Gerry McGovern: If the customer really was king

Gerry McGovern – If the customer really was king:

“Are the most powerful people in your organization those who interact most with your current customers? Are these people the most respected and highest paid?

[…] The customer isn’t just king in a digital economy; the customer is dictator. Those organizations that deliver an excellent experience to current customers will thrive. Those that don’t will wither.

[…] The old model ethos is that the organization is there to support management. The top of the hierarchy is not the customer; it is senior management. […] Their focus is on pleasing their managers, not pleasing their customers.”

Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:01:00 +0000

Getting started with product management

In addition to my software development and architecture tasks, I’m growing into the “product manager” role – though it’s not yet clear what that means: bookkeeping of customer complaints and feature requests, coordinating product decisions and making sure everyone in the company has a say, or pushing my own ideas? Probably a bit of everything…

One thing we’re currently learning, and that’s bound to be a huge part of our future product management efforts, is that we need to move product development closer to the customer.

Read the full article…

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:25:00 +0000

Rick Yagodich: The Author Comes First

Rick Yagodich (@think_info) on the Contentful blog – The Author Comes First:

“Any time a big company buys an enterprise CMS, they are easily spending seven figures on the licenses and then another six on subscription fees. To customize this CMS to do something even vaguely resembling what the buyer wants is another seven figure project. It’s not uncommon to spend five-to-seven million dollars to get a mediocre publishing platform.

[…] When we’ve got a CMS that is configurable on a deeper level, we will see a paradigm shift. Organizations that currently spend millions of dollars on customising enterprise platforms, will go for natively configurable publishing tools.

[…] People recognise the value of this approach. There are challenges. And it will take investment. It’s a big step that doesn’t fit in with most vendors’ five-year roadmaps.

[…] At some point, a vendor will take that leap. They will develop a platform that defines a new generation in content management; a true game-changer.

[…] The other vendors would have no choice but to change course, to abandon their precious roadmaps and catch up as fast as they could. I think that would happen within a year of the first serious (enterprise-hardened) platform that provided that level of configurability hitting the market.”

I’d love this to happen in the DAM market as well – see my previous post on System architecture: Splitting a DAM into Self-Contained Systems.

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 07:55:00 +0000

System architecture: Splitting a DAM into Self-Contained Systems

While we’re gathering ideas for the next generation of our DAM product’s user interface, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the system architecture of our DAM software. It’s currently a monolithic architecture: All of the user interface and back-end features are implemented within a single software system, and based on one large database. This traditional approach to software development has been criticized for a while, starting with SOA (service-oriented architecture), and more recently microservices and Self-Contained Systems as the proposed alternative. That’s because with multiple smaller systems, each one should be simpler, have less bugs and be easier to extend. (Of course, there’s added complexity in making these systems interoperable, and maintaining multiple systems.) Stefan Tilkov’s Breaking the Monolith analyzes the problem well.

Coming from a different angle, Ralph Windsor and Naresh Sarwan – back in 2013 – wrote in depth about Digital Asset Management Value Chains on DAM News. Their idea was to move DAM systems to a component-based architecture where “operators will review, select and assemble custom applications using a variety of component choices available”.

Read the full article…

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:48:00 +0000

schema.org RDFa markup for a DAM hypermedia API

Just a quick update to my previous schema.org DAM markup example. That example was in RDF/XML, but RDFa – RDF markup embedded in HTML – is pretty interesting as well, so here’s the same record in HTML+RDFa.

Click here to see that markup rendered by your browser. The benefit of RDFa is that it’s human readable by everyone with a Web browser, and at the same time machine-readable structured data. See Publish your data, don’t build APIs for more on hypermedia APIs.

Here’s the RDFa source:

Read the full article…

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 20:31:00 +0000

Dave Camp: Three Pillars (“Great or Dead”)

Dave Camp’s e-mail about the future direction of Mozilla Firefox – Three Pillars:

Uncompromised Quality

We’ve started putting together a program inartfully named “Great or Dead”. Every feature in the browser should be polished, functional, and a joy to use.  Where we can’t get it to that state, we shouldn’t do it at all.  In some cases that will mean spending time to make it great.  In other cases that will mean removing code that we don’t see ourselves improving any time soon.  In other cases it will mean finding third party services or addons that can do the job better than we can.

