Upcoming: Integrated Lifecycle Workshop at Translation World Toronto – May 13th

trans_worldNext week I’ll be running a half-day workshop at Translation World 2009 here in Toronto. It should be an interesting session, we’re going to work with the attendees to start to frame out a common language for specifying and mapping out integrations in the translation industry.

The full session description is below:

The Integrated Lifecycle: Creating a Foundation for Envisioning and Planning an Integrated Translation Lifecycle

Over the past few years, the translation industry has seen a huge evolution in the tools, technologies and standards available to help streamline the translation process. Clients, technology providers and language service providers alike are dealing with an ever-changing landscape of service and technology offerings claiming to help make the translation process more efficient. While many organizations are beginning to embrace this shift, the industry still lacks a common language to describe and specify how the various components relate to each other to create a seamless process. This workshop aims to begin filling that gap.

During this unique, interactive session, attendees will work together through a facilitated, visual process to define the components, standards and considerations for creating integrated, efficient, translation lifecycles. Further, we’ll look at how the various components and workflows work together. This workshop is ideal for anyone who has involvement in, or direct responsibility for the ongoing improvement of processes within their organization, whether they are on the client or vendor side.

Attendees will play an active role in shaping this common language and will leave the workshop with a new tool set for envisioning and planning integrated lifecycle solutions.

If this is up your alley, and you want to be part of shaping this critical tool set, I hope you can join us next Wednesday! Registration is $235 for the halfday session. All of the registration details and forms can be found here.

– Ryan

Some Changes Afoot…

It’s been a bit of an open secret for the past few weeks but as of today the official announcement is out. I’m excited to announce that as of May 1st I’ll be joining VizThink as their Chief Community Evangelist.

As the title suggests my new role will have me focusing on growing and developing the community surrounding VizThink and the ideas of Visual Thinking. One could argue I’ve already been doing this job for almost a year now, back to when I started running the VizThink evenings here in Toronto – it some sense I have, but it’s always been something I’ve done when I could steal a few minutes to think about it/do something.

If you asked me a year ago about where I thought the VizThink events would lead I probably would have answered “Hopefully we get a little community going here in Toronto & maybe have some fun making some new friends”. As it stands today VizThink has become a full-fledged organization, with twice a year conferences, monthly workshops with gurus like Dave Gray & Karl Gude & a growing network of regional communities forming globally. (London runs its first event on the 16th, St. Louis on the 21st & Austin the 30th. The Netherlands, Chicago, D.C, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York & Seattle also all have some activity in the works as well [more])

Needless to say it’s an exciting opportunity and I look forward to sharing more about my role & plans in the coming weeks.

So What about Clay Tablet?

Ah yes, the big question… I’m not leaving CTT entirely, but I will be adjusting my job there to be more of a strategic/advisory role. Next to Robinson, I’m still the largest shareholder in CTT and am committed to helping it succeed.

The past few years at Clay Tablet have been very, very technology focused. We released version 1.0 of Clay Tablet in late 2005. Then, last year, we took everything we had learned with 1.0 and rebuilt/re-architected the product, from the ground up, releasing Version 2.0 in September. We’re really proud of what we’ve built and now that it’s out, the focus of CTT is shifting to be an aggressive outbound sales organization – and at the end of the day, I’m just not a sales guy.

At the same time my interests & passions have started to wander – After starting the VizThink events last year my interest in Visual Thinking started to grow and a few weeks ago I was presented with an offer that let me take that interest to a whole new level.

Internally this change isn’t a surprise, Robinson and I have discussed the changing focuses and interests of both myself and the organization as a whole as we were strategically planning how CTT goes forward over the coming months and years. With the shift turning to a sales organization instead of a development organization we realized reducing my day-to-day role would have minimal impact and the opportunity at VizThink affords me the flexibility to continue to support and participate in CTT.

I love what we’ve built at Clay Tablet and think it fills a huge need in the industry but I’ve now been working on evolutions of this idea for over ten years but the opportunity & challenges that the VizThink role presented to me would have been very hard to turn down.

So, long story short. CTT is healthy and doing well, and I’m looking forward to my continued involvement while also taking on the new challenge of nurturing the VizThink community.

Going Forward
As I mentioned, I start with VizThink May 1st – I’ll be here in the CTT offices full-time until then and will be working at least a day a week at the CTT offices after that for the foreseeable feature. Depending on the context you’ll be able to reach me at rcoleman [at] clay-tablet.com / vizthink.com.

You can also follow me here:
Blog: http://blog.ryancoleman.ca
Photoblog: http://photography.ryancoleman.ca
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ryancoleman | http://twitter.com/VizThink
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryancoleman
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rycoleman/

AmazonCamp Roundup

This roundup is a couple of weeks overdue – life’s been a bit hectic round these parts between work and the new kid so blogging got a bit back-burned so, from the “Better Late Than Never” file:

For something that started out as a “I wonder if anyone would be interested…” AmazonCamp sure blossomed into a fun evening that seemed to provide a lot of value to everyone who attended. Heck, at the end of the night I practically had to drag people out (I did have to turn out ALL the lights) of Indoor Playground so we could move onto a local bar for some drinks – I’ll take that as a good sign that people were engaged.

After I threw out the idea I touched base with Amazon evangelist, Mike Culver, just to make sure I wasn’t duplicating the effort of anyone else locally. He turned me on to Reuven Cohen of Enomaly who was working with a couple of people to try and get a local AWS user group up and running.

The night quickly became an AmazonCamp/AWS User Group kick-off evening and Mike graciously offered to come up and talk to the group as well.

