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21 Posts authored by: bill

Welcome Tony Zingale

Posted by bill May 18, 2010

Back in February my friend and fellow co-founder Matt Tucker thanked our former CEO Dave Hersh for his leadership and we welcomed Tony Zingale to Jive as our interim CEO. Tony was (and still is) on our board so it was invaluable to have him ready to help out while we searched for a new CEO.


Today I'm excited to announce that our search is over and Tony is now an official full-time Jiver. Personally I'm stoked - Tony is an experienced leader, a fun guy, and most importantly he has an infectious drive to win. I announced the news internally earlier today and I can definitely say that the response was very positive. The company is very fired up!


We're also announcing another change to our business. We're naming our Palo Alto office the official headquarters of Jive. This has little practical change in our day-to-day operations but means we're upping our commitment and presence in Silicon Valley. We've also signed a new lease for a bigger space in Palo Alto because we've outgrown our current office. Ultimately, we believe this is the right decision for the company because our competition, industry press, and industry activities are largely based in the Bay Area.


Let me speak a little about how this impacts our Portland office - in short, there's no change. In fact, we're going to continue aggressive hiring here. Close observers of Jive (and certainly our employees) will know we've been hiring dozens of people in Portland in the last couple of quarters. We've recently blown through all available desks and plan to build out the fifth floor in our building. Portland is by far our biggest office and will remain that way for a long time. Most of our open jobs will be open in either Portland or Palo Alto (and increasingly in Boulder, CO). Put simply, our goal is to hire the best people no matter where they live. Portland has been (and remains) a great source of talent and we're committed to the long term.


With Tony on board Jive's going to blow the doors off of 2010. Please join me in congratulating him!

Making Microsoft and SBS Jive

Posted by bill Oct 26, 2009

SBS 4.0 is all about closing the gap between the way business tools MAKE people work and the way we WANT to work. And let’s face it, most of us work within Microsoft Office.  Jive recently announced a new content management strategy with Microsoft SharePoint integration as a first step. But for SBS to be adopted broadly in enterprises, that social layer has to reach not only across content silos, but also to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the like. So we’re going the next step to integrate with Microsoft Office to help its 600 million users be more social.


As part of the 4.0 announcement this morning, we introduced the Jive Connects for Microsoft Office. This a simple plug-in that allows multiple authors and contributors to make comments and changes on an Office file simultaneously with automatic synchronization of each other's changes. When users create and save Office content, it gets published in their Jive activity stream, which invites comments, discussions, and constructive feedback. Before, users would have to upload the file to Jive then individually download it. With the plug-in, that synchronization to Jive occurs directly from Office.


This eliminates two classic headaches:

  • Version control: one user can work on the graphics of a PowerPoint presentation while another is working on the script and see changes in the file as they happen. Confusion is eliminated because there is only one synchronized version of a document available to users, which also ensures that everyone is working from the same content.
  • Reply All as your collaboration tool: it eliminates reliance on email to share and review content by providing a unique Jive URL for every saved document that can be accessed by any user with appropriate access. In fact, non-Office users can preview and provide inline comments to any Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file as well as any PDF.


So for all of us who live in Microsoft Office, things just got a whole lot better.


I'd also like to thank our partner DocVerse who helps power this solution.  You can read more at Shan Sinha's blog, DocVerse's CEO.


With the magnitude of the Jive SBS 4.0 release, jive bloggers decided to team up on the news and split it into digestible pieces. In this series of posts, we delve deep into the new mobile tools, bridging public and private realms together, deep Microsoft Office integration, and provide a high level perspective of Jive SBS 4.0.


Dave Hersh on Jive SBS 4.0

David Greenberg on Jive Bridging

Mac Usage at Jive

Posted by bill Jan 15, 2008

Today's the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Mac fans all over the world, and about half of the Jive office, are eagerly anticipating Steve Jobs' keynote. The number of Mac users here is significant, given that almost no one used Macs 16 months ago.


