Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In The News: Crowdsourcing Developers To Connect Apps Using Appirio Cloudspokes

TechCrunch - Alex Williams

...The CloudSpokes partner program allows for companies to create their own spokes that act as networks for doing contests that developers participate in.

Smartsheet, a collaborative project management tool with a spreadsheet type app, ran a contest to create a connection with Salesforce.com. Updates from Salesforce.com are pulled it into Smartsheet, which serves as the master document for managing a sales lead pipeline...


Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Blog: Connecting the Dots with CloudSpokes by Soe

Guest Blogger: Soe
I love hearing stories about how CloudSpokes is making a huge difference in Higher Education across the globe. Luckily, I got to know soe and his story through exchanging some emails back and forth and I was able to convince him to write a guest blog for us, highlighting his story. If you are unfamiliar with soe, take a glance at his profile, and look for his name on the forums and challenge threads, as he is always actively participating in the community. And if you are going up against him on a challenge, be prepared to bring your A game! Without further ado, here is soe's guest blog.

Connecting the Dots with CloudSpokes

This post is a testament to Romin's earlier post, as I am currently studying at a university. Going to college these days is an expensive venture. Luckily I got a full tuition scholarship and with winnings from CloudSpokes I can take care of my expenses in the very expensive Sweden.

My Journey With CloudSpokes:

I started cluelessly one year ago with a challenge on Google Apps migration. It looked scary as CloudSpokes challenges require proper test coverage, documentation and a screencast. Frankly, I had only written a few websites at that point, and never really written any tests for my code. Doing a screencast was not my cup of tea either. I had to record it, with pre-written transcript, at least 20 times to get the screencast which I eventually submitted. And with first-timer luck, I won the challenge.

Looking back at my journey with CloudSpokes over the last year, I am extremely satisfied that I embarked on this journey. The challenges bring out my potential not only on the coding front but also have helped in my planning and presentation skills. After numerous challenges, and luckily some wins, I can now naturally do a screencast, on the very first attempt even without a transcript.

The CAP Theorem:

The CAP Theorem, also known as Brewer's theorem is usually used in describing databases. I have a similar philosophy framework to guide me in my general decision processes. As I am still in my twenties, I need be learning as much as I can to amass knowledge; going for Master's degree and doing an internship. Naturally there needs to be compromise, and essentially with knowledge as the most important, I have to compromise with my monetary wealth.
Well... as the no-sql movement is trying to challenge the governance of CAP theorem, I too am challenging the validity of my own framework and comprimise by being a CloudSpoker. Now I do not need to resort to typical student jobs where pay is mediocre and learning opportunity is scarce. CloudSpokes offers me opportunities to learn new important skills while earning competitive prizes, allowing me to achieve appropriate levels Knowledge, Happiness and Wealth.
I Am Not Studying Computer Science:

You might be assuming that I am studying computer science for being competitive in CloudSpokes. Well, I am not. I am doing my Master's in Sustainable Development covering social and environmental issues. So if you have CS background, you might have some advantages in CloudSpokes but if you do not have CS background, do not hesitate to give CloudSpokes a try.

In fact, experiences gained from CloudSpokes help me with my studies in social science. Many concepts of cloud development could be creatively applied in social and environmental projects. This semester I am taking courses such as System Analysis and the technical knowledge I have accumulated through CloudSpokes has greatly assisted in my learning. The future obviously is a merger of diverse disciplines to tackle the world's urgent challenges, with creative solutions.

Connecting The Dots:

This is not the phrase I came up with. It is the phrase popularized by Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. I have a few dreams such as running a social enterprise in rural areas and starting an innovative technology firm in Silicon Valley. While I don't yet know how these will happen, as long as I keep learning and challenging myself, the dots will connect someday! CloudSpokes is the perfect medium for me to connect those dots, all while earning a little on the side.

If you too are a student reading this, get started with CloudSpokes right now! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Friday, February 22, 2013

#DifferentSpokes Recap via @jeffdonthemic

Colleague and salesforce MVP Jeff Douglas regularly experiences moments of celebrity status. When he walks down the streets of Sarasota to grab a sandwich, he often has to thwart off paparazzi and give out autographs to little kids begging him to sign a copy of his most recent book. As time consuming as that lifestyle may be, Jeff still finds the time to co host #DifferentSpokes every three weeks, and even write up a post show recap of our latest episode for his very own blog, making my life a whole lot easier!

