We released a new version of our popular Editor’s Desk widget service today. Featuring a dramatically updated interface and some cool new tools for creating and managing widgets, this is a big upgrade to something that already works really well. I particularly like the Facebook app creator that converts any widget into a full blown Facebook application.
We played around with the new version of Editor’s Desk and were impressed with how easy the whole creation process really was. To create a widget, you can either add your own RSS feeds or choose a collection of feeds from categories provided by NewsGator. The free version of the service only provides minimal customization options for your widgets, you can select from a set a templates and then modify some of the colors, but if you pay for the premium version of the service, you can customize the CSS and HTML of the widgets. Some companies like USA Today and The Discovery Channel have already done that with spectacular results.
[From NewsGator launches Editor's Desk 2.1 - Download Squad]
There is a lot to check out here and this goes well beyond any other widget service’s ability to handle content feeds in a widget. Not only do we allow for the aggregation of multiple feeds but also the manipulation of feed content, the creation of keyword driven persistent search feeds that grab content from blogs and feeds, Twitter, LinkedIn messages, and much more. We also give you the option of adding feed “bundles” as sources from a comprehensive catalog of feeds. Cool stuff.
We updated the default widget templates and added multiple user profile management.
Sam Lawrence put up this post on the Anatomy of the Enterprise Octopus and as usual he takes advantage of good graphics to make his point in such a way as to be hard to take issue with. He nails it with the following quote:
Think of this is way more effective baton passing. Formal workflows don’t work. People need to know where things are and when it’s right for them to engage. They even need to know how other people like to be engaged. Making sure the trains run on time is big business and things like social workflows and much easier coordination of work can make big gains for companies.
There’s something paradigm shifting going on with enterprise 2.0 but it’s not about collaborate this or user generated that, I suspect it has more to do with the rethinking of business process applications and their limits. We’ve gone through two massive generations of enterprise software that have been predominately master data and transaction oriented with efficiencies being the primary ROI generator.
The rather obvious truth that many of us see is that while efficiencies have translated into better economics for many companies, they have not resulted in better companies that optimize for new opportunities. Also, at an individual employee level, most enterprise software simply sucks and that’s the genesis of the business consumer who takes charge of his/her application environment much to the dismay of formal IT.
Adriana sent me this post with the disclaimer that it’s long but well worth the read, and I concur. Basically the gist of it is that you are only as good as your ability to hire good, and your ability to hire good is a function of your ability to hire brilliant seed engineers. I’ve seen this in more startups than I can recall, the early engineers form the foundation from which the company is built on, not just because they are smart but because they intuitively understand the machinery behind what the company really needs to do as opposed to what they say they need to do.
Good mechanical engineers understand not only the machinery but the principles at work behind the machinery, which then gives them the great gift of being able to reconfigure the machine to do something that is inherently more interesting. It’s no different in software.
FriendFeed seems to have a lot of this going on, which is reflected not only in the service but also in the deliberate way they go about building it.
The Done, and Gets Things Smart approach is also a way of finding great people, but it recognizes that the Dunning-Kruger Effect requires some countermeasures. It’s modeled on the early successes I’ve witnessed at Geoworks, Amazon, and Google, all of whom had one thing in common: they hired brilliant seed engineers. This boldface is really addictive when you get started on it!
[From Stevey's Blog Rants: Done, and Gets Things Smart]