We've seen a pretty amazing shift in the types of computers we buy our new hires over the past months. It all started 2 years ago when Intel-based Mac computers were announced. Shortly after that virtualization software like Parallels came out and since then it's been easier than ever to make the transition. Around the same time we announced two new benefits at Jive: first, a credit for employees wanting to buy their own personal computer and second, the choice of platform for their main work computer. The credit was meant to address the fact that some people wanted to work at home but had old computers. Since a home computer is also for personal use we offer to pay for some of it but not all. The policy has worked really well and our employees are able to work at home on good machines. The second part of the policy was mostly for new hires, though people who have old computers at work (because they've been here at while) are eligble too. The choice of platform acknowledged the fact that some people are more productive on a Mac and didn't want to learn something else. I'd guess that most people choose laptops but many choose the new iMacs.


At first, there were a handful of us willing to figure out the best OS X environment and application stack for Jive. The good thing is that most of the applications we use are still usable on the Mac -- web applications, Java IDEs and creative apps (Photoshop). For email, some were happy with the built-in Mail application, others wanted to use Outlook (like me ). Once we started using Parallels it became possible to run apps like Outlook or even use a few of the Windows apps we are familar with. iWork '08 has made office files easy to deal with -- it'll open any Word, Excel or Powerpoint app out there. Overall, it took a good 6 months to iron out the kinks and give IT a handle on supporting us (in fact, most of them use Macs!). Running a non-homogenous IT environment is definitely challenging but so far they've been able to make it work. One thing I'd recommend is a policy of needing to prove your platform. That is, we didn't want to have our employees request a Mac because they thought it looked cool. You had to actually be a Mac user and be familiar with the OS.


Overall, we definitely spend a little more for Macs but I think it's worth it. People like the choice of platform (we offer Windows or Linux as well) and I personally think the productivity gains are worth it. We're all looking forward to what Apple announces today.

Clearspace 1.7 -- it's coming

Posted by bill Oct 5, 2007

We're working hard on the latest version of Clearspace (1.7). Our original schedule slated it for release this week but instead we're going to push it back 3 weeks to October 25th (a Thursday). Why? We wanted to spend more time making it as solid of a release as possible and we wanted to invest some more time in to a couple of the newer tweaks and improvements. After that we'll stick to our normal release process.


I thought I'd take this time to detail one of the new features coming in 1.7, better OpenSearch integration. OpenSearch is a simple set of formats for describing search engines and executing search results on different platforms. From the beginning Clearspace has published its search results in an OpenSearch-compatible format. That allows other systems to consume our results or execute against them. Want to try it? Open any Clearspace instance in your Firefox browser and your search box (usually in the upper right hand corner of the application) will show an option of searching against that instance (you should see a little Clearspace logo).


The work we did in Clearspace 1.7 allows the application itself to consume OpenSearch feeds in to one unified page. Internally, our Clearspace instance is configured to search Jivespace and Ignite as well as our internal content. What's the point of this feature? It allows you to leverage your current network of websites or applications and search them all at once.


For more details be sure to check out our video about this in Jivespace.

Clearspace 1.6 Released

Posted by bill Sep 17, 2007

We released Clearspace 1.6 last Thursday, and it's got some really nice improvements and new features. I'm personally very excited about customizable spaces. This allows space owners to decide what's important in their space and customize the layout of the "Overview" section. We've found that a lot of our customers are using the main space page as their department's front door and they wanted a lot of flexibility around the content and layout. Be sure to check out the main Clearspace page for more info or watch the short video about the feature.


Another minor new feature is the ability to migrate content back and forth between different databases. This was a pretty highly requested feature from customers. We've had a number of people start an evaluation on the embedded database then want to migrate that to a more production ready database. We added a simple page in the admin console which allows administrators to point to another database and transfer the content.


Finally, a bit of a marketing update: we've refreshed the content on the main Clearspace page and also have a dedicated page up for ClearspaceX, the external community version of Clearspace. Oh, and anyone notice the changes to our front page?

Clearspace 1.3 Released

Posted by bill Jul 18, 2007

Clearspace 1.3 was released last Thursday. Of note is a new feature which allows you to hide unwanted spaces in the "What's New" list on the front page. It's a great way to focus on the spaces you care about. Also new is a feature which allows you to send a thread, blog post or a document as an email. In the latter case, you can send a PDF of the document. For us, it's been a great way to push content to people outside of our company.


