Good Time to be a Programmer

Curt Cagle, an XML specialist has a nice piece on the the Web 2.0 Job Boom. Curt thinks that there is a coming tech crunch.

There aren’t enough programmers to go around. Simple supply and demand … wages are beginning to rise pretty dramatically again, top people in the field have to get social secretaries to handle all of the cold calls and sales pitches, and companies outside of the IT sector are relying increasingly upon community software to tap into the developer base.

It is amazing how the popularization of a simple set of technologies called AJAX (which existed for a while but reached the tipping point with Gmail and Google maps) changed the landscape.

Who would have known five years ago that having strong Javascript skills today would get you a better job than having strong C++ skills?

But it is not just strong Javascript skills. It is a knowledge of wide variety of technologies like XML, webservices and the ability to work with lightweight programming languages like Python, PHP and Ruby.

Lightweight programming languages and agile metholodologies are replacing the over-engineered mega-project and twenty thousand class programming frameworks, turning programming into a cooperative venture where no one person or agency controls the whole network.

It definitely is a good time to be a programmer. With dynamic languages,  you can produce faster better applications. But more important, you can enjoy your creations being used. Programmers at Google,Yahoo, Flckr,, Meebo, Technorati, Bloglines must be very happy people.

E27 Summit

Gaurav Oberoi is a family friend. I dropped him off at Stanford today where his company BillMonk was one of the exhibitors at E27 Summit. Gaurav was excited about the event. It is nice to read about these small companies and their ideas. I know that Gaurav and Chuck quit Amazon a few months ago to start their company and they already have a product and active users. Amazing. This is a very different startup climate, where products and users come before powerpoints and funding.

Robert Scoble talks about it in Small Ideas and Big Companies. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch covers it in his Nine Startups in E27 Summit. Glad to see that these small companies are getting a good break in terms of exposure. Thanks to Michael and Robert for paying attention to small companies and others like them.

Learn to Like Yourself

Hind Sights by Guy Kawasaki. Each one of these insights merit a blog post, in its own right. Guy’s “Let the good times roll by” is must read for every enterpreneur.
Remember these ten things: if just one of them helps you helps just one of you, this speech will have been a success:

#10: Live off your parents as long as possible.
#9: Pursue joy, not happiness.
#8: Challenge the known and embrace the unknown.
#7: Learn to speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument, and play non-contact sports.
#6: Continue to learn.
#5: Learn to like yourself or change yourself until you can like yourself.
#4: Don’t get married too soon.
#3: Play to win and win to play.
#2: Obey the absolutes.
#1: Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone.

Ideas and Thoughts on Interlinking Communities

One of the ideas Doug Engelbart often talks about, is the establishment of a “Networked Improvement Community” often referred to as a NIC. For example, if a set of interested participants form a community with the idea of improving the web, then it is a Web NIC. For example, W3C could be considered a Web NIC.
In his typical meta-think style, Doug also talks about a NIC of NICs. What is the purpose? You guessed it. The meta NIC helps NICs improve. A NIC is not the same as a community of practice (COP). A COP is more generic. A NIC is a special type of COP focussed on improving something. Both NIC and meta NIC are great ideas. How do we start implementing them? Where are the tools? What are the processes?

I might have just found another community which may be interested in doing some work in this space. Here is a link to their wiki page on Ideas and Thoughts for Interlinking Communities. While their focus is not in specifically building improvement communities, they are definitely looking at the semantics of interlinking communities. If they come up with anything we can definitely leverage it to build a NICNet.

Source: InfoMinder Alert on SIOC home page

Jobs Involving Interactions

In this multi-part series, McKinsey & Company taks about the importance of Interactions for the evolution of companies of the future.

Currently, jobs that involve participating in interactions rather than extracting raw materials or making finished goods account for more than 80 percent of all employment in the United States. And jobs involving the most complex type of interactions—those requiring employees to analyze information, grapple with ambiguity, and solve problems—make up the fastest-growing segment.

This has several implications:

– The way companies organize and operate

– The way people train for new jobs

– Development of skills

– How organizations train people

– Diffusion of knowledge inside companies

– Evolution of tools for knowledge workers

– Evolution of Web Applications

One of the notable features of Web 2.0 applications is the increased level of interaction they provide. This is definitely a case for Enterprises to pay attention to the “Interactive Web” more popularly known as Web 2.0. According to Dion Hinchcliffe, Web 2.0 techniques are ushering in the interaction age. In this post, he talks about how technology can help accelerate this process.

How I found these articles: Dion’s Blog through InfoMinder Alert->McKinsey article

The Definition of Work

The definition of work:

How to make some original contribution to the world, and in the process not to starve.

In this essay, How to Do What You Love, Paul Graham talks about challenges in finding work you love.

 To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.

I really enjoyed reading it. He comes up with some interesting tests. Here is one. “Would you continue to do this work even if you don’t get paid for doing it?”

Finding work you love is challenging. According to Paul, there are two routes:

the organic route: as you become more eminent, gradually to increase the parts of your job that you like at the expense of those you don’t.

the two-job route: to work at things you don’t like to get money to work on things you do.

I think there is one more:

reduce your money requirement route: reduce what you need to live on so that you can take a couple of years off and do what you like doing. I heard about a friend of a friend who moved to an island in Thailand and lives on $100 per week. He just does what he loves.

This is a great essay. Definitely worth a read. While you are at it, check out his other essays.

Blogs as back-up Brain

Bill Ives is a KM guru. He is a prolific writer and the author of the book Blogs For Business. Bill makes a great contribution to both the blogging community and KM community with this post and podcast. Blog is a new tool for Personal KM.

“the use of blogs for personal knowledge management, or how, as a number of people have suggested, they can serve as your back-up brain, keeping track of important ideas, documents, and meetings in a searchable archive than can be made accessible to others.”

I look forward to his upcoming podcasts on team tools and Web 2.0

Web 2.0 Applications – Success Factors

Web 2.0 applications are sprouting like mushrooms. Lots of people do not like the name. I am not sure whether I like it or not. I am keeping my mind open. One thing is certain. It is getting a lot of attention.

Simon St.Laurent has a really nice blog post  titled Web 2.0:Simple division?

He outlines the architectural shift happening in Web 2.0 applications. To me two success factors, clearly stand out.
“More and more, the data that is available in their back ends is becoming directly accessible without an HTML intermediary. You can get data from Google or Amazon without having to get the HTML they normally generate along with it.”

This has some interesting effects. First of all this data is available in XML which makes it open and easy to manipulate. Second is that you are now building on top of something that is already available content. So many Web 2.0 applications manipulate existing data, combine them, remix them, provide different views of them.

“One especially exciting part of this – like many web technologies – is that you don’t have to be a meganational supersized company to work in it.”

You can now build fairly powerful applications in weeks and months using highly productive dynamic languages like Python and Ruby.  This allows people to experiment. Produce a simple version of the application, make it available as a beta product and let the users drive the development of future versions. Meebo did this. In 3-4 months they produced a wonderful, useful application and had open discussions about where they were taking the product.