Objective: build a website and put it online

What is the technology involved:
  • the server: in between the developer computer and the end user
  • browser: the place through which you make a request to a server
  • the developer machine- building files for a website

the developer machine feeds back and forth from the server and browser (user computer) feeds back and forth from the user computer. analogy: at a restaurant you order food you ask a server.

Hosting and Domain names
hosting: renting space on another company’s server
most companies that offer both hosting and domain names - it's recommended for new users to get them from one place.
  1. for a standard domain you should not be paying more than $15/year
  2. if you are getting started building and managing your own site, you should probably not be paying more than $10/month
  3. ask questions

Choose a bigger company (the example shared was netfirms though this was an example and not a recommendation) Most companies offer both  web hosting and domain names (easier to get them both in the same place). 

domain extensions: divided by industry or country
industry: .tv; .fm
country: .ca; .it; .to

Transferring files to hosting:
- use an FTP program (file transfer protocol)
- connected to your hosting company and allows you to pull files up and down from your site.
- username/password protected.

Track down a domain name
- reverse lookup (whois.domaintools.com)
- some hosting companies will help facilitate the transaction
Naming conventions
  • keep your file names in loswercase
  • don’t use spaces
  • keep your names concise

Markup Language
  • series of characters and symblos
  • used to mark-up a doc

- all HTML webpage opening includes a: document declaration, an open/close HTML tag, open/close head tag, and open/close body tag

Now its time to code - here is a quick preview:

In a text editor (I'm using Textwrangler on my Mac/if you are a PC user try notepad++) add in the following: 

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<title> Noorin Ladhani</title>

save the file, right click on the file name and open it up in Chrome. 

There you go - you have now created your first piece of html!!
Today Simone and I attended the Youth Innovation Lab an event co-hosted by United Way Toronto, the City of Toronto, the Laidlaw Foundation, Evergreen and The Moment innovation studio.  The purpose of this meeting was to define the partnerships and process needed to create collective impact in support of Toronto’s youth.

This was my first time participating in a multi-stakeholder collaboration meeting that included frontline workers, funders, representatives from the city of Toronto, and even a private sector donor.

This was also the first time I’ve seen a collaboration meeting careen off its pre-designated path and taken into the hands of the collective. It ended up being a very interesting case study around what challenges a collaboration of this nature may face.  

There were two major challenges that became apparent throughout the discussion:

1.  Trust and risk. 

Multi-stakeholder meetings come with risk.  Asking organizations to have honest conversations in front of funders and supporters may lead to uncomfortable questions and consequences.  It quickly became established that in order for individuals to be able to share they must feel like they can trust the other people in the room.

One of the first questions brought up in the unplanned group discussion was about identity.  Who is the room and who is willing to commit to this project? Until there was institutional buy-in and a commitment to participate in open, honest dialogue from all stakeholders there seemed to be a hesitancy to commit to a larger discussion.

2.  Why are we here?

I think the organizers deserve credit for creating a space for open dialogue.  Each organization was told to come into the room with an open mind and without a personal agenda.

While this was a great way to set-up the morning by the time the afternoon session rolled around and the facilitators were ready to move onto talking about more tactical activities such as shared metrics and identifying other stakeholders the group still had one question: why are we here?

This question ended up being the one that derailed the activities and put took the group onto unchartered territories.  Though the afternoon session set-up would have probably helped answer that question the overwhelming desire was to have this discussion addressed as a group.   Again to the credit of the group organizers they did comply with the request of the larger group and participated in-group dialogue.

This conversation led to the further discussion of what success could look like.  It seemed that while discussion and research was important this group wanted to be results driven.  Rather than tackling every issue at one time – the discussion seemed to lean towards selecting a few issues and working them out as a collective. 