Check out Jeff's recap of #DifferentSpokes Episode 3 with special guest host Josh Birk, Developer Evangelist from Salesforce below!

Also, take the time to let us know what you think. We want to know who from the community would be interested, (and able due to time zones) to join us live for a #DifferentSpokes broadcast. We also want to get an idea of what topics you want to hear, what you'd be comfortable talking about and especially who you want to see us bring on as guest hosts. After all these shows are meant to be a way for you to interact with us, so we need to know what we can do better! Post any and all questions/comments/ideas on this forum thread so we can keep improving.

As a reminder, our next show will air Wednesday March 13th, at 8am PST. We will be changing the scheduled book for "Bowerman's Book Club" segment from "Hands on Node,js", as we will be focusing on Google as our main topic. Thus postponing the node.js talks to the 4/3/13 show when we have special guest Kevin O'Hara on to talk node yet again. 

Without further ado, here is Jeff's recap writeup of our latest episode!

CloudSpokes #DifferentSpokes with Josh Birk from Salesforce.com

Earlier this week we broadcast our third episode of #DifferentSpokes with a special guest, Josh Birk from Salesforce.com. If you missed it, it was a really entertaining episode with some interesting questions from Twitter. Obviously we focused on Salesforce.com related topics such as:
  • Some of the highlights of the Spring ’13 release and why the new Tooling API rules!
  • The growing tensions in the Salesforce Chicago office over differing opinions on breakfast foods
  • Josh’s love affair with anything related to JavaScript
  • His recent CI work with Jenkins for Salesforce.com
  • Why JavaScript Remoting makes creating dynamic applications in Force.com fun again
  • How to make Backbone.js and Visualforce play nicely
  • His preferences on Java Script debuggers, IDEs, modern text editors, old school text editors, distribution of linux and JavaScript templating frameworks.
Our next episode will be focusing on Angular.js so don’t miss that!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Spokes" - A Playground for Partners

You may have wondered where the CloudSpokes logo originated from, or what the initial thinking was that led to the multi-colored multi-clouds. It’s definitely a tricky logo to work with at times. Vinyl stickers? Yeah, not so easy unless they’re huge. T-shirts? Right, get ready for every single color in the rainbow to be set to print. Defined color schemes? That’s a luxury we don’t currently have.

The CloudSpokes logo came from a vision for what the CloudSpokes marketplace would eventually be. At the time of launch, the trend for organizations looking to build momentum in their developer and fan communities was to create and curate those communities themselves in segregated areas. This always felt strange and alien to us. At the time when Cloud adoption was approaching the peak of its hype cycle, and people were just beginning to see the value in shared resources with regards to their technology, businesses were looking the exact opposite way with regards to their communities. 

The power of the cloud is closely tied to multi-tenancy. CloudSpokes provides multi-tenancy for developers building things and ISVs that are trying to reach them. By bringing together developers with multiple cloud platforms / products onto the CloudSpokes community both benefit from the shared experience and the innovation that comes from seeing, extending and tying together multiple cloud solutions. A few of our early partners understood this quickly, and capitalized swiftly in our first months.

As CloudSpokes has matured we’re now formalizing this process for our customers and partners that want to have their own tenant of CloudSpokes or “Spoke”:

What is a “Spoke”? A CloudSpokes Spoke is ultimately a way for us to provide partners with all the resources they would need to engage with a community of experts. By providing our partners with a Spoke we hope to realize that vision of CloudSpokes as a true marketplace for cloud development. 

Perhaps the best way to think about what a Spoke would entail is to think about it as a view or portal to and from the CloudSpokes community. This portal would be a hub for information, innovation, and creative work driven from our partners’ APIs and communities. Firms could still have their own developer experiences / sites / content - but the Spoke provides a window where an individual developer can put concepts into code. 

