All Souls Day – Social Networking of the 11th Century

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

I grew up in New Orleans where parochial school children enjoyed two entertaining annual holidays:

– the well advertised Mardi Gras, a Tuesday day-off in mid Winter

– the Wednesday after Halloween to celebrate All Saints or All Souls Day

The headlines are occupied by the rise of oil, the fall of the dollar, the kick-off to the presidential race (so far it’s been preseason) and the finale to the sub-prime collapse.  Amidst the dour mainstream news, consider the escalation of the Microsoft vs Google campaign which should influence our own 2008 planning: 

– Microsoft invested $240mm investment in Facebook (1.6{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} stake) last week and Google countered immediately with an open standards alliance, Open Social, including LinkedIn, Ning, and Orkut (Google’s own social network).  Google does not want Facebook to become the operating system of social networks.  Quick aside: News Corp.’s 2006 100{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} acquisition of MySpace for $580mm looks brilliant.

Are we blindly returning to Act II of the dot-bom?  I think not and I believe that Social Networking or Community Building as promoted by Facebook and others could be adopted by our own kinds of enterprises to better connect our widely dispersed knowledge bases: employees, customers, partners, supplier in the spirit of ‘What if we knew what we all knew?!’

Right now I have eleven (11) applications opened to manage my work inside and outside of the firewall: email, sms, two types of instant messaging, two browsers, plus the associated tools for calendar, address book, word processing and a mobile phone.  I would value a workspace where I could link all of my activities to ‘connect those who know with those who need to know, regardless of their employer.  I see a Facebook-like model helping me to achieve this.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, is quoted in Monday’s NY Times:  “One of the things to say, very clearly, is that social networks are very real.  If you are of a certain age, you sort of dismiss this as college kids or teenagers.  But this is very real.”  Google closed over $700 today, up 54{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} YTD.

‘Start small, grow fast, get involved‘ might be a productive way to explore the potential of Social Networking or Innovation Networking in 2008.   No holiday required.

Perrien

Web 2.0 lessons-learned this summer

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Welcome to Autumn,

1. Mobile Search with related advertising opportunities remains the investment rage amongst Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.   Apple’s iPhone campaign fueling this fire (stock up 80{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} since announcement in Feb. 2007).

2. How to get started, not Why is the theme of the customer discussion. A shift from the spring due to notable F500 investments such as News Corp acquisition of Dow Jones (parent of the Wall Street Journal) and Microsoft offering $300mm for just 5{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} of Facebook.  Agreement that there is something to this notion of Community Building or Social Networking.  Starting inside the enterprise to harness collective wisdom of employees, with a goal of improved innovation, is compelling.  Existing business processes and right mix of staff are inhibitors to taking advantage.  Is the benefit in early adoption or fast-following?!

3. Not much of a wow factor in related tools: blogs, wikis, feeds etc as judged to be the basics but not project justifiers.

4. Positive reception to IBM’s own related experiences: Jams, Think Place, Technology Adoption Program, and quantity of internal blogs, wikis etc.  A concerted offering would be valued by marketplace.

5. Mash-ups of enterprise data could be a big winner; need cohabitation story with portal capabilities.

6. Appear Bigger than You Are via Web 2.0 (YouTube, Community Building) is an attraction to mid-market customers.

7. Mid-sized firms attracted, increasingly so, to hosted apps by likes of Google (e.g. Google Pack, NetBooks)

8. Web 2.0, as the friendly face of service-enabled architectures (SOA), is not yet obvious to customers and to sellers. Remains a tough, internal sell from IT to its business sponsors.

9. Information Security is top of mind, well beyond a traditional IT control point:  ‘If I move outside of enterprise with Web 2.0, how would I handle InfoSec and legal hurdles?’

10. Not much Web 2.0 budget in ’07 and being budgeted for TBD projects in ’08.

Amplifying remarks at your request; comments welcomed.

Christopher Perrien