2016-12-07

Digital Asset Management Reading List Dec. 2016: Taxonomy, Hoarding, Innovation

Here’s the last month’s Digital Asset Management articles which had a lasting impression on me – picked from the constant stream of blog posts you can see float by on Planet DAM.

Taxonomy is a common theme this month: Taxonomy, Metadata, Tags and Controlled Vocabularies, an excerpt from David Diamond’s book, serves as a good introduction, as well as Christopher Gibbs’ Understanding taxonomy and metadata. Laura Fu has some advice on how to set up a DAM taxonomy. See also Ralph Windsor on Enterprise Taxonomy Management.

Ian Matzen reminds us not to be a Digital Asset Hoarder, while Peter Krogh recommends keeping everything. Whose side are you on?

Read the full article…

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:56:00 +0000
2016-11-30

Company culture resources

I’ve been thinking a lot about company culture recently. I believe that there’s enormous potential in reflecting on and improving the culture; you’ve certainly heard the famous saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast” attributed to Peter Drucker.

So, what is company culture (or corporate culture)?

Read the full article…

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:43:00 +0000
2016-11-06

Digital Asset Management Reading List Nov. 2016: UX, Zapier, Metadata

Copying Anselm Hannemann’s Web Development Reading List format, here’s the last month’s Digital Asset Management articles which had a lasting impression on me – picked from the constant stream of blog posts you can see float by on Planet DAM. For more curated DAM links, see the Digital Asset Management.com Links and Tracy Wolfe’s 10 things on the 10th.

Ralph Windsor writes at length about DAM in 2030 on DAM News – including an excellent analysis of the DAM UI usability dilemma: The minimalist interfaces vendors “currently over-obsess about” are hard to reconcile with the inherent complexities of DAM. And vendors may not even be trying to get this right since “devising applications that are both powerful and simple is expensive”.

DAM system user experience (UX) is what Theresa Regli talks about too. While she says vendors “are much better at marketing than user experience”, she sees UX being a hot topic among DAM vendors, and even names some which are getting it right.

Read the full article…

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 22:49:00 +0000
2016-09-24

Where’s the “9 to 5” hackathon?

To give a little background to a Twitter conversation I had this week:

I came across a hackathon announcement that sounded pretty interesting. It’s scheduled from a Thursday afternoon until Saturday night, with “open ended” hacking starting at 19:30 on Thursday.

I tweeted: “If hackathons weren’t designed for people without a life/family, I’d be in!”

The organizer responded: “Our Hackathon takes only 2,5 days. I guess you could easily find a way to attend :-)”

My answer: “I guess you could easily find a way to “hack” in daytime, sparing nights and weekends :-)”

Read the full article…

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:23:00 +0000
2016-09-08

I’m. So. Slow.

Today, our 4-year-old thanked me for making him walk home from kindergarten: “When we drive home, we’re so fast. I don’t want to be fast.” He’s also always the last person to finish when the family eats together – just as I was, and my father before me. I guess being slow runs in our family.

I eat slowly. When time is short, I prefer not eating at all to having to hurry. I move slowly: Walking is way better than driving, or even riding a bike. If I cannot fully enjoy the moment, I’d rather skip it.

That’s why Derek Sivers’ “I’m a very slow thinker” resonated so deeply with me. He writes: “I’m a disappointing person to try to debate or attack. I just have nothing to say in the moment, except maybe, 'Good point.' Then a few days later, after thinking about it a lot, I have a response.”

I’m a slow thinker myself: I’m quick with questions and ideas, but slow to answer, decide, or judge. (What do you call the opposite of “jumping to a conclusion”?) Being fully aware of the breadth of possible explanations – and of everyone’s point of view (the burden of being empathic) – I know I need time to think things through.

Of course, sometimes I’m simply slow because I’m daydreaming, with my head in the clouds. (Understandably, my wife often hates all that slowness.)

The above probably makes sense to you, but I guess it sounds weird if I say I’m even slow to feel, to build up emotion. Of course I don’t feel nothing: I immediately sense excitement or unease. But it takes a while for me to develop or discover my true feelings, to find out how happy or upset I really am.

Everybody’s normal till you get to know them, I suppose :)

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 11:36:00 +0000
2016-08-25

Dominic Grzbielok: It’s DAMned hard to search for a Digital Asset Management system

On his blog, Dominic Grzbielok (of Munich-based startup TargetVideo) tells the story of his search for a DAM system:

VerDAMmt schwer, die Suche nach einem Digital Asset Management-System

(The blog post is in German – the title translates to “It’s DAMned hard to search for a Digital Asset Management system”.)

