Category Archives: social computing

40 Shortcuts for Productivity and Impressing Your Colleagues

From Microsoft: 20 essential PC shortcuts

From How to Geek: 20 of the best stupid geek tricks to impress your friends

Creating a Culture of Collaboration at Deutsche Bank

How do you get a highly-regulated company – one of the world’s largest and most competitive banks – to collaborate using social media? This talk provides a compelling set of lessons for morphing a conservative, hierarchical organization into one that’s agile and embraces community-driven change.
Deutsche Bank


Sounds like information I need.  And, since he’s in IT, playing a key role in leading this effort at his company, he’s a guy I need to follow as well.  Done.

John Stepper, whose job it is to solve collaboration at Deutsche Bank,  leads this conversation, one from which I’m hoping to glean very important pieces of information.  No pressure, John.

After many attempts, DB is solving more and more collaboration problems at work.  Why do they care? The top 20 bank generate over a trillion in revenue and spend over $50B on IT per year.  There are also over 2M people who work at those top 20 banks and could be served by enterprise collaboration solutions.

There are lots of reasons to say no.  But, saying no doesn’t add value in most cases or solve the problem.

Things that failed

  • Gmail.  Two years ago, they were convinced GMail was going to be awesome.  They had people petition, they ran a pilot, and they couldn’t even get to a contract.  Security policies could not be changed to accomodate GMail and GMail didn’t want to change either.  I really agree with this one.  I have yet to see Google succeed in the enterprise space.
  • Yammer.  The letters of regulations that they had to fulfill could not be performed with Yammer.  I agree with this one as well.  How can you risk your intellectual property with an external microblogging service?

Things that worked really well

With help from the teachings of Seth Godin, Clay Shirky, Etienne Wenger, and Malcolm Gladwell, they learned there wasn’t one single approach that would work, but a hybrid of these.

  • Start with a wide focus.  There are concentric circles of risk, so stop focusing on the most problematic and start looking across the organization.
  • Microblogging.  It’s with their “The Wire” tool that they learned to talk to and listen to their constituents.  Often times, it can be the first step to gaining traction.
  • Blogging.  Some people don’t care, but it’s a step you can take to move from conservative to more open.

But, then it felt like they had some solutions and they were looking for a problem.  One of the key learnings is that they needed to solve real problems within the enterprise.  To do that, a key step was to form an internal collaboration practice.  So, instead of selling the platform, the service was intended to show people how to solve their specific problem in:

  • client serv ice
  • building communities
  • product development
  • real-time feedback
  • employee engagement

A second key step was to link people who cared.  So, they started a collaboration community of practice which included local evangelists and lynchpins (like IBM’s BlueIQ) to tap into the people who care about the topic and want to help.  It also empowered them to do things differently.  It enabled them to maximize value through collaboration and standardization.

The goal for Deutsche Bank is to touch more people and to make more money as they do it.  They do it with lightweight tools right now and are waiting for their enterprise to mature to bring in a more powerful platform.  If a custom integration needs to be done, they feel the pain of coding that.

John’s session was one of the most personally valuable to me.  But, I think DB is less complex and mature than HP is in this area.  Good lessons (and failures) to learn from, though.  Thanks, John!

DIY UX: Give Your Users an Upgrade (without calling in a pro)

Shining star at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York

Whitney Hess

The last 3 sessions were a bust, so it was great to go into a session and actually get really good information.  Cue Whitney Hess, an independent user experience designer.  The highest level of success for her isn’t making money or making an impact.  It’s making the experience great for users.

She insists every single person is a user experience designer, whether it is your job or not.   There are some people who are doing extraordinary things things for their end users without having a professional UX designer in their company or even any experience in this area.

Whitney takes us through several examples of UX heroes who are doing this all over the world.  There are four primary techniques that are very common to UX designers that she shares:

  • Design research – can be done in an informal and organic way using common tools
  • Web analytics and testing – understand your traffic cycles and search patters,   use analytics tools to uncover usage patterns so you can test design variations and explore you
  • Usability testing – not functional testing, but real testing with real users where you’re asking for people to challenge you and feeling the pain of your poor design
  • Experimentation and Iteration – answers the question “How are we always getting better?”

Books she recommends:

Recommended tools:

What to Expect from Browsers in the Next Five Years: A Perspective

After an awesome, but tiny, lunch at City Lobster (blogging sure makes me hungry), I was lagging going into the next session.  Somehow, I managed to arrive later than I imagined, even though I rushed back.  (Tips on crossing the street in New York:  walk confidently, walk hurriedly, and don’t get red-rovered by those sauntering couples you encounter every now and then who hold hands).  So, I had to walk over about 11 feet to grab a seat.  Why doesn’t everyone just squish together in these packed sessions?  And, why were there an odd number of feet in there?

Anyway, I was so lunch-tired  at the beginning of this presentation that I just kept replaying the very not G-rated iPhone 4 vs. EVO YouTube video in my head.  Cue my best computer voice.  I want the one with the bigger GBs.  I need Wifis.

Ok, I was bored until  the Yahoo guy said that if he was king of the web, he would recall HTML5 until it was fixed.  Oh my.  This might be a good one.  This comment was promptly followed by sane arguments from the Google guy and the Mozilla Guy about why this really wasn’t logical at all.  Then the Opera Guy joined in and it was a ruckus.  At least a ruckus when it comes to panels.

By the way, I hope I referred to them all correctly.  I couldn’t see the names on their cards and had to ask the guy sitting to my left for help on the names.  Squint.

