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Thu, 13 Apr 2006
On Going Bedouin

I just saw Greg Olson's post on Going Bedouin, as well as his follow up, Bedouins are Everywhere, and a number of things resonated with me:

  • In all the startup situations that I've been in, office infrastructure services were a big distraction. The cost in attention, time, and money was really not worth it.
  • As an open source person, and a former independent consultant, the whole notion of Going Bedouin just makes sense. It's just a normal part of what you do.
  • The tools for working Bedouin are definitely all there -- I use almost all of them on a daily basis. The only thing I would need to change from my current setup is to pick up EVDO service if I was more mobile. Fortunately, I don't need to do that. I have a decently decked out office at home, which is probably the best office I've ever had, including the hard walled offices I had at Taligent, Apple, and IBM.

I was very glad that Greg didn't equate Going Bedouin with working in coffee shops. There might be some job functions that can work perfectly well in a coffee shop, but jobs that require large amounts of flow state are non-starters in a coffee shop, at least for me. It's also starting to look like coffee shop workers are going to have security concerns to contend with. I'd much prefer software/technology versions of the Grotto. Places like that would be ideal for a few days a week of physical, time, allow for cross pollination and water cooler style serendipity. I know that Chris Messina has been working on something like this down in San Francisco. If I were still consulting, I'd be trying to do similar thing for the Seattle area. Even so, I'd only want to be there for meeting/communications days. Right now at OSAF, even the people that work in the San Francisco office are only there 3 days a week. Those three days get filled up with meetings and other in person stuff. I guard those other two days for the high flow state stuff.

Greg devoted a big paragraph in the follow up to worker socialization. If people don't all go to the office, how will their social needs be met? The question is a variant of one that I get asked when people find out we homeschool our kids: If children don't go to school, how will they learn to socialize? I think Greg asks the right question: do we want some other institution to be responsible for our social structure/network/well being? Work and school are not the only places where one can interact with people.

[22:47] | [misc] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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