SocialEngine Blog

New Era for SocialEngine

Hello Everyone.

It is with great pleasure and excitement to introduce myself, James Clark, and my business partner Jason Cormier to the SocialEngine community. Recently our digital marketing agency Room 214  acquired SocialEngine, you can read the official news release here.

I want to briefly cover some initial thoughts, viewpoints and potentially answer any questions you may have. We are honored to be stewarding a company with such a large and committed developer community.

Product Support

First and foremost, we are 100 percent committed to both the SocialEngine PHP and SocialEngine Cloud product offerings. We believe this is a unique differentiator and serves our current and potential customers well.

Our Background

Jason and I have run Room 214 for the past nine years. We have extensive experience in digital and social marketing in addition to having supported a development team focused on custom jobs such as Facebook applications, mobile websites and campaign microsites. Having executed large digital and social campaigns we have a unique insight into what is needed to run successful communities online. SocialEngine came into our sights when we were looking for community platforms we could establish for our clients outside of Facebook. It was meant to be.

Systems Thinkers

We believe an organization can grow only as fast its systems to can handle it. Being non-developers ourselves, we knew it would be important to work within a framework our developers could trust, and in turn we could understand their challenges and collaboration needs. In 2010 we received our ScrumMaster certification from Rally Software. We love the agile manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Responding to change over following a plan

Transparency

From both a business and a development perspective we hope to bring as much transparency to SocialEngine as possible. We believe in building businesses for the long haul, so everything we do will be under the premise we are going to run the business for a long time. As I believe Jason Fried says, “don’t build an exist strategy, build a commitment strategy.”

Open Book Management (OBM)

This is really an internal initiative, but we think it matters to everyone associated with the company as you can be assured we are running a business which puts humans before financials. As an OBM company we believe:

Everyone is:

  • an expert at running the business

  • important

  • responsible for financial success

  • excited when we are busy

It gets done by:

  • giving people with the knowledge to make things better, the information to make things better

  • getting more people thinking about the problems

  • believing our people and our community are the greatest assets we have

  • sharing in the success of the business

In case you’re interested, more information on OBM can found at: www.ZingTrain.com or www.GreatGame.com

Customer Development

We are inspired by Steve Blank’s Customer Development process highlighted in his book The Four Steps to the Epiphany which spawned the Lean Startup movement. Our goal is to incorporate your wants and needs into the product as much as possible. We are really looking forward to opening up the dialogue and providing insights into our development roadmap.

Badasses

We want to help create badasses out of all of our customers. This is a great video from Kathy Sierra about creating badasses - it’s an hour so refill your cup before watching. This was shared with us by Mike Feineman, now a developer at SocialEngine. It’s cool to know guys like Mike are going to play a big part in the future of SocialEngine.

Since many of you are looking to build and grow your own businesses on SocialEngine, we want to help you understand what great examples of excelling on SocialEngine look like, and provide insights into how to get there. We are not opposed to answering any question that may help make you a badass. We also look forward to creating some badass content to help guide and open up new services to better support your needs.

Moving Forward

If there is anything we can do for you, or if you have thoughts about where the product can be taken please let us know in the comments below. I can tell you that one thing we are actively doing now is combing through the archives of support tickets and feature requests.

If you want to contact either of us directly, we’re available at: james@socialengine.com or jason@socialengine.com.

James Clark

Co-President and CEO of SocialEngine

  • Aleksey Volkov

    I was sure something must happens after all this 2-months silence… I hope it is not just a lot of words, but really good news for us, badass SE PHP users (and developers). I saw this news from SE admin panel… as usual ;) Greets from Russia and good luck with next SE PHP next update, be ready for a lot of questions about release date! :)))

  • skidpics

    This is pretty awesome James! Is the old crew still part of the platform?

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      There are individuals from the current team will we be working with. So you’ll get a mix of new and old working on the platform. New blood brings the energy, old blood brings the wisdom.

  • Trevor Bailey

    I hope this change means a much improved customer response, especially when you are new to the concept as we were, where when ever we sent in a request all we got was buy a support ticket and then we will help you, it took us several months of wasted time before we discovered without the help of SE that when the software was uploaded to the host server it did not load correctly, but because SE refused to investigate we suffered months of problems. Even now it still has issues, but we have generally stopped asking for help, because it is not forthcoming. So to the new owners, I hope you will deal with that, because right now we have little faith. I hope you prove us wrong, goodluck.

