Off to Europe

Just a quick note that Tara and I are off to Europe for 10 days — partaking in BarCampBerlin, some days in Paris and three days of vacation in wine country (our first vacation, like, ever!).

We were also to head to WineCampFrance, but sadly, due to family matters, Gregoire had to cancel — perhaps WineCampGenevaLake will happen instead later on.

So that’s all — my Flickr stream will slow, as will blogging, though I am working on a follow up to my diversity post and things I’ve learned in the past few days (it’s been a very enlightening and on the whole, encouraging, experience).

We’ll still have email, but much less frequently! A bientot!

Former Flocker joins Automattic

Lloyd’s finally announced his new role with WordPress-shop Automattic after leaving Flock:

Today is my first day of every day being an Automattic day!

I am Automattic’s Entomology Assistant — their QA person: bug finder and describer, bug gardner, quality advisor, and QA community collaborator.

I am passionate and knowledge about many aspects of software development and support.

I have enjoyed getting familiar with WordPress since first starting with Flock (one of’s first partner) over a year ago, spending more time these last many months, and accelerating my experience these last few weeks. I know I have a special opportunity because I am one of Automattic’s few hires from outside of the core WordPress community.

I have never been so excited to work with each and every member of a team. I am enjoying learning from everyone!

Another fool leaves the Flock

Lloyd with a member of the Flock ... by Scott BealeThe title of this post might sound meaner than it really is, but I’m referring to the departure of Lloyd “Foolswisdom” Budd from Flock.

This is something I’ve known about for awhile (as well as Bart’s departure before it was made public), but Lloyd’s post does a pretty good job capturing what clearly was a tough decision with hundreds of photos from his stay at what some might call the yellow canary of Web 2.0.

Things for good for Lloyd and his new bride, however, and I’m excited to find out what’s next for them as they resettle in Victoria, BC.

And yeah, I presume that he’ll keep up with his masterful photography work and foodporn shots.

SilverOrange looking for a designer

SilverOrange dude SilverOrange, the fine folks behind the Digg design and Mozilla dot org are looking for a new designer.

Personally I’d jump at the opportunity, but as you probably know, I have a source of prior employment.

What might be interesting to note is that my entire foray into Silicon Valley life came to fruition because of a post I read on Steven Garrity’s blog in August 2004 about Mozilla looking for volunteer designers. I replied, got pulled into their backend intranet doing design volunteer work, a few weeks later we pushed out Spread Firefox and the rest, as they say, is history.

So I’m just saying, this could be the opportunity that sets you off in whatever direction the fates have picked out for you.

P.S. And no, this doesn’t mean I’m starting a job board (heh). I’m just doin’ a favor for some friends.

The Power of a Question

Last night, during Suw‘s Vodka Gathering, Tara raised a question, primarily to Tantek, that went a little something like this:

Which is more valuable: money or human life?

She changed the phrasing on her blog to:

What means more to you? Money or human life?

Delving further into the topic this morning, and reflecting on the responses Tantek and I gave that were primarily mathematical, theoretical and of the “it depends…” nature, I offered yet another rephrasing to capture the emotional quotient she was really asking about:

Which do you feel more strongly about: money or human life?

What’s interesting to me is how much different my response is to the “more than” question as opposed to the “feel strongly about” version. Is this a male/female thing? Is it that, regardless of how’s the questioned formed, the masculine view (not only taken by men, mind you) will be to immediately work out the logic of the matter rather than, in the feminine approach, to tease out one’s emotional reaction? Is there a neuter form of the question (i.e. in the Latin sense) that would be more uniformly comprehended between the sexes?

What do you think?

Jobs, jobs and more jobs!

Fuck all y'all -- icons by laksmanDamn, there’s a lot of job boards out there. A new one every other day. It’s practically distributed already, except that they’re all speaking greek to one another, and engines like Edgeio, well, can’t make uniform sense of them because they all have their own way of marking things up. Like, it’s all the same kind of data, but if I were a computer, damned if I know that!

I mean, look at this… why haven’t they standardized on … or something?

