Archive for February, 2007

Best on the Hill – PICnet client wins Golden Mouse Award

Golden Mouse WinnerWhen you do great work, and put your full effort and heart into your clients’ projects, it’s nice to be recognized for those efforts. Today, the Congressional Management Foundation awarded Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Web site the coveted Golden Mouse award, the highest honor a congressional office can receive for outstanding Web communications.

Incredible hard work went into the effort, especially by Congresswoman Maloney’s lead Web site manager Anna Cielinski, who provided countless days and long nights into making the site a success.

From the Congressional Management Foundation:

“Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Web site exemplifies how to use advances in technology and the Internet to better serve the growing number of constituents that are online. The content is comprehensive and cross-referenced. The wealth of features provides users with a sense of the work the Representative does, her accomplishments, and the services she provides.”

In addition to this, another PICnet client, Congressman Ed Markey, won a Bronze Mouse award, placing it in the top 30 congressional Web sites.

Congratulations to both offices, and their PICnetters, on a job well done!

You can read the 2006 Gold Mouse Report: Recognizing the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill (PDF – 5MB) in its entirety to learn more about best practices for offices on the Hill.


Leadership 2.0 – responsibility with your tie off?

JetBlue As a frequent flier of JetBlue airlines, I was as disappointed as others to hear the news of the horrible delays, poor customer service, and general lack of strategic planning that the company had during the weather problems of mid-February 2007. One thing that I knew about JetBlue, however, was its roll-up-the-sleeves mentality.

So it wasn’t too big of a surprise to me to see the JetBlue CEO David Neeleman, taking responsibility for these problems in his rather candid video message to JetBlue customers spread out over YouTube. What I thought was very interesting, however, was the following:

  1. a corporate CEO of one of the most popular airlines in the US dressed casually in a message to its clients
  2. a video message where it’s clear he is talking directly with the clients rather than seeming overly rehearsed and memorized (or teleprompted) message
  3. his opening of “Dear JetBlue customers…”

What interests me most is the uncanny notion that our technology community, lead by those that have a strong focus on community building and reputation validation systems, seems to have made a public relations communication piece like this reality. Before YouTube, would Neeleman have had such a candid “speech” with clients in such a casual format?

Maybe the bigger question is this: do we want our leaders, corporate or otherwise, to seem more like us? Is this a good thing? By doing so, are we missing what by definition makes a leader, a leader? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leader as, “a person who has commanding authority or influence.”

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Joomla shop opens its doors

Joomla ShopFor quite some time now, Joomla community members have voiced their desire to be able to purchase Joomla products. T-shirts, bumper stickers, baby bibs, you name it, they want it.

Now, they can get it! Well, back t-shirts that is.

Today, the Joomla team announced the opening of the Joomla Store, in partnership with an online merchandise provider called While we’re still strong supporters of our friends at GoodStorm from the looks of this, it seems like the Joomla team has done some great work and due diligence.

“All profits from the shop will go back to the project to further its not-for-profit aims and ambitions,” said Joomla! shop co-ordinator Levis Bisson. “We’ve always welcomed donations from Joomla! users … now there is a way to donate to the project and receive a cool J! T-shirt.”

Now, if only we can get a bunch of these before the Non-Profit Technology Conference on April 4-6, 2007.


This is Web 2.0

I don’t know how many times I get asked, “what is Web 2.0″, but I know that even though I’ve given two speeches on it, I don’t think I got to the point as quickly or effectively as the video below does. For those not thinking or reading at warp speed, you might need to watch it twice…or three times.

Thanks to Digital Ethnography from Kansas State University for creating this, and our friends Jason at DIA and Seth Gottlieb for the heads up on this great piece.


What Walmart Teaches Us About CSS

In the tech world, maybe money doesn’t buy power — at least, it can’t buy good CSS practices. Or so it would seem, at least, after today’s fabulously botched launch of Walmart’s new online video store.

See what we mean? Visit this site in Internet Explorer:

Now, do the same thing in Firefox. And in case the web site has been changed by the time you read this post, here’s what the site looked like in Firefox browsers at 6:30 tonight:

No, you’re not dreaming. It’s really that bad.

This is a CSS issue, and it will probably be fixed in a few hours. But it still goes to show you that no matter how many high-faultin’ movie studios you partner with, none of it matters if you don’t get the right company to develop your web site.

Update at 6am PDT on 2/8/07: If you dare to visit the site using a browser other than Internet Explorer, you get this fun message: “Unsupported Browser…We’re sorry…Our website requires the browser Internet Explorer version 6 or higher. It appears that you are using Firefox, Safari, or another browser that Wal-Mart Video Downloads doesn’t currently support. Click here to get Internet Explorer for free from Microsoft.”


Shareholders to Kintera CEO: Out, now!

With Allan from the Non-Profit Tech Blog, the news never closes in the non-profit tech world. Thanks to his late night posting, we’ve learned some interesting news in what is becoming the year of the CRM shakeout.

In what is probably the most scathing review I’ve read of a corporate CEO by shareholders in our sector, especially one in our protected non-profit technology world, a large chunk of Kintera shareholders have politely asked CEO Harry Gruber to see the door.

I use the world “politely” kindly.

“With Mr. Gruber at its helm, Kintera has not demonstrated a sufficient ability to achieve its own projections, to drive operational efficiencies and the integration of acquisitions, to manage a productive salesforce which delivers organic growth, or to even provide a credible estimate for when the Company will be profitable.”

Warning: the graphic after the jump may not be suitable for Kintera shareholders. On the other hand, Blackbaud shareholders should click with glee.

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Islands and bridges, the building has begun

Not too long ago, I wrote a piece called Islands and bridges: why Soapbox will lead the way to CRM and CMS integration for non-profits, where I detailed our vision on breaking down the walls between important technology silos in the non-profit community.

At that time, we spoke only about content management systems (CMSes) and constituent relationship management (CRMs), and while feedback on the blog was quiet, offline we got an earful.

A full three months have passed since then, and I think it’s about time to open the lid on how our bridge engineers are laying down the first strong links between these islands. Especially with postings like that of Allan Benamer from the Non-Profit Tech Blog, where he writes about his favorite stack of stacks, it made me think a response to his post might be in order.

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Site architecture 2.0, making site mapping fun

Bubbl.usDuring the Web development process, one of the most important phases of work is the information architecture. In laymen’s terms, the outline of the site. Of course, this phase doesn’t get the glory of the more glamorous work, like design mockups and development iterations.

One reason why this phase is often lower on organization’s radars is that it’s just not that much fun. It seems, however, that we might have a contender that could make this process a lot more, well, bubbly. is a new Web based mind-mapping tool that we think might have some traction in the Web development world. The goal is to make it easy to develop bubble-like outlines of systems, with an easy to use interface. The system is still a little buggy, but it’s just in beta, as is everything else these days. Lots of Flash makes me worry a little bit about its extendability (would like it if you could export these mind-maps into text documents).

Example using

Definitely worth a look.


Virtual life, virtual protests, virtual insanity?

Just when I finally figured out how to get off Orientation Island in Second Life (strictly research purposes only, of course), I’ve now found out that the virtual world is starting to ever more replicate the real world.

President Bush now has a handful of online avatars that don’t like him either. That can’t help the approval rating!

On January 29, 2006, it seems that a small cadre of Second Life users “marched” on “Washington”, and were successful in crashing a part of Second Life and getting interviewed by BBC News. Oh, and getting blog attention from people like me.

My quandry is this: if my real life is as hectic as it’s going to get (something I say every Monday), how in the world am I going to keep up with my avatar’s life in a second reality?

Even more important, should I care?

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