Who is Will Tschumy? Plus: Cardinal Pre-review

Cardinal Web Clipboard, Photobar, Newspaper

According to VP of Engineering Mark Towfiq, Flock has apparently found a new Director of User Experience… a fella named Will Tschumy. On first glance, I can’t seem to produce a Google Resume for him but I’m eager to find out more about him!

While I’m on the topic of Flock, I have to admit that the latest hourlies of Flock’s upcoming public beta (dubbed Cardinal) are starting to looking really pretty thanks to Bryan Bell (and not ironically reminiscent of his other project, NetNewsWire). So, here’s a brief review (based on Milestone 4).
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The cardinal flies at dawn

Will‘s announced that the specifications for next release of Flock have been made public.

Things to pay attention to (and to offer your feedback on!):

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how all these things fit together based on the current spec, but I’m interested in giving them a go when they’re out.

And so you know, I’ll still be consulting for Flock on things yet to be determined, but I’m sure I’ll have the chance to talk to the folks in charge of design about the upcoming changes and how they see it all fitting together!

Will Pate joining the Flock

Will Pate & FlockWill Pate of Canada‘s first day on the job starts today at Flock.

His role will likely be similar to parts of mine, given the mantle he’s taken for himself:

Community Ambassador
They let me choose my own title, which turned out to be more difficult than I expected. “Community” had to be in there because that’s what my focus is: getting people excited about using Flock. “Community Director” didn’t work because you can’t direct a community of the type we deal with. “Community Manager” sounded too stuffy. I took a cue from my colleague Chris Messina, Open Source Ambassador at Flock, and chose that word. I like ambassador because it implies goodwill, diplomacy, and a mission of relationship building. I’ll be talking more soon about what exactly I’ll be doing, but that should give you a general sense for now.

Will’s going to make for a great addition to the Flock family and I know that he and I will have a great deal to discuss and stew on as I transition into my old consulting role.

That and I’ve gotta make sure that he becomes Flock’s de facto Pinko Marketer.

#2919 resolved; the fix is in

Lloyd‘s posted a solution to the disappearing favorites bug I reported on last week. Apparently it was a change on del.icio.us’s end that caused the problem.
Notes from Lloyd:

There are no negative effects to your favorites on del.icio.us. Unfortunately, the nature of this del.icio.us service bug, requires your manual correction.

Manual Correction

  1. Shutdown Flock
  2. Go into your profile folder
  3. Delete files: flock_fq_default_in.rdf and flock_fq_default_out.rdf
  4. Restart Flock

In other news, del.icio.us has finally added privacy to favorites! I know Joshua has his reservations about this feature and that it threatens the sharing focus of the community, but I actually would be willing to wager that more people are going start sharing now that they at least have the option to keep certain things private.

Flocktails for Flock

Flocktails + Flickr

Calvin Yu has ported his Tails extension to work in Flock as a topbar. The extension, called Flocktails, reveals a micformats icon in the bottom right of the status bar to indicate the presence of , , and entries. This is the extension that I demoed at SXSW last week.

Take it for a spin and send bug reports to Calvin!

Sublimating

Phase shifting

I’ve noticed a cycle in my workflow that runs back a long time, probably into high school, runs throughout college, has stuck with me to this day. See, I seem to be a creature of phases, of renewal and curiousity and exploration. I seek out new challenges, take the road not even noticed, make things harder for myself. I can’t explain it. It’s just how I operate. I don’t slow down. I jump sideways. I phase shift.

And whenever I’ve found myself within the boundaries of some kind of institution, be it school, be it a job, be it just about anything that slows me down, chemicals and ideas within me start reacting, my energy changes, I reorient to address what’s in front of me. Sometimes, change ensues.

And so it’s been that for the last nine months I’ve had a full time gig at Flock — stumbling a whole lot, learning all kinds of great stuff, meeting and working with tremendously insightful individuals, traveling the world, falling in love, working long nights and sleeping less than I did in college; I’ve been in constant motion, bouncing along in the cockpit, weathering turbulent times both within and without our stuttering startup. I’ve struggled to find my footing, landing some successes that I’m really proud of, other times disappointing my colleagues and myself with my output (or lack thereof). I’m human, hey, and I’ve still got so much — so much — to learn. But throughout, ya know, it’s been a thoroughly enthralling experience.

Ok, to get to it already: as of April 1, I’ll be a free agent. This is wholly my choice and at my own discretion. Indeed, I initiated it. And the good folks at Flock are supporting me in this decision. In fact, they’re going to be my first “client” as I return to the land of independent consulting (which is what I was doing when I first moved out to San Francisco).

So the motivation? Well, first off, I thrive in small teams — where collaboration includes everyone, from top to bottom. This is how things started out at Flock, but due to the crazy demands of building a browser, just isn’t as feasible any more as we’ve grown to take on new and more diverse talent. Second, I want to focus more on the ambassadorial part of the position I’ve held at Flock (Barcamp, coworking, Mashpit, WineCamp, Microformats and all the rest). And to do that, I need more independence and the ability to flow between projects — to grow into some sort of an open source “editor at large”. Third, the timing is right. With Flock having just completed its move to and a number of internal reshufflings, I figure it’s time to exit stage left while things are really just getting off the ground and Flock’s internal culture is being formed. The past nine months have been getting us down the runway, and now that we’ve taken to flight, the next nine will determine what Flock is going to look like. And really, I’m going to be most effective out in the field, liasoning between projects and doing focused design work on the browser. So it’s all good — we’ve discussed this and it really does make sense.

So this bit about sublimating… here’s what convinced me that this is the right thing for me right now: the cycle that I go through with jobs and structure and so on is like the ice → vapor sublimation process. I started out at Flock as vapor, all energy, busting with ideas and ready to take on the world. Over time, I learned the ropes, slowed down a bit, condensed into water: amorphous and flowing, moving from one thing to the next. And now, as has happened with previous projects, I’ve turned to an idle form of ice, ready to sublimate into a new form of volatility, ready to take on the next challenges, to surface the next horizon, my next big thing.

Something tastes funny

Just an FYI — we’re in the process of investigating a nasty tasting bug that’s sitting somewhere between Flock and Delicious.

Apparently Favorites are disappearing (*gasp!*) without a clear reason. Lloyd thinks that it might be something on Delicious’ end, but we’re still looking into it. Rest assured, no existing data is being lost — however, creating new favorites is definitely flaky (possibly because of interactions on the server side).
Keep an eye on Bug #2919 for details. To report any issues you run into, drop a bug report to feedback (at) flock dot com. We’ve got our best people on this, so I’ll let you know the outcome as soon as I get word.