February 19, 2010

Chris demos CouchApps

Here is a Chris Anderson screencast demoing some new CouchApp jQuery plugins. He's a smooth criminal.

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February 18, 2010

Migrating Notes/Domino to CouchDB

I've been talking to some IT shops who are migrating away from Lotus Notes and Domino. More than wanting to use something else, it seems the reasons they are migrating away is that people in management just don't like Lotus Notes.

The problem these IT shops face is they don't have many good options to migrate to. Sharepoint works for very generic collaborative activities, but not so much for custom business apps that are so pervasive in large Notes installs. That doesn't mean people don't try.


So these IT shops are interested in migrating to Apache CouchDB for obvious reasons. CouchDB is largely inspired by the Lotus Notes backend. CouchDB has a document database, peer based replication, views, full text indexing add-ons, security, and HTTP client access. It also has a very active and growing open source community.

So in theory, migrating to CouchDB from Notes/Domino should be easier than migrating to any other technology. But what we don't yet have is many tools, documentation and examples for migrating from Notes to CouchDB.

Anyone out there have experience with this type of thing for Notes? Anyone interested in helping us develop the tools and documentation for migrating to CouchDB? There is a lot of business opportunity here, and we are looking for partners and VARs to help customers with tools and migrations. If interested, have some ideas or feedback, feel free to email me at damien@couch.io.


February 11, 2010

Wanted: Hosting/Infrastructure Engineer

We are looking to hire someone with strong hosting or infrastructure experience to help us develop a CouchDB hosting platform.

Experience with CouchDB is nice but not necessary. We most want someone who is passionate about infrastructure with large scale hosting experience and with open source contributions.

We offer competitive pay, stock options, great health benefits and 6 weeks vacation, and an opportunity to change the world.

Email inquiries to damien@couch.io


February 10, 2010

Thoughts on an Open Source Company

I wrote this almost a year ago. It's something we want Couchio live by, to build a company we all want to be a part of.


Our companies mission to make the world a better place through open source software.

People are hired based on contributions to open source. Code, documentation, advocacy, community help, legal help, etc. People who work to make the world better for everyone through open source are the people we hire.

Every employee has an equity stake in the company. The decision to hire will be partially based on "do we think giving this person this % of the company is worth it to us all" Bad hiring decisions impact us all, so we are all motivated to hire those who will add value.

How do we make money? By providing hosting and services. Rock solid apps, hosting and service. We give away our software, but we provide services people want and need at a healthy profit.

If the company is in the shitter, never have layoffs, decrease pay % across the board. If we have to drop pay below levels that can support people, we can't be a company.

Stress kills. Kills motivation, creativity, and in the long run it literally kills people. Most people want to do good. A few try really hard to do good. We make sure people know once they are hired, they never have to worry about their job. We will try hard to not be a source of stress to our employees.

Never fire. We constantly emphasize you can't get fired for lack of productivity or being stupid or foolish. You can get fired for ethical reasons. We should strive for openness and honesty in all matters.

Never ever ever have a hiring binge. We hire based on contributions to open source. Always. When we have the resources, we hire the best contributors. Otherwise we don't hire.

We don't want people who tend to ask "How can I contribute? What should I do?". We want people who identify for themselves what needs to be done and how they can contribute, and then do it. Our employees want to contribute to make things better, not for a paycheck, not for validation from a manager or even the community. They do it because they think it will make things better.

We don't have managers. Everyone who we hire is already a productive contributor on their own. People can take leadership and mentoring roles, but these roles are granted by those being led and mentored. No one ever has control over someone else's time.

We don't hire for positions like HR, sales, etc. We either outsource, or a person we have already hired for their contributions to open source fills the position.

We don't encourage or discourage project or code ownership. In the case of disagreements, working code always has a place. We encourage forks internally and externally. There can be no reals rules beyond this guidance. We acknowledge this is messy and imperfect, and will always be source of friction and disagreement.

How do we ensure people are productive and don't goof off? We don't.

We don't measure productivity? Smart people can always appear to be productive while goofing off, making it seem they are working hard when wasting time, causing stress for themselves and often for others who want to be seen to be strong contributors. We don't monitor people's productively. We let people goof off if they want. It's okay to goof off. I'm goofing off right now as write this.

Then why do our people work?

Our people are hired based on contributions to open source, their contributions make the world a better place. Our company mission is to do that, and we are filled with people who've already done that. We all want it to succeed and make a profit, so we can make ever greater contributions to the world. People contribute how they see fit: By working on profitable projects, by developing new projects, by doing work that will never make a profit but makes the world better for us all. Sometimes it's by taking some time off to recharge so you can contribute later.

If the company becomes unprofitable, or sick, it's everyone's responsibility to make it healthy. No one has to ask permission how to make it better, how to make things profitable, they just do it.


Already this has been put to the test, as we were presented an eminently qualified hire with a very positive energy. The problem was no open source involvement or contributions. I wanted to make an exception but I realized if we really want to give this idea of an open source company shot, we can't compromise already on the 4th hire we make. So I had to say no, which was hard.

I don't yet know if this will work in the long run, but for now I want us to give it a real shot and see what happens.


February 8, 2010

First week in the new office

Last week was our first week in our new office in Old Downtown Oakland. It's a really neat area with lots of restaurants and bars, and hardly any murders.

Oh yeah, we've changed our name to Couchio. Our new blog will be here http://blog.couch.io/ soon.

Our office:
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Our office manager Claire:
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Chris and Mikeal:
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Claire and Jan:
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Super Awesome Art by Julie Armbruster:
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My Office:
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So far we are really disorganized and discombobulated. But I'm are working on it! I even bought Management for Dummies. Things will be running smoothly in no time ;)

Also we are looking hard for someone to help us offer CouchDB support and hopefully build a whole support organization. Email me damien@couch.io if you are interested or know someone who is.