Multi-Room Management: How To Maximize Productivity By Switching To a Room With a Different Ceiling Height

You've searched and searched for that magic management style that will maximize the productivity of your employees. Now, new research shows that the secret is to move rooms depending on the type of work you do. Why? Because the ceiling…

Here in New York I'd say there is a clear delineation between the creative types with high-ceilinged offices in Tribeca and DUMBO versus the low ceilinged financial and accounting types in Midtown and Wall Street..

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Web 2.0 Expo sessions on Tuesday

A few more notes from a few more of the Web2.0 Expo sessions I attended..
The State of the Union on SNS Tech– Konstantin Guericke, Tony Stubblebine, Lev Grossman, Emily Greer, Larry Halff
A sense of accomplishment for your users is important. Always give them positive feedback. Allow users to discover quickly that your site is useful.
The added a moderators badge but then actually got rid of them b/c of abuse. Features sometimes get shoved to the side. Balance tracking with testing engaging of your users. The most important bugs you’ll see repeatedly in user forums and such.

Launchpad: Better today. Swivel- crossover of many sets of data- good presentation. Vidoop- authentication, openid w/ images, definitely the crowd fave. Tellme- voice/txt and download directory services.
Boring panel on mobile2.0
High Order Bit: OAN: Using architecture/tech around the world, architecture 2.0 through collaboration, uses drupal on (2) Sun X2200 M2 16 GB ram ea., storagetek 3511 6TB. Their presentation made me wonder how we can leverage our pro network for volunteer work- give them a badge if they volunteer or something similar.
Hitwise/technorati: 668% growth on participatory sites in last 2 yrs, very small % of visits are participants, 1/9/90 rule- 1% active participate, 9% active sharers, then the rest

Building Sites Using the Power of Happy Users– Stewart Butterfield, Joshua Schacter, Ted Rheingold, Biz Stone
You can’t build something w/out constant communication with the user. Users are more then ready to help- beta testing, suggesting new features. Make sure you recognize users- recognition drives involvement. Users like adding positive value. Make sure you keep regular contact w/ users.

Find the friction in your site- what makes it hard for people. Then try to constantly iterate and have 3 releases a week. Make it easy to get stuff into/out of the site. When hiring- they usually have people consult for a month first and try to hire from within the user community.

Comparing Web Application Frameworks– David Black, Avi Bryant, Dustin Whittle, Jeremy Kemper

They avoided controversy in this panel by stating that they were comparing frameworks, not contrasting frameworks. Since it was a bunch of mild-mannered developers there was very little arguing and much agreement that it is the developer not the tool they use that makes for quality code.

Web 2.0 Expo sessions on Monday

Here’s a few of the sessions I attended on Monday and my random notes.

The New Hybrid Designer– Chris Messina, Emily Chang, Richard MacManus
The designer is taking over some traditionally developer focussed tasks in web companies. – things like ajax These hybrid designers have to be problem solvers. curiosity- want to learn, sending emails, proactive, updating the whole team, encouraging. They should be able to communicate with developers- speak the same language and terminology for coding. Using agile development is a good way to give up control and let people do things. Platform/environment/frameworks: css>symantec markup>microformats/rss.

When starting out planning the site and the navigation, don’t use sitemaps use taskflows to plan from a single function out. Don’t mockup in photoshop and lay it out in there. Make sure you utilize user testing as early as possible.

Building Web2.0– Zack Urlocker, James Hamilton, Alistair Croll, Hooman Beheshti, Mike Culver
The new model of web app hosting is 100% automation, reimage if something breaks. More small slices. You can always re-architecture once a site takes off. In regards to slashdotting- things that can help are more intelligence in infrastructure and experience/scale over time. Caching- edge resources/proxies. Application networking- know what traffic is.

Venture Capital 2.0– with Jeff Clavier, David Hornik, Josh Kopelman, Chris Moore, Michael Eisenberg and moderated by Michael Arrington
This was a very entertaining panel- you could just feel how Michael was holding back from ripping into these guys too much. Pretty much everyone on the panel paid lip service to doing smaller rounds (in the case of VCs <3M). They also wouldn’t respond to Arrington trying to provoke them to admit that the VC business model isn’t made for doing early/smaller investments. The did say that seed rounds of financing were primarily to validate assumptions, and hopefully see if a model was scalable and repeatable.