Along with the new features comes a bevy of minor improvements and bug fixes. See the full changelog for the details.


Clearspace 1.2 Released

Posted by bill Jun 22, 2007

We're happy to announce the release of Clearspace 1.2. We also have a very slick new Clearspace webpage to go along with it -- check it out!


We managed to get quite a bit done for this release: 4 new features, 13 improvements and 52 bug fixes (see the full changelog for details). Some of the new features and improvements are: a Windows installer, internationalization ready UI, a new image editing UI for the text editor, document workflow and approval improvements, and tweaks to the "Browse" menu item for long space lists.


We're happy to announce the release of the 1.1 version of Clearspace. Notable in this release is the first public release of Clearspace X, the external community edition of Clearspace. We've updated the Clearspace page to include new 1.1 features and there's a page dedicated to Clearspace X.


There are a few other notable new features and improvements:

  • UI Improvements - we spent some time tweaking the front page, search form and results, and the profile pages

  • Save as PDF - you can export any document as a nice looking PDF

  • More Reports - we added many new reports and a better admin console UI

  • Better Presence - when you enable presence sharing with an IM server like Openfire then you can see a user's presence from Clearspace





Finally, we fixed a slew of bugs. Upgrades will be a breeze thanks to the upgrade framework we've developed. For the most part, you'll just need to install the new version and the rest will be taken care of. Be sure to read the upgrade documentation included with the release for more details.



Clearspace 1.0.1 Released

Posted by bill Feb 19, 2007

Fast on the heels of 1.0.0 comes Clearspace 1.0.1 (download, README). This is a bug fix release and an easy upgrade for anyone using 1.0.0. Overall, we fixed 37 bugs (that sounds like a lot but most were pretty minor) and made some nice little improvements like keyboard shortcuts for the user bar menus.


We're also announcing a public issue tracker for Clearspace. We're excited to get the community involved in reporting issues and by voting on issues you care about. As always, please first report issues in our support forums and hash out any feature ideas you have in our feature forum. Speaking of features, we'll publish a roadmap for Clearspace soon.


What else is next? A developer area, developer blogs, a 1.0.2 release and more details about upcoming work.


Clearspace 1.0 Released

Posted by bill Feb 7, 2007

I'm very happy to announce that Clearspace 1.0 is now available. The Clearspace team is extremely proud of reaching this milestone and we're very excited to get more customer feedback and develop great new features.


What product launch would be complete without a snazzy website? Our marketing team did an amazing job of quickly redoing a lot of the site and building a really great Clearspace feature tour. We also have a forum set up for Clearspace and we'll be making our issue tracker public soon.


There are many things to write about and highlight in Clearspace and this short post won't do it justice. Stay tuned for many more details!


Clearspace Beta Released

Posted by bill Jan 29, 2007

We're happy to announce the public beta of Clearspace. We've been using Clearspace in our office for a while now and a number of customers have been testing it as well. It's really exciting to see it in use, especially here at Jive. We're really taken with the blogging features.


There are  two ways to try Clearspace: as a standalone server or as a WAR file you can drop in your own appserver. There is a README to check out which lists some of the known issues. We have a feedback forum set up as well, which we'll transition to a support forum when the final release is out. We'll also launch our public issue tracker soon, watch the feedback page for more details. The final version will be out soon!


In Clearspace we have a new UI element on every page we're calling the User Bar (pretty creative name no?). The idea behind it is simple: provide a consistent place to get at a number of useful features. The idea is not new -- many sites have it. Often, it's called "Satellite Nav," meaning it's a set of links that are global to each page. They're fixed and never changed.


The User Bar has gone though many changes over the course of development. Initially, it was just an ugly set of links at the top of the page. Now it's a great looking set of links, menus and a search box.


!!The User Bar actually started off as the "Toolbox" or "Wallet." The idea was to provide one click for anything you might need. For example, after clicking on the "Toolbox" link a new section would slide down and have information about your profile, links to write new content, history, etc. Over time, the major problem we had with this was that it hid a lot of functionality. We wanted users to easily see their avatar, a profile link and other useful links. So, given this the "Toolbox tab" was scrapped.


