San Francisco startup GitHub has all the hallmarks of the next big social network. The company’s base of 3.6 million users is growing fast, and after raising $100 million last year, GitHub was worth $750 million, at least on paper.
Yet GitHub is not a place for socializing and sharing photos. It’s a site where software developers store, share, and update their personal coding projects, in computer languages like Java and Python.
“It’s a social network, but it’s different from the others because it’s built around creating valuable things,” says GitHub CEO Tom Preston-Werner, whose company has been called “Facebook for geeks.”
GitHub’s mix of practicality and sociability have made it into a hub for software innovation. People log on from around the globe (78 percent of its users from outside the U.S.) to test and tinker with new ideas for mobile apps or Web server software. For Ethan Mollick, an assistant professor at the Wharton School, GitHub is one of a new class of technology platforms, including the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, that allow innovation without the traditional constraints of geography or of established hierarchies. “Virtual communities have more influence on reality now,” he says.
What all this could mean for software hubs like Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley isn’t yet clear. Certainly, in the post-GitHub world you no longer have to frequent the right coffee shops and parties in the Bay Area to make a name as a talented coder. Companies get founded on the site, and it’s a favorite hunting ground for recruiters as well.
The features of GitHub’s service and community that have driven its popularity could appear opaque to non-coders. The guiding principle is that any and all possible barriers to one person contributing to someone else’s project must be stripped away. That means avoiding e-mail and conventional management. “That idea of not having to ask permission to be involved in something is really big,” says Preston-Werner.
Preston-Werner says GitHub, launched in 2008, has been profitable, and signs up around 10,000 new users every day. The newest feature of its business model is to rent out a version to companies they can use internally. In Marissa Mayer’s first company-wide memo after becoming CEO of Yahoo last year, she listed GitHub as one of the ways she intended to fix her company’s stifling bureaucracy.
GitHub’s most important feature is the pull request. It allows a person to suggest a modification to the code of someone else’s project, and shows that suggestion to the project’s owner in a way that makes it easy for them to review the changes. A single mouse click can merge them into the project or start a discussion about the changes. If a person’s pull request doesn’t stick, they can “fork” the project to create a parallel version on GitHub with their idea included.
GitHub’s only physical location is an office in San Francisco where about one-third of its 176 employees work (the rest work from their homes, coffee shops, or rented desks in the U.S. or overseas). No one at the company has set working hours. Some show up at noon and work into the night, others arrive close to dawn and disappear by midafternoon. Only Preston-Werner, as CEO, has a formal job title. Everyone else uses generic or frequently changing descriptors such as “Bad Guy Catcher” or “Señor Open Sorcerer.”
GitHub now plays a major supporting role in the creation of widely used open-source software, and the company uses it to maintain and expand its own service as well. Although Preston-Werner may set the overall goal of such projects, details of how it will be achieved are left to his workforce. Teams of GitHub workers form on an ad-hoc basis, growing, shrinking, and melting away as the company’s needs change and people find new things to work on.
Meetings are seen as a tragic waste of time, and thanks to the pull request, fewer are needed. “I don’t think we’ll ever have to hire managers,” says Preston-Werner.
Preston-Werner hopes his philosophy will spread and that more kinds of work will happen on GitHub. The platform already has features targeted at designers working on images. Some journalists, academics, and even the White House are also experimenting with GitHub to collaborate on articles and write research and policy documents. “Software is where we’re starting, but the vision can encompass a much broader scope than that,” says Preston-Werner.
Its a cliche to say Cloud is disruptive. Its already mainstream as evidenced by the adoption across the spectrum. I came across this article which expounds on this theme. Below are some excerpts:
CEO and founder David Soutar said that almost all of the software they used had come out of the startup community, and that because they can relate to how the development process works, they are willing to accept a few bugs here and there. But it also means that the businesses creating these products understand that startups don’t have a lot of money to spend, and price themselves accordingly.
“The companies that come from startup roots understand that as a startup company, you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
In fact, Soutar sees the minimal features of Google Apps and similar cloud services as being a cost saving compared to “installable” applications.
And there are areas where enterprise systems haven’t yet caught up. For example, WattCost is using Flowdock to tie everything together on the social media and, to a degree, customer relationships management side. It’s a combination of an internal instant messaging system and an inbox that can be hooked into other services like Twitter, Facebook, Zendesk, and GitHub.
Someone who has a poor understanding of life-work balance. They’re always thinking about everything. Someone who’s answering email at 11 p.m. on a Saturday, but also someone who’s reading restaurant reviews and recommendations at the office. The modern knowledge worker.
The next wave of the Cloud is well on its way. For a good time, SaaS models focused on inevitable Cloud disruptive factors – Subscription, Billing, Hosting, Zero Legacy etc. Disintermediation proved a big success mantra for upcoming SaaS companies. But the middleman took note and turned the tide against itself, defeating the objective of having the Cloud in the first place. Transactions started happening directly. Its now the turn of the new SaaS model – SaaS becoming the System of Record as opposed just a low cost line item. Businesses take note, it may well be the tip of the iceberg!!
I came across an excellent article along the same lines:
By serving as the access portal to the marketplace, the system of record and most importantly, the paywall that drives predictable revenue, SaaS can revolutionize the marketplace model to offer modern advantages the failed B2B marketplaces of the early 2000s never had. These include revenue predictability, favorable unit economics and a barrier to disintermediation.