[…] There’s no shortcut to this.  It means significant, sustained work.  Expect to see some of the effort spent on new feature development shift to bringing existing features up to our standards.”

Makes a great new year’s resolution for us software developers, doesn’t it?

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:00:00 +0000

My side projects in 2015

Like many other programmers, I always have a couple of side projects going on. My main motivation is learning. While I do learn a lot during work hours, I have ideas and questions I want to follow up on regardless of business priorities. And sometimes I want to take off my programmer hat and do stuff that’s not in my job description.

My main side project in 2015 was Planet DAM, the aggregator of Web articles on Digital Asset Management – an idea I had discussed with Ralph Windsor (of DAM News) a year earlier. (A great thing about personal projects is that most of them don’t have deadlines.)

Read the full article…

Sun, 03 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0000

What DAM software release notes should look like

As you can see on Planet DAM, many DAM software vendors have a blog. Some of them use it to inform their customers about new product versions – software developers are calling this “release notes” or a “ChangeLog”. For existing customers, this is extremely important information. They need to know about the availability of a new version of their DAM software, about new features, changes in existing features, and bug fixes.

I assume all of you DAM vendors are providing your customers with release notes for new versions, with most of you distributing them by e-mail, not making them publicly available. Probably because you’re afraid that competitors will steal your features, and that the inevitable list of bug fixes will drive prospects away.

Read the full article…

Wed, 23 Dec 2015 09:10:00 +0000

Jonathan Rochkind: Linked Data Caution

While preparing for our DAM and the Semantic Web webinar, I came across a spectacular (and very long) blog post on the pros and cons of Linked Data. It is well applicable outside of its library context. I wish we had such a deep discussion of all the technology we’re considering to use:

Jonathan Rochkind: Linked Data Caution

My favorite quotes:

“I worry that “linked data” is being approached as a goal in and of itself, and what it is meant to accomplish (and how it will or could accomplish those things) is being approached somewhat vaguely.”

Read the full article…

Fri, 18 Dec 2015 14:18:00 +0000

Product idea: Live meeting agenda for collaborative presentations

The whole point of meetings – unless it’s a public announcement by the big boss – is collaboration. Strangely, we seem to be lacking software tools to support this kind of synchronous collaboration. Our primary meeting tools are PowerPoint or Keynote presentations, whiteboard drawings, and the occasional shared Google Docs document.

I see four problems with using PowerPoint for meetings:

  • It’s hard to switch presenters. We have to unplug the projecter or change seats, and jump between different PowerPoint files. This is far too static. I don’t know about your meetings, but in our office, we’re going back and forth in meetings, with multiple people wanting to contribute and show something to back up what they’re saying.
  • PowerPoint presentation mode is read-only. For the presenter, it’s pretty awkward to jump into editing mode to add notes, correct a mistake, move or add an agenda item during the meeting. And for the audience, it’s impossible.
  • People watching the presentation become an “audience” instead of participants. They cannot even follow the presentation on their computer and click a link in it.
  • The agenda, the meeting structure, isn’t well-represented by PowerPoint slides. It’s hard to keep track of which agenda item we’re currently in, and whether we’re running out of time.

I’ve been thinking about meeting collaboration tools for a few years, and I need to publish my thoughts so I can get them out of my head (or start doing something about it).

So let’s say we’re building a new, Web based tool called “Live Meeting Agenda”. Someone uses it to create an initial agenda, then send its URL to each participant, so people can collaborate on the agenda. Before or during the meeting, anyone can add items, slides, notes, links, files.

The Web app has one Web page per agenda item, like this (click to enlarge):


Read the full article…

Tue, 15 Dec 2015 21:00:00 +0000