In their excellent book The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom make the compelling case that, in large decentralized organizations, the values are the organization. Which means that, if you are looking to build a large decentralized organization, you must take great care to articulate these values clearly. You must know what you’re about, and know it so well that you can communicate it with utter clarity to anyone you ever meet.
This elevator pitch is therefore the first, and most important, task of the Sugar Labs Marketing Team. We’ve got a lot of ideas for this message. We had a design thinking session Friday morning, in which it became clear that two messages resonate most strongly about Sugar: the Collaboration message (which I interpret to mean “having kids use computers to collaborate easily by default is a great thing”), and the Community message (which I interpret to mean “anyone can help make Sugar happen, which is a great thing”).
I know that the work of “figuring out messaging” may seem dull. But it’s important work, because it is the basis of all other work: positioning to partners, teachers, developers, volunteers of all kinds. For instance: there are now laws in the EU that mandate students to prevent portfolios to demonstrate progress. Not test scores — portfolios. Similar legislation will soon be proposed to the US Congress. As it happens, Sugar’s Journal functionality would be an ideal base for building digital portfolios — better than any other base, anywhere, ever. We may have one chance to talk to a congressman in order to get Sugar funded… and it could be anybody in the Sugar community making that pitch. We need to make sure that pitch is right.
If you want to help us, you can start by joining the conversation. We can certainly use the help, especially if you are a teacher or a school administrator. In an effort like this, every person counts.