To highlight what’s possible, here are some of the ways our current partners are partnering with CloudSpokes to drive innovation and customer success:

  • Augmenting Services - Let product companies focus on product:
    Our most recent Spokes partner, Smartsheet, is tapping into the expertise of the community in order to augment services work around the core Smartsheet product. The first few challenges have been focused on better product integration with CRM, with many more feature-focused challenges coming in the near future. Stay tuned to smartsheet.cloudspokes.com to be part of the services team with this very cool partner.
    "Tapping directly into the best cloud experts and developers in the world accelerates our ability to prototype and deliver creative integration solutions that extend our online collaboration platform while also building awareness of our API. We're proud to be a Spokes partner and look forward to continue leveraging support and energy of the CloudSpokes Platform."
    - Eric Browne, VP of Product Management at Smartsheet.

  • Product Development, R&D - Scalable cloud dev capacity in every skill:
    Mesh01 is leveraging the depth of expertise in the CloudSpokes community to provide core development on the Mesh01 platform through their own partner Spoke. In the first series of challenges the CloudSpokes community is helping Mesh01 build a custom application that will allow athletic footwear and apparel brands to systematically select from a pool of registered athletes and enthusiasts to evaluate their product.  The range of development technologies being used include Heroku, Node, Angular, Bootstrap, Express, and Mongo. Visit mesh01.cloudspokes.com to be part of the product team with this innovative partner.

  • Engage Evangelists - Provide fans a way to engage and contribute:
    The Academy of Art University is working with CloudSpokes to redesign their mobile experience app - a guide for students used for getting around campus and navigating daily life. Working with CloudSpokes has also allowed AAU to crowdsource ideas and creativity and also source talent within their own Spoke, to their own unique community - AAU students themselves. Many organizations, enterprises, and software vendors have a very enthusiastic fan base, but no method to engage and challenge them. CloudSpokes provides that vehicle to customers like AAU.

  • Community Growth - Exposure to 70,000+ of the best cloud experts:
    As one of our very first partners, Box has run multiple challenges and even their Mobile Dev Hackathon through CloudSpokes. The highlight of what Box is accomplishing here is that by tapping into the CloudSpokes marketplace they’ve found a way to instantly add 70,000+ developers to their fan base.
    "We're excited to be working with CloudSpokes - we believe that their contest platform and community of developers will be immensely helpful in spurring innovation in the cloud."
    - Alex Willen, Box Platform Marketing

Back to the Cloud analogy, it’s important to remember that “shared resources” are not simply a step-change improvement from the alternative. Cloud technology, and the CloudSpokes community, are ways of exponentially improving a formerly archaic process.

As we’ve seen with our pioneering partners, and even some of our new Spokes partners like Smartsheet, CloudSpokes provides a way in which a powerful community of thousands of experts can help companies do things that were previously unfeasible. By being a marketplace for API providers, customer organizations, and cloud experts, we hope to bring to fruition all the promises of the cloud, making it easier for businesses and people to work together on the right Spoke.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

#DifferentSpokes Reminder 2/20/13

Hey CloudSpokers, it's that time again! Time for our next episode of #DifferentSpokes. Today, at 8am PST, we will be featuring special guest host Josh Birk, Developer Evangelist at Salesforce and will be talking all things force.com.

Josh joins the rest of the crew today and will be answering all of your questions, so send them in now! Tweet us using the hashtag #DifferentSpokes and we will ask Josh live on air! Ask your questions before the show airs to make sure they do get answered.

An agenda rundown for the day is as follows:
  • Intro
  • Guest Host: Josh Birk from Salesforce
  • Shoot the Spokes
  • Wrap Up
For more info on our special guest Josh Birk, follow him on Twitter!

We will be tweeting out the link to watch the recording live as well as updating this blog post to embed the live video feed!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CloudSpokes Anniversary - Love Poetry Winners!

At CloudSpokes Valentines day is a special day. Not just because Jeff sends us all e-valentines and makes us feel special, but more importantly because it is our Anniversary. Well this year was more special than the rest because we launched our brand new site, built by you the community! In the midst of all of that madness, we were still able to have some fun and we held our annual Love Poetry challenge.

As expected it had a great amount of interest and amazing results. We initially had five winners lined up, which is well over our usual two, but when you get 20 awesome submissions (some even multiple poems per submission) you have to make everyone a winner!