This was a great lesson for everyone involved and definitely something to consider when participating in in a multi-dimensional collaboration.  Creating a space for open dialogue, getting buy-in that the organizations in the room are committed to the project, and being open to changing the process can all contribute to breaking down barriers and create successful collaborations. 
Salesforce Foundation hosted a special breakfast for non-profits and educational institutions before kicking off their Toronto conference.  The breakfast was for non-profits to learn more about the Salesforce Foundation and hear from Canadian non-profits are using Salesforce at their organizations. The breakfast was hosted by Mark Dickey, the SVP of Enterprise Sales at the foundation. 

The session off with some quick facts about Salesforce:
  • Salesforce is the first cloud company to reach 2 billion annual revenue (fiscal year 2012)
  • The expected annual revenue for 2013 is expected to be 3 billion 
  • Forbes ranked Salesforce as one of the most innovative companies in the world
  • Salesforce has 100,000 (approaching 110,000) users
  • Salesforce has servers all over the world including Singapore, Japan, and Chicago

Salesforce has an integrated philanthropy model – which means philanthropy is part of its core values.  The foundation was founded one year after the company and was funded by Marc Benioff.  Salesforce has a 1/1/1 giving model which means they donate:
  • 1% of salesforce.com equity
  • 1% of employees time
  • 1% of product. 

The Salesforce Foundation believes this is a model that can be applied at any organization and have a section on their site that details a four-step process to help organizations recreate the integrated philanthropy model at their own organizations.  

More than 15,000 nonprofits and educational institutions use Salesforce at their organization. In addition to donating licenses to non-profits (organizations are eligible for 10 free licenses) they also deeply discount additional licenses. Funds raised through discounted licenses go directly back towards supporting the foundation.

Part of the breakfast included testimonials from three non-profits using Salesforce at their organizations. The non-profits included: TIFF, Free the Children, and us (represented by Amanday Grainger-Munday)!

TIFF represented by KC (Kalyan Chakravarthy)
In 2010, TIFF opened the Lightbox theatre changing its model from being a film festival to a year-long program.  The challenge they faced as an organization was that their IT infrastructure was not set-up in a way where they could engage external stakeholders. They were using an event management, ticketing system, and a donation management program which all functioned independently and didn’t communicate. With this technology refresh, they are now able to feed information from all three of these systems directly into Salesforce creating a more holistic view of their stakeholders.  They are currently using the data housed in Salesforce to support strategic planning.

Free the Children represented by Dan Kuzmicki
Free the Children moved to Salesforce a year ago from an in-house developed solution.  They use Saleforce to manage relationships with stakeholders. They also use Salesforce’s chatter feature to maintain their internal company culture by recognizing achievements of their staff members.

Dan also talked about the Salesforce implementation within Free the Children. Their roll-out started with a top down approach. They started with getting buy-in with managers and directors and then implemented a ‘super-user group’ (selecting one person from each department to be responsible from each time to help with implementation.  Most of their training was implemented by their IT department. Free the Children uses a number of apps from the appexchange including 
The Nonprofit starter pack and Docusign.

Framework represented by Amanda Grainger-Munday
Salesforce is integral to Framework’s operations; it is used in every element of its signature event, Timeraiser. Timeraiser is an art auction where guests bid volunteer hours in exchange for art.  The art is purchased from local artists in the Timeraiser cities.  Salesforce is used to house key information and manage activities:
  • All contact management housed in Salesforce including agencies and artists contact information stored in Salesforce
  • Framework uses a custom objects feature to manage each city called ‘community activities’
  • Framework uses many Salesforce integrations to manage key program components such as getting contracts signed using EchoSign

The Salesforce Foundation breakfast was a great intro to Salesforce for nonprofits and an interesting case study to see how it can be deployed in the non-profit environment.  For those not on Salesforce but, interested in learning more visit the Foundation site: http://www.salesforcefoundation.org/
Once a month LinkedIn employees around the world are encouraged to take the day off from their regularly scheduled meetings and work and spend some time doing other activities such as volunteering. On this day a few employees from LinkedIn Canada invited some non-profit peeps into their offices to talk about leveraging LinkedIn in the non-profit environment.

