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May 15, 2006

Agile Spirits Discovered at Web 2.0 un-Conference

The sold-out Mesh Conference began today in Toronto: the hordes have descended for what's predicted to be Canada's seminal Web 2.0 event.

Web 2.0 is a buzzword coined by those who believe there is a paradigm shift going on in the way people will interface with the world wide web. It has continually incorporated (and spawned) the latest web innovations (podcasts, hacks, tagging), innovations commonly called "Social Computing" applications. All agree that the meaning of Web 2.0 is still in flux, but the general gist of it seems to be this: the web as a computing platform, by the people, for the people - perhaps having started with the original wikiwiki, and now extending to a plethora of commercial and open-source applications, including well known apps such as Google Maps, Flickr, del.icio.us, digg and Technorati.

Not surprisingly, for a crowd whose watchword seems to be "disintermediation", the creed produced by some of their members looks much like an artsy version of the Agile Manifesto. And why not? The more the merrier! Here is an excerpt of a much longer Mesh Manifesto:

In this 2.0 world, transparency is the new black.
And it’s an enduring trend.
With transparency, authentic branding isn’t an oxymoron.
With transparency, organizational courage is expected.
With transparency, social media reigns.
With this, we’re living in a new space of openness.
A paradigm shift toward honesty.
An existence of integrity.
A time to be frank.
And I am Frank. It’s not my name. It’s who I am.

A number of Mesh speakers and attendees headed over straight from Toronto's second successful BarCamp event, which ended just last night, called BarCampTdot. Mesh is, in fact, partially an outgrowth of the BarCamp un-conference movement that's been gaining strength internationally since last autumn. Or perhaps BarCamp and Mesh are both outgrowths of some common precedent. It's hard to tell: organization is purposely decentralized, memes spread and morph freely... who know where any idea really comes from? (BarCampers will tell you: it doesn't really matter).

These people are worth watching - their energy is enormous, and infectious. Their OpenSpace-inspired un-conferences are unleashing fresh ideas and unexpected partnerships,and are garnering attention from government and mainstream media. The potential for synergy (or competition) with the world of Agile Software Development is tough to ignore: we'll be reporting more about Web 2.0 in the coming weeks, and encouraging Agile developers to be aware of this important movement among our design- and useability-oriented colleagues.

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