  • alx2bx

    Huuummmm… Hope it’s a good news for SE and for us !!!!
    Words are good… but facts are better. Show us that SE will continu to evolve the good way. :-)
    Good luck with your new baby. Welcome on board. ;-)

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      Thanks Alex. Looking forward to proving it. :)

  • David Mabelle

    Welcome and Congratulations James and Jason!

    Thanks so much for sharing your values and vision with the community! Look forward to hearing more from you both as you lead the community and the platform forward! Onwards and upwards!

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      Thanks David.

  • http://setweaks.com/ seTweaks

    That’s a surprise! congrats to James and Jason and Room 214 Team.

    It was noticeable that Alex was some how giving up SE with the slow developments on both SE PHP and Cloud platforms but we weren’t expecting a new company. SE has a passionate community but the company has to keep them active and excited. Alex did that by introducing SE Cloud but after a while they didn’t communicate with the community much and the excitement died with the slow developments. I hope the new SE team will be more active, passionate and successful.

    You mentioned SE customers in the blog but nothing about the 3rd party developers. There are many good 3rd party developers in SE community and some of us dedicated our time to SE since years ago. Do you have any plans for us developers ? Are you planing to leave the custom projects from your clients to 3rd party developers like Alex or you’ll get into that field too ?

    It would be great if you could introduce the whole new SE team and update this page : http://www.socialengine.com/team

    A future development plan is appreciated too and If you don’t mind could you tell us how much was paid to acquire SocialEngine ?

  • Shalom

    It’s very good news, please develop SocialEngine PHP – we are waiting for good changes :)

  • es7

    Our team is pretty excited about this change (but also worried a bit).
    Developers work mostly with SE PHP due available customization options. It will be great if you could setup a bug reporting system, so we can submit bugs and improvement suggestions for it.
    Often we have a situation when there is a bug in SE core that’s already fixed. So all we need is a proper way to submit the patch to be included in the next release.
    Keep improving the core, post some road map so it will be predictable – and you will get a lot of powerful plugins from developers community.

    In the long term – consider moving to Zend Framework 2 and jquery. Even if it means remaking a lot of plugins – that’s a worthy investment. The most recent sub-version of ZF1 is a must for the next release.

    Eugene
    WebHive team

    • http://setweaks.com/ seTweaks

      Yes, a bug tracking and reporting system is needed.

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      All great points Eugene. We appreciate the feedback.

    • Amando

      Agree 100%. ZF2 and jQuery are really a must, despite the effort by core and 3rd party developers. SE sites looks all the same, made by a cookie cutter pattern. API is a must too.

    • Jeff Bean

      I am eager to see a difference. Eugene and his Webhive crew helped me by isolating a bug in SE PHP Core that was fatal to my project and also found the solution. SE support and it’s prior ownership denied it existed. I think I see that you understand that your integrity is worth so much more than maintaining a false facade of bugless-ness. I’m very glad to hear of your commitment to your customers’ success and transparency in your processes. That would be a welcome change. I’m looking forward to resurrecting my project and giving SE another chance.

      • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

        Hey Jeff, thanks for commenting. We are going to be working hard to move this platform forward. While our approach is to be customer focused we quickly realized we had a lot of internal process and systems work to accomplish in order to take and incorporate the feedback into our products.

  • http://www.1200dreams.com/ Inti J.

    Let me be the first to welcome you both. Hello James. Hello Jason. As a long time SE user, I have nothing but high hopes for the future, but I especially appreciate the customer first philosophy you state in your post. I hope this is true going forward and am willing to help in anyway I can. Feel free to take a look at my SE site, http://www.1200dreams.com and to reach out to me if you want to talk to a long time SE customer. Good luck! We ALL need it!

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      Thanks Inti.

  • sparrowroberts

    Hello James & Jason!

    When googling you James, Google seemed to think I was looking for James Clerk Maxwell, so that bodes well…

    You mentioned looking through support tickets and feature requests, so here are a couple of things:

    1) Big Bug (unless there’s been a fix for it that I’m unaware of): YouTube videos on HTTPS can’t be embedded. And now that 3/4 of the world is always logged into Google, that’s a problem. I submitted a support ticket for this way long ago and was told that somebody had a look and sho’nuff it was so (I seem to have been the first to notice it) and such would be reported to whoever.

    2) Would it be tough to get a random order button on the music player? If a player holds 2 or 3 songs it doesn’t make any difference. If it holds 50 then being able to select “Random Play” is very helpful.

