Jamie is one of my heros and he sure can write, but I’m not impressed by his recent fun raining on the parade of his friend’s open source groupware project. All he’s doing in his fun rant is revealing his loyalty to a world view that treats groups as so vile the only exception to the rule is getting laid and or just possibly going out to dinner with friends. We have milked that stone dry. The PC revolution was two damn decades ago. Get your hands out of your pocket. Playing with your handheld will make you go blind.
Groupware is not about empowering the lord’s castrate to chase check boxes around conference room tables. Groupware is about collegiality. Groupware is about focusing common cause. Groupware is about manufacturing abundance from the aggregated contributions of the many. Groupware is about creating a vibrant scale free civic society. Groupware is about searching the space of solutions to the all the corrosive forces that destroy civility. Groupware is about turning coordination problems into dance square dancing.
This is were the excitement is. This where wikis, and del.icio.us, and flikr, and meet up, and open source, and yahoo groups, and mailing lists, and discussion boards, and peer to peer, and file sharing, and voice IP, are. This is the single most fun real estate the Internet has enabled.
On this one, Jamie is just plain wrong. The dialectic is not between project managers and the noble free spirited creative individual. The dialectic here is between those forces that kill groups and those that make them thrive. Groupware is a tool in that battle. Dilbert’s coworkers are as much a threat to vibrant groups as Dilbert’s boss. Getting laid is not the goal. Raising the babies of common cause is the goal.
Dude, I think you’re missing his point.
As I read it, his point wasn’t that *groups* were bad — it was that most groupware to date has been designed in the style that Danny O’Brien referred to as “eating out of Microsoft’s garbage”. In other words, it’s entirely corporate-driven, with workflow etc., to a degree that makes it useless for most non-corporate users, and even many of the corporate ones too, while bloating the code and making the whole thing buggy.
Possibly, but then he would have said at least one thing about the needs of groups (the closest he comes to that is venting about evite’s product manager rich UI), instead he speaks only to the needs of individuals v.s. corp. functionaries. Which is the wrong dialectic. Horny adolescents are are just as much of a problem for creating viable groups men with the pointy hair.