Jason has a point as usual, but, man, to really go decentralized, you have to flip the whole model on its head. In which case he half misses the point too (sorry, even though I luv ya man).

is nice; a good step. In fact, everyone should be publishing their own hResume + hAtom, if anything, for shits and giggles (though we really need a tool for this).

Though, stepping back, what we really should be doing in this age of authentic empowerment is allowing people to write the job descriptions for themselves and declaring themselves competent for the purpose. I mean, if someone can accurately describe what they’re good at and what they’re not, that’s a person I want to hire!

Let me put it this way — which is the way that I want to see this balance shifting, since all the job aggregator and job listing sellers seem to have forgotten this part of the equation: we are living in a time of abundance, a time that will last a finite amount of time, to be sure. In this finite time period, I believe that it is possible more than ever for people to pursue work that they love to do, that really makes them happier than anything else, that really fills them up and doesn’t leave them somehow feeling diminished by the end of the day. A herd-mentality job board doesn’t help me feel like a unique snowflake; it doesn’t make me feel like I have something special to offer the world, nor does it make me feel like I’m in command of my destiny but rather waiting around for the hammer to drop and some business-two-point-oh-dude-you’re-so-not-even to anoint me their , picked from amongst a sea of similar generics.

What these boards ignore is the humiliation and please-pick-me! sameness that relegates my humanity to bumble alongside inside someone else’s aggregator. Ugh, think about that: to end up in someone else’s aggregator! What am, just a bunch of bits and data? Jason, I get the visual analogy, but to suggest that you’re choosing between a shotgun and a rifle when you go job “hunting” is a bit, um… Cheney-esque (Oops, did you really mean to shoot me… or not?)?

Your semantics betray your purpose (and everyone else’s) because I know you mean well and I’m really not trying to pick on anyone except those who think job boards are a good idea.

Here, okay, let’s redefine the problem before I get myself in serious shee-it: the goal of any job “service” should be to bring together people together who love to do certain things for a living with the folks who have a need (and capital) for those who happen to do that certain thing very well. To aim at less is to subjugate the potential of the new network (aka The Tubes) and to ignore the potential of this new medium to elevate the status and capability of the individual.

On the one hand, we are talking about work; exchange of value (usually represented in dollars and cents) for someone else’s time, attention and/or effort. On the other, we are talking about that which someone is devoting their waking life to — that is, the stuff that they share with their friends, their family, their relatives. Too often I’ve seen friends, family, my brother, settle… for less than what they’re capable of taking on. And it’s disheartening, it’s saddening, it’s less than what I would hope for anyone.

We’ve come so far — too far &mdash, for anyone with the volition to not be able to pursue a career doing that which they most want to do. These job boards are holding back the potential, reinforcing hierarchy and pushing people to be squeeze themselves into job descriptions that don’t really fit. It’s supply-side economics right? And we have the terms and vocabulary to describe work that needs to be done… but strangely, the reverse is also true, we just haven’t developed the nomenclature to express the demand side of the job performer market: I demand this kind of job with this kind of work, this size pay and these vacation dates.

Ironically I learned a lesson a long time ago from Jason, one that I think is didactic and worth repeating. As a company and small business, we hire our clients — that is, we pick folks to work with not based on pay but based on how well we think we can work with them. We hire them based on their openness, their desire to work collaboratively and whether they’re willing to look at the world with eyes wide open. It’s a challenge to maintain this standard, but it ultimately benefits both us and our clients. I would recommend this for anyone looking for work or thinking about what’s next — don’t just sell yourself to the most nichefied job board — hire your next boss. Make it your first priority to spell out clearly what you want to do and for whom you’re willing to do it. Job boards, sadly, will not reflect this preference, so it’s up to you to defend your right to pursue the work which will most satisfy you. In fact, you owe it to yourself.

The yin-yang of FOO and Bar

Tantek and Chris -- photo by Tara Hunt

Much has been made of the supposed sibling rivalry between FOO and Bar, owing to BarCamp’s origins last year as “an open alternative to FOO“.

