Posts Tagged ‘Office 2.0’

Office 2.0: Turning calamity into success

August 27, 2008

With only a week to go one of the main diamond sponsors pulled out of  Office 2.0 conference  much to the annoyance and distress of the organiser Ismael Ghalimi. I have already covered the conference on and this blog.  I wanted to write again because this is a great example of an enterprenur coping with a difficult problem on a self imposed deadline.

A diamond sponsor?

It’s been interesting too observe Ismael’s unfolding shock, despair and then purpose with this set back. Ismael published an inspiring and reflective post Faith, Friendship, and Freedom when the S**t hit the fan, saying:

“With such a string of bad news, it would be easy for us to lose faith in what we are doing.”..”Many people wonder why we do all this to begin with. There is a fair amount of risk involved, and an insane amount of work, for a reward that is unclear most of the time. The reason is pretty simple: it’s the simple exercise of our freedom.”..”Today, I learned something, and this makes it a good day.”

As Stowe Boyd, a well know blogger, entitled his post Office 2.0 Conference: That Which Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger. The extreme deadline of the event meant that Ismael had to move quickly to a solution. It was great to see how the community rallied togther to help and the conference very rapidly organised a new Launchpad conference track with lots of smaller sponsors.

This situation has shown the entrepreneurial spirit of seeing the positive and turning calamity into success by working together. We could all probably learn a little from this.


Ismael Ghalimi’s extreme deadlines that innovate

August 14, 2008

After writing an article for on Ismael Ghalimi ‘s Office 2.0 conference, I also wanted to share some personal reflections from an intriguing conversation with Ismael about deadlines and innovation.

Ismael Ghalimi

Deadlines are nothing new. However organising a significant event over a very short period (nine weeks) with limited resources creates what I’ve termed an extreme deadline. Ismael says the self imposed deadlines “forces productivity” and “pushes tools to the limits”. However the risks are high — unhappy paying customers and suppliers may result in a loss of hard earned credibility and reputation.

The Royal Air force Red Arrow’s Pushing the envelope

Being extreme is about pushing the limits or as Ismael said “Pushing the envelope” – a term used by aircraft pilots. Ismael referred to the conference as an “experiment”. By innovating the conference organisation into this limited time window, Ismael called it “outside of the thought zone”, rapid and effective decisions have to be made. If mistakes are made they can be corrected quickley or work arounds found. As the conference back-office evolves Ismael is also pushing the boundaries further to reinvent the conference attendee experience.

Ismael sees the future of conferences as: “branding being much more than having big conference booths”; “more involvement of panellist moderators”; “Social networking before, during and after the event”; use of “conference internet tablets”; “displaying the back channel conversations for all to see”; and “giving remote attendees a good experience”. He is putting some of these ideas into practice at the Office 2.0 experiment using Jives clearspace and this years free HP 2133 Mini-Note PC. Conference 2.0, as I called it, is trying to extend the social experience using social media for more audience participation and interaction.

The event seems to have got TechWeb’s attention, a larger conference provider, as Steve Wylie the TechWeb Enterprise 2.0 conference General Manager is on the conference attendee list. Interestingly Ismael is using the event as a networking and marketing tool for his other businesses, which include open source BPM software and serviced offices . Ismael said he runs the conference because “it’s fun” and he “loves people”.

Web and software firms like Ismael’s know all about meeting drop dead release dates. These deadlines can require additional emergency resources to be drafted in, planned features to be dropped and products that ship with bugs. As someone recently said to me JFDI (Just Feakin’ Do it – the acceptable version) when asked their opinion on the idea of the website. They said even if it is rough around the edges just get it out there and see what sticks.

A careful act holding onto time as demonstrated by Harold Lloyd

I think deadlines are very important to focus effort. However deadlines can cut both ways. They can help to bring action but they can also harm quality. It’s a careful but vital balancing act for any tech firm, particularly start-ups. Most entrepreneurs have limited resources, and time, so deadlines are a key part of effective productivity to get innovative products out the door.