The HPalm guys (Dion is here) were having a blast with all of this.  Most of their humor was pointed at us and why we were even there when Katie Couric was in the next room.  The other large portion of humor was aimed directly at Microsoft, though it was much more lighthearted than the statements about IE that came from the panel.  HTML5 and Google were clearly under fire here, which probably means there’s something very cool afoot.  Just check out Remy Sharp’s HTML5 demos and see if you agree.

The summary of the panel doesn’t matter much, because there were no slides and they didn’t stick to a bunch of talking points, in true panel manner.  But, Microsoft’s lack of representation on the panel was odd.  Microsoft stopped dominating this market in 2008, but they still own a significant portion of the user experience.  In the enterprise, I bet Microsoft still dominates, as the “standard”.

I didn’t catch the slideware link.  Oh yeah, there was no slideware.  Just the Web 2.0 Expo advertisements flashing at me where the presentation should have been.  I promise, Web 2.0 Expo, that I’ll be a good wifi buddy and not download any large files over the wireless network.  I need WiFis.

An interesting quote from this panel:

XML is like violence.  If you’re not winning with it, you just need to keep using more of it.

HTML5 vs. Flash: Webocalypse Now?

Seeing the word Webocalypse reminds me that I’m still a bit perturbed at Engadget’s Laura June and her illogical rant at AMD’s Leslie Sobon.  I made a little time to go back through Leslie’s blog to try to figure out just what she had done to enrage someone at Engadget.

Let’s see.  She’s writes in her authentic voice.  She is courageous, considering her role at a well-known company.  She’s funny and her piece was obviously written with sarcastic jest.  Hmmm.  What’s going on here?  I don’t get it.

Talk amongst yourselves, because I digress.  Back to our current programming.

I’m squinting in another HTML5 presentation, where the guy next to me is having a problem with his iPad.  I have yet to see anyone blog on one of those.  Can you tell I can’t wait for the Slate?

First of all, Eric Meyer looks almost nothing like his media picture.  However, he began his presentation warning us he would overuse the words “web stack” and making fun of Steve Jobs talking about “open” technologies.  All right.  This could be good.  Here’s the summary:

It’s become somewhat fashionable of late to refer to HTML5 and the web stack as a “Flash killer”. The Flash/Flex community, understandably, has not suffered this kind of talk quietly. The ongoing absence of Flash from Apple’s wildly popular portable devices has only fueled the fire. Openness, stability, ubiquity, consistency, and security are all thrown around like the discs of Tron. So what’s going on? Is Flash dying out? Will the web choke on its own complexity? Will we ever stop arguing about all this? We’ll look at where things are and where they’re going, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each side while making some informed guesses about the future.


Eric A. Meyer has been working with the web since late 1993 and is an internationally recognized expert on the subjects of HTML, CSS, and web standards. A widely read author, he is the founder of Complex Spiral Consulting, which counts among its clients America On-Line; Apple Computer, Inc.; Yahoo!; Wells Fargo Bank; EBSCO Publishing; and Macromedia.

Beginning in early 1994, Eric was the visual designer and campus web coordinator for the Case Western Reserve University website, where he also authored a widely acclaimed series of three HTML tutorials and was project coordinator for the online version of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History combined with the Dictionary of Cleveland Biography, the first example of an encyclopedia of urban history being fully and freely published on the web.

Author of “Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide” (O’Reilly & Associates), “Eric Meyer on CSS” and “More Eric Meyer on CSS” (New Riders), “CSS Web Site Design” (Peachpit), and “CSS2.0 Programmer’s Reference” (Osborne/McGraw-Hill) as well as numerous articles for the O’Reilly Network, Web Techniques, and Web Review, Eric also created the seminal CSS Browser Compatibility Charts and coordinated the authoring and creation of the W3C’s official CSS Test Suite. He has lectured to a wide variety of organizations including Los Alamos National Laboratory, the New York Public Library, Cornell University, and the National Association of Government Webmasters. Eric has also delivered addresses and technical presentations at numerous conferences, among them the IW3C2 WWW series, Web Design World, CMP, SXSW, TODCON, NOTACON, the User Interface conference series, and now the Web 2.0 series. In addition, he is co-founder and partner of An Event Apart, the conference for people who make web sites.

In his personal time, Eric acts as List Chaperone of the highly active css-discuss mailing list, which he co-founded with John Allsopp of Western Civilisation and is now supported by Eric lives in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a much nicer city than you’ve been led to believe, with his wife and children. He loves music and hates chocolate. Yes, really.

I don’t hate chocolate, but I am allergic to it, so have to limit my exposure to it.  Sniffle.  Most people don’t understand that.  So, don’t be a hater.

As far as his Cleveland, Ohio assertion that it is “a much nicer city than you’ve been led to believe…”  Well, I’ll leave that to you to argue with.

Eric talks about the fundamental design of the Web being connective and consistent and showed early shots of Web browsers (completely unidentifiable according to modern standards).

His assertion midway was that we need to make Web apps simpler and smaller (he and Alex Russell probably get along very well).  He took us through some apps that were less than 10Kb of data.  Very impressive!

The crux of this is that Flash, HTML5 and the Web stack are intertwined.  Everyone will survive.  But, we need to know where to go next.  Again, the smaller and simpler stuff.

The most important call he made was one for a web app store.  Create this one Google!  He ended by calling for peace between the camps (fancy, shiny Web 2.0 peace).  Learn from each other.

Now, I’m trying not to think about what’s happening at UT in Austin as I rush to plug in my laptop and grab lunch.  3 more sessions this afternoon…and keynotes tonight.