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Open Office Hour


One of the suggestions that came out of the discussion when I spoke to the ABCD group was that I hold some sort of open office hours. The idea is that I could just be available for anyone who wanted to come by and talk. No agenda. No plan. Just discussion.

I thought it was a great idea, but wondered if it would work. But I tried it out a couple of weeks ago, and to my surprise (and delight) about 8 people showed up. We had a terrific conversation about what they did, what got in their way, and what made their part of Harvard unique (the person from Classics spends lots of time support odd and non-standard fonts, which was interesting to hear and not surprising once she said it, but hadn’t occurred to me before). The second attempt (last Friday) had about a dozen people, and we ended up talking a lot about open source and the role it could play at Harvard. Both great discussions.

So I’m going to have another. While Friday afternoon is a good time for this sort of thing, I’m going to be out of town (vacation) the end of next week, so I’m going to try varying the day to see what happens. So the next CTO open office hour will be next Monday, August 8, at 4 p.m. in the ground floor Maxwell Dworkin lounge. I’ll put up a sign of some sort (probably on my computer screen) to identify myself.

So come one, come all. The discussions are good, I’m learning a lot, and it is your chance to be heard…

And in an attempt to get some comments, where are some other places on campus that would be good to hold this? I’m looking for someplace informal, that needs no particular scheduling, and where I won’t be embarrassed if I end up spending the hour by myself but where a group of 10 to 20 can sit and chat. I know the Engineering part of campus pretty well (which is why I’ve been doing this in Maxwell Dworkin and Northeast Labs), but it would be good to move to other parts of campus as well. So if you have a suggestion, tack a comment on this post and I’ll entertain other options.

A Big Question
Open office hours, open-source software


  1. Kristin Caulfield

    August 5, 2011 @ 3:52 pm


    The Fisher Family Commons in the Knafel Building of the CGIS complex (1737 Cambridge Street) has nice open seating area, if you keep the meetings at 4 the cafe will be closed. At lunch it can get pretty busy, but by 4 you should be able to find a spot and probably a group of tables you could use if necessary. There is also a nice lawn area just outside. If it’s a nice day, you could park yourself under a tree if you don’t mind sitting on the ground. Hopefully I can make it on Monday! Kristin Caulfield, Manager of Communications, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

  2. Steve Ferrandino

    August 5, 2011 @ 8:44 pm


    The Kresge cafeteria at the School of Public Health in the Medical Area and if it’s nice, there’s the Countway Library courtyard. FWIW, it’s nearly impossible for many of us in the medical area to get to Cambridge where it doesn’t take away a half-day of work

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