Inaugural Jelly! Talk this Friday: OpenID vs Facebook Connect

Jelly TalksThis Friday, I’ll be joined by Dave Morin (my good friend from Facebook) at the first ever Jelly! Talk at Joe and Brian’s loft in San Francisco.

If you’re not familiar with Jelly, you should be. I call it the “gateway drug to coworking” — but it really has its own culture and identity independent of coworking, though both movements are rather complementary. Amit Gupta got Jelly started at House 2.0 in New York City back in 2006 (about two months after I initially expressed my desire to create a coworking space in San Francisco). Since then, like coworking, it’s grown into a self-sustaining movement.

Jelly! Talks is an interesting expansion on the concept — where Jellies distributed throughout the world can tune in to hear interesting and relevant talks and interact with speakers, similar to what the 37 Signals guys do with their “Live” show.

This first show I’ll be talking with Dave Morin about the relationship between OpenID and Facebook Connect — and where the two technologies are headed. This should be a pretty interesting conversation, since I’ve long tried to convince the folks at Facebook to adopt OpenID and other elements of the Open Stack (hey, they’ve got hcard already!).

Apparently the event is physically booked up, but you’ll still be to tune in remotely this Friday at 11am PST.

(Tip: The next Jelly! Talk will feature Guy Kawasaki).

NASA 2.0

Yuri's Night 2007

If you haven’t been wondering what’s up with NASA lately, you’re probably not alone. Though once a bastion for the advancement of humankind, in recent years the space agency has seemingly vanished into a well of bureaucracy and lack of coherent, public-supported vision.

Now, thanks to a number of young, forward-thinking upstarts within the organization, that might all start to change, starting tomorrow night at NASA’s Ames Research Facility in Mountain View, California with the kick off of the World Space Party (aka Yuri’s Night).

With 4,000 expected attendees, this is probably one of the first if not largest raves ever held on government property (you can only imagine the red tape that they had to go through to get this approved!). The space is perfectly suited for this kind of thing — and represents the new thinking and outward focus surging within the organization.

On top of that, there is growing interest in open source (notable given the restrictiveness of the NASA Open Source Agreement), in Second Life, and in coworking, as witnessed by NASA’s tenant status at Citizen Space and in their CoLab project.

I’m certainly excited to see these changes coming to NASA — and if it’s any indicator of what changes might be wrought in the government with the addition of a little 2.0 fever and open source, there’s hope for us yet.

Coworking survey and vote on the Net Squared Innovation Fund

I don’t normally cross-post, but seeing as how my blogs are starting to converge a bit, I don’t mind throwing this one in there…

First, Tara’s been collecting survey data on coworking trends — as well as what common experiences, expectations and desires are. We’ve received about 50 responses so far and would love to have more — especially from the LifeHacker and WebWorkerDaily communities.

If you’re interested, come fill out the survey, shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and we’ll be sharing the data with everyone at the end.

Vote for my Project on NetSquaredSecond, I just blogged over on Citizen Agency about getting your vote out for the Net Squared Innovation Fund. We’re donating a good chunk of consulting time to the effort to help equip non-profits with the skills, technology and “2.0 know-how” that they need to stay competitive and be even more effective in their advocacy using modern tools.

I invite you to read through and familiarize yourself with the slate of proposals that are all in the running for a chunk of the $100,000 that’s been set aside specifically for 20 community-selected projects and then go vote!

Oh, and if you’re in the area tomorrow night, we’re hosting Gina Bianchini, the co-founder and CEO of Ning and Benjamin Rattray the CEO of at Net Tuesday on the topic of “How Nonprofits Can Use and Build Online Social Networks: and Ning at Net Tuesday”, starting at 6pm at Citizen Space. Should be an excellent event.

BarCampAustin, BarCampPlannersSummit and CoworkingMeetup

BarCampAustin logo

Hot on the news that co-organizer Whurley has joined BMC Software as Chief Evil Genius, we’re kicking off the start of BarCamp/Refresh/Dorkbot at Bourbon Rocks in Austin alongside the start of SXSW.

A couple notes… BarCampAustin starts started today and continues into tomorrow (yes, this overlaps with the first day of SXSWi). Highlights include $10 screenprinting of your own custom BarCamp tshirt and Austin favorite SoulHat will be playing Saturday Night — along with other surprises throughout. As co-organizer Erica O’Grady says, This is definitely going to be a BarCamp you won’t want to miss 😉

Now, as for agendas… just want to point out that we’ll probably be doing both a session and a coordinating meeting of some kind related to coworking tomorrow. This is the meeting that we previously discussed but didn’t set a definite time on. I think it’d be best if we planned to take this on tomorrow from 3:30 to 4:30 — trying hard not to conflict with too many panels… so that Tara can join in, since she’ll be jetting off to Vegas to perform reconnaissance at Community Two Point Oh Con.

Otherwise, the rest of the week is pretty well covered by Jeremy Keith’s microformats mashup until we arrive at the on Thursday.

