2007 AM Best E-Fusion Award Judging It’s been fun. It’s been a learning experience. Paul and Lee have once again been masterful facilitators – this year all online. But I do miss the face to face interaction. I hope we can return to an in-person event next year. I’ll be interested to read and hear Paul and Lee’s 2007 postmortem. How many people attended the events live? How many viewed after-the-fact? What was the general sentiment about a virtual conference?

One of the Finalists, an extremely successful project in the agent-support domain, leveraged an agent forum to solicit requirements and provide feedback? Wow! What a concept! Let’s ask the end-users to tell us what they want, and then give it to them as fast as possible. Perhaps that what a critical driver — SPEED. They told the story of inviting top-producers into the home office, spending a day listening and netting things out, and then staying up all night creating mock-ups. The next morning when the agents came in, they were able to fire up the technology, show the mock-ups, and say, “Is this what you had in mind?” Needless to say, the agents were blown away by the interest, sincerity, dedication, and SPEED. Of course, follow-up programming and implementation would follow, but the concept is awesome. In that case, the main event was in-person, but they also use an ongoing, online forum for the agents as well.

This company also had a powerful usability lab complete with eye-tracking software, one-way glass, video camera’s, and special software to track actual behaviors on a screen. Not surprisingly, they ended up with a terrific user-interface and very high marks from the agents.

Another success-trend seems to be the concept of small releases with finite features developed to the user’s expectations. Interesting that much of the work was outsourced to specialists with over-sight by the internal IT department. Let’s face it people – we operate in a niche-based economy where companies specialize. An insurance company specializes in INSURANCE. A Web development company specializes in WEB DEVELOPMENT. Seems pretty simple to me!?!? Focus on the core value prop. Let specialists handle the rest.

**************

Favorite recent pictures… Tis the season to shoot a lot of soccer. Tried to mix in some more artsy shots, including Northeastern foliage. (Click pictures to enlarge)

A teammate of my son’s from high school scoring the winning goal of the big playoff rivalry. YES!!!
Click here to see more. Browse the gallery to see foliage.

What follows is an extremely unusual picture. In fact, I’d be surprised if more than a handful of people have EVER gotten a picture of a soccer ball popping in a collision in a soccer game. Well, I got it! One of the players said they would look into posting the video on YouTube – supposed to be awesome! I’ll link to it if I get it.

A teammate of my son’s from college trying to beat the keeper. Notice the explosion of air.
Click here to see the whole play.
Also, very cool pics of Upper NY State… posted at the beginning of the gallery.

Hey, cool beans… check out the soccer pics on the homepage of Houghton.edu, bottom middle: Fall Photo Essays | Men’s Soccer Gallery. They did a nice job with the pics.