead of Clearspace’s Connection Activity widget)
  • My Content Feed – shows everything anyone does to content you’ve created, edited, or commented on
  • My Places – shows the top-level communities, a list of common actions, people you are following, groups you belong to, and people you may know (these are people who are connected to the people you follow)

It’s kind of like adding collaboration technology to Facebook, only in reverse. You can make your collaboration and networking software more Facebooky. Stay up-to-date with your peeps, and get work done, too.

Who Cares?

HR departments should, that’s who. All those Gen Y new-hires could join your company, and immediately feel comfy with your social software environment, because their homepage sort of resembles what they’re used to using already. You find recruits on Facebook, right?

But think about it: we all talk about onboarding new employees faster with social software – you know, they can plug into your culture in a heartbeat, get a feel for what the collective “you” is all about, learn important stuff about how to do their job, and so forth. But making it fun, making it feel just a little bit like their personal networking experience, just might accelerate that ever-important time-to-value even more.

Hell, they might even stick around longer than a couple of years.

Of course, maybe you don’t want your workplace to be Facebook-fun. Maybe you just want people to do their Waffle work and go home. That’s cool. You can always change the colors and icons, easy. Actually, that’s probably a good thing to do if you have a culture that prefers a more professional feel.

And if you have folks who just hate Facebook, no problem. They can remove all that Facebookishness from their homepage and add whatever plugins they wish.

Wanna try all this goodness out for completely free?

  1. Download Clearspace 2.5.2
  2. Get Derek’s .jar file attachments
  3. Comment and tell us what you like and don’t like

Organizing your homepage in Clearspace

September 26th, 2008

What I don’t mention in this video is something Derek pointed out to me: A big reason to follow anyone in Clearspace is so that you can narrow the funnel of stuff that gets pushed to you. The widgets you can place on your homepage help you fine-tune that funnel.

Organizing in Clearspace

Test drive it yourself.

Collaborating in Clearspace

September 25th, 2008

Another video with my perky voice. I give a quick overview of the Rich Text Editor, which is used to create content throughout Clearspace.

Collaborating in Clearspace

Test drive it yourself.

Finding people in Clearspace

September 24th, 2008

A few of my customers have been using one or more of my videos to help their end users understand how to do things in Clearspace.

Here’s one of them:

Finding People in Clearspace

Check out how to follow someone, too.

Test drive it yourself.

Is it ok to be sick of blogging?

September 23rd, 2008

You know what? I am just too pooped lately to come up with good blog posts. Pooped, I tell you. I’m so freakin’ busy with existing and prospective customers. For example, I LOVED the fun demo I did today for 2.5 hours with a prospect with whom I hope to work again! And I had a blast hanging out with two of my favorite people, Angela and Derek, last night. Sushi and gab. Of course, Angela and I stayed up until 1am Pacific gabbing some more after we left Derek, so I was dragging a wee bit of ass today. It was worth it, of course.

Oh,  one other thing that is blogworthy.

Last week my mom finally figured out how to text message me. She sent her message three times, then called me to find out if I got it. She’s so cute.

Pass the flour, please

September 15th, 2008

Bake-offs, baby. That’s my thing lately. I’ve only got three on deck, but it seems to be an ever-constant activity, since we basically do the same thing with customers who need to present a customized environment to some powerful stakeholder soon (thanks, @derekdemoro, for pointing that out!)

To me, bake-offs are rife with corporate politics. Ok, everything about making a corporate purchase decision is lousy with politics. But end-user software vendor bake-offs in particular have the potential to bring any internal conflict to the surface. I think it’s because, during the entire bake-off process, multiple vendors trod dunderheadedly through unknown corporate kitchens and stir the pot. In our defense, we really can’t help ourselves. I mean, most vendors simply are not part of your corporate culture or network, so we are oblivious to all the alliances, animosities, and plots going on.

It’s like Survivor, really. “Many will enter. One will win.” But, that’s a tired analogy. Going to stick with the baking thing.

You’ve got the kind of corporate “restaurants” where the diners (i.e., business units) are really tired of the same ol’ hash that the chefs (i.e., corporate IT) have been slinging. But, since it’s the only restaurant in town, they shut up and eat. In a bake-off situation, those diners tend to speak up, because they see it as their only chance within the decade to change the menu. “I’ll be damned if I’m going to eat another bite of what they’ve been shoving down our throats for years.”

Enter the Main Ingredient: Usability. Yep, god love ’em, end users want their software to be usable. Whoodathunk.

How many resources (time, talent) do vendors spend on making their stuff usable? Why isn’t this question on Requests for Proposal (RFPs)? I’d answer for Jive, but I simply don’t know. I just know it’s part of our cultural psyche – “Whatever we do, make sure it’s usable, and it doesn’t screw up existing usability.” This is ultra-important for social and collaboration software, because people can choose not to use it. How can a restaurant stay successful if nobody eats their cooking?

The things I learned while on holiday

September 8th, 2008

I took last week off and decided to get a new garage, paint my home office, and get a new tooth. Here’s what I learned:

  • It takes about half as much time than you think to completely clean out a 20×22 ft. garage.
  • It takes twice as much time than you think to completely clean out a home office.
  • The dust build-up that occurs underneath an old rug is just scary.
  • The dust build-up that occurs while waiting for an “Apron Associate” to help you at Home Depot on Labor Day is just as scary.
  • It is extremely easy to jam a Fellowes ShredStik with old checks.
  • It is also extremely easy to jam a vacuum cleaner with an old winter scarf.
  • Watching people demolish an old garage is WAY fun.
  • Getting a titanium screw implanted in your jaw is NOT way fun. Not. Fun.