Paul announced our new community, Oracle Mix, during OpenWorld. Rich blogged about the experience he and ThoughtWorks had building Mix in 4-ish weeks. Depending on whom you ask, Mix took anywhere from 6-3 weeks to execute, so it was a classic agile project.
Oh yeah, in case you didn’t know already, Mix is built in JRuby on Rails on the Oracle stack, Oracle Applications Server, Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Linux, etc. That’s a big deal.
I’d planned to blog about Mix, but I wasn’t sure what angle to take. Then, over the long weekend, Jeremiah Owyang left a comment on my profile commending me on my community advocacy. I never really thought about it, but I guess that’s me now, the accidental community advocate. Rich agreed in an IM chat we had. “I think of you as Oracle’s Scoble”, he said, which is odd for me because there’s no way I could take the public abuse that Robert does without a complete meltdown. Plus, that guy is always doing something, and I can’t even remember to blog without a note in my calendar.
I guess this makes sense, since I’ve spent a lot of time inviting people to join Mix, especially Oracle employees. As an aside, the more employees we have participating in Mix, the better the experience will be for the entire community. I know a lot of Oracle people read this blog because my iPhone post continues to get comments, even though it was posted in August.
So, if you’re an Oracle person, join Mix, start building a network and interact with the community of customers, partners, other employees, media, bloggers, etc. Your expertise is what sets Mix apart from other communities. So after reading this, you should rush over to Mix, create your profile and start mixing. How’s that for cheerleading?
Now my Mix post has a topic. As the community advocate, I’m going to explain the whys of Oracle Mix because I assume you won’t blindly do what I say.
Why did we build Mix?
When we formed AppsLab way back in April (seems like we’ve been around longer), we all agreed that the best way to get people to understand New Web was through participation. Our first projects, IdeaFactory and Connect, proved this by uncovering demand for New Web that we didn’t know existed. People wanted a forum to share their ideas and they wanted to network with their colleagues. Go figure.
Almost immediately we began to get questions about productizing Connect and extending the network to customers and other outside parties. This was also part of the grand AppsLab vision. World dominance, I mean social network using Oracle as the hub to join all the interested parties.
I wasn’t sure that pitching a social network would get much support, since uptake of Facebook and other social networks hasn’t been too high internally. But our experience with Connect showed otherwise. Injecting trust into the equation lowered the barrier to entry, and ideas turned out to be the linchpin. Corporate idea sites were a proven entity (yes, I know Dell and Salesforce.com have idea sites), and reaching out to customers for their feedback on products through a social network was an easy sell.
So, here we are. We built Mix to bring everyone interested in Oracle together into a place where they can keep in touch with each other and share ideas with the community.
Why does Oracle need a social network?
Why not? Oh, you want a real reason.
Social networks like MySpace and Facebook have proven that people crave networks with which to interact. News flash: people are social animals. So, why not form a network around people interested in Oracle? Oh wait, many already exist, e.g. OTN, OPN, a myriad of users groups, bloggers, and so forth.
We’re just trying to bring them all together into a single place.
Why should you join and use Mix?
Just what you need right, another social network. This one’s targeted and specific though. It’s about Oracle and nothing else. So, if you’re interested in new product ideas, keeping in touch with the people you meet at Oracle events, getting support for your ideas, interacting with Oracle employees, influencing product direction, sharing your experiences and insights with the larger community, then Mix is for you.
The community is only as good as its members, so of course we need you, best buddy.
Why would I use Mix when there are other communities like the OTN forums, the Oracle wiki and official support systems?
Mix compliments these other communities by providing a single place for everyone with content for everyone’s interests. While some of these other communities are slightly focused on a certain aspect, e.g. OTN forums target technical questions, Mix is open to anything Oracle-related.
So far, ideas have varied from specific, feature functionality ideas like Pramod Sadalage’s Provide new Comands to drop objects if they exist to product requests like ‘s We need the Oracle clients (OCI, JDBC) for the Apple Intel OSX platform to Mix ideas like Michael Feldstein’s RSS Feeds Everywhere on Mix to functional requests like Helle Henning’s The ability to auto schedule period close for the subledgers.
These ideas would have existed in different systems before Mix.
Why are some idea functions limited?
Mix is open to everyone, but certain idea functions (voting, creating, marking as a favorite) are available to customers, partners and employees only. This restriction was put in place to prevent gaming the system, since we do plan to review ideas for future releases, especially highly-voted ones, and give people with a formal relationship more of a voice. This is why we encourage people to register for Mix with their “work” email addresses, rather than a webmail or ISP address like AOL, GMail or Yahoo.
I am in favor of fully opening the community, but I understand why there is some trepidation about a free-for-all community. As evidenced by Paul Gallagher’s idea and the comments on it, there is dissent from parties who are left out of the idea process. As Mix evolves, this restriction will be reevaluated.
So, those are the whys I figured would need to be answered. Did I miss any? Sound off in comments.