In my new job, social networking is a big part of what we’re building. We connect motivated individuals to causes they care about, particularly politicians, and quantify a volunteer’s volunteer time and network impact so their contributions can be recognized – much like financial contributions to campaigns are often recognized.Up until now, building networks for our candidates has required a user to log in and proactively invite their friends to join. This is effort-intensive and has very few residual effects. A key to growing these networks is to provide ways for one-time effort to pay long-term dividends, and to find ways to extend the reach of a campaign well beyond the web space of the campaign. Landing pages that serve as a connecting point into the network are one step. The next step will be giving our users tools to channel people from their online communities toward this entrance to the network. So today, I’d like to invite you to join the Perdue Online Action Center through my personal website. Nobody’s going to send you email unless you sign up for Perdue’s newsletter. Nobody but me will know that you joined unless you choose to build out your network or publish your own personal website. I’m quite interested to see how people use this and some of the other features we’re working on.
When I last wrote, many months ago, I related that my company, Proficient, had been bought by our chief competitor, LivePerson. While I had the option to stick around with a transitional team and help facilitate the transition of our customers to a platform merging the best of both companies’ technology, the job market proved quite fertile for technical managers, and I found something worth pursuing as my next career step.About a month ago, I stepped into my new job as Vice President of Product Development at WeTheCitizens, an Atlanta startup that provides a platform for politically active organizations to cultivate, manage, and mobilize a base of supporters and volunteers. Governor Sonny Perdue is currently using our software in his re-election campaign – to explore the volunteer view of of our software, head here, join, and invite a few friends. You’ll notice that the volunteer view is based on social networking ideas, allowing a campaign to involve volunteers they might not have connected with directly. The piece of the software you won’t see is the staff’s view that allows them to engage this social network, delegate tasks to willing volunteers, and automate a number of previously time-intensive campaign tasks. I believe the campaign management capabilities alone will be attractive to campaigns of all sizes. The social network view of the application further multiplies the value of the software by giving them more volunteers to manage, in a more effective, targeted way. Social networks for social purposes are interesting; social networks driven by people’s passion for a cause or candidate have tremendous potential, and I’m excited to be a part of it. As with most startups at this stage, the VP title is by no means a hands-off role – it’s some twisted combination of manager, executive, engineer, sales, secretary, and customer support (the variety is a good thing). The technology stack is very current – Spring, Hibernate, PostgreSQL, JBoss, Linux, etc., so I expect to have some posts relating to the exploration of those technologies and beyond. The business potential and challenges are always on my mind, so there will be some industry-related thoughts, at least until the corporate site and corporate blog launch. I’m still doing AJUG, still looking for talented Java engineers in Atlanta, and still a gadget-obsessed geek, and still in grad school pursuing my MBA, so all of those flavors will make it in here from time to time. I’m just glad to be back on the grid.