Monday, June 05, 2006

Dear Tim O'Reilly

Dear Tim O'Reilly,

I chose the name Web 2.5 for my blog (subtitled "the always-on-you web" and the first result at Google for "Web 2.5") because I believed the term "Web 2.0" to be generic. I would not have chosen this name had I known that CMP's trademark was in the works, because in that case a conference named the "Web 2.5 Summit" could be said to confuse the market, even if a Web 2.5 event sought a completely different audience than your Web 2.0 Conference.

I accept your assertion that your conference defined the term Web 2.0 as it is now broadly used. I agree that you have established commercial ownership of the term for conferences. And I know your motivation is pure when you assure the web community that Web 2.0 can continue to be used without restriction outside the conference context.

The trouble is that much of the web community is not comfortable with a term that is restricted so. We find ourselves in the bind of having embraced your term enthusiastically, widely, but now admonished not to use it, nor similar terms like mine, for conferences. We feel blindsided by this turn of events; we have a great deal invested in this meme; we are not sure how to respond.

We still earnestly hope, despite your signals to the contrary, that your partnership will cede the term Web 2.0 to the community, and rebrand your conference ever so slightly (a move that would surely generate tremendous coverage at this juncture). That feels to us like the kind of magnanimous gesture we might expect from your organization, at least as we understand it from its track record in the community.

We will be set adrift, for a time, if you refuse us this gesture. What new label should we apply to our movement? What thought leader should we turn to? What cost will this transition exact? Our creativity, I'm sure you will agree, is better spent in other endeavors.

Most Sincerely,

Liam Breck
Network Improv
5th of June, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

[AoyW] Eliminate E-meetings, Collaborate Better

I just came across this fascinating post on collaboration. It posits that group discussion fails when soliciting ideas and feedback. The first few replies in a discussion may be authentic, but every other reply is tainted by them.

It proposes one-on-one email between the facilitator and each participant, e.g. BCC all participants with the request, then summarize their replies, without attribution, to all for feedback/vote via BCC again. This restricts "conversation", which makes sense; everyone knows what a waste of time meetings are.

In the context of peer-to-peer wikis, a dicussion/chat mechanism could provide a "deferred reveal" feature, i.e. all responses are posted to the shared space, but if the topic is marked "no-reveal", only posts by the facilitator are visible to everyone, until the facilitator unmarks it, or enough time elapses.

Going further into wiki editing, the facilitator would put up a page and request enhancements, and participants would change the initial page, without seeing others' changes. The facilitator would then merge the best stuff. How big a pain is merging vs. losing great ideas that don't emerge, and arguing about lesser ideas?

Reminds me of "management by walking around".

P.S. don't read the other comments before leaving yours :-)