The Presentation
Mike gave a quick talk to lay out the groundwork for Amazon and what each of it’s AWS services are. He then provided some examples of apps he’d seen or heard of that really took advantage of Amazon’s services.

Sworn to secrecy (or as he put it pro-actively ignorant) about what’s coming down the pipes there wasn’t a tonne of net-new information to be gleamed from the presentation but he did everyone on to some very interesting use-cases of each of the AWS applications (at least the one’s we can use from up here in Canada).

The Demos

Following Mike’s presentation we flipped into a more DemoCamp style portion of the evening. We had five companies talk about what they were doing with AWS.

Justin Giancola, Freshbooks
Justin talked about their work with Amazon’s Flexible Payment Service. Sadly not something we can really play with here in Canada yet but certainly some very interesting opportunities arise out of the service.

Me & Dave Rapin, Clay Tablet Technologies
Dave and I dug into how we’re leveraging AWS for a SaaS/hosted license version 2.0 of the Clay Tablet product. We’re leveraging EC2, SQS & S3 to make it all happen and our architecture allows us to quickly ramp new servers up (and subsequently take them down) to handle heavy loads of content etc.

Kevin Thomason & Ilya Grigorik , AideRSS
Kevin & Ilya covered their experiences in developing AideRSS on the Amazon platform and how it basically saved them a lot of money (and face) when usage exploded on launch day. Amazon allowed them to ramp from 10 to 30 and ultimately 100 server instances in a 24 hour period.

Chris Thiessen, Zoomii.ca
I’d seen Chris demo Zoomi at a DemoCamp a few months ago and asked him to come out. Chris has built a unique online bookstore that basically pushes the limits of the AWS services in just about every way possible. A very cool idea that should be launching soon check out his site to signup for the BETA.

Reuven Cohen, Enomaly
Reuven has a long history with the AWS guys and co-organized the event for me. He got up and talked a bit about the various services and products that they’ve built to complement AWS.

All in all the night seemed to be a big hit – we followed the formal part of the evening with some drinks at a local bar. Despite plying Mike with pitchers of beer we were unable to pry any Amazon secrets out of him ;) – To his credit though he really was interested in digging deeper into what all of us were doing and what we were looking for from AWS down the road (Reminder: Bulk Account Management please! :) ).

Looking forward to getting another AmazonCamp together in the new year.

At Clay Tablet we like our CSA posts extra spicy…

In anticipation of our announcements today, we “sat down” with Don DePalma, of Common Sense Advisory, earlier this week to brief him on the new version of the product, what we’re up to and what to expect in the coming months.

He’s distilled it into a great post on their Global Watchtower blog.

And best of all he gave it the rare treat of three habaneros, the highest rating on their unique “importance” rating system… just the way we like it.

Exciting things afoot at Clay Tablet…

You may have noticed posting has been fairly light around here the past few weeks – needless to say things have been a little hectic. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been happening:

Clay Tablet Version 2.0

Most of my time has been spent as we put the finishing touches on version 2 of our product. It’s been an amazing process to take everything we’ve learned from the past few years and roll it into a new version of the product.

As we’ve moved through the past couple of years we’re the first to admit that the Clay Tablet software has meandered a bit as it attempted to wiggle into it’s space in the market. Clients, partners and even good old curiosity have a habit of pulling you in various directions and what we’ve learned is there’s a fine-line to walk in the middle ware game. It’s very easy to stray off the path and suddenly find yourself building out a TMS or a CMS.

So for this version we stepped back, stripped the product right back to the drawing board and then only put back the parts that were needed to make this the best of breed integration software for connecting Content Management Systems to Translation Management Systems & Technologies.

We also moved Clay Tablet 2.0 away from .Net and over to Java – so we can now run in virtually any operating environment and it’s been built from the ground up to support total flexibility from an infrastructure point of view. Databases, message queues and operating systems can all be adjusted to support the operating environments of our clients.

As the sign above says, the paint is still a little wet but we’re starting to do demos in the coming weeks – if you’re interested in seeing what we’ve been up to swign by our site and sign up for a webinar or demo.

Speaking of the Site…

New Clay Tablet Site

You can’t have a new product without a new site now, can you… While not busting my hump on the new product I’ve been spending a lot of time working with the marketing team to get our new site up and running. Swing by the new Clay-tablet.com and learn more about our integration software for the translation industry.


Last but not least, one of our core focuses as a business has been assembling the best set of partners in the translation industry. Our close relationships with both content and translation technology providers are what makes Clay Tablet a unique offering in this space.

With custom developed integrations between your content and translation systems you’re at constant risk of a patch, update or new version tanking your entire infrastructure on you.

To help prevent that we work closely with technology vendors so any surprises happen in our labs, not in your production environment. Because we can amortize this effort across all of our clients we can support a broad range of technologies much more efficiently than one-to-one or custom connections.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve had a couple of big announcements from a partnership point of view.

Today, we’re pleased to announce, we’ve signed a strategic partnership with SDL and to get their line of Global Content & Translation Management products connected to Clay Tablet. We’ve actually had Teamworks 2 & 3 support for a number of years now but we’re thrilled at the opportunity to expand our connectivity to their flagship TMS product.

This news, combined with our across announcement a few weeks ago, has caused a lot of buzz internally. We’re looking forward to taking the wraps off of some of the other connections we have in development in the coming months.

So, all-in-all, a really interesting and exciting day at Clay Tablet. If you’re at Localization World Seattle, stop by the booth (Booth #3)- Robinson and David are both down there for the week (I’m on a tight travel leash as my wife is imminently due with our second child)

Photo: _saturnine