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Hands United
by Jon Lebkowsky | September 25, 2017

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.
The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.
It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
~ Andrew Carnegie

Cooperative workplaces are among this country’s best-kept business secrets. This approach to a workplace goes beyond the widely accepted corporate model of exploitation and elimination. Instead, cooperatives create a business entity...

User Story Structure
by Jon Lebkowsky | September 18, 2017

In website development, it's important to understand the perspective of the person who will be using the site.

Use Cases

An early way of establishing this perspective in software development was the use case. In planning software development, we would organize the universe of potential users according to their roles. Then we would define the interactions between a role and the system to achieve a goal - these were use cases.

“A use case is a written description of how users...

Creative Team
by Jon Lebkowsky | September 4, 2017

In a complex world we have increasing specialization, and it can be hard for any one person to have all the knowledge or discipline required to meaningfully engage with their work and get everything accomplished. At the same time, handling all aspects of the business (e.g. marketing, accounting, technology) there is an increasing need for a strong web presence with the right technical infrastructure.

Smaller organizations have limited resources to outsource work and limited...

by Jon Lebkowsky | August 1, 2017

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. (Via International Co-operative Alliance)  Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative worker-owners believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social...

Clay Shirky
by Jon Lebkowsky | July 19, 2017

This interview originally appeared March 31, 2008 at the now-defunct website.

Clay Shirky is an influential writer, consultant, and teacher focused on the Internet as a social platform. He's one of the smartest thinkers I know about how people live, love, and work online. His new book, Here Comes Everybody:The Power of Organizing without Organizations, was just published by The Penguin Press. As an intro to Chapter 11, on "Promise, Tool, and...

by Jon Lebkowsky | June 22, 2017

Amazon's announced intention to buy Whole Foods Market was no surprise to me, because I helped Whole Foods as it tried to build its own huge e-commerce business for "cultural creatives," around the turn of the millennium. While our project,, didn't survive the dotcom bust, the prototype e-commerce grocery site that we'd built at proved that Whole Foods Market could do e-commerce as well as anybody at the time. We had the ordering system and fulfillment...

Dell Medical School
by Jon Lebkowsky | January 27, 2017

In 2009, along with several physicians, patients and health activists, I helped form the Society for Participatory Medicine, a nonprofit promoting “a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health, and in which providers encourage and value them as full partners.” I was drawn into discussions about the transformation of healthcare by the late Dr. Tom Ferguson, whom I met at a 1980s meeting of the Austin Writer’s League, where he...

Jon at Creatives Meet Business
by Jon Lebkowsky | January 19, 2017

I had the opportunity to make a series of "lightning presentations" on web development platforms at an October 2016 Creatives Meets Business meeting in Austin. "Jon is a fascinating fellow and is beyond knowledgable about all things web and development (and on ALL things internet). Jon shares about the different types of platforms out there (and the difference between them) and what questions you should be thinking about if you're ready to work with a developer." Read more and listen to the...

by Jon Lebkowsky | November 30, 2016

A recently revealed vulnerability in the Wordpress auto-update process could potentially have resulted in widespread intrusions on websites that were running Wordpress and had the auto-update functionality turned on. Specifically, this refers to automatic background updates: you can set Wordpress to accept core and plugin updates as they're released, so that you don't have to monitor and run the updates yourself. When auto-update is turned on for a Wordpress site, new code is synced from...

by Jon Lebkowsky | May 5, 2016

"Blog" is short for "weblog," and is a term coined as a pun by Peter Merholz, who explains the origin of the term.  Wikipedia has a good definition of the term. “Blog” is about form, not content; early on the idea of a weblog, "logging the web," was that the authors offered links to resources they'd found on the web, a way to find signal in the noise, and useful especially before Google offered a refined and effective search tool. Each new post was added at the top, so one aspect of the blog...

Polycot Associates at work.
by Jon Lebkowsky | April 25, 2016


Like a band that’s been playing music together for years: the Polycot team is tight; our work is harmonious and efficient. The Polycot members power a full-featured, highly creative web consulting and development agency, offering managed website design & development, and associated expertise in content strategy, search and social media optimization.

And we’re skilled communicators, which really helps the process. Through ongoing collaboration and communication, we ensure...

Evan Smith interviews Kara Swisher at the International Symposium on Online Journalism
by Jon Lebkowsky | April 17, 2016

I was live tweeting day 2 of this year's International Symposium on Online Journalism (#ISOJ) - a little chaotic, but here are my live tweets. Big takeaway: there was little about anxiety over legacy business model failure, more focus on how things are working - emphasizing that they're working. This is a great time for news content and delivery innovation. The tweets: Hearing from women digital news leaders at a special breakfast session. Waking up & smelling the coffee...! #isoj #...