!!Next, the Toolbox turned into a menu item. While the UI was better, this direction still hid a lot of functionality. The biggest reason we decided to not go this route is because it really confused our users. People had wildly different expectations of what a "toolbox" meant.


After some serious user testing we decided to make a new bar that acted more like a menu. There would be only a few options to choose from and each one would open up on a mouse click (with a hover effect). Initially each link started out pretty wordy: "New" was "Create Content", "History" was "View History" and "Your Stuff" was "Profile & Tools" (ack!). We spent a lot of time whittling each link down to the fewest words and fewest characters. Now we think we have a pretty useful bar and the links make sense.


Here's a shot of what we ended up with:



Both the user's avatar and username are links to the user's profile. The "New" link opens a small menu to create a new discussion, blog post or document from anywhere in the application. "Your Stuff" is a menu all about you: links to your profile, private messages, your blog, drafts, etc. "History" is a useful way to jump around to content you've recently read. Finally, "Communities" is a way to see and go to different communities in the system.


What's not shown is the simple search box -- that's on the right next to an icon to get a printable version of any page.


We've been using this and we really like where it's ended up. I used to see a lot of hesitation when people would mouse over a link or the old toolbox -- users generally had no idea what the links would do. Now it's much more obvious and people have responded really well.


I Eat My Words

Posted by bill Nov 7, 2006

This is really a post about Spark (our IM client) on the Mac. First, a quick story and some photos.


!!Several years ago I promised a good friend of mine that Id never buy a Mac. I was a die-hard Wintel user and told him many times that macs suck! and Id never own one. Well, last Thursday I bought a new MacBook Pro and now Im a happy Mac user. What changed about the Mac? Everything: better hardware, a better OS and better apps. So Nathan: enjoy watching me eat my words.


Using a Mac means using Spark on it full time. Adium is a very popular client for the Mac and integrates in to the OS well. Spark is a good client but it's not integrated as well. Here's some of the things we're going to change about it:

  • We're going to remove the extra "Exit" on the menu. On the Mac there a menu option that all applications get which includes an option to quit and has a nice key binding as well. The extra "Exit" menu item can be removed when on the Mac.

  • We'll improve the upper menu bar icon for Spark -- here' s a screenshot of what it looks like now. Obviously it sticks out like a sore thumb. We'll change that so it fits the style of the other icons.

  • Right now something we're doing is hiding the resize icon on the window frame. We'll make sure that appears correctly.

  • We override the UI of some of the widgets so they look better on Windows and Linux. We'll back off that for the Mac so the widgets look like the native set.

  • We'll fix a few bugs around window focus and automatic reconnect.

Overall, Spark is a great client on the Mac and the changes above will make the experience better.


BTW, yes I really did make the cake (that's not a photoshop job).


Jive Forums 5.0.5 Released

Posted by bill Sep 1, 2006

We released version 5.0.5 of Jive Forums this week. Typically, minor releases like this are bug fixes only  (speaking of, here's the changelog), but this time we couldn't resist putting in a new feature. Forums now features an advanced email integration which makes it possible to reply to watch notifications by email. Simply read the watch update you get, type a reply and send it. A few seconds later your message will be posted to the forums. We've implemented it in a pretty secure way so we can verify that an email coming from "you" can match up with your user account in the forums. This has been a heavily requested feature so we're pretty excited to release it.


Also new this release are 4 new translations: German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.


What else is new? We've got a swanky new product tour (check out the entry about email watch replies).


And finally, KB 1.7.5 and a new build of the Integrated server are out as well.


Jive Forums 5.0.3 and Jive KB 1.7.3 were released earlier today. Notable in this release is a new user search feature which you can see in the end-user UI and the admin console. You can also see it in action in our Open Source community website,


Our team kicked some major butt by churning through over 80 issues (new features, bugs major and minor, tweaks, etc). Now it's back to development on newer and exciting things (to be announced soon).

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