If you are like me, you spend lotsa time researching on your customers before you meet them – (not to mention senior folks from your company). You have back to back meetings, and less than five minutes to run from one to the other. It will take you much longer than 5 minutes to lookup everyone in the meeting and try to find their LinkedIn accounts, Twitter accounts, Blogs, Company blogs, and news related to their companies.Till date, I used to research by hand on the Net- LinkedIn, the works… Now we have a cool startup, Prepwork(https://prepwork.com) which promises to automate all of that. PrepWork searches for you and sends information that will help you make a positive impression. I have synced my calendar, so should you!
Prepwork, a digital assistant application that aggregates background data from all over the web that applies to each person that you are meeting with during a given day (e.g. alma mater, company news, recent blog posts and tweets, etc.). Then it emails this “intel” to you during the morning prior to your meeting, just like your own personal research assistant.
It gives you insights into someone’s sports interests. So, in the sample image, this user follows the key players on the Miami Heat. Because the user follows the Miami Heat, they show you the score from their last game and a link to the ESPN recap. Cool isn’t it …
Here’s yet another worthwhile free app for busy business folks.
MobileDay has enabled One-Touch into ANY conference call on ANY conference provider. The app syncs with your phone’s calendar and auto-detects the conference call details within your meeting invites. When you tap the green icon, MobileDay sends the conference sequence to the phone’s dialer, inserting all the codes, pauses, #, *, and 1s for you.
With One-Touch into voice conferences and online meetings such as GoToMeeting®, Google+ Hangouts, WebEx®, Apple FaceTime, and Skype audio, joining meetings on the go has never been easier.
You even have the choice to make calls via your phone or a VoIP dialer.
One of the key objectives of my blog is to provide my readers details of tools which are cutting edge (and usually free) which moves their productivity needle several notches higher.
So introducing Yesware – the Boston-based startup that helps sales and marketing people assess how effective email campaigns are by tracking who opens what and when. A big part of that story is that Yesware’s service integrates with Gmail and contacts as well as with Salesforce.com, synchronizing appointments between Gmail and Salesforce.com accounts.
Get your free Yesware at http://www.yesware.com/
Yesware is a free add-on for Gmail that helps you sell more effectively right from your inbox.
Get actionable insights into how your prospects and customers are reacting to your messages with our email tracking features.
- Get alerts each time someone opens an email or clicks on a link
- Know exactly when to follow up with your clients and prospects
- Know where in the world your message is being viewed
- View the device that prospects are using to open your email
Yesware Teams make it easy to share winning messages and viewing detailed team reports.
- Name your team and invite colleagues to collaborate
- Share all of your winning email templates with each other to increase sales and productivity
- View detailed team reports & analytics on emails sent, opens, response rates, & much more
Create personal, customized email templates for every stage of your sales process.
- Choose your best templates by seeing which ones your customers reply to most
- Incorporate links and rich text to send great looking messages at the click of a button—every time
- Use [brackets] to indicate custom fields to make your templates even faster and easier to use
With Yesware Reminders, you’ll never miss a follow-up again.
- Remind yourself to follow-up on important emails
- Use Reminders to easily prioritize critical messages that don’t receive replies
- Get detailed tracking information about your emails when your Reminders come due
Harness the best that Yesware and Salesforce have to offer. We let you manage your sales funnel, right from Gmail.
- Create and Edit Salesforce contacts directly from Gmail
- Automatically sync all tracking data— sent emails, opens, link-clicks, and replies— to Salesforce
- Quickly add new tasks to Salesforce while you’re reading an email from a contact
- Get activity reporting for each contact, lead, account, and opportunity
With just one click every email you write can sync automatically with your CRM. You can focus on selling, we’ll take care of the data.
- Ease of use thanks to partnerships with popular providers like Salesforce, Batchbook, Pipedrive, Base, Highrise, SugarCRM, and other services like TimeTrade
- Save time and avoid mistakes from manual entry
- Actionable information when it matters most
Our reports and analytics turn you into a sales superstar by helping you close more deals—faster.
- Know exactly who’s best to follow up with by using our personal tracking reports and gauge your email opens for the last 30 days
- See where in the world people open your emails from inside your inbox
- Find out if your message is reaching top decision makers
- Prioritize your email prospecting with subject filters and email activity sorting
Quickly and easily monitor your team’s performance, and goal progress, with Team reports.
- Learn how your team’s messaging is resonating with your target market
- Know what your team is doing everyday without having to rely on manual data entry
- See which emails get high open rates and leverage these insights to share expertise amongst the team
- Reward best practices and winning approaches
A good alternative career planning advice that I came across. It tends to simplify career thinking. Worth some thought!!
“Some of us tend to see our goals (at work and in life) as opportunities for advancement, achievement and rewards. We think about what we might gain if we are successful in reaching them. If you are someone who sees your goals this way, you have what’s called a promotion focus.
The rest of us see our goals as being about security — about not losing everything we’ve worked so hard for. When you are prevention-focused, you want to avoid danger, fulfill your responsibilities, and be someone people can count on. You want to keep things running smoothly.”
If you are promotion-focused, look for jobs that offer advancement and growth. Consider fast-paced industries where products and services are rapidly changing, and where the ability to identify opportunities will be essential, like the tech sector or social media. To use a sports metaphor, look for a career where you get to play offense — where boldness, speed, and outside-the-box thinking pay off.
If you are prevention-focused, look for jobs that offer you a sense of stability and security. You are good at keeping things running, at handling complexity and always having a Plan B (and C and D) ready at a moment’s notice. Consider careers where your thoroughness and attention to detail are valued — for instance, as a contract lawyer or data guru. You work best when you are playing defense — you can spot a threat a mile away, and protect your company or client from harm.