If you read Legal IT Insider, or if you follow Greg or me on Twitter, you have probably heard the big news regarding HighQ.

They hired me!  (Oh, and they got some investment of some kind. I don’t really follow that stuff, but hey, I guess that’s pretty cool too!)
As of today, I am the Business Transformation and Innovation Architect at HighQ!  This is a customer facing role, which will allow me to work with HighQ customers around the world to imagine, develop, and deliver new legal products and services through the HighQ platform.  I gave a talk at the HighQ Forum in NYC about how I’ve been doing this kind of thing for the last few years. A recap of that talk has become my first HighQ blog post, The 3 Boxes of Innovation.  
After my talk at the Forum and throughout LTNY week, I had people that I have known, followed, and looked up to for years coming up to me asking when they could contact me to discuss their particular use case.  For me, this is the most exciting aspect of my new role.  Rather than speaking in ridiculously oblique terms about the tools I’m using and the products we’re building at my firm, and getting much the same from friends and colleagues (and readers of this blog) at other law firms, I now get to roll up my sleeves and work side by side with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the legal industry to create new and innovative products and services.  How cool is that?
I had one non-negotiable requirement before I would agree to take on the new job. One of my duties will be to write for the HighQ blog, and I’m happy to do it, but I must be allowed to continue writing for 3 Geeks.  Stuart Barr’s response was, “that’s fine with us as long as it’s not against the rules of 3 Geeks.”  I’m not sure I have ever laughed so hard in my life.  Rules? 3 Geeks? It’s like he’s never met any of us!
But, as I thought about it, there are some ‘rules’ here on the blog.  They are not written or rigidly enforced, but they are generally adhered to by all of us. 

1. Don’t call out your own firm

Not really a rule so much as prudent self-censorship.  I have openly mentioned my firm only once, when I wrote about the London Office Choir winning a competition.  I’ve actively avoided writing anything that could be directly attributed to anyone at the firm or would be easily recognized as a response to anything that happened at the firm. (Though I occasionally rode a bit close to that edge, like when I wrote a satirical poem in response to the Texas Bar’s stupid Opinion 642 after it caused the firm’s CIO’s title to be changed to Chief of Information Technology.)  However, those who poke the bear too many times, tend to not remain employed by the circus… if you know what I mean.

2. No advertisements

We occasionally review products, tools, or books, but we generally don’t endorse anything.  Also, we allow vendors to write guest posts all the time, but those posts are generally about industry trends or market analysis and not specifically about how great their products are.

3.  The three beer solution

Again, not really a rule, but more of an axiomatic guideline.  “There is no problem that cannot be solved over the course of three beers. And no problem that will not be made worse by ordering the fourth.”  Like I said, axiomatic.

I think that’s about it.  3 ‘rules’ for 3 Geeks, if you will.  For more than 5 years I have fretted about rule #1 for fear that some marketing stooge would track me down for some innocuous firm ‘secret’ I divulged, now it’s rule #2 that I need to worry about. After all, 3 Geeks is not a platform to extoll the virtues of HighQ products any more than it’s a platform to push our firm’s legal services. We have the utmost respect for our devoted readers, and while I may openly shill for HighQ products on the HighQ blog, I hereby promise to never use 3 Geeks as an advertising platform for my new employer.

For example, I will never use my 3 Geeks posts to write about how you can use HighQ Publisher as a platform of platforms that can integrate multiple solutions into a single user interface to build revenue generating subscription legal services for your clients. I will never write about the versatile HighQ Collaborate product that can be used as a simple deal room file sharing service, or as a full internal and external social networking tool, or could even be paired with HighQ Publisher to become your firm’s modern social intranet. I will not even write a post about the slogan I’ve been using to sell HighQ inside the firm for years:

“It’s like SharePoint. You know, if SharePoint didn’t suck.”  

I won’t write about those things here, but you can be sure I will on the HighQ blog.  So subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter if you are interested in those things.

Finally, I just want to say thank you to Greg, Toby, and everyone involved with 3 Geeks, including all of our regular readers.  Without this wonderfully supportive community, I would just be a pissed-off low level IT support guy, struggling to get by in a law firm, frustrated, helpless, and desperately afraid as the industry changed around me.  I’m fairly certain HighQ wouldn’t want to hire me then and I doubt anyone else would either.

Thanks for letting me get a few things off my chest for the last 5 years.

More to come…

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Photo of Ryan McClead Ryan McClead

Ryan is Principal at Sente Advisors, a legal technology consultancy specializing in cross-platform solutions and support.  He has been an evangelist, advocate, consultant, and creative thinker in Legal Technology for more than 15 years. In 2015, he was named a FastCase 50 recipient, and in 2018, he was elected a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. In past lives, he was an Innovation Architect, Knowledge Manager, a Systems Analyst, a Fashion Merchandiser, and Theater Composer, among other things.