What I think often goes missing from the story is that the original BarCamp was planned, organized and executed by a small scrappy group of upstarts, only one of whom had previously been to FOO Camp (and who ended up being invited back last year anyway). It wasn’t anti-FOO, it was just different — with different goals and a different raison d’etre.

In fact, I’ve personally reached out to the O’Reilly folks on a number of occasions to try to coordinate our events better and to even ask for favors. On the whole, they’ve been as gracious as anyone with as much going on as they’ve got and personally see no reason to chide them for focusing on their own business interests.

And I think Dave Weinberger‘s post is therefore useful in that he recognizes the value of socially engineered social networking while acknowledging the benefit of the “unbarred” model:

There’s value to an invitation-only party, but it’s not the only sort of party we need. That’s why I’m so happy that the original FOO Camp spurred the invention of unbarred BAR camps that are structured like FOO but are open to anyone. There’s a place for both.

Those who appreciate and have a sense for this duality — of there being both privilege in being invited to anything exclusive and those who, at the same time, can question what they have to offer and why they made the cut — get why both FOO and Bar can and in fact, should, co-exist. At FOO Camp, someone else invites you and you wonder why; at BarCamp, you invite yourself and over the course of a weekend prove why you did.

What I think Tim is still missing out on, however, is that the is very at odds with the competitive angst and jealousy that spurs events like (no offense Robot Robert, but why define your event by what it’s not? i.e. BarCamp isn’t an “unconference” — it’s an “ad hoc gathering” as it says on our homepage). And, Tim, I’d humbly suggest that you consider your own advice:

Stop worrying about what Winer thinks.

The way I see it, a year out, FOO and Bar represent the very yin and yang balance of openness and proprietariness that the open source community and its offshoot industries have struggled with since their inception (which has also been well documented in Markoff’s Doormouse). While one does not need the other to exist, that they both exist, espouse different organizing and ownership models and appeal to different people on different merits is what’s important. This is the reality and benefit of creating non-zero-sum economy where network effects and community rule the day. It’s not one other other, it’s both for one another.

BarCampEarth starts tomorrow!

BarCampEarth tshirt v2

So it is upon us… in a very short amount of time, BarCampEarth will commence, with simultaneous events happening around the world (with many more coming in September!). Taking part this weekend:

Whoa how far and wide our community has grown in a year. Believe it or not, I have a draft saved in my blog from August 24, 2005 titled “Bar Camp Worldwide”. I got as far as linking to an image and writing this line:

So it’s been suggested that Bar Camp spread outside of Palo Alto. In fact, it’s been suggested that it spread far and wide, from the West to the East to across the pond.

How prescient is that?

And now we even have a theme song (thanks Derek!).

Well there you have it. Forty some-odd camps later and it’s come full circle.

So if you happen to be in the Bay Area, you know where you’ll be this weekend:


Todd Davies has put together a tremendous time, starting off with a BBQ today at 6pm. I expect to see you there!

P.S. Shirts will be for sale soon soon! Thanks Miles!

Slightly Oddica tshirts…!

Oddica rocks!!

Update: The ‘factoryjoe’ coupon code at $7 off will expire Dec 12, so make sure you get your purchases in before then!

Bottom line: Use ‘factoryjoe’ for $7 off at Oddica, another cool indie tee shop that gives 41% of sales to the artists.

Happened upon Oddica not too long ago and found their stuff to be pretty cool, subscribed to their blog. They released four new shirts and offered a promo and I could no longer resist. Bought Sheltered 2 and Oil is Evil for Miss Tara — a mere day or two later all kinds of good stuff arrived. It was practically a ValleySchwagtastic experience.

As they’re pretty appreciative of the pimpage they get, they offered a $7 discount for my readers until the end of the month. Just use ‘factoryjoe’ as your coupon code and voila! Cheap tees!

is yet another in an increasingly populated and inspiring field of cool, boutique, artist-centric shops. There’s too many to name, but a few I’ve interacted with: (who hasn’t?), (Copyleft Aeroflot and repeat BarCamp tshirt printer), (an absolute fav), (BarCampSF tshirt printer) and (featuring MeCommerce).