Box and Dropbox Race for Long-Term Relevancy


The Spanish InquisitionIn case you missed it, Dropbox has followed the path blazed by Box and has integrated with Microsoft Office. While Box integrated on the desktop, Dropbox is integrating with the Office mobile apps and plans to extend it to the Online Office versions. This is a no-brainer move as anything that simplifies people’s ability to work with content within Dropbox helps keep people using both tools.

On top of all this, Microsoft announced that their Android and iOS versions of Office will now be free. Microsoft is clearly trying to maintain their edge on the office productivity world and Dropbox is aiming to stay in front of people’s eyeballs.

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Moving from Expert to Evangelist and Back


Clarence the AngelIt has been an interesting few years. As I approach the 7th anniversary of this blog, I was prodded to look at my journey by Gina Minks. She wrote a post about how to take advantage of experts and evangelists without them turning into obnoxious tools. (Her words were not as kind) She was asking as much as sharing.

This is a tough one. As you become recognized as an expert, it is a little intoxicating. You want to keep the recognition while still maintaining the credibility that got you there. Opportunities come along and you have to decide which ones will let you keep your soul and which ones will require you to cross that line that Gina was warning about.

Let’s start with my journey as a point of reference.

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Box v Dropbox v Everyone


While I was at Alfresco, I made a point of ignoring the competition. I always believe that if you can’t win without saying something negative, don’t bother. On the flip side, I didn’t want to draw extra attention to the competition.

Don’t have any of those issues now.

Even though I was quiet, new things still happened. Recently both Box and Dropbox have been making some announcements. While I am not going to go into the details, plenty of people have done that already, I’m going to talk about why any of it matters.

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Saying Goodbye to Alfresco


Red Swingline StaplerAt this point, you don’t really need to read much more, but since you are likely the type to want to know more, I shall share. Alfresco and I have parted ways. I greatly enjoyed my time at Alfresco, I learned quite a bit, and I met some amazing people. Alfresco was my first return to a major vendor since the 90s and I enjoyed it. They have a solid vision, good people, and amazing technology. I will be watching their growth with interest.

As for me, I am free to fully explore my options, but first…a vacation.

Still working on the details of what that entails, but I am sure that one or two oceans will be involved. I haven’t had a real vacation in years as I’ve shifted from one job to another with no break twice now.

This time, I’m going to take some time to relax.

Of course, I cannot vacation forever. Even during my vacation, I will likely be sending posts up into the void and answering email. The joy will be doing it on my schedule.

As for afterwards? Some people have already asked me and I thought I would share where my brain is leading…

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Share Your Story at Alfresco’s 2014 Summit


Alfresco Summit 2014, SF Sept 23-25, London Oct 7-9Last year, Alfresco started holding business tracks at our annual Summit. There was a lot of good information shared about how people were using Alfresco and Content Management as a whole. I moderated two panels on Best Practices that were very lively.

We have announced the 2014 Alfresco Summit dates and we have opened the call for speakers for the event. We are taking topics for both the technical and business tracks. Jeff Potts, Alfresco’s Chief Community Officer, has written an article discussing what constitutes a good submission. Jeff hits a lot of great points and I highly recommend reading his post.

This year, Alfresco has given me charge of planning the business tracks. I will be working with the team to find the best stories to provide the best content to attendees.

What will we be looking for in the proposals? What will you see if you attend the Alfresco Summit? Here is a short list of questions we’ll be keeping in mind.

What Did You Solve?

The business track’s focus is on solving problems and creating solutions for business. What business problem did you solve? Was it a new or an old one? How did you solve it?

What Did You Learn?

Your experience matters. It is what makes your story unique. What have you learned? What advice would you pass on to others? How did you tackle challenges? What would you do differently?

What was Unique?

The last thing I want at any conference that I attend is a slate of  presentations telling the same story. I want to hear new stories, every year. That is what all attendees want to hear. Share what you did that was special. Brag. Inspire others to think of new ways to solve old problems.

Where are You Going?

Every organization has evolving needs and new challenges. Don’t simply share what you have accomplished. What is next? Are you focusing on Mobile, Cloud, Analytics, or some other technology?

What are We Looking For?

We want stories. We want a slate of presentations that any one of us would pay to see. There will be extra points for creativity. Our goal is a breadth of stories that represent the wide variety of ways people are using Alfresco. We want people to walk away from the program with fresh ideas on how to use Alfresco and Content Management to improve how they do business.

What Is In It For Me?

It is a chance to brag. It is a chance to attend the Alfresco Summit and learn lessons that you can take back. It is a chance to trade war stories with others who have tackled similar challenges. I have spoken at many events and all have been very beneficial for me professionally on many levels.

Get started on your proposal now so you can share what you have learned. We are taking proposals through the end of April but don’t wait. Think it through and get it in early.

Looking forward to reading your stories and then hearing them in person this Fall.

Talking Business Solutions in Russia


In my last post, I talked about my trip to Russia. I was there to speak during the opening session of the ECM Ecosystem conference being put on by the Russian edition of PC Week. I thought I would share the English version of my presentation , The Shift to Business Solutions, and some of the related discussion that occurred during the panels.

Picking a Trend

For my talk, I was asked to highlight trends in the industry. While I mentioned the obvious candidates (Social, Mobile, Analytics/Big Data, and Cloud) in my talk, I chose to focus on the continuing shift towards Business Solutions. While not as obviously sexy as the others, it is one that is making Content Management easier to manage and handle.

I also picked this one because this is a trend that every organization can benefit from immediately. It is a focus on how to implement and execute Content Management, not how the concept needs to evolve.

After spending the week there, I was sure that I had chosen wisely.

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The Changing World of the Content Professional


I wrote last month about the Next Generation Content Professional. That post was directly inspired by the presentation I was giving at the 2013 Alfresco Summit in Barcelona. My talk, along with all the Summit sessions, are now available for viewing.

In addition to all the normal breakout sessions, the Summit Keynotes are also available for your enjoyment. The keynotes include talks from our CEO Doug Dennerline, Andrew McAfee on Big Data’s Three Questions, Jimmy Wales talking about A Wiki Future, and Simon Wardley explaining the new reality of Situation Normal, Everything Must Change. There are several others that I encourage you to check out.

Finally, I wanted to share links for my panels on Running a Successful Content Management Project. I moderated one in Barcelona and again in Boston, but with two different panels. The participants were all business users, so the advice would apply to a project using ANY Content Management software. I greatly enjoyed the panels because it was a chance for me to learn more about how organizations are using Alfresco. Each panel was different, so if you enjoy one, you will enjoy them both.