Last summer we got wind that Google Wave would be shut down in eight months, which took us aback as we had been using it extensively and had developed a few robots for it. No wonder, it was hard to put up with the fact that there might no longer be such a thing as Google Wave. So, we decided to take the plunge and develop our own platform for online collaboration. Here is the story on how we started.
Rizzoma team @Odessa (Black Sea)
We came to mind that for such a big task it would be better if all our team worked together for a while in a beautiful place. It all started with a choice of location. It was hard to decide, but a wonderful Ukrainian city of Odessa appealed to most of us. We spent 2 months there, from July to mid-September.
Hard working days
Platform development was a priority. So, we worked out some rules to keep up our programmers’ creative cognitive process. For example, it was strictly forbidden to hang around next to the Workflow room, to chatter, or to joke in a particularly funny way.
The silence used to be broken only by clicking and keyboarding, occasionally interrupted by swearing and some other words incomprehensible to ordinary people. Our programmer Sergey’s loudspeakers played classical music in the kitchen, where it was always possible to run into people speaking the Java language. The walls were overgrown with posters covered with multicoloured tables, schemes, mind maps and sketches of the interface.
Every Monday and Wednesday we played football. While we mastered the art of playing, the games got tougher and tougher. Every game was traditionally followed by a sauna.
The veranda was reserved for intense debates on philosophy and methodology as well as English lessons, intensified by the grapes growing close at hand.
Off and on, the Almighty Ilya roamed around with a pensive expression on his face giving advice to the unsure and putting the others to ‘the straight and narrow’.
Any time of day and at any place it was possible to find people coding:
Our renowned Chef Svetlana cooked dinners for us. Here is her photoset in a noir style:
Svetlana is a native odessian and has lots of local stories up her sleeve. Every day we enjoyed delicious homemade meals occasionally accompanied by apricot compote.
She gave us sea shells and post cards as leaving presents and our administrator Alexandra was given a dry coral.
Zuckerberg concept applied
We went to Odessa with two ideas in mind: teambuilding and fruitful collaboration without being bothered by external problems. Both goals were successfully achieved.
Apart from this, we developed our own platform, found strong supporters in Moldavia who later implemented our service in their business.
Spared the necessity to solve everyday problems we were able to concentrate on the project, with our main sources of inspiration being the sea, the sun and a beautiful city.
We all got closer and made many new friends.
No matter where we are now—in different offices, cities or countries—using Rizzoma in combination with Skype, we can work on a common goal more successfully and face new challenges.
We are not acquainted with Zukerberg and his methods, but we have worked out our own ones.
Based on our experience, we would advise not to hesitate to those who has ever nursed the idea of getting together to work on a common project.
This really works.
We left Odessa with a working prototype called Odessa Platform. It already had a collaborative editor, inlines and a fulltext search. After three months of Agile improvements it became the beta of Rizzoma.
Designers representing ‘robots&wave’