We started the presentation off with some information about the platform (aka LinkedIn 101)
  • LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful
  • its more than a tool to help members find a job. It can be used to help users network
  • Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn is a strictly Professional network – any activity posted is   professional (ie. LinkedIn is not the place you post pictures of your kids)
  • With a professional network comes different levels of activity and different use cases
Then we moved into numbers and stats (aka the good stuff)
  • LinkedIn has 161 million members 
  • Nearly 60% of LinkedIn members live outside the US
  • Two new people join LinkedIn per second
  • Linkedin is a global network vs. other professional networks that are country-focused
  • Engagement 274,550+ members w/ causes
  • There are 124,056 NFP company pages
  • There are 8.4 million NFP followers
  • There are 87,116 NFP groups
LinkedIn Audience in Canada stats
  • 43 million business leads generated in Canad via LinkedIn
  • 6 out of 10 use LinkedIn to keep up on business news or research companies
Now that we had all our facts straight we got into some tips:

Enhance your professional brand to expand your network 
  a. use LinkedIn as a brand asset – create a group and also get your employees to create profiles and act as brand ambassadors 
  b. what do people see when they google you? – completed profiles rank better 
  c.  ensure everyone has listed the company name correctly – every word is searchable
  d. if everyone shares the same description of your organization it will be easier to find you and experts within  your organization 

Build your network
a.  First degree connections are important but 2nd degree and 3rd degree connections are also very valuable. 

Build your company brand
Every organization has the ability to build their company brand within LinkedIn
a.  You can also build a careers page on your company profile
b. You can also build a group and get followers
c. Create a products page – you can post events and campaigns as products and get recommendations (ie testimonials) from supporters
d. Supports/fundraisers can also create testimonials on your page

Status updates
  a. Two ways: on the company profile page and on the individual profile page
  b.  Company page: targeted messaging features just released (donors vs. volunteers can get different messages)

Integration with other applications
  a. The status updates on LinkedIn allow you to select which messages go to Twitter
  b.LinkedIn's recent Slideshare purchase allows users to embed presentations on a personal profile (not available for company pages yet)
 c.  Polling on LinkedIn provides excellent analytics

Find people with special skills (recruitment tool)
 a. Use LinkedIn to research specific types of volunteers to support your organization
 b. You might be able to find someone that shares the same kind of interests as you

Create a Group
Connect w/ supporters by creating a group
  a. Create a group for your alumni
  b. Create a group for your board members where you can sharing meeting minutes
  c. Create a group for your employees where you can share resources
  d. Use groups strategically
        - focus on 1-2 groups you care about so you can leverage the networking advantages of LinkedIn
  f. Once your part of a group you can access people that you are not directly connected to but are part of a shared group

Connect w/ Experts
 a.Members can indicate what their skills are allowing you to search for members based on skill set

Then we got to the Crux of the matter: How to build a company page on LinkedI

company page elements:
  1. overview tab: use this tab to make an impression on members
  2. careers tab: paid tab 
  3. products and service tab: share products/services
  4. product detail tab: houses up to 9 products/services
  5. only owners can build a company (you can have up to 12 admins on a company page)

in order to edit your company page
-  You have to be a current company employee and your position is on your profile
-   A company email address is one of the confirmed email addresses on your LinkedIn account
-  you must associate your profile with the RIGHT company. You must click on a name from our company drop down list when you edit or add the position on your profile 
 - your company’s email domain is unique to your company

Adding a company page is four-step process
step 1: add a company
step 2: populate overview tab - ie. look at Johnnie Walker company page
step 3: add products and services 
step 4: populate product and service tab 

-  Company page allows you to create targeted tab. Based on who logs on the company profile will reveal the tabs that are most relevant. Create variations of the page to be served to unique audience segments (Up to 30 different views)
-  LinkedIn is rolling out follower ad units - so companies (and non-profits - who get a discount) can purchase ad units to increase followers.   

Overall it was a great session and super-beneficial and we are so excited to start experimenting with all these new features on the Framework page.   

