7 December 2010
Business of APIs Conference 2010

I was fortunate enough to be asked by Mashery to speak at BAPI New York and BAPI San Francisco this year.  I gave a quick presentation on the reasons why we need to endeavor to understand the impact our API has on our business.  Check out the presentation I gave in San Francisco:

Here were some of my other favorites:
5 November 2010
A Little Blurb About APIs

I just dug up this interview I did last year with Mashery about the Active.com API.  I love the hip music in the background:

26 September 2010
Active.com Wins “Best Demo” at Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon

Cross-posted from the Active.com blog.



I sent two developers, Jonathan Spooner and Brian Levine, to the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon to hack at the Mashery booth yesterday.  I wanted them to spend time networking, writing some code and having fun.  I sent them a few text messages of encouragement last night as they worked for 20 hours straight creating an app.



I woke up this morning and watched their presentation live on ustream.  They’d created an iPhone app for runners to use to play a virtual game of pacman.  Runners have to avoid virtual ghosts and eat virtual power pellets while running in the real world.



During the demo, Jonathan ran around the building with the app running on his phone, and Brian narrated it.  I thought they did a great job.  And so did the judges!  We won the “Best Demo” award, which is analagous to a podium finish!

23 September 2010
I Hate the Use of “My”

I have always hated the use of “My” in website nomenclature.  “My Account”.  “My Races”.  Hell, I even worked for a company that built a product called “MyTelcoManager”.  There was something, albeit subconscious, that rubbed me the wrong way with the use of this word.  Now, finally, I can put my frustration into words thanks to the guys over at MuleDesign who have summarized it succinctly:

In the beginning, there was My Computer, and then there was My Yahoo! Then, like mushrooms after a rain, a million mindless imitators emerged.

These sites didn’t just use My in the brand like My Yahoo! or MySpace. My came to preface any interface element inviting personalization.

In their excellent Design Pattern Library, the Yahoo! Developer Network explains the heart of the problem their parent created. Instead of reinforcing a sense of ownership and agency, this unnatural locution feels presumptuous and alienating.

It is as if the user has printed out labels and stuck them to various objects: My Lunch, My Desk, My Red Stapler. Except the user hasn’t done this; you (the site) did it for them.
This is lazy design and branding. It’s bad style. And it sucks. So, let’s unsuck it!

Amen.  Long live “you”.
25 May 2010
A Fascinating View of What Motivates People

This is well worth the 10 minutes:

11 May 2010
A Simple Way to Figure Out Who Gave Out your Email Address

A co-worker showed me a neat little trick that will allow me to tell which companies sell or distribute my email address to spammers marketers.  Known as Sub-Addressing, the SMTP specification allows for the insertion of a tag, preceeded by a “+”, into my email address.  And it’s this tag that will lead us to victory against the spammers.

Say, for example, I want to go a New Year’s Eve party and the only way I could do that was by registering on dodgynyesite.com, a suspicious looking website.  “Email Address” is a required field on dodgynyesite.com.  So, knowing about the Sub-Addressing feature, I enter “jeremy.thomas+dodgynyesite@socialglass.com” as my address.  The part in green is the tag, and is completely arbitrary.

dodgynyesite.com sends a confirmation to jeremy.thomas+dodgynyesite@socialglass.com, and I receive that email in my inbox where it appears with the rest of my jeremy.thomas@socialglass.com emails.

One day later, an email to jeremy.thomas+dodgynyesite@socialglass.com arrives from “julie@guiltypleasurz.com”.  I now know that dodgynyesite.com gave my email address to the “julie”.

I’m now in a position to do two things:

  • Report the dodgynyesite.com as a spammer to the FTC (might be harsh).
  • Apply a filter so that all messages to jeremy.thomas+dodgynyesite@socialglass.com go straight to my Spam or Trash folders.
Let me know how you go.
27 April 2010
Rework



I’ve just finished reading and highly recommend Rework by the guys from 37Signals.  While the book is over 250 pages, it’s a quick read (I read it in about 2.5 hours).

We recently dove head first into Scrum where I work, and I’m having my team read this book as an Agile “reinforcer”.   But Rework isn’t about Agile software development tactics per se.  Instead, it affirms the cultural and psychological shift that’s necessary in reducing the waste that’s often manufactured during product development cycles.

Let me know what you think.

16 March 2010
Failed Intranets

I stumbled upon this blog from HackerNews today, and I thought it was worth sharing given the context of Enterprise 2.0: intranetsecrets.com.   Here’s a sampling of the posts:



4 February 2010
Sprite in China

It’s been two years since my last trip to China.  This time I’m here to conduct Agile training.  I conducted a two day workshop with practical, hands on sessions.  My team of 18 asked a lot of questions, which is usually a sign that I was getting the point across.  If we’re successful, I’ll be writing whitepapers on how to be Agile with offshore resources.  If we’re not, well, that’s another story.

And Chinese Sprite was my favorite, throat wetting drink during the session.

18 December 2009
BAPI Presentation

The Business of APIs Conference went well.  Mashery put on a great conference, and over 200 people attended.  There was an ensemble of impressive speakers, including Michele Azar of Bestbuy, Marc Frons of New York Times and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures.  And then there was me.  Checkout my presentation below: