Jamie Zawinski posted a rant about groupware yesterday, pointed to by both Clay Shirky at Many-to-Many and Joel on Software. Zawinski is famous for being one of the first employees of Netscape, and then resigning notoriously. His rant about groupware is worth reading, but I’ll excerpt the lines that particularly caught my attention here.
So I said, narrow the focus. Your “use case” should be, there’s a 22 year old college student living in the dorms. How will this software get him laid? … instead of trying to build some all-singing all-dancing “collaboration server” where you’re going to throw in all kinds of ridiculous line items like bulletin boards and task tracking and other shit, let’s suppose you narrow your focus to just calendars.
Given that my thoughts on social software are similar, and my first thoughts about a tool I’d design are similar in scope to the calendar that he suggests, I figured I’d link to his rant as support for my theories.