Op 20 november a.s. vanaf 20:00 vindt de derde Nederlandstalige Obsidian meet-up plaats! Dit keer geïnitieerd door @CABenstein in het Nederlandstalige kanaal op de Obsidian Discord. Je kunt je aanmelden op Eventbrite, of anders laat even van je horen op Discord.

Tijdens de sessie is er alle tijd om tips en tricks uit te wisselen over het werken met Obsidian. Zelf ben ik altijd erg geïnteresseerd hoe het persoonlijk kennismanagementproces (pkm posts op dit blog) van mensen is georganiseerd, en hoe ze dat in hun tools vormgeven. Over de eerste meet-up schreef ik een impressie, en dat deden Wouter en Frank ook.

Schuif aan!

Favorited How Big Tech Runs Tech Projects and the Curious Absence of Scrum by Gergely Orosz

I see scrum used at different levels of quality in different settings, and especially where the focus shifts from delivery to the rituals around enabling the delivery it becomes a drag quickly. Then there’s the ever increasing backlogs and the partial implementation where scrum delivery collides with the rest of an organisation not being ready to pick up on what’s delivered. (HT to Alper Çuğun for surfacing the link in his rss feed)

The success of companies and project management approaches is not always correlated and this story is a reminder of this…..the organizational structure of Big Tech greatly impacts how teams can – and do – execute. …. When talking to engineers at Facebook, Whatsapp, Google, Netflix and similar organizations, most of them have never used Scrum. Should companies dismiss Scrum and other methodologies just because most of Big Tech has done so? … There are many contexts in which switching to Scrum makes perfect sense

Gergely Orosz

No public fixing, blowing or drinking. Repeat warning.

Encountered this sign yesterday walking from the station square to the relatively newly built Willem Wilmink square in Enschede. No public drug use allowed. I don’t think this sign is in the official database of traffic signs. Especially the ‘herhaling’ sign, meaning the sign is a repeated statement, made me laugh.

In reply to Collective Creativity by Wouter Groeneveld

Interestingly this came up yesterday at the FOSS4G-NL conference I visited, where Amélie A Gagnon talked about scenius as communal genius, a scene that jams together and creates results no single genius could. She also mentioned Austin Kleon’s quote ‘don’t be a genius, create a scenius’ (see his post on scenius, and about mapping a scenius, something I’ve elsewhere seen done based on LinkedIn profiles to see what is missing in terms of capabilities, roles and skills, to make a scene somewhere ‘explode’)

…and call it collective creativity: without a collective, the creativity of each genius partaking in the above meetings would never have reached that far.

Wouter Groeneveld

I was in Enschede today for a conference, and had dinner in ‘Foodies’ right across the square from the railway station. I had planned it differently, but my used-to-be-favourite watering hole didn’t have the Grolsch fall bokbier I wanted, and my fav ‘for old times sake’ mutton shoarma restaurant had closed down because of the pandemic. I walked back towards the station and ended up in Foodies. Here there used to be La Cucina, previously La Cuisine in a different spot, which was E’s and my favourite restaurant in Enschede for many years. After they went out of business something else took over, and now it’s called Foodies. Good beers on tap, and some good wines, it turned out today. The food is nice enough, well above pub grub and at very reasonable prices (I think they should want to charge more for dishes and up their game), and as they are near the railway station you can eat there and never miss your connection.

The real story however is about the current proprietor. He used to be a student at the Leeuwarden hospitality management school. He was supposed to do an internship, but as everything was locked down due to the pandemic there was no internship to be had. Instead he decided to open up his own pub and restaurant, and with the help of his parents chose Foodies. His mom served me my drinks, temporarily she hoped/thought, and he ran the place, chatted with customers while serving. Becoming a restaurant owner is his internship.

I admire his entrepreneurial guts, and wish him well, a lot. He definitely succeeded in making the large venue look and feel cosy, something our fav restaurateurs of old never quite succeeded in in the same spot. I will return to Foodies on my next Enschede visit.

Today left me wondering if conference backchannels are still a thing and whether organisers need to start organising/designing backchannels to make it useful (again).

I was at the FOSS4GNL conference today, the first large scale event I went to since the Dutch start of the Situation mid March 2020. Or largish event, because there were about 60% of the usual amount of people, with some staying away because they felt uncomfortable in groups, or because of not wanting to submit themselves to QR code scans to verify vaccination or testing status, and a presenter testing positive the day before.

In the run-up I added the conference # to my Tweetdeck columns and mobile Twitter app. Yesterday was a workshop day, and today a conference day, and the 101 participants posted all of 45 tweets during the event. That works out to about .4 tweets per participant and 2 to 3 tweets per tweeting participant. Back in the day ™, aka 2006, I remember how Twitter started replacing IRC as a conference backchannel of the more geeky conferences I went to. A decade later, when visiting the global conference of the Dutch local one I visited today, FOSS4G global in 2016, I was happily surprised to see IRC even used as backchannel.

This time around there’s wasn’t much of a backchannel, not publicly on Twitter, but also not in some other channel. The conference organisers had used a Telegram group for their preparatory work, and beforehand suggested participants to use that as well. That didn’t pan out I think. I don’t use Telegram and wouldn’t install it for a conference either. The organising membership organisations OSGEO.nl and the QGIS-NL user group themselves use a Matrix channel, which I think would have been a much better suggestion as at least community members are familiar with it, and it allows a variety of clients to tap into it.

To me backchannels, and I’m spoilt ’cause Reboot (again: back in the day ™), allow one to be in one track of the conference and follow along with the sessions in other tracks to get the salient bits or know when something out of the ordinary happens because one of the rooms ‘explodes’. This works very well, up to the point where I may well think I remember noteworthy conference sessions, while in reality I wasn’t in the room where myths originated but followed along from the next conference room on IRC.

I dislike conferences where members in the audience are just that, and don’t behave like participants. Backchannels allow you to build connections with others based on content or wit during sessions, not relegating it only to random encounters over coffee or lunch (which is also useful). In events like today where it is primarily a community meeting, that is even more true despite everyone being in a more known environment: I’m a lurker/boundary spanner in the Dutch FOSS4G community, have visited/spoken at their events, have organised related events, but am nowhere near the core of community members, yet I knew some 1 in 10 today and a similar number of ‘colleagues of’, including the international participants.

Twitter definitely isn’t the ‘great equalizer’ of backchannels as it has been for a decade or so any more. In the past few years I saw how the use of Twitter as backchannel diminished already, now at the first event I visit after All This it stands out once more. I don’t see something else naturally taking its place either.

In short I miss well-functioning backchannels. Do others miss them, or never knew to miss them?
If you (like I am at times) are an event organiser, is it necessary to plan ahead for a ‘back-channel experience‘ taking into account accessibility, avoiding silo’s and tracking, with which to add to what it is like to attend your event? Or will the idea of a back-channel be let go entirely, reducing all of us to more singular members of an audience?