Qworky: the adventure begins!

Welcome to Qworky!

Pardon our construction, we’re busy designing software to revolutionize the way people work together.

Software doesn’t have to suck. Instead, it should fit in smoothly with your work life — and make you more efficient so that you can get your weekends back. By listening to you and focusing on your needs as an end user, and working closely with a diverse community throughout the design process, we’ll build products that work with how people get their jobs done today.

the Qworky web site

The startup I’ve been hinting at for the last couple months finally has a name. w00t! We’re at a very early stage: just starting the research phase for Qworky Meetings, the codename for our first product. In parallel, we’re working on creating our community, deciding on our technology base, putting together a business plan, and developing our strategies.

Diversity is a key strategy for us because we see it as vital to building better software — and marketing it, too. Guys talking to guys who talk about guys and my other posts discuss the evidence that there are some huge opportunities being overlooked.  One example: Ronna Lichtenberg’s Be fluent in both pink and blue emphasizes that “Half of your business world may have a different relationship style than you do.” Because pink and blue are gender-linked styles (most guys tend to be more blue than pink) and blue styles are particularly normalized among software engineers, most software winds up optimized for a blue style. If we can develop products that support different styles effectively, they’ll be a lot more usable for many people and market segments whose needs aren’t being met well by today’s software. That’s a huge strategic advantage.

Easy to say, of course. To succeed, we’ll need to get initial input and ongoing feedback from a community that’s diverse in multiple dimensions, have a diverse team defining and implementing the product, and work with diverse groups of partners and advisors. There are likely to be a lot of engineering and support challenges as well: how to provide the wide variety of experiences optimized for different styles without creating an unmanageable burden? So I’m not saying we’ve got it solved. But as Shireen Mitchell says in Marcia G. Yerman’s Women Who Tech, it’s a lot easier when you think about this stuff from the beginning.

Qworky on TwitterAnd speaking of things we’re thinking of from the beginning … many thanks to Twazzup for providing a customized Twitter search experience for Qworky! If you haven’t used Twazzup before, check out their Iran page, which I find a great way to follow breaking news, first-person reports, and activism. We think they’ll be just as useful for discussions about Qworky, and especially since Twitter is likely to be a key strategy for us (1, 2), we’re delighted to start out by making it easy to follow tweets about meetings and diversity as well as what we’re up to at Qworky.

In Change the Way You See Innovation, my former colleagues Kathy Cramer, Hank Wasiak, Eve Enslow, and Michael Foster analogize the innovation process to Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey”.  Coincidentally enough, a couple of days ago a Facebook friend changed her status to a quote from Campbell: “It’s amusing the way in which the landscape and conditions of the environment match the readiness of the hero. The adventure that he is ready for is the one that he gets.”

Well, I’m ready — and based on all the help and encouragement we’ve gotten so far, a lot of others are ready too. Everybody we talk to sees the opportunity as huge, and thinks we’re attacking it in a promising way. The people we’ve gotten early feedback from — on the name, on the logo, on our thinking — has been refreshingly diverse.  Yeah, there’s a heck of a lot of open questions and ambiguity … that’s natural for this point in time.

So it should be an exciting adventure.  Please join us!