I’m happy to announce that the brilliant and wonderful Clay Shirky has joined the Wesabe advisory board. Welcome, Clay!
Clay is one of the most thoughtful and persuasive thinkers about online communities, and what makes them work or explode into a million pieces. At the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conferences since 2000, Clay has given a series of fantastic keynotes about his research and ideas, and every time I hear one of them, I wind up reconsidering something I was sure was right, or thinking about something I thought I knew in a new way. It’s been fantastic being able to call on him in designing Wesabe; during one discussion, a comment he made — “That’s definitely fun data, but are those empty calories?” — wound up setting off a huge discussion and several big changes to the site. If you’re designing social software, his A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy is required reading, and the rest of his work is very much worth your time.
I’m occasionally mistaken for Clay — it must be our hairdos (photo taken by our other advisor). Jeff Bezos from Amazon came bounding up to me at one ETech to tell me how much he’d loved my speech — thinking I was Clay. I wish I could have taken that credit! We’re lucky at Wesabe to have such a great group of people helping us, and I feel very lucky to have Clay’s help.