    Thanks and best of luck to all of us!

  • Jasper

    Hello,

    Can you please add nofollow option to external links in socialengine?

  • http://www.hire-experts.com/ Hire-Experts Team

    Welcome James and Jason! We’re worried a bit after this 2-months silence. Thanks for this blog post. Hope to hear more great news from you. We’re fully agree with Eugene – we need in a bug and ideas tracker. We really need more transparency and roadmap for SE PHP and SE Cloud. It helps us to plan for a long term and focus on quality of our products.

    Eldar, Hire-Experts

  • Nagendra

    When you come from social marketing backgroud then why Social Engine lack in SEO.

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      We’ve only just taken the reigns, but improving SEO is one thing we will be looking at.

      • Nagendra

        I hope next release of SE PHP will get full SEO Support and Need to have More Moderate feature because if users are increasing then it creating problem to control spam.

        All the Best for SE Team.

  • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

    Thanks Eldar, we are looking to increase the transparency and will discuss the bug and idea tracker Eugene brought up.

  • http://www.socialengineaddons.com/ SocialEngineAddOns

    Congratulations Room 214, James & Jason! We’re hopeful that the new team that gets on board will infuse new energy into the core SE platform.

    Some other developers and community members have touched a few good points in their previous comments and I’ll add some more:

    - Quick bug-fixes & patch releases: Many bugs are fixed soon after a major upgrade, but are not released in the core till the next upgrade. There can be more frequent, albeit smaller, patch releases.

    SocialEngine has been lacking community engagement since the past few months, and this should be a big focus:

    - Regular blog-posts: The SE community loves to see updates on the main SocialEngine Blog. There should be more posts about upcoming developments in the SE Core. You can also ask 3rd-party developers and website owners to contribute to the SocialEngine Blog. We would love to share over there.

    - Forum: There should be an official forum for SocialEngine.

    SocialEngine has the backing of a strong community of 3rd-party developers, who like to see the platform grow. We would love to keep contributing more to the platform.

    ~ SocialEngineAddOns Team

  • http://room214.com jasoncormier

    Thanks for your comments and questions. There’s an item in the blog post that refers to “our people and our community” being the greatest assets we have — and we definitely recognize 3rd-party developers as the bulk of that community.

    We also recognize there are needed updates on the website (from both a marketing and informational perspective). We continue to plan for the future, and have been impressed with how many have reached out to offer insights and suggestions. Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed at this time.

  • vinienco

    Im hopeful of the future. welcome guys

  • http://socialengine.com/ Kyle

    Thank you so much for the feedback. We are currently discussing ways that we can offer the best possible support for our customers. We hope to be able to give all of our customers the best experience possible. Again, thank you for your feedback and keep an eye out for future updates!

    • Trevor Bailey

      Thanks Kyle, we were thinking that a support fee annually would not be an off the radar idea, I know when we bought the software, we paid to get it uploaded, but as we were inexperienced the “free support” period of 30 days was no where near long enough as it was much longer before we came to fully understand what the system would or would not do or could or could not do. Then when we finally began getting some experience more than 30 days had elapsed, it was only by wasting a lot of time exploring other websites using the same software that we discovered that perhaps there was an issue with how ours had been uploaded by SE. We had this confirmed when we asked our host to assist us and we reloaded it and they experienced issues also.

      That is now history and there is not much point going back to it, but in the interest of helping you develop so we can take advantage as you progress I thought it would be useful for you to know of our experiences which did not endear us to you as I am sure you can appreciate. When I get some time free I will send you a list of things we would find useful as you develop if that would help you grow, we know it would help us also.

  • http://lepslair.com/ leprakhauns

    I know I’d love to see support for the easily modifiable Social Engine 3, or even releasing it for Open Source so it can develop and expand, but sadly it doesn’t look like that would ever happen.

    • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

      We are looking evaluating a number of potential options for the future of SE PHP. This week we are having one-on-one meetings with a number of our 3rd party developers to give them insight into what we’re thinking and how they can participate in the future development of the product. We’ll keep you posted.

      • http://lepslair.com/ leprakhauns

        So it is a possibility that there might be news of SE3, which came before the move to Zend, might be put out to the public, or just something might be happening with it at all?

  • http://endlesswormhole.com jamesoclark

    Yes – we will be doing something with PHP, I can’t post any timelines as we have not yet decided on the direction. In the meantime, we are committed to updates and bug fixes.