Yogi and I have recently been joined by some wonderful new people at Strands Labs Seattle, and our new office space has some new surfaces that make it increasingly habitable.
Sameer Ahuja, a graduate student intern from Virginia Tech, arrived May 12, and will be spending the summer with us. Sameer has been working with the Digital Government Research Group under Dr. Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones and Dr. Andrea Kavanaugh, where they have been researching and developing social software, visualization tools, and content aggregation tools with the purpose of enhancing citizen awareness and promoting greater participation. We are delighted to have him participate in our efforts to research and develop new tools for enhancing awareness and promoting interactions in other contexts.
Shelly Farnham, co-founder and Social Architect at Waggle Labs, joined us as a part-time consultant on May 15. Shelly brings a wealth of experience in prototyping, deploying and evaluating social technologies designed to enhance communication, community, social networks, identity, knowledge sharing, and social coordination. Before co-founding Waggle Labs, Shelly was a Researcher with the Social Computing, Community Technologies, and Virtual Worlds Groups at Microsoft Research. She is also an accomplished artist. I've known Shelly - and admired her work - for over 5 years now, and I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to work directly with her.
Frank Kemery, principal at PPM Wireless, LLC, also joined us as a part-time consultant on May 15. Frank brings deep and broad expertise in identifying new market opportunities, strategic planning, business development, alliance building, product planning, development and management in startup and mature environments. Earlier chapters of his career include senior positions at Real Networks, InfoSpace, and Activate (which was acquired by Loudeye (which was acquired by Nokia)). Frank is our point man in addressing one of the principles outlined in our innovation manifesto for Strands Labs Seattle: aligning innovative social technologies with viable business models.
In addition to the new people faces, the lab itself also has a new face. The front area, facing University Way, has fresh paint, new carpeting and a new deck overlooking "the Ave". We are still sitting at temporary folding tables, using chairs that will eventually be moved to a conference room, and using 8' x 4' laminated melamine boards propped up against the walls as temporary whiteboards. The main thing, though, is that we have a nice open area with big windows with lots of light ... an increasingly conducive space in which our growing team can effectively collaborate on designing and developing new social technologies that bridge the gap between people - and the places we inhabit - by bridging the gaps between our online life streams and the physical spaces we share with others.
[BTW, speaking of life streams, Strands has a new feed (or lifestream) aggregator in private beta that will likely play a significant role in our projects in Seattle. I'll write more about that once it is publicly available. Meanwhile, as with nearly all major developments in our company, more information can be found on our corporate blog; ReadWriteWeb also has a review ... and a private beta invitation code to give away.]