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Official Announcement – We're changing our name!

21 Apr

When PBwiki launched in 2005, our founder David was excited to build a fast and easy way to create a wiki. He even named the company PBwiki – because starting your own wiki was ‘as easy as making a Peanut Butter sandwich’.

In fact, it’s still easy to use our product, and you can definitely create your own workspace in less time than it takes to make the proverbial PB&J…especially if you have to dig around in the pantry to find the peanut butter.

We spent much of the next few years answering questions like, “What’s a wiki?” and “How can I use one in my school or organization?” But over the past year, we’ve noticed a change. These days, we get far fewer questions about how to use a wiki, and a more questions about specific ways that our collaboration tools can meet specific needs.

We’ve spent so much time talking with users and building features that people asked for -Access Controls, Document Management, Mobile Edition- that it’s become increasingly difficult to claim that we’re just a wiki company.

In fact when we asked our users how they use PBwiki, here’s what they say:

“[PBwiki] proved to be a key resource for our support staff…we centralized the vast organizational knowledge around the implementation in a single place.” – RBC

“We use PBwiki to manage workflow.” – Top Fortune 100 business user

“I use my PBwiki as a better alternative to a course management system” -edwebb

We’ve gone far beyond the traditional concept of wiki functionality, and as a result, the name “PBwiki” doesn’t reflect how we think of ourself – or how our users think of us.

Next month we have some big changes that we will be announcing, and one of them is a new name and logo. Yes folks, the peanut butter sandwich is going into retirement.

Your workspace will remain exactly the same – with the same features and login information. And we will always be an easy-to-use solution that you can depend on, with great free products. But we hope you’re excited about all the additional things we’ll be bringing you.

For more information about about what changes you’ll be seeing, check out our PBwiki FAQ.

Before we say good bye to our Peanut Butter Sandwich, we want to have some fun. Guess our new name, and we’ll send you a soon-to-be vintage PBwiki t-shirt. In fact, you don’t even have to guess correctly! We’ll also give out PBwiki t-shirts to the most creative and interesting suggestions.

Take your best guess here!

The Spirit of Flowerdale

3 Apr

Rebuilding in Flowerdale

You’ve probably heard me focus relentlessly on my core message that PBwiki helps teams become more productive and profitable.  But while my job (VP Enterprise Marketing) requires me to focus on helping paying customer, it is quite wonderful to hear stories about PBwiki making a difference in a non-monetary way.

When devastating wildfires struck Australia and the town of Flowerdale, PBwiki customer Peter Williams of Deloitte Digital wanted to do something about it.  He and other volunteers set about the business of helping the town’s residents rebuild from this terrible disaster, using PBwiki to help coordinate the efforts.

Today, Peter and the other volunteers are helping the town to rebuild.  There is temporary housing for displaced residents, and they’re even holding an Easter egg hunt for the smallest citizens.

We’re proud to be a part of this wonderful effort.  To follow this heart-warming story of generosity, check out the Flowerdale blog.

A business perspective on the evolution of PBwiki

24 Mar

Gil Yehuda, the Enterprise 2.0 industry analyst (formerly of Forrester Research), has a great post up about his perspective on how PBwiki has evolved over time.

Here within PBHQ, it’s easy for us to forget what the changes to PBwiki look like to the outside world.  New features like the Mobile Edition seem like old hat to us, since we’ve been talking about them for so long.

That’s when an outside perspective like Gil’s is valuable for us.  While we love the feedback we get from you, our valued users, the fact is, you’re biased.  You use PBwiki, so you probably like the product and us.

Someone like Gil, who covers the whole industry and speaks with alternate companies and their customers is much better positioned to judge PBwiki objectively.

Here’s what Gil had to say:

I have been watching as PBwiki adds more business-focused features and services.  One important feature was the inclusion of lightweight document management features. You can upload, share, and download files (document, images, etc.) with others.  The document management features are not too fancy, but they are good enough for most.  When I first saw these features, I thought of the way most people use SharePoint as a simple document management server with some lightweight page markup capabilities.  In reality, SharePoint provides a powerful platform that includes much more than document management.  But most companies I have spoken with don’t use a small fraction of SharePoint’s features.  For many, SharePoint gives them more than they will use, but less than they need.  And this begs the question – would you be better served with a hosted wiki that provides simple document management?  If you are like many who just use SharePoint for doc management and page markup, but you need to collaborate with partners outside your firewall, then PBwiki becomes quite interesting.

Then PBwiki added a 24/7 end user support service.  For just a few bucks more per user, you can get the assurance of online support, anytime.  I don’t know how many of their business customers use the support feature, but I’m sure they all like the message that PBwiki is sending by offering this service.  Business Wikis are about business – and PBwiki gets it.

