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To do: Take Jason Mott to lunch

November 10, 2010

Denise, Bethany, Ndlela, and I had a very good conference call with Jason Mott of Ronin Tech Collective today.  The four of us were in a conference room together, and Jason was calling in from Brattleboro, Vermont.

Jason is one of two worker-owners at Ronin Tech Collective, Benjamin Bradley being the other.  Jason was the lead on developing the Social Actions search and aggregation engine, working with Christine Egger and Peter Deitz.  When we started working with Ronin on using the Social Actions engine for Nonprofit Management Resources, Jason passed the baton to Benjamin, who has passed it back Jason this week.  In fact, both Jason and Benjamin continue to be involved in the project, but we always have a specific point person at any given time.  We are now aiming to have a conference call with one or both of them on a monthly basis.

We’ve never met Benjamin or Jason in person, but we really want to!

I’ve heard many developers say that they can work easily with long distance clients; with tools such as Skype and DimDim, there are few financial or technical barriers to to a good working relationship and frequent consultations.  My own feeling – which is shared by Denise, Bethany, and Ndlela – is that it’s much easier to work remotely with someone once you’ve met him/her face to face.  The long distance barriers to the best collaboration arise when we lack a subtle, nonverbal understanding of who our colleagues are.

Benjamin is based in Austin, Texas; it’s unlikely that we can fly him in to Boston so that we can treat him to lunch.  However, with Jason in Brattleboro, we feel comfortable about picking up his travel expenses if he’d like to come see us.   (Plus lunch – of course, we must buy him lunch!)  I think that visiting Third Sector New England’s offices (and the NonProfit Center at which it is housed) will reveal to Jason a lot about who the TSNE team is and how it operates.

However, if Jason doesn’t want to make a road trip to Boston, we’ll do the best we can with partial solutions.  Bethany is planning a vacation trip to Burlington, Vermont; if it works out, she’ll do her best to arrange a stop in Brattleboro so that she can lunch with Jason there.  Meanwhile, I have another client in Austin, Texas who will be flying me out in December; perhaps I’ll be able to meet Benjamin while I’m there and take him out to lunch.  Thus we may be able to achieve, in increments, our goal of having all of the core members of the NPMR team get to know each other in person.

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