He explains why it indeed is “terrible to shop for a DAM system”, as I had guessed in DAM, a market with no reviews or critics:

Requirements are complex, there’s tons of systems (he looked at 80 DAM products), the market is intransparent (reviews and public criticism are rare, apart from Ralph Windsor’s DAM News), analyst reports are expensive and it’s unclear whether you can trust them, and DAM consulting isn’t cheap either.

An excellent article and a rare insight into the DAM buying process from the customer’s point of view – don’t miss it if you can read German, or deal with the horrors of Google Translate.

Disclaimer: Our company’s DAM system was one of the 80 products on Dominic’s list. In the end, they chose Cantemo Portal.

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:00:00 +0000
2016-08-15

David Diamond: Metadata for Content Management

I enjoyed reading David Diamond’s new book Metadata for Content Management. He’s covering everything a DAM system or CMS customer needs to know about metadata fields, contents and policy and how they affect search, workflows and interoperability. The book is written for practical use, in plain and fun language and with excellent examples for every single point he makes. (Disclaimer: I’m listed on the “Thanks” page of the book so I’m slightly biased.) Check out the table of contents, an excerpt and Ralph Windsor’s review.

Good metadata schema design rarely gets the attention it deserves in DAM projects. I’d ask our project managers to send a copy of David’s book to each new DAM system customer so they can prepare better for the requirements workshops we’re doing… if only Adaptive Metadata (as implemented by David’s employer, Picturepark) weren’t so prominently featured in the book.

Read the full article…

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:58:00 +0000
2016-08-12

To my new colleague

Our company, Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendor Digital Collections, is looking for a Web developer based in Hamburg, Germany. Of course there’s a conventional job offer over on the company Web site, but since you and me will be working closely together, I’d like to add some thoughts – nothing official, just my personal opinion. Don’t let it scare you away; I’ll be your colleague, not your boss! (If you want to know who this weird guy is, here’s more about me. Sorry I’m writing this in English; my blog has some international readers, and you’re used to reading English anyway.)

First of all, I’m happy you’re considering to join us! Web developers are highly sought after these days, at least here in Hamburg. We’re competing with companies much cooler than ours: Our office isn’t trendy, many of us are middle-aged, there’s not many perks except for free coffee and drinks, a fruit bowl, and the occasional home office day (good hardware ain’t a perk anymore). I guess we’re paying well, but I don’t really know. So what made you check us out?

Read the full article…

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 11:14:00 +0000
2016-07-31

Product idea: “City” visualization for software systems

SimCity screenshot

Most software systems are incredibly complex – think large monolithic software, distributed systems, or systems composed of microservices (or self-contained systems). When something goes wrong or the system needs to be changed, developers and administrators have a really hard time figuring out what’s going on inside it.

According to the Economist, David Gelernter once said that “beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because software is so complicated. Beauty is the ultimate defence against complexity.” Since reading about Gelernter’s “Mirror Worlds” ten years ago, I’ve been dreaming of a SimCity-like visualization of software systems, processes and workflows that shows us messages and data moving between their different parts, and lets us inspect and interact with it. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see data moving back and forth as traffic on the streets? Isn’t it unfair that gamers have access to such amazing graphics, while our admin and devops tools are stuck in the 1980s?

Dockercraft, a Minecraft-based admin UI for Docker containers, is the closest thing I could find so far. The CodeCity and UrbanSim projects (the latter evolved from ViziCities) are neat city visualizations. But the thing I’m dreaming of doesn’t seem to exist yet.

I hope that someday, 3D game engine tools become so easy to use that this medium-skilled Web dev can use them to build “city visualizations” all by himself. Please let me know which tools you can recommend, or whether what I’m looking for is already available!

Image: Sim City 4 Car Crash by haljackey (license: CC BY 2.0)

Sun, 31 Jul 2016 21:39:00 +0000
2016-06-24

Speak the customer’s language and put content first in your DAM UI

We’re currently designing our DAM system’s next generation user interface (UI), and one of the things I’m thinking about a lot is how to present content, and how to navigate it, in a way that makes sense to the people using the DAM.

Mental models

For the DAM vendor, it’s natural to view a DAM system as a generic container for any kind of “assets” or “content”, plus functionality for operating on those assets. If you asked me as a DAM developer for the main sections of a DAM, I’d go for something like “Search, Edit, Upload”.

Here’s how some DAM products name their main navigation items (the first line is from our DC-X product), exemplary of the “generic container” approach:

Read the full article…

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:43:00 +0000