'V' is for Visibli


I met with Minaz Abdulla co-founder of Visibli today to pick his brains about all the great blogs he reads and the tools that he uses at Visibli.  Visibli is social insight tool for marketers that Minaz co-founded with Saif Ajani.   Visibli helps marketers understand their audience allowing them to improve influencers identification, content strategy, and ad targeting.  

They have a great tool on their site that allows users to compare the social engagement on Facebook/Twitter against various public pages.  Check it out here!

Minaz gets inspiration from a ton of blogs for both developers/designers:

Smashing magazine: great magazine/blog for web designers and developers about web development.
Premium Pixels:  created by web designer Orman Clark Premium Pixels is a blog that shares free resources and tutorials. 
Twitter Developer Blog: Twitter's blog aimed at developers using the Twitter API
Facebook Developer Blog: Facebook blog for developersBrainPickings: because they have such a fantastic description of what they do - I will pull this particular description from the BrainPickings website:Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.

Postmark App: Email tool that allows users to send mail using an HTML post request 
UserVoice: Application that allows users to collect feedback from website visitors
Bootstrap, by Twitter: Simple and flexible HTML, CSS, and Javascript for popular user interface components and interactions. 
Google Analytics: By far, one of the most popular analytics tools allowing users to track metrics such as time on site etc. 
Crazyegg: Crazyegg is another analytics tool that allows users to track website activity and includes features such as a scrollmap (to show how far people scroll down on your page) and a heatmap allowing users to track clicks. 
Twitter, Facebook, Bit.ly, and Google Shortener

I appreciate all the great information Minaz had to share with the Platformation community.  To learn more about the tool and to sign up visit, www.visibli.com
MyCharityConnects is fast approaching and with a ton of great content.  As with previous years, their speaker line up is chock-filled with thought leaders, seasoned digital campaign professionals, and technologists all ready to share their highlights and insights with you.

Since I had the pleasure of attending the MyCharityConnects conference last year I'm going to share some of my super-secret conference tips with you to make the most out of your experience.

1. Bring lots of business cards: MyCharityConnects is a great place to connect with lots of other like-minded individuals doing interesting world across the country.  Having a business card handy will ensure that you will be able to maintain contact until the next conference.

2. Bring a friend: Until Google makes cloning accessible to the masses we just have to accept the fact that it is not possible to be in more than one place at once. Since there are so many great sessions to attend why not bring a friend from your organization to the conference.  That way you are able to divide and conquer and make the most out of both days. 

3. Show up early (with bells): If you are flying solo to the event showing up early will not only ensure you the best seat at the keynote but you may also make a conference buddy while choosing a muffin before the event kicks off.

4. Tweet: Showing up early is not the only way to make friends.  MyCharityConnects is a great way to get your name/organization known to other attendees.  Share your witty insights, fun pics, and conference highlights using the MyCharityConnects hashtag (#MCC12).

5. Don't pigeonhole yourself: There are a lot of great sessions covering a vast number of topics but don't feel like you have to stick to just one stream.  Read the conference summaries carefully and pick the ones that you feel you will gain from the most. 

bonus tip: as tempting as it might be to put on your Hillary Clinton power suit and network your way through the conference remember to dress comfortably and perhaps consider leaving your pumps at home.  

Registration is still open so if you have not had a chance to sign up make sure you do so before tickets run out: http://guestlistapp.com/events/71481
I attended the IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium last week hosted by International Association of Privacy Professionals.  The conference sessions were presented by technologists, members of the Privacy Commissioner, and lawyers specializing in privacy.

Although privacy is a key component to business practice only 62% of companies surveyed by the by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada actually have a privacy policy in place at their organization.  Implementing a privacy policy is more than just having a link to an organizational privacy policy on your website - its embedding privacy and accountability as a core business practice.

The two key lessons I came away with were the importance of being transparent about your privacy practices and building internal controls that put privacy at the forefront of your organization. 

In addition to implementing privacy practices it is also important to maintain transparency.  Keeping language as clear as possible without losing key messages, sending notices when your  privacy policies have been updated, and sharing your internal practices are also vital. 

