I’ve just published a post over at the Citizen Agency blog about developer networks – what they are, why you’d want one (and that we can help you create and run one!).
Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I left the BBC last June to be a partner in a new consultancy start-up called Citizen Agency in San Francisco.
Having been very much involved with the setting up of backstage.bbc.co.uk, the BBC’s award winning (photo) developer network, one of the services we’re offering at Citizen Agency is developer network consultancy.
We reckon we’re one of the first specialist agencies to offer it, especially seeing as there are only a limited number of people who actually have created such propositions successfully in the ‘web2.0’ era. And most of them still work for the companies they set them up for. Developer Networks also fits nicely with the community-orientated values Citizen Agency holds.
Seeing as I don’t carry advertising on my blog, I thought I’d write this shameless plug to advertise myself instead. If you think I or Citizen Agency might be able to help your start-up or established company, please drop me a line: ben (at) citizenagency.com.
The only decent thing to come out of backstage was what the developers put in. The actual website is a bit of a joke and the resources given out to the developers even worse. You may have been involved in setting this up but as far as I can tell there was little else done to develop this idea for the main audience – the developers. FOr me, backstage was used by you (read: totally sucked dry) to bolster your position in the web world with an aim of moving on to different things.
You’re entitled to your opinion, so I’ve published your comment with no hesitation – but I’m disappointed that’s what you feel. I think it’s a bit harsh to say I ‘sucked the project dry’ (it doesn’t even make sense).
We did the best with resources we had. I agree the website could have been a lot better, but what you saw was what we could cobble together with a copy of MovableType and a small budget for a template design.
The point of backstage, whether you choose to agree or not, was to push the BBC beyond it’s level of comfort in order to demonstrate the opportunity that lay before it WRT developers and their expert userbase. The BBC didn’t take the opportunity at the time, although I think that’s changing.
I’m not at liberty to discuss the sizes of the budgets or the specific red tape problems encountered when we set backstage up and started to push for more RSS feeds and some APIs.
But suffice to say what you see is not the product of ‘pushing at an open door’ but rather what happened once we took a sledge hammer and smashed it to pieces in order to break in.
The result is that it works, but sure, it’s not as pretty as it could be. My ongoing hope is that the work James Boadwell and myself put into backstage can be built upon with a fresh start by backstage’s new leader Ian Forrester.
John, is there a reason for this bitterness… I can only assume jealousy. Perhaps if you were to list your achievements we could compare?
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