Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why I'm the Co-Author

There I was, minding my own geeky business - fixing computers, writing my little tech column in the Woodstock Times, and the occasional magazine article, when my business writer spouse shows me a short description of a book idea. Geeks and Suits not communicating in the workplace? How could I resist? I was hooked.

I'd been dealing with this issue almost my entire life, as pretty much everyone has to some degree. Having spent a number of years managing online communities for dot-coms like Lycos and its assorted subsidiaries (Tripod, Webmonkey, HotBot, etc.) as well as the now-defunct healthsite Onebody, I was smack in the middle of the chasm. I had daily meetings with the geeks who handled the chat and messageboard software, as well as the suits in marketing and management, and neither could stand the other. Not only that, it was pulling teeth just to get both parties to sit down together on any issue. So yeah, it was a subject I knew intimately.

On top of that, Minda and I had regular debates over the same issues, and we came to realize that we each saw things from a different - but equally valid - perspective. Case in point: When Lycos flirted with the idea of having live automatic links to ads appear in chat room text, I railed against what I saw at the time as an invasion of privacy. Meanwhile, Minda saw this as using technology in a positive step towards making chat generate income. Both valid arguements, just from opposing views of how things should work.

It was in the middle of one of these battles over philosophical viewpoints that I actually saw a light go on in Minda's eyes, and the next time we spoke she was handing me this book idea. Like I said - I was hooked.

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