In addition to being transparent it is also important to build controls.  Internal controls cover the practices within your organization that support privacy.  This may include creating an internal employee policy, publishing the name and bio of your privacy point person, and developing a reporting system for clients to contact.

This was a great conference to attend and one that I hope to continue to be involved with. 
I just had a great meeting with Monica Olinescu of Discuss.io a cool new start up that makes it easy to give feedback to web designers. Monica alongside her developer/designer partner Dan McGrady have created a tool that takes out the confusion when multiple people are giving feedback on the same piece.  The tool uses a commenting feature that creates space for discussions eliminating confusing email chains and conflicting direction.  The tool is in private alpha - but sign up to be notified of its launch. 

Monica shared some resources/tools that she works with on a day-to-day basis to help keep her organized and on-task.  Some of these tools include:

Hacker News: This is a community-driven news site that is populated by a slightly more technical crowd. You might hear about some really early-stage startups on this blog. 

Basecamp: Monica uses Basecamp to manage her daily tasklist.  She is a big fan of the email feature which allows her to send email messages from her inbox into Basecamp. 

Toggl: Having a good time-tracking tool is a great asset when you are managing multiple tasks.  Monica uses Toggl to track how much her time is being spent. 

Freshbooks: Invoices are a pain and Monica uses Freshbooks to invoice clients.

We spoke briefly about what is up and coming the world of technology.  
  • Obviously, mobile continues to be of great importance - web apps must be matched by a mobile presence to remain competitive. 
  • Machine learning is also a big one. An example of machine learning is recommendation engines such as Amazon or Netflix.  It is the idea of crunching and analyzing data and making recommendations/design decisions based on existing data. 
  • User experience is coming to the forefront of building online tools.  The traditional model of bringing a developer in first is now shifting so that technologists are now bringing user experience in earlier in the process. 
  • A big idea in the sector that has yet to catch steam is the 'programable web'.  This is basically creating integrations that trigger an automated action in another tool.  So for example, if an invoice is marked as paid in Freshbooks this would trigger an automated response in Basecamp perhaps marking off an associated task as complete
All in all this was a really great meeting and I am really looking forward to Discuss.io's public launch!
There were quite a few take aways that can be applied  lesson learned from Gigaom's Net:Work conference that can be applied to the non-profit sector.  The conference focused on cloud computing has changed the way we work and created a dialogue around technology adoption and tomorrow's workforce.

1. Think Data First
Much of the conversation at the Network conference centered around being fluid and allowing individuals within organizations to choose the tools they want to live in.  However, in the context of non-profits my advice would be: think data first.  Organizations can create an environment of fluidity and choice without compromising data by creating an organizational IT infrastructure of open architecture tools that integrate with other existing popular tools. For example, allow employees to use whatever conference meeting tool they prefer and document their notes using whatever word processing tool choose prefer but enforce that all notes must be uploaded to the company's CRM.    This gives employees the option to work with the tools that allow them to be most effective but avoids data silos because all vital information is stored in one place.

2. Leverage Technologies and create job positions that allow for  Remote Workers 
We have the type of technology today which allows us change the traditional workforce dynamic and evolve into something a little more fluid.  With a growing force of independent workers traditional jobs are becoming projects which can be completed from almost anywhere.  This is a great opportunity for non-profits with limited budgets to when possible splice and divide work opportunities into smaller tasks and divide them between a number of independent contractors.  This technology also allows us to hire and retain talent without being challenged by geographic limitations.  This is a good time for organizations to re-evaluate current and future job opportunities and build in job opportunities that can be completed in the office and remotely.

3. Think outside of the boardroom 
For more creative positions consider allowing your employees to share a co-working space.  Co-working spaces are workplaces usually made up of freelancers but a few larger organizations have started renting co-working spaces for smaller departments or groups of employees to help facilitate creativity.  Co-working spaces also provide a place to focus outside of the office so it might be worth considering renting a desk at a local co-working space that is open to employees on a rotating basis.

