Crunching the numbers: Open Source Community Metrics at OSCON

Dave Neary and I co-presented a session about metrics at OSCON on Wednesday based on what we have learned so far from doing the MeeGo metrics.

Description

Every community manager knows that community metrics are important, but how do you come up with a plan and figure out what you want to measure? Most community managers have their own set of hacky scripts for extracting data from various sources after they decide what metrics to track. There is no standardized Community Software Dashboard you can use to generate near-real-time stats on your community growth.

Like most open source projects, we have diverse community infrastructure for MeeGo, including Mailman, Drupal, Mediawiki, IRC, git, OpenSuse Build Service, Transifex and vBulletin. We wanted to unify these sources together, extract meaningful statistics from the data we had available to us, and present it to the user in a way that made it easy to see if the community was developing nicely or not.

Building on the work of Pentaho, Talend, MLStats, gitdm and a host of others, we built a generic and open source community dashboard for the MeeGo project, and integrated it into the website. The project was run in the open at on the MeeGo wiki and all products of the project are available for reuse.

This presentation covered the various metrics we wanted to measure, how we extracted the data from a diverse set of services to do it, and more importantly, how you can do it too.

Why I'm Excited to be a Mentor at PIE

The Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) is in the process of reinventing itself into a true incubator from what has been mostly a cool place for startups and independent freelancers to work together in what felt more like a co-working space. The new PIE is taking applications for the first wave of startups until August 1st and will provide up to $18,000 in seed funding and office space for three months in lovely Portland, Oregon starting on September 1st.

Co-founders will work closely with startups-in-residence, successful alumni, Wieden+Kennedy,  thought leaders from some of the world’s most successful brands (Target, Coca-Cola, and Nike), and the mentor network. I know a lot of the people who have started companies working out of PIE over the past couple of years, the creative people at Wieden+Kennedy and most of the mentors. I can certainly vouch for it being an amazing group of people who can offer real, tangible advice and inspiration for these new companies joining PIE in September.

I am personally honored to be asked to join PIE as a mentor. One of my favorite things is working with smart people doing interesting and innovating things. It’s exciting and energizing to work with founders who are passionate about bringing their ideas and dreams to life in a new startup. I like to think that I can offer something useful by sharing what I’ve learned in my 16 year career that has included working at Intel and other large companies, startups and as an independent consultant. I also learned so much during my time as a co-founder of Shizzow.

If you have a startup and are looking for a way to kick it into high gear, I really do encourage you to apply before August 1.

Blogging Elsewhere

Here is a summary of links to my posts appearing on other blogs over the past couple of weeks.

GigaOM’s WebWorkerDaily*

MeeGo.com*

What Dawn Eats*

*Disclaimers:

Open Source Community Metrics

Today at Open Source Bridge, I’ll be leading a session about Open Source Community Metrics: Tips and Techniques for Measuring Participation at 3:45pm in B302.

Do you know what people are really doing in your open source project? The best thing about open source projects is that you have all of your community data in the public at your fingertips. You just need to know how to gather the data about your open source community so that you can hack it all together to get something interesting that you can really use. Having good community data and metrics for your open source project is a great way to understand what works and what needs improvement over time, and metrics can also be a nice way to highlight contributions from key project members. This session will focus on tips and techniques for collecting and analyzing metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects using examples from what I’ve learned doing MeeGo metrics.

A few topics:

  • General guidance for coming up with a set of metrics that makes sense for your project.
  • Tips and techniques for collecting metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects: Bugzilla, MediaWiki, Mailman, IRC and more.
  • General approaches and technical details about using various data collection tools, like mlstats.
  • Techniques for sharing this data with your community and highlighting contributions from key community members.

For anyone who loves playing with data as much as I do, metrics can be a fun way to see what your community members are really doing in your open source project. It’s like people watching, but with data.

The Evolving Mobile Ecosystem and MeeGo on June 20 with Gail Frederick

We are less than a week away from a great topic for the next Portland MeeGo Meetup on June 20th at 6:30pm! Gail Frederick, mobile developer and MeeGo product planner at Intel will be talking about the evolution of the overall mobile ecosystem with some insights into how MeeGo fits into this broader ecosystem. RSVP on Plancast.

Topic: The Evolving Mobile Ecosystem and MeeGo

Description: The mobile ecosystem is evolving rapidly with many different operating systems, devices and applications offering choices for consumers and device manufacturers. In this presentation, Gail will offer her insights about how the mobile ecosystem is evolving and where it is going along with some insights into how MeeGo might fit into the broader mobile ecosystem over time.

Bio: Gail Rahn Frederick works at Intel as a product planner for MeeGo. In her own time, she is an author, occasional developer and evangelist for standards-based Mobile Web and mobile application development. Her mobile applications and mobile web sites have been deployed to 10+ mobile operators in North America and Europe.

Rough Agenda:

  • 6:30 – 7:00: Hang out and talk to other people interested in MeeGo.
  • 7:00 – 8:00: The Evolving Mobile Ecosystem and MeeGo presented by Gail Frederick

Logistics:

  • Date: June 20.
  • Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
  • Location: Kells Irish Pub at 112 SW 2nd Ave.

It would be great if you could RSVP on Plancast to let us know how many seats and snacks we should have available.

