First Scoble. Now Om Malik. This seems to be the week for announcing big changes. I had planned to wait until the end of the month to announce my big change but in light of the week's events, I figured I might as well join in the fun.
As of July 1, I will be joining Foldera to develop a new vertical focused on the education market. The new company, ClassFolders, will offer a version of Foldera's collaboration and productivity software adapted to the needs of educators and students. Having been involved in education redesign and reform for the past five years during my tenure at VanDyke Software, I have witnessed first-hand the impact information technology can have on education. One of the activities I enjoyed most in my time at VanDyke was acting as the company's representative in the education community and working with other IT professionals in the New Mexico Information Technology and Software Association to influence public education on a local and state-wide level. ClassFolders raises the bar and will provide a net-wide opportunity for me to work with educators on using technology to enhance student's learning experience and skills development.
I've written about Foldera a few times on this blog and those posts precipitated an ongoing conversation with Foldera's founder and CEO, Richard Lusk. I was immediately caught up in Richard's enthusiasm for changing the way people can manage their information and collaborate with each other. I've remarked publicly how much I respected the company's decision, faced with an unprecedented response to a couple of well-placed blog posts announcing the availability of beta test accounts, to take their time to build out their infrastructure to ensure a great first experience for every evaluator.
When my friend Michael Sampson, whose work in the collaboration space I've followed for some time, announced he was closing his Shared Spaces consultancy to join Foldera as Global VP of Word-of-Mouth Marketing and would conduct his part of the operation from New Zealand, I knew this was a company that really understood and embraced the notion of a virtual management team. Like Michael, I have deep roots in the physical place I call home and no real desire to uproot my family and my life for my work.
As my discussions with Richard intensified, he assured me many times that where I chose to call home had no impact on what he hoped I could bring to the project. I visited Foldera last month and came away completely impressed by the people behind the product and the vision they have for the software. Like VanDyke, Foldera uses an agile development model and has built a solid, customer-focused development and support team. Walking though their offices in Huntington Beach, it's immediately obvious that all of the company's resources are being invested in their people and their product.
Unlike Robert and Om, I blog under someone else's banner here at ZDNet. And, as my chosen area of interest is the changing nature of work and the implications technology and the network have on how we work, there is obviously an intersection between what I will be writing about and what I will be working on professionally. The good folks at ZDNet and I have discussed the potential conflict of interest this intersection presents and have agreed that full disclosure and a commitment to total transparency must be part of my approach to balancing these two important parts of my life.
I will be at the Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston next week with Richard Lusk, Oliver Starr (Chief Mobility Officer - love that title), and other Folderans. Richard and Oliver will be presenting and participating in panel discussions about how technology is impacting how we collaborate at the event and I will get a head-first dive into the deep end of the Foldera pool. If you plan to attend this event, please drop by Foldera's booth and say hello.
I'm tremendously excited to have the opportunity to work with a passionate, committed group of people on a product that has the potential to help educators and students be more productive, better connected, and interactive beyond the physical boundaries of the classroom. Building a new company is great fun (I've done it a few times before) and the chance to combine my interests in personal and team productivity, mobile computing, and education into my "day job" was simply too enticing to pass up. It's going to be a great adventure.