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August 31, 2005 / jnolen

The big reveal…

Here we go, kids. I am pleased to announce that on September 12th I'll be starting with Atlassian (makers of JIRA and Confluence) as the Director of Developer Relations.

I couldn't be more excited. There are so many reasons why I think this is the perfect job.

  • If there is any sense in which one can claim to have a company as a hero, then Atlassian is one of mine. I've returned many times in this blog to the theme of the Open Company. But that entire idea was originally inspired by the experience that I had as an Atlassian customer. They demonstrated to me that buying and using enterprise software didn't have to be painful. Within weeks of downloading the demo of JIRA three years ago, Atlassian had set the bar by which all other software vendors would afterwards be measured.

    Atlassian has managed to open up their code, their development process, their support system, their documentation and their community further than all but a handful of companies. And I'm incredibly excited about the working for a company that will let me practice what I've been preaching here for so long. I hope that I have the opportunity to show other developers that there is a better way; that they needn't suffer through the indignities of typical enterprise software vendors.

  • Atlassian builds two products in which I believe wholeheartedly. And I'm enthusiastic about both of them, through for different reasons. JIRA is the best bug-tracker I've ever seen. It's beautifully designed (inside and out), well thought-out and a joy to use. I've been using it as a customer for three years, and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it for teams large and small.

    Confluence shares many of the JIRA's best attributes. But I'm excited about it because it is truly a transformative product. I saw how it changed the way we worked: eliminating the pain of collaboration, making us more efficient, and capturing incredibly valuable knowledge that would have otherwise been lost. And we're not unique: I know that most companies could benefit in the same way. The potential is huge.

    I can't wait to show people what can be done with these tools, and to help make JIRA and Confluence even better.

  • Atlassian is exactly the kind of company I was looking for. It's young and has a lean, focused team. They're able to react quickly and push their products forward rapidly. And the founders, Mike and Scott, are phenomenally smart, incredibly nice guys. I feel lucky to be invited to work with them. And I can't wait to meet the rest of the team, who I know to be some of the best and brightest programmers in the industry.
  • These guys are just getting started. Atlassian has been growing rapidly for the last few years. The products are so good that they have literally sold themselves. There is so much potential here. I can't wait to see where we go next.

    This new position with Atlassian will open up a huge new vista for me, personally. Atlassian understands how powerful relationships are in growing your user-base. Interacting with the development community (including blogging) will be an integral part of my job. I'll have the chance to work with talented developers doing interesting work all over the industry.

I'm greatly looking forward to this next phase of my career. I'll be working with a great team, for a company I admire, on products I believe in and in a challenging new role. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know how things go.

One final question I'd like to address: what does this change mean for my blog? I've thought about that question quite a bit, and I'm sure I'll continue to work it out with the other guys from Atlassian as we move forward.

But at this point, I intend to keep writing about wikis — both in general and in particular, including wikis from other software vendors. I will do my utmost to be honest and accurate when I do. If you think I got something wrong, let me know. You can always contact me directly via email or AIM. And I promise that I will always make my affiliations clear. I'll leave it up to my readers to decide how much credence to give to my opinions.

Wikis, as a software category, are brand new: there is still a vast amount of room to grow without sniping at competitors. I strongly believe we're at the "rising tide lifts all boats" stage of development. I am sure that I will continue to be motivated and inspired by the other wiki companies. There is much to admire about the other wikis I've written about, and that won't change just because I'm working at Atlassian.

(See part 1 and part 2)


  1. Patrick Lightbody / Sep 1 2005 4:44 am

    Congrats Jonathan — the guys at Atlassian are doing a great job. You’ll be in good company. I’m sure I’ll be pestering you now and again, especially given your role :)

  2. Ludovic Dubost / Sep 1 2005 10:08 am

    Congrats Jonathan, Atlassian is indeed a great company… Let’s hope as a their developer’s relations guy, you’ll be able to make them join the *fully* open-source wave.

  3. John / Sep 7 2005 8:29 am

    Ludovic, not everyone is as fanatically committed to the “open source wave” as you are. And here’s the more important part: they don’t need to be. There is room in the world for both open source and closed source products, contrary to what the open-source zealots say.

  4. Ludovic Dubost / Sep 8 2005 2:27 pm

    I never said there is no room for closed source products. If all closed-source companies were like Atlassian as a user of software I would probably be less looking for the additional guarantees of openness and alternatives that open-source gives.
    You should not mistake the willing to promote open-source with being a zealot. On the contrary, if I like Open-Source it’s because I believe it promotes choice, both choice of products and choice of providers. It wouldn’t be coherent for me to say that closed source products shouldn’t exist. It is part of the choice.
    If I said that about Atlassian, it’s because I believe that Atlassian and it’s products could be even more successfull as Open Source products.

  5. John / Sep 13 2005 7:58 am

    I’m not mistaking anything. I’ve seen you around… open source vs. closed source is clearly a “right” or “wrong” issue for you. There’s a fine line between passion and zealotry. Once you start trying to convert others to the “right way” of doing things, you’ve crossed over the line to zealotry.
    You really think Atlassian could be more successful as an open source product? Why? Do you have anything substantive to support that assertion? I sure hope you don’t use “adoption” as your reason. I’m willing to bet that Atlassian has far wider adoption than Xwiki.

  6. Ludovic Dubost / Sep 13 2005 10:55 am

    I’m sorry you have this vision of me. My vision is that what’s important is the right to choose. To choose both the software and also it’s provider. Sometimes you get this right because you can switch over your data from one tool to another easily. Sometimes you get this because your software is open-source. What’s ‘wrong’ in my opinion is not ‘closed-source’ but it’s ‘lock-in’ or being forced to upgrade. Aside from that I promote open-source not because it’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ vs ‘closed-source’ but because I value this model of “sharing” and “collaborating” and because I believe that there are many ways software could evolve that we can’t imagine and being open-source makes this possible.
    As I said, Atlassian is doing a great job of being open and giving people choice.
    Concerning how Atlassian could be more successfull as open-source, I’m not the one to work on Atlassian’s business model. Indeed Atlassian has very strong adoption, but their strong image in both the business world and also in the open-source world could make them a real strong open-source contender, for which there is room. Also I think you can’t compare Atlassian’s adoption with XWiki’s as Atlassian has been around much longer and has a strong product which JIRA which drive’s also Confluence’s adoption.
    Sorry for this thread which I feel got too far as in the beginning I only wanted to congratulate Jonathan for his new job.

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