The Mouse that Blellowed

July 16, 2009

If I may direct your attention to http://blellow.com for a moment, I’d like to tell you about some of what I’ve been doing for the past few months.  Part of my time has been spent consulting for Blellow, helping them develop their microblogging platform into what you see today.  I suppose I’d best start by explaining what Blellow is, from the main site:

Blellow is a social networking community developed to encourage participation from freelancers and creative professionals by answering the question “What are you working on?”

If the question sounds like Twitter’s “What are you doing?” then that’s quite alright. Blellow incorporates the lessons learned from Twitter and tries to do one better, incorporating groups, job listings, and mmmpphph (can’t talk about that yet). Of course it also has a high signal to noise ratio, a lively community, and an API for any integration you might like to do.

I’ve been helping Blellow out as a development consultant, I provide my services as a technical adviser and manager organizing the thoughts of their non-technical management team in San Antonio, Texas and the work of their outsourced development team, provided by Vinsol in India. On the technical side I review Blellow’s long term plans and help them prioritize them both by explaining the interrelationships between features and giving them estimates for planning purposes. It’s also in that role that I get to take loosely formed ideas like our recent affiliate program and tighten them down into real implementations and advocate for technical needs, like caching and performance optimization. On the management side I review the work of the development team and providing feedback and guidance, filling in holes in the specifications and prioritizing the development work to match Blellow’s business goals–the work of a team lead or a project manager.  Prior to my joining the team these technical management decisions were being made by the management team in San Antonio.  My contribution is to read the notes from the developer with the question, research the technical options as needed and return an answer quickly rather than after a full cycle of meetings and discussion.

So, give Blellow a look it’s pretty cool and is beginning to develop a culture of mutual support for freelancers.  And if you have a software project that needs technical guidance and/or management support, maybe we should talk.

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2 Responses to “The Mouse that Blellowed”

  1. John Bragg Says:

    Hi Andy,
    Have you/they considered the possibility that twitter is so useful because it doesn’t have all these bells and whistles? Regardless, the site is a bit overwhelming with all its options – the beauty of twitter is its simplicity, and that is what this lacks. Do you guys have an interaction designer attached to this?

    • ciemaar Says:

      Well, the decision to compete with twitter based on features predates my involvement, though I find twitter too feature-poor to hold my interest personally. Mandi(http://blellow.com/mandi) is one of the founders and a user experience designer. She is looking at ways to simplify the interface while maintaining the feature set, if you have any suggestions I’m sure she’d be glad to hear them.


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