Body disposal: Open Source: Google Wave to Apache Wave

Waves

Google gave Wave about a year to find its market; it never did. So Google moved on, retiring Wave in mid-2010. They open sourced most of Wave and provided an open reference implementation for the parts they wouldn’t release. Apache Foundation took it over and work continues on this collaborative authoring and messaging system.

While Google gave notice to its Wave users, there were no wave hosting services of note in 2010, so no user migration path.

Benefits of setting your apps free to the open source world as part of EOL:

  • You hurt code contributors’ feelings less if they know the code has the potential for a second life. 
  • You enable some customers to lead their own investment in the product. Specifically, those customers suffering from a lack of control over their destiny and a burning need to keep the product alive. This is a variant on selling the whole product to customers. 
  • I know of no accounting benefit. Your FOSS license, however, may supplement your product’s asset write-down statement. 
  • Open source can be a product time capsule, preserving an option to return to an old product later. Should your product find a good home and its own open source community, it might be kept fresh and relevant. The alternative is obsolescing code locked on a shelf, with diminishing chances of future value. 

This is nearly as good as it gets in practice. 

 

Most #prodmgmt tools are indirect and bureaucratic {prioritizing features, writing specs, balancing geek/suit/swag cultures}. The work is often routine and mundane. But we’re in a long line of creators of complex things. Architects shape inspiring spaces through construction plans and bills of materials. Directors make movies through shooting scripts, budgets, and schedules. Composers through scores. Artists create works of wonder through others despite the convolutions between concept and realization. Hewing to the heart of your purpose, of your vision, is what separates the product craftsman from the product artisan. Product management is management. Wield it as your instrument, brush, or pen. Paint cyberspace with your art.

OpenOakland started with Spike and Eddie

2014-03-01 full page thumbnailWe kicked off Saturday’s strategy afternoon with Spike and Eddie telling OpenOakland‘s origin story.

This is Spike and Eddie.

2014-03-02 06.15.11 HDR spikeandeddieWell, almost.

 

 

 

 

Spike’s story:2014-03-02 06.15.11 HDR spikesstory

Spike and Eddie met through the Code for America program. Four things brought them to create OpenOakland.

They shared an enthusiasm for bringing CfA’s civic hacking to Oakland. They both love Oakland.

They shared beliefs that they could engage city government to drive a more open, transparent, and change-ready City.

They also saw a burning need to build trust in our civic institutions, especially in Oakland; trust is a prerequisite for social justice.

Last, they saw data and technology as levers for change. Apps and platforms can restore citizen faith in government, give hope to government workers that their quiet work has a living constituency.

Eddie’s story:

2014-03-01 Eddie's Story

Eddie came out of Brooklyn to Code for America and, leaving, found himself a civic startup entrepreneur in Oakland (San Francisco’s Brooklyn). Looking back at work and school, Eddie found himself diving into the confluence and interplay between technology and people. Avoiding high level abstractions, Eddie saw that change happened below the Director level in cities, so a focus on nuts and bolts would pay off.

Eddie raised an issue: How do we tune our distance from and alignment with the City government. At one extreme, we could be too strong an activist, burning trusted relationships with City partners. At the other extreme, we could partner too closely, missing out on independence, inclusiveness, diversity of thought, behaving like a captive service organization. Eddie thought we could learn from the League of Women Voters and their non-partisan commitment to better elections. The LWV earned trust from everyone by choosing broad areas for objectivity and narrow areas for advocacy.

The rest of us shared our feedback. From the “peanut gallery”, people said…

2014-03-02 06.15.11 HDR peanutgallery

  • We have a hopeful, optimistic, excited, and proud attitude to our work. It shows.
  • A focus on results and change are at OO’s core.
  • We’re absorbing political and project risks that City staff have trouble taking.
  • Early intervention by OO produces much better results. (So, more.)
  • We have a foot in advocacy and a foot in process/partnership. We’re a bit afraid of finding ourselves at an extreme without the intention of going there and excelling.
  • We are political realists and pragmatists.
  • We’re optimistically nervous about big changes to OpenOakland.

That was our first half-hour. More notes and work product to come.

Grit

Keep Calm and Hate OaklandResponding to by for Gigaom. on

Crime issues aside (and that’s a big aside), Oakland has an amazing innovation-driven culture. We have more hacker spaces, co-working spots, and maker collectives per person than anywhere in California. Come by @OpenOakland tonight (Tuesdays 6:30pm) at City Hall to see how geeky Oaklanders build apps, apply data science, and engage city government to make Oakland better. We have an open food lab in Kitchener, an anarchist hackerspace collective in the Sudo Room, a WordPress-centric co-working space at TechLiminal, a biohacking group starting up, and many more.

