I’ve been blessed to have connected directly and indirectly with several mobile players (companies, leaders, etc.) in the past decade. And it is always a hard thing when someone or something that I’ve grown attached to is going away. Such is the case with Symbian Ideas (and the rest of the Symbian Foundation websites). This weekend, I spent some time reflecting while archiving my submitted ideas to Evernote.
My History with Symbian Ideas
I joined the Symbian Ideas site in July 2009. At the time, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to get some ideas out there that had been sitting on my heart for sometime in regards to the Symbian platform.
You see, I had a very long migration to the Symbian platform (from using PalmOS before hand), and so many of my thoughts about the platform were still being formed. Still, I made it through a few devices and had gotten comfortable. Symbian Ideas provided a way for me to give some feedback to Nokia, Samsung, and other Symbian licensees, and to learn a bit more about the platform behind the covers.
Sharing and Conversing Over Ideas
It took a while, and I really was by no means a person who did a lot of submissions, but eventually managed to get a few ideas out there that generated some solid conversations.
Of the ideas that I submitted, a few still excite me to no end:
- Revamp the Behavior of Communicating
- Themes as Experiences
- Music Player as a Plug-in-Like Platform
- Utilize the MWS as an OpenID Server
- Active Bookmarks + RSS To Create an Active Homescreen WRT/Widget
I’d argue that there’s nothing too advanced about the ideas that I submitted, but there is a good bit of vision and reach that Symbian Ideas allowed for ideas submissions – and just the exercise alone of creating an idea made me work in ways that I had not done professionally for some time.
In addition to the 16 or so ideas that I submitted, I also engaged in discussions around the ideas of others. There are really too many to name, but I really liked those ideas that were well thought out – or were just so simple that it was like, “why wasn’t this in here to begin with.” Symbian Ideas was a dump for ideas, but also a means to assess how much was in the Symbian space that was good or needed addressing.
From Conversation Starter to Stirrer
At some point during my time there, I was asked to be a part of a team of moderators at Symbian Ideas. The team would handle steering conversations that veered off topic, and watching the board for spam and repetitive ideas.
Initially, I wondered if that would be a good fit for me – certainly the others asked to be on the team could (and did) put forth more work keeping the site in shape. But, upon accepting the moderator position, I set about creating fewer ideas and making sure to keep an overall idea of all the ideas that were on the site. Unfortunately, the content management system used initially didn’t make it easy to do things like merge duplicate ideas or notify people when topics weren’t in the right places.
In time, I got used to my weekly scampers through Ideas and the bi-weekly moderator team meetings. For as mobile and busy as life had me, I was always glad to get on those calls – even when I was bugging our Symbian team lead for the call in number (that I kept forgetting to save).
Closing Conversations But Not Ideas
In looking at the mobile industry, it was clear that the Symbian Foundation was having some issues. Between the team, we pondered what would happen to Ideas and the community that was maturing there. It would be one thing to lose the site, but the community was something that any company would want to carefully consider leaving aside.
Then came the rumors about changes happening and the announcement that Lee Williams stepped down as CEO. I’d been very quiet to the team and pretty much everyone else about what I’d been seeing, but that prompted me to email the team my thoughts (later vetted and posted). In a few days time, my guesses turned into fact and the Foundation was indeed changed into a licensing body and the communities and sites that made up the Symbian Foundation would be shuttered.
It was a sad moment for our moderator team. I felt worse for the folks being let go at Symbian – those there I interacted with were very passionate about the platform and the freedom that had been gained from spinning off from Nokia. But, it didn’t last. At least not in that fashion. What’s next for them I don’t know, but to those people, I’ve prayed often for their blessings in their next ventures.
Ideas don’t end as easily though. There is a lot of stuff in the Symbian platform. A whole lot. One of the reasons that I’m still using the platform is that other platforms are still growing to get to the maturity of software that’s seen here. Where Symbian gets to start from is from that point – Ovi Maps, Nokia Bots, Gravity, and other apps simply are building on a great platform. They aren’t plugging holes already answered. In a sense, Symbian is a platform where ideas are freer to fly – they don’t have the work to do to get a foundation like other mobile platforms.
Ideas As Seeds for More
One of the things that Symbian Ideas has done is seeded my imaginations for personal technology. The discussions there opened my eyes towards the holes in mobile/mobile platforms that avenues like Mobile Ministry Magazine are primed to address, or speak clearer towards.
Ideas and relationships there created new friendships, made me pay a bit more attention to Twitter, and caused me to learn that mobile is just as much (if not more) about the people behind the number pad and screen than it is the bits and bytes that let us learn of one another.
On my end, adjustments will come towards things like my digi-business card and references to those ideas that I did create or contribute to. I’ve got some of those things packed away, and may pull them out from time to time to see if the rest of the mobile industry has moved from making it work to being a platform where ideas are realized.
Symbian Ideas stays as a part of my growth and maturity in this field. And if their transformation is any indication – sometimes you do have to take a few things away to show just how far forward you are rolling.
Blessings to the mod team I served with; and to those a Ideas and the other Symbian departments whom are moving on. My prayers for you all aren’t archived even though the content is.