Buy the What Dawn Eats Cookbook!

After an additional round of proofreading and a few more tweaks to the cover to get everything just right, my What Dawn Eats: Vegan Food That Isn’t Weird cookbook is finally available for purchase! The book is 140 pages and contains more than 90 recipes along with multiple variations with different ways to make most dishes, and it includes many of the recipes already found on the What Dawn Eats blog.

It is currently available as a paperback for $12.99 or an electronic PDF download $9.99 and will be available on Amazon.com in late June. As a special reward for those of you who have been following along with my progress, if you order before June 25, you can get a $2.00 discount on either the paperback or PDF format cookbook. Learn more about purchasing the cookbook by visiting the What Dawn Eats blog post.

MeeGo Conference 2011 Wrap-Up

As one of the organizers for the conference, I might be a little biased, but I had an absolutely fantastic time at the second MeeGo Conference held May 21 – 25 in San Francisco. Like with many conferences, it was the people who made it such a great experience for me. Interesting conversations with new and old friends combined with fun activities and sessions full of geeky material made for a fantastic experience. Despite getting almost no sleep thanks to some very late nights of werewolf and discussions in the hacker lounge, it was worth it!

Here are a few of my personal highlights

Siege Weapon Building with Live Action Angry Birds was a great community activity to help people get to know each other. We broke out into about 15 groups of 3 people each, and half of the teams built catapults for the birds and the other half built levels for the pigs. We then paired the catapults with the levels and let people launch the birds at the pigs with judging for best catapult, best level and an additional award for style. The video from Netbook News did a great job of capturing it all into a short, fun summary.

Hacker Lounge and Werewolf

I loved the hacker lounge this year, even more than the one in Dublin. By having the hacker lounge in the same location as the conference and the hotel, people were able to kick back and relax in a fun environment all hours of the day and night. It was a great place to have interesting conversations or play games with people late into the night. We had ping pong, foosball, air hockey, wii, and my favorite community building game, werewolf.

I hung out with old friends, made new ones, and had a great time in the hacker lounge. If I could change one thing about the hacker lounge, I would get rid of the air hockey and television, which were a little too noisy for the space.

Sessions and Collaboration

I presented in 2 sessions: The State of the MeeGo Community with special guest Randall Arnold (aka texrat) and co-presented in Dave Neary’s MeeGo Community Dashboard talk. As someone helping to organize the event, I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, but I did get to a couple. I particularly enjoyed Carsten’s Transparency, inclusion and meritocracy in MeeGo: Theory and practice and an ad hoc session we had over lunch to talk about details behind the community apps. The conversations and collaboration in the hallways, over meals and in the hacker lounge were a big part of the event for me.

A few things I would like to improve next time:

  • Keynotes – enough has been said about the keynote, so I won’t elaborate here other than to say I agree with much of what others have said.
  • Better integration of the warm-up activities. Despite working very closely with the warm-up organizing team, these still felt too disconnected somehow, and people were extremely confused about attending the warm-up before registration was open and badges handed out.

Overall, I was really happy with the conference, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to hang out, chat, attend my sessions, play werewolf and much more. Thank you.

Photo credits: MeeGo Conference Banner by Thomas PerlWerewolf in the Hacker Lounge from Reggie Suplido and Maemo/MeeGo Folks in SF by Thomas Perl.

Note: This is a blog post about my personal experiences at the MeeGo Conference. We’ll some kind of official wrap-up on the MeeGo blog next week after people recover from the conference.

Blogging Elsewhere

Here is a summary of links to my posts appearing on other blogs over the past couple of weeks.

GigaOM’s WebWorkerDaily*

MeeGo.com*

What Dawn Eats*

*Disclaimers:

Hacking RSS at Webvisions

In March, I gave a talk at SXSW on Hacking RSS: Filtering & Processing Obscene Amounts of Information. Today, at Webvisions, I will be giving the short and sweet (12 minute) version of this presentation.

For more details, you can get the full presentation materials and listen to the audio from the SXSW talk.

Launching What Dawn Eats

I’ve been completely neglecting this blog over the past couple of months, and for those of you who’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing, I’ve been working on a new side project. What Dawn Eats: Vegan Food That Isn’t Weird is a blog right now, but it will also be a cookbook in a month or two! The idea behind the cookbook was to get all of my recipes into a format where I could share them in one bundle, mostly for friends and family. I’ve been keeping track of my recipes for my entire adult life and have been keeping them in electronic format with the goal of eventually creating some kind of cookbook. I decided over the Christmas holidays this year that I had enough recipes to finally tackle this project, and I’ve been working on it pretty steadily since then.

I decided to start by launching the What Dawn Eats blog where I will post a few recipes a week from the cookbook to give you a feel for the types of recipes that you will find when I publish the book. I’m currently in the final editing and formatting phase, so I hope to have the cookbook available for purchase in June or July. It will be available as a print book and PDF download to start, and I will probably convert it to the kindle format eventually. If you want some other format, just let me know. Since I’m self-publishing the book, I can be pretty flexible about formats or other requests.

In typical geek fashion, you can watch for new recipes in a variety of ways:

Expect to see more recipes posted over the next couple of months along with an update containing more details when you can start ordering the cookbook on What Dawn Eats.