We all had a blast with these as well, sitting in a team hangout having some great laughs reading all of the submissions! Even more so hearing them all with a Boston accent...

Check out the 20 winners below and head over here to read all of the poems. Let us know which ones you like the best too, we want to know what you think! Congrats to all the winners for this challenge, and a special thanks to you all for making our Valentines Day Anniversary so special. Can't wait to see what our 3rd anniversary has in store for us next year!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

CloudSpokes State of the Union

Welcome to the new CloudSpokes! With the launch of our newly designed website comes a new chapter in CloudSpokes. This is a year in which not only CloudSpokes, but crowdsourcing becomes pervasive, and we aim to be the center of the movement (which we've lovingly nicknamed "Primetime"). Being in the spotlight while crowdsourcing changes the way the business world operates means we need to continue to be transparent, highlighting our successes and fixing our bugs, allowing us as a community to grow and prosper together.

Since the start of this new year, the CloudSpokes team has been dedicated to growing the community. We’re excited to share our progress with you. In conjunction with launching a new site, we have been working tirelessly on bringing more challenges and new customers to the site for you to work with. Spearheaded by your challenge results, CloudSpokes has secured some premier level partners who have pledged to consistently bring numerous challenges to the community throughout 2013. We have also expanded as a team and are eager to keep doing so. Behind the scenes operations have been a rollercoaster ride of tasks, keeping us all on edge, grinding the midnight oil, and wearing down our keyboards until theres nothing left but a pile of plastic dust.

Even we've been surprised by the power of this community and want to highlight some recent achievements that wouldn't be possible without our phenomenal members:
“Special thanks to cloud110989, logontokartik, Kenji776, chetanpg59 and especially soe and sgurumurthy who helped us rebuild a legacy email based case management tool entirely in Salesforce with the most awesome bootstrap.JS interface I have ever seen” - Kyle Bowerman

Those simply could not have been done without the creativity, and tenacity of each and every community member involved. Although we have a lot to celebrate, we're not overlooking a few key areas that we need to work on. We know we're not perfect and appreciate your continued feedback. We're listening and have outlined a few key areas to focus on improving in the near term:
  • Review times of challenges running past winner announced date
  • Peer reviewed challenges scores being questioned
  • Payments delayed due to late challenges

On to our core topics:

Member Interaction:
Forums are the same old tool that has been around for a long time now! We actually purposely stayed away from forums for our first two years. But it still seems to be the most efficient way of communicating with our members. Please check out our new forums and we definitely want your feedback on what we can do better and what you want to see more of. Don't forget to checkout, +CloudSpokes, our Google+ Community, we are still looking for ideas/suggestion on how to use this communication vehicle.

Lastly, we also intend on redoing our profiles. You may have seen some challenges recently around that, but expect a highly integrated profile. What would you like to see in your profile?

Health Check:
Knowing what we are struggling with allows us to address these issues proactively and in a community manner. We need your help correcting our faults, and spotlighting those members who bring the solutions to the table. Challenges running over time and having extreme delays are unacceptable and will be monitored daily by our team. What we are working on implementing is a community health check every month, that we can post on our blog indicating the metrics on the things that matter the most to you. We have drastically improved our length of time to score metric to date along with others, but we can add more transparency around some of the key metrics we monitor when it comes to community health. Expect this health check to be a monthly overview of all the major metrics that make the platform tick.

Hall of Fame:
It also comes with great pleasure that we will also be introducing the CloudSpokes Hall of Fame, an elite group of members who represent what CloudSpokes means through and through. Not just the top members of the leaderboard, but members who strive to better the community in any and all ways. Members who inspire, intimidate, and enrich the the lives of the rest of the community simply by being involved. Our Hall of Fame members will be looked up to with the utmost respect by the CloudSpokes team. We are extremely excited and anxious to initiate our Alpha class into the Hall of Fame in just a matter of weeks.

