August 16, 2008

Community Creations and Value

Filed under: School — Robert John Ed @ 5:42 pm

Yesterday was supposed to be a short day at school, my tribulations with the resume continued and there was an information session on our Thunderbird email system.  I love Mozilla, but Gmail still owns.  I’m going to run dual email accounts because of the file sharing ability of Thunderbird.  It’s basically a cloud computing Outlook clone and I dig the Outlook.

I’m not going to lie, Carlson has some really big problems with their IT for students.  There is an online system for showing kids the syllabus which is EXTREMELY problematic for navigation, it is a royal pain to log into and use.  After about 10 hours of use, I’m still flummoxed on how to get to the area I want within a few minutes.  Trial, error, trial, error, etc.  Argh.  Then there’s the calendar system.  This thing is a pile.  It’s a task schedule and actual calendar in separate windows and it is ridiculously not intuitive and difficult.  I’m sure when you pick it up all the difficulties evaporate, but overall for a new user, it’s going to cause headaches.  There are a few other aspects of the technology there that have problems, but the biggest thing is that all the components of the programs are silos that must be ran individually.  It’s as if they built it piece by piece without thoughts on the end user and ease of use.

So yesterday we were sitting around complaining about the overall crapfest our collective boots meandered, when my new friend Scott Tran pulled the rockstar card and showed me Microsoft Groove.  That link is for the technical aspects, I’ll lay it out in layman’s.  Groove is a very simple and lovely program that allows for file sharing, IM, forums, and other components as a closed loop wiki.  Scott, well played sir.  He basically trouble shot everything we were running into in terms of difficulty and what we wanted in an integrated student IT system.  I don’t really get where the network is actually kept in terms of storage (whether it’s online or some far off server, etc.) but it’s not my job to understand the engineering geniuses and their ways.  My job is to be thankful and utilize.

“Hey, guys, check this out.”  That sentance undoubtedly altered the way 107 grad students in Minneapolis (and probably oncoming classes) will operate for the next few years and beyond.  We owe Scott a great deal of gratitude for caring enough to build something for the good of not only himself, but the entire student body.  Thank you.

Wow.  This is the beauty of community.  About eight of us sat around the MBA lounge and started downloading all the class necessities for our first four core classes (Stat, Acct, Mktg, Strategic MGMT) and uploading them up to the Groove build that Scott had made.  Basically we streamlined everything from the disjointed silos that Carlson had built over a long period of time into a cohesive area that a student could navigate easily.  It took us all maybe 4 hours collectively to get all of the content for the first few months into the system and now everyone will benefit.

So why is this a big deal?  Well for one, it shows me how much my fellow classmates own face.  Additionally, it humbles me that I get to work with such intelligence over the next few years and reminds me how drastic the differentiation of our skill sets are.  But mostly, it shows the power of a community who truly care and want to help each other succeed.  Success isn’t a zero sum game, and our efforts will result in reciprocal long term dividends.



  1. Glad you found your way to Groove. If you are interested, more Groove related resources are here:


    Comment by Jim Moffat — August 18, 2008 @ 7:59 am

  2. Thanks for the info Jim. I’ll probably update as I use the system a bit more, but as of now, pretty rockable.

    Comment by Robert John Ed — August 19, 2008 @ 3:59 am

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