And now to this week’s announcement: You can take the wiki with you on your mobile device.   Although you don’t get full editing  capabilities on the mobile device, you can read wiki pages, search for content, create new pages,  and add comments to existing pages.  And there’s no fancy URL to remember since PBwiki’s servers detect if you are using an iPhone or BlackBerry and provide you an experienced optimized for your device automatically.  This is critical for those business needs that arise when you are not at your computer.  Like when you are in a meeting, with a client, a patient, or vendor.  On the road, working from home, or on the shop floor.  Information availability is critical to agile businesses.

I had a chance to speak with a very satisfied PBwiki customer, an investment holding company that is involved in a bunch of businesses — ranging from aerospace engineering, personnel services, telecommunications, casinos, real estate, you name it.  Each business manages their own affairs and technology infrastructure, but the central businesses group collaborates with each of the satellite businesses.  The central group is relatively small, and they have no need to spend lots of money on technology infrastructure.  but they do need the flexibility to work with their contacts in each of their affiliates.

There are many business with similar profiles — like PR agencies who interface with multiple customers.  I spoke with one who expressed the same pattern of need.  They need an easy to use, SaaS based, secure platform to co-create and share documents with many partners.  They know that email is the wrong tool for fluid collaboration. And they want to keep things simple and cheap.  They can handle monthly per-user charges, since they operate that way with other vendors too.

PBwiki provides a compelling option for these Enterprise Wiki buyers.  I don’t believe they are the best option for everyone – sorry, but no one offers that silver bullet yet.  But I do believe they should be on your short-list if you are looking for hosted wiki solutions.

(click here to read Gil’s entire post)

In the end, it’s easy to get caught up in the individual releases and updates.  We live in an attention-deficit world, and it’s just as tempting for companies to try to “win” the news cycle as it is for politicians.  But it’s the big picture that matters in the end.

PBwiki Mobile Edition for iPhone and Blackberry

17 Mar

Ever needed to access your PBwiki using an iPhone or Blackberry? Now you can, with PBwiki Mobile Edition.

PBwiki Mobile Edition automatically recognizes when you’re using a smartphone to access your PBwiki, and serves up a blazingly fast mobile-optimized interface. We’ve stripped out everything that’s extraneous to minimize load times and maximize the content you see.

And PBwiki Mobile Edition is available free of charge to our Professional and Professional Plus customers.

With Mobile Edition, you can:

  • Search your PBwiki (including uploaded files) to answer a question
  • Access policies/procedures/manuals
  • Download files to send via mobile email
  • Keep up with your team’s activities via notifications and recent changes
  • Provide instant feedback via comment
  • Record thoughts via comment or new page

Here’s what InformationWeek had to say about PBwiki Mobile Edition:

“The mobile device is a logical extension for collaboration tools, particularly given today’s fractured work environment, where contributors may be on the road more than in an office. With the digital tether of the iPhone or Blackberry, road warriors can satisfy the urge to check in on a project, make comments and keep the ball rolling.”

To try out PBwiki Mobile Edition, just visit your PBwiki using your iPhone or Blackberry (if you’re on a Professional plan) or check out our sample wiki at http://mobileedition.pbworks.com.

While we only officially support the iPhone and Blackberry, other smartphones will probably work.  Begin your Android lobbying now!

PBwiki in the news: Week of 3/9/2009

13 Mar

(Image courtesy of Leslie Duss)

Another busy week of PBwiki in the news, including the New York Times, local TV news, and of all things, how PBwiki helped reduce crime in one city by 25%!

The Static Document Model Is Dying–RIP .doc, .xls, and .ppt (TechCrunchIT, 3/9/2009)

  • In which I opine on the role of PBwiki in tying together the disparate components of the enterprise.

In Hard Times, Freelancers Turn to the Web (New York Times, 3/12/2009)

  • Ever wonder about the great support you get from PBwiki?  In this article, Support and Services supremo Rachel Pennig talks about using oDesk to manage her team.

It’s All About Wikis (News9 Oklahoma, 3/12/2009)

  • In case you ever wondered what a local television news story on PBwiki would look like.  Stay classy, Oklahoma.

Crime reduced in major cities through prayer-walking (Examiner.com, 3/13/2009)

  • I’m not sure PBwiki can take sole credit for the 25% reduction in violent crime in Chico, CA, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt!

We demand a recount! (Open Web Awards)

11 Dec

Photo courtesy of Jonathunder.

It has come to our attention that in Mashable’s Open Web Awards, PBwiki came in as the runner-up to Wikipedia in the “Wiki” category.

Clearly, this is a travishamockery of justice. Sure, Wikipedia is the largest repository of human knowledge, but you won’t find caricatures of all the Wikipedians on their web site.

Please write your local politicians and demand justice. We’re coming for you, Jimmy Wales!

(In all seriousness, thank you to all the bloggers who voted for us. It’s an honor. And hey, maybe next year….)