4. Be device Agnostic
Given the option, not all employees will choose to have a work-device.  However, allowing them to use their personal device and live within their own mobile environment might increase people's desire working remotely. Remaining device agnostic may facilitate increased adoption.
Below is a summary of some key themes and ideas explored at the Gigaom Net:Work conference.   This post was originally posted on the Platformation website (UPDATED). 

1. Its not about the tools. Its about the people.
Rhonda Lowry the VP of Emerging Social Web Technologies at Turner Broadcasting hit the nail on the head pretty early on into the conference when she pointed out that we are moving away being ‘document centric’ into more ‘human-centric’ culture ’.  Organizations need to start focusing less on forcing adoption of tools on people and remain open to the choices that their employees are making.  She pointed out that ‘absolute adoption’ is death as tools are constantly changing. We also need to find ‘naked intellectualist’ people that are not afraid to walk around and are afraid to what they don’t know.

The threat behind a ‘human centric’ approach is the silo issue where vital data and information could be trapped preventing future sharing and growth. This was too big of a conversation to have in a ten minute period but some points of interest that arose were that  managing knowledge and contacts are business importance while managing security is compliance importance.  These are two separate issues that both need to be considered by organizations when making technology decisions.  The conversation touched upon the increased need of standardization so data can be understood by various solutions.  Also there was a recognition that collaboration between bigger tech companies needed to continue to happen. 

2. Independent workers are becoming the workforce of the future
Gene Zaino (President and CEO of MBO Partners) gave a very informative presentation on independent workers.  In the US today there are 16 million individuals working independently.  Technology has eliminated challenges around being closer to work making businesses more agile and we now view work in terms of ‘projects’ rather than as ‘jobs’.  This new approach to work is allowing us to distribute work to a distributed human supply chain. 

Services like Odesk are facilitating this trend. Gary Swart the CEO of oDesk talked about how the job force has evolved from a 1.0 model to a 3.0 model.  The traditional hiring process made finding a job very competitive and expensive whereas now there are services available for individuals to market themselves and work from home.  Technology, access to broadband, and globalization is facilitating this transformation.  

3. Working from home can increase work/life balance
Dr. Carolyn Axtell - Institute of Work Psychology, The University of Sheffield and Barbara Nelson - CTO, iPass  participated in a panel about remote working.  According to their study they found that employees that work from home tend to enjoy the following benefits:

- better work/life balance
- less work-related stress; more relaxed employees
- the ability to work more efficiently in shorter periods of time; 
- better use of ‘dead-time’ (ie. answering emails while waiting in the doctors office)
- spend a reduced number of working hours online even though they have increased access to 
- technology allows people to get online and move the ball along and complete more focused work. 

Although there are many benefits its quite easy to fall into the bucket of working extended hours.  Research on working extended hours show that people tend to make more mistakes and are more fatigued.  People that are working 15-20 hours extra over the week were most likely to say they were connected over the holidays because they thought they were expected to be online. 

In order to prevent overworking workers might consider adopting transition strategies after their workday which may include: separate work/personal email addresses, blocking off work time in your calender, and creating end of day rituals. 

4. Co-working space facilitate productivity, information sharing, and creativity
Another big trend is working in co-working spaces.  Independent workers can re-create the work environment by working in a shared space.  Don Ball - Co-Founder, CoCo coworking and collaborative space, Mark Gilbreath - Founder and CEO, LiquidSpace, Steve King - Partner, Emergent Research, and Jennifer Magnolfi - Advanced R&D Projects Lead Consultant, Herman Miller participated in panel about co-working.  Co-working can help prevent the isolation of remote working. Based on their collective experience it seems that  people come for a space to work but stay for the people.  Co-working offers more than just a place to work there is also a strong cultural aspect and sharing that occurs.  For example, someone might happen to sit next to an SEO expert providing them access to an expertise they may not have access to when working alone.  Another point shared was that there is a strong level of focus in a shared space.  People are coming there to work and don’t have to deal with the distractions of home or trying to work at a Starbucks.  Its not only freelancers who are seeing the benefits of co-working some larger organizations are now starting to send departments or sub-sections of organizations to co-working spaces to help increase creativity.