Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The "Always-On" Unconference & Ad-Hoc Virtual Communities

My follow on post was originally going to talk about my first week at Kaboose, which I will likely get back to doing/finishing one day. (Update: It has been GREAT!)

But after being dragged into a the TorCamp Skype chat room (think IRC chat room), it got me thinking about the nature of real-time, ad-hoc, social-networking (birds of a feather two point oh). The feeling I get from the TorCamp chat room, which reminds me of the old school IRC chat rooms, is that of a sort of a "virtual unconferences." Perhaps its because I happen to know and have met most of the people in the room (all DemoCamp and TorCamp mailing list regulars). Or perhaps its just because of that fact that I know everyone in the room is available to chat via voice at a click of a button. (or maybe its just that I know everyone has a blog, and could be easily googled, and thus, having an assumed social profile online)

Either way, its pretty neat how a virtual chat room was spawned using an IM client, and had grown to something like 30-50+ people purely off invites from within the social network/skype-buddylist that started it. So far, its been up for around 24 hours and the chats are still going strong.

The chat room also reminds me of a lot of the unconference IRC back-channels that I was introduced to when I had the opportunity to attend the first Bloggercon (or might have been the first O'Reilly P2P conference [aka: Emerging Technology Conference] -- I can't remember).

Whats great about the skype conference rooms is that as soon as you log back in from being off line, all of the history gets forward to you -- so the room is truly persistent (unlike IRC). I feel like the only thing missing (and this is an idea I've been messing with/wanting to have for 4+ years now), is a way of providing a structured and open profile of each of the IM contacts.

In the same way that DemoCamp was a lightweight extension to TorCamp, the TorCamp "SkypeCamp" is a sort of a lightweight real time extension/bridge for the community to gather and connect. Regardless of how you look at it, it was great to reconnect with the local tech community. Esp. as we are now looking for NEW PEOPLE for BubbleShare (read: Ruby Developers, Flash Gurus, IAs/UX peeps, please email me). =)

On a slightly different note, DemoCamp12 will mark DemoCamp's 1st Birthday since David Crow and I and many others got together at the BubbleLabs. As David mentioned here, BubbleShare will be doing a demoing a "v2.0" of BubbleShare.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Bubble Shared!

Today marks a great new beginning for BubbleShare as it becomes a part of the Kaboose family.

From day one, BubbleShare's mission was to deliver the simplest way for anyone to share photos on the internet.

The marriage of BubbleShare and Kaboose is, to us, a perfect match. Kaboose is the leading independent online company for families and parents, and BubbleShare is, we think, the best place for regular (read: non geeks) people to share their photos and stories on the internet today.

Of course, it helps that Kaboose is walking distance from the BubbleLab. That and the fact that Kaboose has been one of the best companies we have ever had the pleasure of dealing with.

I would like to thank everyone that has supported us along the way, including all of our great users that have provided us with fantastic feedback and encouragement. While there is simply too many people that I would like to extend my thanks to, there are a few that come to mind that are truly unsung heroes in the building of BubbleShare, and that I have benefited and learned a great deal from.

There have been many behind the scenes people that I would like to thank (in no particular order) that have contributed to the success of BubbleShare:

Aidan Tracey, a founding adviser of the BubbleShare team, has invested enormous amounts of his time and resources in bringing BubbleShare to life and to where it is today. His efforts have greatly contributed in the creation of our success to date.

Joe Hurd, the uber-connector, always ready to help to connect BubbleShare with anyone he could (and that’s one hell of a list).

Michael O’Connor Clark, for always being there as one of the greatest advisors and cheerleaders one could ask for.

Cindy Gordon and Alex deBold, our always-on business advisers and supporters.

Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington, who are genuinely true champions of “the little guy” and have continually provided great support and encouragement from their blogs and actions.

Glenn Rumbell and Joyce Kim, our tireless attorneys, that worked around the clock to help us when we needed them most.

Our external communications and design team, Jeneane, Steve and Justin.

The entire TorCamp/DemoCamp community, all of our passionate users and supporters that have sent us continuous feedback emails (I'm sorry I wasn't able to reply to ALL of them personally, I do try), and also countless bloggers in the blogosphere that have supported us along the way.

As cheesy as it sounds, yes, all my friends and family that have supported me along the way (you know who you are).

And of course, last but not least, our past and present core team that brought BubbleShare to life: Chris, the only guy that I’ve met that can translate my crazy ideas into actionable plans as well as he does. Terry and Maz, two of the best and most passionate software artists that I have ever had the privilege of working with. And Stephen, the most passionate and patient designer one could ever hope for.

I wish I could have spent more time on this posting, and I will likely provide an update to it – as you can imagine it has been a very crazy first few days of a great new year.

More to come (I hope) very soon.