So, while I’m at it, I want to pimp out Twitter (not like it needs it — but you can follow what’s going on by sending the command join sxsw — though unfortunately there’s no “unjoin” if you want to tune us all out) and Conferenceer — both will prove indispensable tools throughout the week and beyond.

Coworking at the Hat Factory

The Hat Factory

Teh Space has a new website a new name: , owing to the building’s heritage as …well… a hat factory.

Still located at 801 Minnesota, it’s also pulled in some new anchors to flesh out the regular crew and replace Tara and me as outgoing an anchor while also starting to charge a very reasonable $10/day for Day Trippers.

As for , well, it’ll likely resurface somewhere else in the city sooner or later. Essentially after the conclusion of our four month experiment, we’re looking for a nesting ground for that has additional facilities, like a conference room and whiteboards, is somewhere downtown (South Park) and that also isn’t imposing on someone’s home. We’re excited that there’ll ultimately be more than one space in the city for folks to choose from depending on their needs.

As we’re seeing increasing pick up in other areas like Boston, Paris, New York and elsewhere, the outlet for the modern mobile independent is good.

Coworking NYC; reclaiming the sidewalks

Proposal hilights

Protest posterNoel has the details on a pretty ridiculous rule change on sidewalk usage and parade definition in NYC. In response, there’s been a protest called Aug 23.

At the same time, Noel’s kickin’ up dust about getting a CoworkingNYC space started up in the Big Apple. He’s proposed a meeting coming up soon, so drop him a note (noel at nonecknoel dot com) and let him know that you’re interested.

The future of open leadership

ObeyWith the Feed Icon Trademark debate, I’ve become fascinated by a number of Mitchell Baker‘s recent posts on open source leadership (or perhaps more appropriately community stewardship).

Just last night we held our second coworking meeting to discuss a number of topics (of which we were able to plow through very few)… Key among them was the question of how to best open up the space for non-anchors while not overly burdening the existing key-holders. And, in opening up the space, how to we set a fair pay-for-the-time-you-use rate that doesn’t burden the project with excessive overhead or rules.

After an exhausting discussion for over an hour and a half, we had to adjourn the meeting following Brad’s Snooze Button Guideline. We covered quite a number of possibilities, from hourly rates to hosting quarterly “supporters”, but ultimately ended up without a final resolution other than to submit proposals to the mailing list for continued debate.

Here’s what’s strange about it: throughout the meeting (I can’t be sure but…) I did feel like I was sitting in the role of facilitator — not exactly the leader, but close enough. I mean, that’s a pretty common role to play, right? Most meetings need a leader of sorts, right?

So now the question that I have is, or perhaps what I’m most confused about, is what kind of leadership does the coworking project need? What kind can it stand? I agree with Mitchell that relying on the “community to decide” will moreoften than not result in disappointment or frustration for communities actually don’t decide anything, they only appear to make decisions. And yet, there is this apparent allergy in open source communities that forces the subversion of the ego and the consequent vilification of those who attempt to make a decision on behalf of the group.

Ian responds to Mitchell:

Good leaders do not make decisions – they simply help the community to make better decisions. To do this they listen well, and they think long and hard. Then, when they see the prevailing wisdom surface, they communicate those decisions more fruitfully.

…which sounds pretty good and egalitarian on the surface. In fact, not a bit unlike what they call representative government. And yet, I think that that only captures a fraction of what a leader, in the community context, really does.

It is my belief that good, reflective and responsive leadership is needed for any project to find success. But that leadership need not be hierarchical. Or dominant. Or, most of all, exclusively masculine. And it also can’t be cowardly or cow-tow to the imposing and voluminous voice of the community it serves. That’s why leadership is important; it’s not about power, it’s about clarity of purpose and of seeing things through to their desired conclusion, deterring that which threatens to scuttle the intentions of the group.

Case in point, the witch-hunt that O’Reilly recently survived suggests that communities can easily be turned into echo chambers for groupthink and channeled hostility. Without strong leadership, you’re liable to end up with a neverending succession of teapot tempests without accomplishing anything productive.

So, coming back to the meeting last night, we have goals in common, even if the path is not clear. Which is precisely the kind of opportunity in which leadership emerges — the kind that isn’t focused in any one individual but is shared among the individuals in the collective. In a very real sense, it is the BarCamp model of leadership, of self-determination, of personal responsibility and of realizing your own role in consciously creating circumstances for yourself.

The point is this: open source leadership is not a contradiction, it’s just deeply misunderstood. And it seems high time that, as we open up to serving wider markets and communities, that we learn what it really means to embrace a kind of leadership that does not rely on traditional concentrations of power or of exclusivity or malevolent competition, but instead works to helps us each reach beyond ourselves to reveal each our own potentials. I don’t know clearly what it looks like, but I do think that Mitchell is on to something and that somehow, this little coworking experiment of ours might bring us steps closer to discovering just how open, modern leadership will actually bring us forward.