Category Archives: Wikis

Social Software in London

Here in London speaking at the Online Information 2006 conference for a few days. I am stunned at the strength of the social software intelligensia here. It is truly remarkable. Our friend Lee Bryant at Headshift has been thinking creatively and as long as anyone I know about how to really use wikis, blogs, social tagging, social bookmarking, podcasting, and RSS woven together properly. His work for the influential New Labour think tank Demos is one great example. Lee will be speaking at the upcoming Atlassian user group meeting in London December 12.

At the conference, there has been no shortage of local experts passionate about making a difference with social tools, and the audience which is a fairly traditional industry, academic, and government crowd is keenly interested. Adriana Cronin-Lukas from the Big Blog Company is a refreshingly blunt consultant not afraid to tell it like it is and who has moderated the best session at the conference.

Robert Scoble of PodTech and the ScobleShow has been great for this crowd to hear. Robert did an interview with Mike Cannon-Brookes recently if you missed it. Much of the crowd at the conference seem to enjoy listening to Silicon Valley guys like Robert or me, but they also think we gloss over some of the challenges big companies face with using these technologies. I think they are partially right. Also the European market just does accept new technology as readily as we Yanks.

Why Joe Kraus is Cooler than Me

The San Jose Mercury News did a piece on wikis today, and featured Joe Kraus of Jotspot. At Atlassian, we admire Joe and Jot and like the way they evangelize wikis. Interestingly the Mercury News article highlighted five cool things about Joe. Wondering how well I would do if I had to supply this kind of personal information, I realized I would never stack up as cool as Joe. Here’s why…

Cool Thing No. 1

Joe: Would be a pro surfer if he did anything else
Jeffrey: Would be a pro musician if I did anything else

Analysis: Joe gets the edge here because surfers generally look pretty good, have great physiques, and don’t die at a young age from overdoses. Surfers can die getting slammed into a rock at a beach like Mavericks, but that’s cooler than choking on your vomit like Jimi Hendrix did. Although musicians are certainly reegarded as cool, and this is a close call, Joe gets an extra cool point here.

Cool Thing No. 2

Joe: Was seen in his underwear at age 12 by Actress Rachel Hunter
Jeffrey: Has paid $9 to see actresses in their underwear

Analysis: Joe is way cooler here. TV actor, Bryan Cranston, who is the Dad in “Malcolm in the Middle“, taught me to sing “So Much in Love” and sang it with me when we were at a friend actor’s wedding. But, Bryan is nowhere as hot as Rachel Hunter. Plus, I had my clothes on. I pay regularly to see actresses in their underwear at the movies, but that’s lame in comparison.

Cool Thing No. 3

Joe: Blogged that he first met Bill Gates at the urinal
Jeffrey: Larry Ellison has driven to my house and flown my daughter on his private jet

Analysis: Once again, Joe clearly wins. I never met Larry Ellison but he dropped his daughter off at my house a couple of times. My daughter, Brittany is much cooler than Joe or me because Larry flew her and in his private jet to New Zealand for a week on his boat. I, however, have not peed next to him or Bill, and I would probably not even be able to pee, let alone blog about it.

Cool Thing No. 4

Joe: Was a political science major
Jeffrey: Was a music major

Analysis: Whew. I finally am cooler. Political science majors are not complete losers like say, business majors, but music majors are significantly cooler. There are different degrees of coolness in music, but because I went to a jazz conservatory ,Berklee College of Music, for one year, I think I am cooler on this one.

Cool Thing No. 5

Joe: Once played drums in a band called “Where’s Julio”?
Jeffrey: Played in bands named the “Universal Space Choir” and “Bozos on Broadway”

Analysis: I think I get an edge here. I played in a lot of bands, many with cool names I can’t really remember. “Where’s Julio” is cute, but “Universal Space Choir” is out there. “Universal Space Choir” has a certain Stanley-Kubrick-Tibetan-Monk-Zen thing happening. Plus, “Bozos on Broadway” is funny, and had some guys in it that went on to do really well, like my friend Dan Siegel, who has serious chops and has recorded with some heavy dudes. But given this is about the band’s name, I only get a slight edge here.

Final Score: Joe is cooler than me. Hats off to him. His company also is great at PR, which is something we don’t do at Atlassian intentionally.

I am glad Joe did his Mercury News interview before mine because that gives me time to adjust my life and prepare for a cool “Five Things to Know” about me. For example, I think I need to plan on jumping out of a plane (with a parachute). Also I need to call some of my old musician buddies and see if anyone can remember the name of the band…

Johann Sebastian Wiki

Whenever I have to explain to someone what a wiki is, I invariably mention wikipedia because just about everybody knows it. But the next time I have to show someone a wiki, my first choice without a doubt is the Bach Academie de Montreal

… which clearly blows away most wikis in terms of presentation. I guess we should expect French-speaking musical lovers and musicians to do a brilliant job when it comes to user interface. 🙂 It’s easy to downplay the importance of UI when we dwell so much on features in software, but wow, can it matter. Our friends at Adaptivist built this incredible version of Confluence. We love this wiki so much, it is going to be in our demos.

The Bach Academie is one of over 700 non-profit and open source licenses we have donated in the last two years, to give something back to the community and to our friends in the technical community.

What would Johann think of all this? Well, for starters, Bach would have made an absolutely killer software engineer.