â€œOK, everybody back from vacation?â€
Iâ€™ve been working on the JS UI for the facial recognition and tagging system in Picasaweb since early this year. Hope you like it!
I’ve created a minimal Google AppEngine example project for an upcoming workshop. Here it is:
I especially like that Iâ€™ve â€œworked withâ€ Bruce Willis, et. al.
The information is all â€œtrueâ€ but doesnâ€™t promote a lot of understanding about who I am. (I did update my profile on MobyGames, though.)
In The Innovatorâ€™s Dilemma and The Innovatorâ€™s Solution,Clayton Christensen talks about how disruption in a market can come from a low-quality, low cost provider nibbling away at the lowest margin business of an established company. That company is almost happy to lose some of this business, as it can focus on its more profitable higher-end offerings. Goodness knows itâ€™s not going to squander its potential profits in a race to the bottom. Often a company wonâ€™t consider the techniques and technologies of its downmarket competitor until time is running out, and its competitors are gobbling up ever higher-end bits of what it considers its prime domain.
Todayâ€™s meta-market question: Whatâ€™s at the low end of this, the value-creation market?
Letâ€™s take a look at some data points along the curveâ€¦
So hereâ€™s the ultimate disruption, aided by the open web, open source, open exchange of ideas: youâ€™re the link at the start of the value chain, innovating with leverage in a loose affiliation with other folks doing the same thing, enabled by technology that nobody owns enough to take away from you.
What are you going to do now?
AtÂ RubyConfÂ I stood up and volunteered expertise I accumulated starting and running theLos Angeles Java Users’ GroupÂ for the first seven or so years of its existence. If you’re thinking of starting a group in your area, here are a few tips:
It’s really easy to mistake the fluid and personal-feeling communication tools available these days for real face-to-face time. Brains are amazing things, with machinery that has evolved specifically to help us communicate with each other in person. Don’t miss out on it!
Get a bunch of people interested in the same thing together in a room, stir the pot with an interesting speaker or shared project, and then give folks a chance to talk informally with each other afterwards.
The rewards are immediate AND long term.
No! In the seven years I ran LAJUG, I never spent or took in money. People volunteered space, an email list and a web server, and that was all it really took. These days, the web space and email lists could be handled through any one of several advertising-sponsored web sites. (Feel free to link to your favorites in your comments to this post.) During the boom sometimes vendors would spring for pizza and soda, and I sometimes brought coffee and cookies myself. Later on, I got members to volunteer for cookie duty.
The best speakers come from within the local community. If you’re active on the ruby lists and IRC you can probably find them there, and it wouldn’t hurt to email the people you’d like to present *now* for possible engagements “whenever they’re in your area”. I’ve never needed to pay anybody — the non-vendors want to give back to the community and promote themsleves, and the vendors, of course, want to sell you something.
Over any stretch of time you can count on a the following:
There are as many topics that will be interesting to a good users’ group as there are people who attend. Over the years, the Java users’ group took on subjects as widely varied as Extreme Programming, VRML, and the local job market.
If you take on the responsibility of organizing a group, one of the perks is picking the occasional tangent topic that is of particularly interesting to you (so long as there’s a connection back to your main subject area, of course!)
For the Ruby crowd, it’s less of a problem at the moment, but I can see ISPs and development software vendors offering to speak often enough that you could book late 2007 and 2008 with just sales pitches. Vendor presentations are often great, but it’s good to mix it up with technical presentations.
I think workshops are a great idea right now — a Rails install fest, for example. Hmm, that might only take the first ten minutes…
I hope this post will live for quite a while, so please add any ideas you’ve found helpful in the comments section. If they remind me of specific advice, I’ll revise the list above.
See you at the next group meeting!
This morning onÂ NPR IÂ heard a piece about Chicagoâ€™s famed Second City improv comedy group teaching their techniques to Fortune 500 groups.
They mentioned the principle of â€œYes, andâ€ as opposed to â€œNo, but.â€
Macolm Gladwell talks about this inÂ Blink. When improvising, if another player offers you a situation (â€œIt seems as if your head is on fire.â€) you must accept the situation and build on it (â€œYes, can you put another log on it?â€ rather than â€œMy head isnâ€™t on fire, itâ€™s your eyes that are burning.â€)
I think the current entrepreneurial boom is a movement of â€œYes, andâ€ rather than, â€œNo, but.â€
Yes, we can make that happen.Â ANDÂ we can do it quickly and cheaply.Â ANDÂ we can build upon software that is freely available.
FunnyÂ how things can work out.