Back To School Blitz: Free Upgrades and Gifts

20 Aug

We’ve just announced two new back to school programs for educators that will let them get free Gold upgrades and other gifts like LEGO sets and up to $1,000 for buying school supplies. Here are the details:


Program for Teachers and Librarians

PBwiki’s Back To School Challenge
(http://www.backtoschoolchallenge.com) allows up to 100,000 individual
teachers and librarians to sign up and earn a free one-year Gold Upgrade
(regular price $250) by using, blogging about, and referring others to
PBwiki. In addition, top performers in the challenge will receive donations
such as a $1,000 gift certificate from PBwiki for purchasing school
supplies, educational products from LEGO(R) Education (The LEGO Group’s
educational division), autographed books from award-winning science author
Janice Van Cleave, and the bilingual board game GiftTRAP (named “Best Party
Game” by both Games Magazine and Creative Child Magazine). “With sales of
more than two million copies, and translations in fifteen languages, my
books are tools used by educators around the world to expand science
education beyond the textbook,” said Van Cleave, the author of popular
books such as Janice VanCleave’s Teaching the Fun of Science. “By enabling
collaboration, wikis can add binomial expansion to the educational value in
my books.” For a list of these donations, visit the PBwiki web site
(http://pbworks.com/content/btsc-sponsors).

Program for School Districts and Educational Organizations

PBwiki’s Partner Program for Education allows school districts and
organizations that standardize on PBwiki to offer free one-year Gold
Upgrades (regular price $250) as an exclusive membership benefit. Already,
organizations such as the Mathematical Association of America, and the
Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers have signed up to offer PBwiki to the
individual educators they serve. “We use PBwiki to help promote our annual
meetings, and as a collaborative tool for a variety of special projects,”
said Michael Pearson, Associate Executive Director of the Mathematical
Association of America. “There is growing interest in the use of wikis and
other interactive, web-based tools for the classroom. Providing a free
trial of PBwiki will allow our members to experiment and learn how to use
wikis to benefit their students.” School districts and organizations
interested in joining the program should visit the Partner Program page
(http://pbworks.com/content/edupartners).

The Back To School Challenge and Partner Program for Education run
through October 31, 2008.


But don’t take our word for how cool this is…here’s what CMSWire had to say:

“These applications and services will allow teachers and students to collaborate in ways that students have never imagined. The uses are virtually unlimited.

Most of us here at CMSWire probably can’t even count the ways we could have utilized such technologies back when we were in school.

The effects of this could inspire students and teachers to familiarize themselves with technology, Web 2.0, and collaboration. This won’t keep students out of the principal’s office for using their cell phone during class, but it is nice to see companies like PBwiki giving back to the educational system. More companies should have similar programs.”

Can PBwiki Help You Get A Job?

18 Jul

eWeek suggests that publishing information on your wiki may help techies in the job search:

Like the Academia from which the industry sprung, career Techies have long sought publishing – professional journals, trade publications, books – as a means to push their process, tout their technique and promote their name.

The concept has never been easier thanks to the Wiki and it’s the first place a Web 2.0-phobe should turn to self-promote “add business value to your career,” said Joe Gentry, CTO and Senior VP of Software AG, who fancies himself knowledgeable in the matters of IT career navigation.

“If you are a developer, analyst or administrator with a couple of decades under your belt, you’ll probably concede (as a good corporate citizen) that there’s a bunch of business domain knowledge stored inside your head that ought to be passed along to others in the organization before you call it a career,” Gentry said. “But writing a stack of traditional user manuals is like eating dirt, right?”

The author is kind enough to then link to PBwiki (along with two other companies who shall remain nameless) as a great tool to create and share your knowledge.

If you go down this path, don’t forget to share your knowledge with others by submitting your site to the Public PBwiki Directory.

PBwiki in the News: Awards, Saving Lives in Iraq, and Helping Contractors

17 Jul

We’ve got a couple more PBwiki stories to share…

We’re #1!  We’re #1! We’re #1!

SEOmoz gave PBwiki 1st Prize in the “Hosted Wikis” category of the annual Web 2.0 Awards.  We’d like to thank the Academy, our director, our co-stars…but now they’re cueing the music and shooing us off the stage.

Wikis at War

Over on the Wikinomics Blog, we’ve got a guest post up about how the University of Wisconsin is using PBwiki for a research project to help protect troops in Iraq from attacks by equipping Hummers with airless tires that are harder to disable.

I’ll Finish Remodeling The Kitchen After I Check My Wiki

PBwiki reaches out to contractors with an appearance in the LowesForPros newsletter from the popular home improvement superstore.  We talk about how PBwiki makes creating your own company intranet a lot easier than you might think.  Now if only you could use your walkie-talkie to post edits….

Post Your PBwiki In The New Public PBwiki Directory

1 Jul

Paparazzi

Are you ready for your closeup?

Our new Public PBwiki Directory (www.publicpbwikis.com) lets folks find examples of public PBwikis in all categories.  For example, here’s a list of public PBwikis that are official PBwiki resources.

It’s completely voluntary (you don’t have to submit your site if you don’t want to), but if you’re proud of the work you’ve done, and want to share your PBwiki with the world, submit your link now.

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