Destroyers, Financial Storms, Obama: a Web 2.0 Beacon

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

My latest customer e-gram. About to complete my second year of such musings. Would like to move to blog solely; not sure my adult, executive, corporate audience is in the habit to follow such a means of dialogue.

While serving in the US Navy, our destroyer miscalculated the severity, course & speed of a typhoon. Compounding our misery was the decision to seek safety in port moored outboard a cruiser. For three days the winds pounded us into that cruiser puncturing her hull at the water line. Incredible was it to witness a warship at general quarters while sinking at her own pier.

The mood, behavior and weather of the prevailing financial crisis recalls that
weekend in Subic Bay.

Here’s what we could do to take advantage of the indecision and relative inaction of others: head for open water- meaning the environment where we are constructed to perform our best. Let’s ensure that everyone across the extended organization, inside and outside of the firewall, understands what are our near-term intentions. This is not a recommendation for heroics or reckless behavior, but an opportunity for leadership and the beginning of the campaign to reinforce trustworthy relationships across our value chain of employees, shareholders, partners and customers.

While others are standing still or meandering waiting for the unpredictable market storms to pass, a 10% improvement in our performances could result in a 30% increase in relative advantage (distance from the pack).

Where’s the web 2.0 component? Although I am eager to talk about the continuing progress in the mobile space with Microsoft’s bid to be the search engine of choice in the Verizon mobile network (search, as Google knows, = advertising $$); the introduction of Blackberry (Storm); and the launch of the Google phone; let’s benefit from the victor’s example in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Senator O’Bama
maneuvered from not-yet-ready to the presidency, amassing an historic war chest in the process, by inspiring participation to build his financial network. His opponents throughout the extended contest waged a campaign of message control, the Web 1.0 publishing model.

There is a wide-range of Web 2.0 tools & principles to get us started and the first audience to engage may be within our own firewalls. Moving from Publication to Participation will help to build an extended culture of innovative and necessary change.

P.S. the USS Fox did not sink at that pier in Subic. And for the remainder of our deployment in the South China Sea, whenever there was more than the threat of a rainstorm, the USS Joseph Strauss lit-off her 4 boilers and got underway.

Obama January 20th, 2009 recalls JFK January 20, 1961

Monday, November 17th, 2008

JFK inherited a Cold War. President-elect O’Bama inherits a chaotic world that in many ways is trying to realign itself after the end of this Cold War. I admire his inaugural speech, the best one of my own lifetime. Often wonder where we lost our goal of ‘not asking what our country can do for us..’ and hope that we will now re-orient ourselves accordingly.

“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Entire address.

Obama, Ohio State, and the passing torch to class of 2008

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I feel that there is something to be learned from the recent bowl games and the primaries that may help us to capitalize on the marketplace’s current uncertainty.  More of the same, regardless of size, is not the formula for on-going success.  The victories of Obama in Iowa and LSU in the BCS Championship (no offense intended to anyone’s favorite team or presidential hopeful) were enabled by new ways of approaching familiar problems.  Speed, creativity, and, in Obama’s victory, the connection of disparate yet like-minded supporters carried the day.  There is reminiscing and writing about the pivotal year of 1968.  I observe that 2008 and beyond now belongs to a new generation of young leaders, ones who are comfortably entrenched in the interactions and capabilities enabled by our continuously evolving Internet. 

Perhaps we should look inside of our organizations to take advantage of their points of view about the use of Internet technologies to make our businesses faster, more creative, and better connected with our customer and partners.

Soon we’ll resume our conversations about mobility, social networking, and how to continue the push into Web 2.0 benefits.  Early in this year may be a useful time to combine the gray hairs with the fleet feet in preparation for competing at the next level.

Best for the new year, Christopher Perrien