Thursday, November 26, 2009

Will Google Wave Re-Define the Blog Paradigm?

As we all know, blogs are a social networking tool to desseminate information and capture feedback. The tools currently in use almost provide the mechanism for discussion but don't quite get there. Google Wave holds promise of bringing blogs to the conversational promiseland - at least in the world of typed messages.

Currently, the process works like this: Someone writes a blog article that is typically several paragraphs long with several points linked together by logical reasoning. After visitors read the article, they input a comment at the bottom. The comments usually consist of general commentary on the article subject matter, specific commentary on one or more points within the article, or extending the article through logical relationships to subject matter not discussed in the article.

Commentary from a blogs reader ship currently consists of narrative pointers into the article, e.g. "I disagree with you when you state...". These narrative pointers become exponentially more cumbersome with high volumes of visitors and comments. Discussion is lost because it quickly becomes impossible to follow the massive array of narrative pointers contained in the set of disparate comments.

Google Wave blows up this paradigm by allowing inline commentary within the article. Comments are no longer aggregated by visitor containing multiple points at multiple locations within the article. Comments become decentralized and are input directly in the article at the location where the specific points are made. This allows follow-on visitors to add to the discussion on just those points with which they have interest and absolved of the prerequisite filtering of content and comments that currently exists. The playback feature is also a pretty cool way of being able to read the article without comments and follow visitor feedback sequentially as they occurred.

I posted much of the text from this blog to a wave that I made public. Virtually immediately after posting it, I started getting inline feedback from a Wave user. If you have a Google Wave account you can view it by searching for with:public google notarangelo. There's some interesting commentary.

If you want to contact me using this new and interesting medium - and what I think is the future of blogging - then get a Google Wave account (I have some invites available if you need one) and ping me

You can read more about Google wave at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Economic Darwinism

Over the summer, I wrote an article in this space called It's Winter in July. The premise being that in these tough economic times everything you've done to this point in your career has culminated to your current market value. This article extends that subject in the form of what I call Economic Darwinism. Surprisingly, my Google searches on the term came up with hits but not in the way that I think of it.

Economic Darwinism in my mind is related to survival of the fittest. We have been in this downturn for over a year and it's been difficult. Lot's of layoffs, attrition, hard looks at the way we do business, and in many cases lots of change.

For the past year or so you have been in survival mode which is a good and healthy process. If you have survived being in survival mode then it likely means that you are built for what you are doing.

When you look around at your respective team members you likely see a strong set of individuals that as a group can deliver whatever needs to be delivered. In a culture of meritocracy, which for the most part describes software engineering, we have been transformed into lean teams with a kick-ass set of players that gets shit done. Yes, it was painful getting to this point, but the result is good.

If that accurately describes your situation, then from a leadership perspective the view should be "The recovery starts with us. The inevitable new phase of growth will be through this team. And through that inevitable growth there are opportunities for everyone."

Morale, whether poor or euphoric, is a state of mind. The thoughts bouncing around your cranium, regardless of whether they are verbalized or not, influence those whom you lead. It's your belief system that will - and does - significantly influence whether your team feels confident or insecure. Look around, see the strength of your team, and know that the recovery starts with you. If you believe that, confidence/morale will increase. If you choose otherwise then you should expect the malaise to continue.

Let there be no doubt that which ever side you land is all in your head. Your harvest is in part dependent on the seeds sown now in the Spring of this recovery.
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