Seth Godin's tiny book, The Dip, basically makes the same four points over and over.
Something is only worth doing professionally if you can be the best in the world.
Becoming the best in the world at something requires serious dedication and motivation to get through the inevitable "dip", which he defines as that difficult period between becoming proficient and becoming an expert.
If you are not completely convinced you can get through the dip and become the best in your world, find a new world.
Don't mistake a dip for a dead-end.
Godin argues it's much better to quit than to accept anything less than becoming the best. Obviously the premise is that everybody can become the best in the world at something worthwhile.
Seth Godin is hardly the only person who thinks this way. Just today, Keith Trivitt made a similar point for Business Insider, though his point was more about differentiating (also a frequent theme for Mr. Godin.)
Being the Best
Seth speaks of making your world smaller until you're
the best in the
world. However, is it true? Do you actually need to be the best or just
very good? To me, it depends on what you do.
"This Magic Quadrant will help CIOs, and business and IT leaders that are analyzing their Web strategies to assess whether they have the right WCM offering to support them."
While acknowledging the "increased popularity and traction for open-source offerings," once again Gartner has failed to include any open source CMS's in the report. The reason, Gartner claims, is:
"Open source still accounts for less than 4% of the revenue by which Gartner defines the size of the WCM market. This percentage is growing slowly, based on the inherent licensing models used for the offerings. This year, no vendors offering open-source software (OSS) have reached the revenue threshold for inclusion in our formal analysis."
Later in this article, Gartner clarifies the revenue threshold, stating:
"WCM total software revenue (including new licenses, updates, maintenance and/or subscriptions, SaaS, hosting and technical support) for 2008 must exceed $8 million. The software must be available as a stand-alone product or offering."
The thing is, this is entirely unfair. One of the major advantages of open source software is that licenses are free, as in $0, as in no revenue whatsoever. So basically, Gartner is punishing open source software for this. For the most part, open source software only costs money for maintenance, hosting and technical support. Licenses and updates, which in the CMS world can cost a small fortune, cost nothing at all when using open source software.
In my opinion, vendor revenue is a particularly poor metric for evaluating whether businesses "have the right WCM offering to support them."
What do you think? Anyone from Gartner care to comment? Is vendor revenue a reasonable measure in a software market where there are an abundance of open source solutions?
Henry Donahue, Discover Magazine's esteemed CEO (disclosure: Discover is a client of Abstract Edge), has written on Folio some of his impressions of using the open source CMS Plone over the last couple of years.
Based on my conversations at trade events, however, many
publishers still struggle with the basic issue of getting content online in a
way that is timely, efficient and interactive.
On top of that, the twin financial and publishing crises make it
unlikely that anyone can round up the capital to do a 1999-style $5 million
custom CMS development.
Almost three years later, here are my takeaways on our open
It makes my week when a client publicly proclaims satisfaction. He also brings up a key point. During this time when everyone is trying to figure out a way to save every dollar, open source solutions sure bring a lot of value to the table.
I had the privilege of attending the festival's kickoff event at the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday night, a result of Abstract Edge having built the festival's website (hat tip to our friends at Six Feet Up who collaborated on the development.) The site was built using the open source Plone content management system. For those who believe that all Plone sites look alike, here is yet another example to disprove that theory! Even the Flash elements on the homepage can be managed by content editors inside of Plone.
The CMS allows WSF staff to keep all of the information about events, speakers, locations, etc. up to date. Site visitors can easily browse and search for events that may pique their interest. Plone automatically keeps track of the relationships between the events, participants, locations, and ticket purchasing. This was critical in helping WSF manage the constantly changing festival information.
So, if you happen to be in New York this weekend, take a look at the site and see if anything is still available. The early reviews are quite positive!
For a bunch of years now I have heard a debate within the Plone community, most notably from Paul Everitt, about whether Plone is an application or a framework. While I can't honestly say I've given the issue a ton of my time, nor am I sure I fully understand why this is a particularly important distinction, I did have one thought on the matter I wanted to share.
To me, Plone is an application.
Plone is also a framework.
Yes, that's right - it's both!
I wonder if this question is akin to asking if light is a particle or a wave. So, which is it? Well, it depends on what kind of experiment you run. This Wikipedia article explains this issue better than I could, but in the end it's all about context. Or maybe it's about the inadequacy of trying to use simplistic mental models for complex things. In either case, Plone is a framework when you need to use a framework, and it's an application when you need to use a CMS application.
I suspect this is really more of a marketing issue in Paul's view (Paul - am I right about this?) which I suppose does make it less academic. Marketing 101 tells us that you want to pick something where you (or your product or your service) are the best in the marketplace, point to that, and sell, sell, sell. You shouldn't try to be everything to everybody.
As far as this particular issue goes, it is clearly in some people's best interests to position Plone as a framework, and in other people's best interests to position Plone as an application.
So, let the public debate begin!
Why is this important?
Why should Plone be positioned as an application? What does that even mean?
Why should Plone be positioned as a framework? What does that even mean?
Is there any reason not to speak of Plone as one or the other?
Thank you to Robert Burgoyne for organizing a brand new New York City Plone Users Group. There have been one or two similar efforts in previous years that didn't really go very far, but I think that with Plone's current momentum in the open source CMS world, we may have reached a tipping point for success.
Anybody interested can sign up at https://plone.meetup.com/4/. The first meeting will be tomorrow evening, Thursday, November 8th at 7pm and will take place at:
Veda Williams, a project manager at One/Northwest
who manages many a Plone implementation, gave us all here at the
conference some advice on best practices for managing smaller Plone Web
content management projects.
I found a lot of her presentation extremely familiar, as it meshed
very well with my own experiences, and frankly, it all applies to any
tech project, not just Plone.
Scott is the co-founder and managing partner at Abstract Edge, a creative digital agency that provides online marketing, brand-focused design and technology services to organizations with serious content publishing needs.