VC 2.0 Panel DiscussionI had raised a question to the panel on what changes VCs are going to make to compete with some of these early stage funds. But they kinda hemmed and hawed and dodged it. Talking to Michael afterwards he did appreciate that question and was interested in seeing more of 30elm which was nice.

A few interesting comments- Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital in Philadelphia said that most companies he funds either in valley or he moves to the valley. Jeff Clavier also said he only invests within an hours drive from Palo Alto. He is looking for passion in the entrepreneurs he meets and finds the leadgen business to be hot right now.

Build to last or Built to Sell: Is There a Difference- Mena Trott, Joe Kraus, John Battelle, Jay Adelson
Make sure you have passion & a specific goal. Businesses have developed from making the individual more productive to making groups more productive. Make sure you put your biz model into beta same time as you put your product into beta. This enables you to show real traction earlier.

Launch Pad– inpowr, Webex, Spock
I thought today’s launchpad was pretty lame. Webex had no business being there- and the other two presentations lacked charisma.

Silicon Valley and that “Hollywood” feeling

So this week- the week of my 29th birthday I’m spending here in San Francisco for the Web 2.0 conference. It’s my first time at a web conference and really networking in SanFran.

Last night I started the week at a party held by Greg Galant, a Brooklynite and the host of one the podcasts in my subway rotation- Venture Voice.

To me the party had a bit of a Hollywood feeling. No, not in the level of glitz or glamor (the 4$ drinks actually mad a nice break from New York). But the feeling stemmed from the fact everyone is working on something- it may not be what they were working on last time you talked to them and it won’t necessarily be what they are working on next time you talk with them. The question is “what are you working on right now.”

This is pretty different from the way most of the world works- having a “job” (or “boj” as my mom calls it). It’s different as well from the New York tech scene. We don’t quite have the number of companies, and most entrepreneurs spend at least a few years on something before they move to something else. I can see this being both positive and negative from different points of view- and it taps intrinsically into the greater debate of are you building a company to flip or to be a viable entity of it’s own. I think 30elm could be around in ten years- and be a keystone company in it’s industry- it seems apparent that “Valley” tech doesn’t always promote this idea.

An Apple Winetable and musings on the iPhone & Innovation

My NextNY cohort/friend Darren Herman has started an interesting, new venture- DarrenSalon (he swears that the name came at the suggestion of another NextNY’er- Charlie). The idea is that monthly there will be semiformal gatherings around a specific tech topic- “Winetables.” The next one will be about virtual communities, this one was about Apple.

Eight of us tech-involved New Yorkers sat down for about two hours, drank some wine and talked about iPhones, Steve Jobs, iPods, Steve Jobs… You get the point. I have been an Apple user for more then 15 years and the company is near and dear to my heart, but I still think there are some things they could do better. Often, Apple seems just as clueless about the web as Microsoft does. But throughout the discussion everyone agreed that Apple has an incomparable leader in Jobs and is the undisputed leader in personal tech.

Our Apple discussion has continued via email since. We have been talking lately about a recent negative article about the iPhone. I think that any product or company who is over hyped too much in the press others will want to knock down- one term I heard for this is the beanpole effect (or something similar). In the case of the iPhone, speculation for huge success or failure is obviously premature. But having been subject to using, and supporting, all the various “smart” phones, I certainly think the arena could use an infusion of new thinking.

Apple’s reputation for innovation is unmatched, and rarely even challenged. It’s amazing that after a decade since Jobs’ return, Sony, HP, Dell & Microsoft continue to cede the bulk of the innovation in personal computing & tech to Apple.

In exchange Apple has, for the most part, left business computing to the control of Microsoft and the large enterprise providers. However, with the web quickly becoming the dominant platform for SMB applications, there is the opportunity for this to quickly change.

Apple will have some losers and missed opportunities, and there will be many who will be more then ready to knock them for it. In the Winetable discussion we compared Apple to HBO. Looking at HBO, not every show can be a hit, but it is their track record of big successes, and their willingness to take big chances, that makes them who they are.