Stepping down as BayCHI program chair

For more than five years now, I have been co-Program Chair for BayCHI hosting a variety of speakers from Peter Norvig, Bill Scott, Tara Hunt, Tim Brown, Jakob Neilsen, Jared Spool and Jesse James Garrett. When I started I was a researcher at UC Berkeley. In between, I ran a consulting company that morphed into a product company (MindCanvas) that planted the seeds of SlideShare.

I have really enjoyed this tenure. So why am I leaving? Because SlideShare is growing and I don’t have time anymore. Running a startup takes everything you have and more. I am also focused on startup issues rather than HCI issues. Finally, six years is a long time to do anything and its time to give someone else a chance.

We are looking for a replacement for me who will be co-program chair along with Paul Sas (he is a great co-chair to work with!). I have also loved working with Stacie Hibino, Steve Williams, Nancy Frishberg and everyone else at BayCHI. Get in touch if you have past experience at organizing such events and want to get involved.

This was a long time in the coming. Several times I wanted to tell my BayCHI colleagues, but was not able to actually say I was leaving. This is one of several threads that I am closing now that SlideShare takes 120% of my time.

December 9th is my last program. I am still putting it together. Come by if you are in the area…

Guy Kawasaki at BayCHI

The next BayCHI will feature Guy Kawasaki talking about Truemors.

Title: By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09

Abstract: In this talk Guy will explain why and how he launched using open-source software, contractors, favors, and cajoling. He will also cover the current entrepreneurial and venture-capital funding conditions.

Whether you like or don’t like Trumors (I do!), this will be an interesting, fun talk by one of the legends of Silicon Valley. Guy is a very entertaining speaker. And this talk will have something for everyone whether you are an entrepreneur, designer, developer, vc or marketer. RSVP on upcoming if you are planning to be there.

BayCHI panel on Designing systems with emergent behavior

baychi logoThere is an exciting panel at BayCHI tomorrow (Tues, Oct 10th) with a discussion about the design of sites with emergent behavior. How does the process of design/design research change (or does not change) in the case of sites like Facebook, MySpace and Yahoo Answers where you are designing not just the interaction of the system with the individual users, but also how users will interact with each other, the group at large. Such social systems display behavior which is not something that was “designed” in the traditional sense of the word. What role does the designer play for such systems? How can you anticipate what consequences a relatively minor change on the individual level will have on the group as a whole? For example, Facebook’s recent decision to offer a feed of all your friend’s actions on your front page. And other related issues…

Panelists are Tim Brown from Ideo; Peter Merholz from Adaptive Path and Larry Cornett from Yahoo.

I will be moderating the panel and will make sure there is plenty of time for questions. So come by to PARC, Palo Alto at 7.30 PM. If you want to let the world know that you will be there (and find out who else will be there), then go to Upcoming. Note, BayCHI events are free to open to the public.

Missing DCamp already?

Well some people were. So there is a reunion dinner tonight in the city. I have too much to do before leaving for Edinburgh for the World Wide Web conference on Friday, so cannot make it. But its rather touching to see a reunion two days after Dcamp. If you could not make it, but want to keep in touch with folks you met at DCamp, join the DCamp mailing list. We had started it to help organize the event, but its now going to serve as an informal way for people to keep in touch, organize reunions, other events, or for anyone else looking to organize a DCamp in their city.

I have a lot more to write about DCamp and organizing unconferences, but need to catch up with some work. So that will have to wait. Enjoy some pictures in the meantime.

Dcamp is happening. Are you going to be there?

DCamp, the unconference devoted to design and user experience is this Friday and Saturday. So far 160 people have signed up on the wiki to indicate they will come by. There are several interesting presentations lined up. Topics range from “Cinematic User Experience” (Sarah Allen), to Ajax spreadsheet demos (Andre Charland) to Redesigning eBay Selling Process (Micah Alpern) to Prototyping with Junk (Nancy Frishberg). Go here for the complete list.

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DCamp gathering steam!

A few days ago I announced DCamp on this blog. DCamp is an unconference focused on design & user experience (on May12th, 13th, in Socialtext offices in Palo Alto). Its time to give an update.

So far, 73 people have indicated on the wiki as that they will come by to DCamp.

15 people have signed up as presenters. Topics range from desing in open source, to cinematic user experience, to designing for AJAX to use of IM in usability testing. We want more presentations, discussions and panels!

Several companies/organizations have offered to help out with costs with sponsorships: Intuit, Yahoo, O’Reilly & BayCHI. And of course Socialtext is hosting the event. We need more sponsors – to make sure that DCamp participants are fed and have all the beer they want!

We have a number of logo contributions. I will put them together in a day or so and organize a vote so that we can choose one. Please add yours if you have been working on one…

The wiki is here, the mailing list is here. Participate in any way that makes sense to you – see you there!

BayCHI Social Search panel – Podcast is online!

Last week we had a great BayCHI panel on Social and Personalized Search. Participants were from Netflix, Live365,, Pandora and digg. I moderated it. The podcast for that panel is now online. In inviting this particular group of panelists, I was hoping to highlight the changing trends in Social and Personalized Search. The companies were founded between 1997 – 2005 and their different approaches tells its own story. More about that inside.

For a more detailed desciption of the panel, go to Rick Boardman’s blog.

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Visualizations on Valentine’s Day

BayCHI monthly program is always on the second Tuesday. This time the second Tuesday happens to be Valentine’s Day. We are going to have a shorter than usual program and will also have some Valentine’s day goodies (chocolates etc. around).

The tagline is: Bring a date or meet someone new! (For the record, that was not my idea)

We have a great program on one of my favorite topics – Visualization. Jock Mackinley from Tableau Software will give a talk on “Visual Interfaces for databases”.

This will be followed by several short visualization demos: Josh On will demo the TheyRule – one of my favorite visualization engines. Michal Migurski & Eric Rodenbeck from Stamen will demo some of their work: I am hoping it will include Mappr and Vow Delici.

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