AdaptiveBlue – One Cold November Night

One Saturday Night In November

When Alex Iskold found me, I was messin’ around with his stuff. I don’t know how long he watched me there, or how he even knew I was there in the first place, but eventually he sent me an email that paraphrased, politely said, “Hey, what’re you doin’ with my stuff?”

A Quick Bit Of Background
Several readers had told me they never looked at my links because the links looked like ads, so I was trying to find a better way to display my links. I had come across SmartLinks, which led me straight to BlueOrganizer and the BlueOrganizer Badges. You’ll see one in the sidebar here, down below. I quickly grabbed the little badge and started toying around with it. I’m like that sometimes. I get wrapped up in seeing if I can make some piece of software do what it wasn’t exactly designed to do. I can’t write the stuff, but I can certainly drive it around the track.

The BlueOrganizer Badge from AdaptiveBlue seemed to be exactly the thing I was looking for, but for some reason (most likely a result of my fiddling) it just wouldn’t load the images. By the end of the night Alex had gotten several other key team members from AdaptiveBlue on the problem. I walked away from it about 2am, with this vision of people being dragged into the office on Sunday morning, bummed at having to be there. Little did I know how wrong that vision was.

Sunday morning I overslept and was rushing to catch up all day. I didn’t get to work at Wordout until about 3pm. I sat down and pulled up the site. The BlueOrganizer Badge splashed all 4 windows and, whoa, the images were there. Alex, Karen, Andy and the team at AdaptiveBlue had worked some magic and this little jewel was doing exactly what I had hoped.

So Just Who Are These Guys?

Rockstars. That’s who they are. These guys are the best in their field, each with a rare drive and determination to make a difference. Of course, I may be biased. You tend to get that way when you engage this team.

Theirs is a vision where the end user is in control of their own information. In the AdaptiveBlue universe, the experience of the web is determined by people, interacting with columns of interconnected things. Life on the net takes one step closer to becoming transparent in our real lives, becomes a tool for efficiency, choice and entertainment.

As Fraser says in our interview (tomorrow), “Everyone on the team – Alex, Andy, Rion, Karen, Jeff and myself – are deep thinkers and dreamers who find ways to implement the vision in a pragmatic way… If you let your imagination wonder to the edges of what can happen when the potential of the columns are connected … you’ll start to see our vision.”

The AdaptiveBlue Team

AlexAdaptiveBlue is headed up by visionary Founder and CEO Alex Iskold. This isn’t his first time around the block. His previous startup, Information Laboratory, was later acquired by IBM. Alex is a regular contributor to the influential blog, ReadWrite Web. He also publishes his own Technology Blog and regularly posts on the AdaptiveBlue BlueBlog. He does all this when he’s not solving weird customer service problems on the weekend.


Chief Quality Officer Andy Roth troubleshoots, tinkers with, smashes and generally does his best to break the BlueOrganizer. A frequent speaker at trade functions and with 10 years of experience, he’s just trying to make sure we never have a bad BlueOrganizer day.



Rion Nakaya is VP of Design and User Experience. That’s short for saying that she’s the one who looks at the products, the website, every-public-thing that you and I ever interact with, and then she works with the technical, design and business sides of the company to make every experience we ever have with AdaptiveBlue a great one.



As Director of Engineering, Karen Teng “leads the development effort on their mission to add to and improve BlueOrganizer.” So that’s who fixed my Badge that Sunday, a month ago. Thanks Karen!



Software Engineer Jeff Condal joined the team after spending his early career writing Enterprise Java Applications for large banks. I am starting the rumor right here, that he may have been born with a microchip in his brain, bringing with him “programming experience that dates back to childhood”.

Fraser Kelton is Director of Business Development and may be the only competition I have in the “Who can write the longest sentence?” category, but he writes them so well, I just want to quote him here, from the AdaptiveBlue website:


As Director of Business Development Fraser is passionate about building. He spends his days building community, relationships, strategy, and, well, a business. He joins AdaptiveBlue from Trivaris, a Canadian seed-stage investment firm, where he was Director of New Ventures and developed strategy for portfolio companies as they commercialized innovative ideas into scalable businesses.
Fraser holds a degree in Applied Economics from Queen’s University, blogs regularly at his personal blog, Disruptive Thoughts, is a marathon runner, and struggles to write third-person, 100 80 word bios.

I love his humor.

I was lucky enough to get an interview with Fraser Kelton via email as he was recently flying to New York. Be sure to come back later for the highlights of that interview, and all week for Wordout reviews of SmartLinks, BlueOrganizer and the BlueOrganizer widgets.

I am Jon, and oh yeah, I’m a fan.


6 Replies to “AdaptiveBlue – One Cold November Night”

  1. Wow Jon – thank you!!!

    What a great holiday present, all of us are excited and humbled by the amount of attention and positive in your post.

    Our mission is to change the way people experience the web and we are aiming to do much more in 2008 than we’ve done in 2007.


  2. Jon-

    It’s too bad we don’t have a User of the Year award, because you’d likely be a shoe-in, not just for your great use of badges and SmartLinks, but because we are susceptible to flattery.

    But seriously, thanks for this kind and wonderful post.


  3. Thanks, you guys… but this only the beginning. We’ll have more coming throughout the week. I’m especially looking forward to the 1st piece on SmartLinks, where we start trying to actually figure out just exactly what this “Semantic” thing is all about. By the end of the week, we’ll have looked into SmartLinks, BlueOrganizer, all the great AdaptiveBlue widgets and hopefully, we’ll have a pretty clear idea where all these technologies could take us.

    You guys at AdaptiveBlue are up there in front, with your machetes and your hatchets, carving the way through the jungle that is the web today. I am simply glad to be able to see it, and help to bring it about in the only way I can, by showing as many people as possible what I see, what you see, and where we are trying to go with it all.

    I guess what I am trying to say is, thanks for the comments, and more than that, thank you for AdaptiveBlue.


  4. Great article – glad to see there are down-to-earth folks still out there putting out good product on the Net. Takes me back to the good ol’ days…

Comments are closed.