Surround Yourself with Smart People

Photo by edwaado on Flickr used under Creative Commons

In a matter of days, the AppsLab will turn three years old.

Coincidentally, I’ve been reminded lately just how smart the people around me. So, indulge me for a few hundred words as I brag about my team.

The sense of deja vu has been heavy for me lately. For example, this tweet today from Susan Scrupski (@ITSinsider), an Enterprise 2.0 maven, pointed to prediction markets as a hot E 2.0 trend for 2010.

This is one of the first ideas Paul dropped on me in 2007; we talked to Inkling Markets and played around with their stuff, but without a bunch of people to bet against, the markets weren’t very engaging. Still, I’ve always wanted to circle back to the idea.

One of Paul’s missions for work is to make it more like a game, which you’ll know if you read here. Back in 2007, he showed me Amy Jo Kim’s (@amyjokim) “Putting the Fun in Functional” slide deck, which opened my eyes to an entirely new way to think about designing software.

Of course, he’d been thinking that way for a while, and he still is.

Another of Paul’s early mantras was that people do work. In late 2007, he whipped up a mockup of a social network wrapped around the stream of information that a person uses to do her/his job, including collaboration with other people and with application objects from other systems, all rolled into a single, social view.

This model should sound familiar. It’s one you’ll find in several products that are coming to market soon.

If Paul is the idea guy, then Rich is the operations guy.

Rich has a knack for being right all the time.

He turned us on to OpenSocial back in early 2008, and it’s steadily gaining traction among enterprises.

He correctly predicted that Google Chrome would replace Firefox as my primary browser, if I gave it a try.

He pointed out the value of PubSubHubbub and Activity Streams for apps like Connect.

He immediately saw enterprise value in Google Wave.

He convinced me to ditch Windows in mid-2008, a decision I’ve never regretted, but lately, he’s been singing the praises of Windows 7, which has my attention.

Rich is right so frequently, that I’m half expecting myself to buy a Palm Pre just because he says it’s so great. I’m not a mindless follower. He’s just that good.

Rich is a hacker, which is why we brought Anthony to the team.

It’s good to have someone with a strong, classic Computer Science background to balance Rich’s gunslinging. Anthony is a rockstar developer who spends his free time studying how to become an even bigger rockstar.

He’s the kind of developer you start a company around, which is both awesome and scary, since I’m not starting a company.

Anyway, the lesson I’ve learned is surround yourself with smart people and enjoy the ride. Oh, and I still have the best job at Oracle.

Happy birthday AppsLab.

Update: This post got mangled a bit after I first published it, so it might seem a bit more complete and less repetitive now.

Update 2: Like a broken record, location is coming to the enterprise. Rich added it to Connect a year ago, and he turned me on to Fire Eagle a year before that, i.e. in April 2008. That guy needs to play the lottery.




  1. great post about the people in your team. I'd just like to add that the AppsLab Team rocks. You guys rock, and have been a huge inspiration to what we've done here in EMEA with Social Media for internal communication and collaboration. Without Connect it would have been next to impossible to get where we are today. Looking forward to see what comes out of the Webcenter project.

    I've recently started paying more attention to Paul's advocacy of games. I think this could be the next big thing. I recently came across and it will be interesting to see how they get on.

  2. Thanks. We're glad to have your team as early adopters and proponents of Connect. We don't do a very good job at marketing so it's been great to have your team find value and help spread the word.

    Akoha looks interesting, will investigate.

  3. “Anyway, the lesson I’ve learned is surround yourself with smart people and enjoy the ride. Oh, and I still have the best job at Oracle.”

    Nice to see you finally admit that…I've been saying it for awhile now. 🙂

  4. Jake and Anthony were in my team and moved to AppsLab – I guess there are many gatherings of smart people and they just moved from one to another.

  5. Jake and Anthony were in my team and moved to AppsLab – I guess there are many gatherings of smart people and they just moved from one to another.

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