Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
In myprevious post, I mentioned that I was moving from Typepad to WordPress.
In bigger news, whichI posted to my new bloga couple of weeks ago, I am also seeking new professional opportunities in 2009.
The full text of that post is reproduced, below, and will be my last posting here.
In September 2005, I took the daunting step of leaving the safety, familiarity and final salary pension of the UK public sector to join the Senior Management Team of a commercial technology company;Talis.
I will be taking a bigger step in 2009, when I move from full time employment with Talis to see what else I am capable of as an independent consultant.
A lot has happened since 2005. I joined a provider of software to UK libraries that had aspirations to be something bigger, and played my part in the team that made sure we got there. Operating entirely on money the company earned through its existing product lines, with no debt and no external investors, we set about refreshing those existing products and challenging many of the sector’s long-held presumptions about engagement, participation, openness, innovation, and control. From Library 2.0 to Open Data, we were visible on a global stage, we were active, and with white papers, public speaking, blogging, podcasting, facilitation, cajoling, challenging and networking Talis played a significant part in shaping perceptions that are now widely viewed as norms.
The company had bigger fish to fry, though, having embarked upon an ambitious development programme to deliver a technologyPlatformupon which the next generation ofSemantic Webapplications could be built. Talis set about assembling the talent required to build that Platform, and I set about building brand recognition in markets and territories where Talis was previously unknown.
“Talis is a 40-year old UK software company which has created a semantic web application platform. They are a bit different from the other 9 companies profiled here, as Talis has released a platform and not a single product. The Talis platform is kind of a mix between Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web, in that it enables developers to create apps that allow for sharing, remixing and re-using data. Talis believes thatOpen Datais a crucial component of the Web, yet there is also a need to license data in order to ensure its openness. Talis has developed its own content license, called the Talis Community License, and recently they funded some legal work around theOpen Data Commons License.
According to Dr Paul Miller, Technology Evangelist at Talis, the company’s platform emphasizes ‘the importance of context, role, intention and attention in meaningfully tracking behaviour across the web.’” (my links)
“Over the past year, Talis has continued to make a name for itself as an evangelist for the Semantic Web, most notably through thebloggingand podcasting [1,2] activities of Paul Miller. Talis also produces a great magazine for Semantic Web, calledNodalities, and has an active companyblogunder the same name. As for the company’s products, theplatformseems to be iterating nicely and is being used in niche library and government applications.
RWW verdict one year later: Talis has successfully positioned itself as an authority on Semantic Web in the blogosphere, which we love because it’s a great way to keep track of Semantic Web trends!” (my links)
Through our blogs, our podcasts, our magazine, our presentations and our support for the community, Talis has played a key role in raising awareness and credibility for the Semantic Web as something more than an academic exercise. Talis, and others, have set about demonstrating that it offers a viable set of technologies that reach to the heart of business processes in a wide range of areas. Through activities such as the monthlySemantic Web GangandZDNet’s Semantic Web blog, I have played my part in bringing together some of the key players and giving them a Platform on which to share their ideas and experiences.
We have been concerned with more than just technology, though, and have devoted as much time to understanding and illustrating the economic, strategic and organisational disruptions that face businesses now and moving forward. Our early and ongoing support for the Open Data cause is a case in point, underpinning our shared belief that value is shifting at many points throughout the enterprise; previously hoarded data is nolessvaluable than it was, necessarily, but the opportunities to benefit when the value proposition is reconsidered from the perspective of the open Web are enormous.
I have played a significant part in all of this, and have learned much from the differing perspectives, backgrounds and experiences of my colleagues inside Talis… and all of the people I’ve met outside the company.
As Talis moves into 2009, ready to focus far more on showing how its products and solutions will solve customers’ problems, the time has come for me to look for new challenges. I’ve been careful not to gratuitously push Talis products over the years, and I believe that I have been successful in explaining complex issues in an accessible fashion along the way. I hope that I have demonstrated neutrality, authority, and perspective, even whilst in the full time employ of a single company. There’s a lot to build upon there, and a real opportunity to extend that reach even further. So I’m going to be setting out on my own and taking on work with clients that can benefit from that track record. Analysis, consulting, advice, speaking engagements and more.
