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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Circles recycle


The open rooftop rotunda of AARP Headquarters satisfies my need to have a grand vista before me at my place of work as I meditate on the challenges of the day. To me, the rotunda walls represent strength and harmony, a circle that makes all ends beginnings, and caps a physical and organizational entity that must persist for many decades into the future. It's a private little Stonehenge that helps me focus learnings from the past and present into visions of the future. Looking up into the open sky from the center of the rotunda, the blue sky reminds me of the infinity of space/time, but almost aways there are some clouds of uncertainty.

Last week, two circles of work life completed and began again. My friend Victor Lombardi resigned from the job he took over for me about a year ago when I left AIG and New York City, and I started a new job role after completing another at AARP.

I recruited Victor from the then SBI Razorfish to take over the new Senior Information Architect role I created at AIG Corporate eBusiness. Victor has since grown his practice of one into a team of three who, along with the rest of the eBusiness team, work with business units to define corporate standards for web information archictecture, content strategy and usability for AIG's 2000 or so web sites around the world. Victor finally announced on his blog yesterday that he is leaving the corporate world to become an independant consultant, and his (my former) boss is eager to find a replacement. Taking the expanded perspective he's gained from working in a thriving global enterprise out into the world of free agency, some number of lucky clients will soon be able to apply Victor's talents to their digital projects and products.

At AARP's Web Strategy & Operations (WSO) group where I work, a re-org was completed last week and it was announced that I am the Acting Director of Client Services. I will oversee the newly-merged editorial content and online community teams, which total 12 people and will grow to 19 next year. For the first time, I don't have to squint to see where I am on an org chart. I am going to serve in this acting capacity for the next many months to define the new role and finalize a new client service process. And yes, my wife and I are now directors in the same group, but we don't manage each other's work. We both report to the new General Manager, and my team takes a larger place adjacent to my wife's design/production team and the technology team. I'll also continue working with John Maeda on projects at the MIT Media Lab.

The new client services team remains responsible for content strategy, editorial oversight, online community, e-mail newsletters and more for the AARP.org web site. Bringing on new staff in the coming months will help us fulfill our mandate to take on a more consultative role as a group and do more outreach and education across the AARP organization.

In preparation for our first team meeting on Thursday, I've invited Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path to come speak to most of WSO and some of our internal clients on the Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams tomorrow morning. Jesse and his partners are in town to deliver User Experience Week 2004. The talk should be an inspirational boost to the start of our newly-restructured teams.

Interesting times ahead...

11:42 PM in Washington, D.C. | Permalink


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