We have a long way to go before Oakland has the magnificent geek and capital density of Palo Alto. But we have something PA and SF don’t have: real problems that challenge real people and confound real businesses. This is the ferment of pre-gentrification Brooklyn, with subcultures rubbing up against each other, triggering urgency, resourcefulness, commitment, social consciousness, and other founder qualities that drive relentless experimentation, discovery, and community. Hungry entrepreneurs come to Oakland for a Moneyball edge, a bit of tough Raiders attitude, and easy access to cheap digs, great food, and BART/Caltrain.

Oakland can seek out those who want a suburban life. But we have something better: true grit.

User Story Structure: Kurt Vonnegut’s Shapes

Product managers are storytellers. Maya Eilam's infographicStory helps us humanize the abstract, put issues in perspective, convey sequences and choices as users and systems get from points A to B. 

Story structure is a way writers talk about the underlying mechanics of how stories work. Or why they work. Here’s an infographic based on Kurt Vonnegut’s analysis.

I love that Maia Eilam visualized the ebb and flow of a hero’s journey as fate (or the author) build up or tear down life by turns.

I’m working harder to use story structure to frame the forces at work on a user, to suggest the choices coming and the attitudes a user brings to an action depending on what has come before. Is that just a red button or the red button following a plunge from happiness to dark despair? 

More on story structure to come.

Who’s Grounding Your Drone?

This is 2014, where we now march on City Hall with wearable computers, augmented reality eyeware, and flying cameras for an aerial live stream. And phones, of course. Our digital selves – extensions of our eyes, ears, and voices – are in the public square along with our bodies.

My human rights and civil liberties don’t stop at my body. My devices, my digital prosthetics, are as much a part of me as my contact lenses or an insulin pump.

My rights – to assemble with others, to move freely, to keep private things private, to free political speech, to be free of unwarranted search or seizure, among others –  apply to my devices and their contents as much as to my person.

At least I want them to.

Do they?

When, exactly, may police look at your phone’s contents? Crack or bypass your login? Demand you surrender the code to your phone? The keys to your apps?

When did my right to fly a model airplane become limited? Balloons, drones, UAVs, and other flying robots are being banned by cities and states, with exceptions for law enforcement.

I’m not liking those bans. Governments and corporations (large markets ban on-premise photography) are silencing my senses, stifling my speech.

Oakland has been charged about government surveillance since DHS funded our Domain Awareness Center, a creepy digital spy office downtown. It feels like the local office of the NSA. Our concerns go back before that, I guess, to police inspecting the mobile phones of Occupy Oaklanders taken into custody. Do you think Oaklanders talk about police surveillance more than the rest of the Bay Area? Yep.

It’s still early days. Personal drones are still large with short flying times. Soon they’ll be insect-sized, cheap, nearly disposable, controlled from your iBans and your body network. How much access should anyone but you have to your feeds? How much control over those devices? Under who’s authority?

Constitutional drone law. Coming to a court near you.

Startup Oakland

Gigaom featured ‘s Some day Silicon Valley will move north. Here’s why it should settle in Oakland yesterday. Its comment thread was mostly about why Oakland was such a scary place to live. 

Crime issues aside (and that’s a big aside), Oakland has an amazing innovation-driven culture. We have more hacker spaces, co-working spots, and maker collectives per person than anywhere in California. Come by @OpenOakland tonight (Tuesdays 6:30pm) at City Hall to see how geeky Oaklanders build apps, apply data science, and engage city government to make Oakland better. We have an open food lab in Kitchener, an anarchist hackerspace collective in the Sudo Room, a WordPress-centric coworking space at TechLiminal, a biohacking group starting up, and dozens more.

We have a long way to go before Oakland has the magnificent geek and capital density of Palo Alto. But we have something PA and SF don’t have: real problems that challenge real people and confound real businesses. This is the ferment of pre-gentrification Brooklyn, with subcultures and economic classes rubbing up against each other, triggering urgency, resourcefulness, commitment, social consciousness, and other founder qualities that drive relentless experimentation, discovery, and community. Hungry entrepreneurs come to Oakland for a Moneyball edge, a bit of tough Raiders attitude, Panthers outreach, and easy access to cheap digs, great food, and easy access to BART/Caltrain. 

Oakland can recruit suburbanites; we have green hills and horse trails and state parks. But we offer something better for startup culture: true grit.

My Three Goals for OpenOakland in 2014

Broadly:

  • Get more done (faster, more projects, more risks, harder projects, ship early), 
  • Take responsibility for products past first launch (growth, support, evolution, ops), and 
  • Serve our volunteers better (professional cadres, HR). 

First stab. 

I think they address some of my SWOT concerns. We’re good at attracting volunteers, less good at putting them to work. We ship but our products seem lightweight compared to what’s possible. Our products don’t seem to have as many users and usage as they could. In short, we’re not making Oakland better fast enough. 

So if we focus on more from product development, longer attention in the product lifecycle, and better people development, we’ll create more value in 2014 and be better prepared for the challenges of 2015.