I’ve started talking to a lot of people recently, and am already noticing some very interesting prospects which I will be firming up now that this news has entered the public domain. I’m always open to additional offers, of course!
And the first customer for the newly independent me? Talis. My current employer will be contracting part of my time to continue working on some of the broader external activities I was already doing for them. TheSemantic Web Gang, for example, will continue to be underwritten by Talis, and I remain its host.
So interesting times lie ahead. I’m excited by the opportunity and daunted by the challenge in almost equal parts. I look forward to seeing where this leads next, and I am sure that I shall see many of you along the way.
Last night, I visited the local primary school where the youngest member of the household starts in September.
I was hugely impressed by the school library; well equipped, light, spacious, and full of books and computers.
I was also impressed by the library management system, which catered for the undeniable truth that 5-11 year olds lose library cards by identifying borrowers via a scan of their thumb. Presumably the local authority feels that five year oldsoutsidethe school building (and their parents!) are better able to look after a library card, as members of the local library service (even the five year olds) still need to have and be able to find their card. What's wrong with the thumbs of the wider population?
Amongst all this light airy modernity, I was somewhat perturbed at the prominence given toDewey numbershanging down from the ceiling above the shelves.
Last night, I also learned that a day time visit to the school with Little One has moved from the date I could do to a date I can't; I'm due to be in York hearing Lorcan Dempsey speak to the JISC/CNI Conference. So Lorcan - please make sure it's a good 'un, as I'll have to explain myself to a five year old!
Oh, and finally, is it a universal truth that the designers of school uniforms are colour blind child-hating sadists? Or is that only in this country?
I just had a call from someone at a company from which we ordered some furniture last week. They were ringing to arrange a delivery slot, which sounded promising.
They offered me a Tuesday or Wednesday, a couple of weeks from now. Although I have the advantage of working from home quite often, I don't do itevery day, and that particular Tuesday I need to be elsewhere. So, thinking I was being given achoice, I asked for the Wednesday.
Apparently I wasn't being given a choice. I was being told that the furniture would be delivered on the Tuesday or the Wednesday. And that they'd ring the Friday before to let me know which day it would be. Oh, and if I'm not in, they'll charge me £20.
Whycan't they tell me which day it will be?Whycan't they go further, and give me a (two hour, say) delivery slot on a particular day?
And what right dotheyhave to chargeme? I can't remember the number of times (with less enlightened employers than my current one) I've taken a day off to await deliveries, only to have them not arrive.
I've asked them to leave me alone until they can offer me a set of dates, from which I can pick theonethat is most convenient. And that's convenient tome, the customer. Not convenient to them, the takers of my money.
Earlier this week, I jumped onthis, to gohere, to attendthis. And very interesting it proved, too. Proper write-upover hereshortly.
In a public space such as this blog, there are no appropriate words to describe the security staff atthe venue, who - when queried at their 'Main Entrance' just after 0900 - refused to provide any information other than that the venue would not open its doors until 1000. They neglected - despite repeated queries as I knew I was meant to be inside before 1000 - to mention the door on the river side of the building, which was already open. Cretins.
Anyway, an unexpected yet pleasant spin-off from eventially getting inside was receivingthis(so thanks tothe Big Mfor that).
Given an impending birthday for one of those between toddling and teens, a quick triphereforthis,thisand another one ofthesemade tomorrow night's (apparently essential) sleepover with similarly aged friends suddenly seem so much more manageable.
You appear to be able to tailor the frequency of messages, to gather content from more than one blog, and to style the message similarly to your blog(s). It would also be valuable to be able to add context-setting text (placing a week or month of posts in context for a regular newsletter, perhaps).
It looks like a valuable addition to RSS in reaching out to a slightly different community of blog beneficiaries...