Community Judging:
Community Judging needs to be as streamlined as possible. Community Judging allows your peers to provide constructive criticism to the community as well as gives us the bandwidth to keep challenges and reviews on track. Without community judging, we simply would not be able to do the things we want to do, and would not be able to scale community growth and provide more opportunities to win. We understand that being reviewed will always be a touchy subject, and we commit to make the integrity of this process a top priority. To best find and reduce the bugs, we would like to introduce an Appellate Committee, comprised of our top members in the community, selected by you the community to further judge all scores in question. Our vision for the Appellate Committee is that it will be actively involved in regular communication between the CloudSpokes team and the community. However, we also envision an evolution driven by usage, and commentary from the community. We’re looking to you to help us drive the definition of that process.

We have two automation initiatives that should make our members happier than a witch in a broom factory in 2013. One initiative is an automated build/deploy/test tool that will reserve a development environment, deploy your code, test it and send you the results as soon as you submit. The second initiative, is an internal project that will build the requirement section of the challenge and automatically generate a scorecard (judging criteria) to reflect the individual requirements based on the weight provided by the challenge author.

Payments are a core competency of CloudSpokes. Without prizes for your efforts, there is no reason for you to compete. We pride ourselves on paying above market competitive prices for the work that you as members submit, and we intend to keep it that way. Delays in payments can happen for a number of reasons, most of which are caused by the delays in winner announced dates. However, payments are also often delayed due to incomplete profile information of winning members. We urge each member to fill out and complete their account information. To attack payments being delayed due to late challenges, the Appellate Committee will play a crucial part in making sure challenges are kept on track.

We have recently implemented a new payment calendar, to have all methods of payments processed on the 10th and 20th of every month, and adjusted the way we attack delayed challenges. In unison we are actively working to maintain the consistency of our payments, and making sure payment integrity remains our top-level priority.

By the end of 2013 things will be very different than they are today. The community will have grown to more than 100,000 members and the dollars paid will be rocketing past $2,000,000. There will be multiple members with more than $100,000 won and maybe even a member with $100k in 2013 alone! The possibilities are limitless, but can only be accomplished through utilizing the entire community. That means we need you, to keep pushing us and keep us in check. 2013 is the year of CloudSpokes, and 2013 is going to be primetime.

Thank you (again) for the brand new CloudSpokes

Back in early November, we kicked off a process to re-design CloudSpokes.com. We’ve had the corkboard theme for two years now, and we’ve been overdue for an overhaul. As mentioned last fall:
It’s time for a fresh new look at CloudSpokes. We’re expanding and growing and need a new home that reflects our objectives as a community and application development platform. We’re also a little done with the “corkboard” theme. It’s served us well but it feels like it doesn’t fully reflect what this community has accomplished - we’re more than a bulletin board.
What started as a design challenge three months ago is now complete, right in time for the two-year anniversary of the initial launch of CloudSpokes! Today we’re proud to announce the new CloudSpokes.com - as you’ll see, the UI has received a complete makeover, though the core functionality is largely the same. There will definitely be some bumps and bugs as you begin using the new site. Be patient as we work to iron out all the wrinkles, and definitely let us know if you catch anything acting up.

Note that this isn’t the first time that this community has rebuilt CloudSpokes (and it probably won’t be the last). Here are some stats on this round of design, prototyping, wireframing, and developing of the brand new CloudSpokes:
  • 25 challenges run
  • 44 unique participants, across
  • 12 different countries

The new site is geared towards addressing an audience that has really started to gain traction in 2013 - challenge sponsors. More and more teams are looking to see how a community of 70,000+ cloud experts can help them innovate in their businesses. Cultivating these challenge sponsors and CloudSpokes partners allows us to scale the amount and types of challenges we run, enabling growth and health in the community. We expect a ton of new and exciting work to come through in 2013 - so stay tuned - and thank you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In The News: Salesforce.com Apps Unify JDRF Diabetes Fund-Raising Records

eWeek -  Brian T. Horowitz

..."Nothing upsets people who support nonprofits more than seeing us waste money on sending them multiple mailings or emails," he said. "Having a single record per constituent is critical."

In addition, JDRF used Appirio's CloudSpokes crowd-sourcing development platform to build a Web-based support application for patients with type 1 diabetes. The application allows patients or their family members to get answers to their questions about diabetes from experts in the JDRF community.

CloudSpokes provided a way for JDRF to create the support application quickly and at a lower cost, he said...