1st day of Autumn

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Tempo in the technology sales sphere picks up. Four customer related briefings yesterday and several last week. I’m trying to figure-out why middle aged IT execs don’t embrace the potential of social media or Web 2.0?! They acknowledge that something is going on, mostly as they observe their children’s habits, and yet make little related progress or effort.

One reason could be that I’m speaking to IT execs. Two recent meetings with marketing staff, a combined total of 23 attendees revealed that 22 used iPhones. In one meeting of 11, each attendee of a range of ages had one! I spoke to 90+ IT execs last week, 7 had iPhones and the audience agreed that Social Media is only the new wrapper for relationship building.

Yesterday, an energy company expressed interest in meeting with me for a briefing because of the 200 interns that they hired for the past summer, 195 in their program evaluation forms expressed dismay at the absence or recommended that this company offer Facebook and Linked-In and You Tube access to employees. This wired demographic approaches with quite different expectations of work and relationships than even their parents.

Maybe I should resurrect the notion of the sea-change in technology introduction brought on by the CD-ROM in the early 1990s. I believe that it could be argued that this was the first really useful item of business productivity brought to the office from home. Prior, phone, mobile phones, typewriters, monitors, computers et al were brought home from the office. In the span of less than one generation, mom and dad look into the basement or den or children’s bedroom for insight into the future tools of their office environment. I know that I do. And lately, I am impressed with how much You Tube video that my teenage son looks at to learn about music or sports or even – ready for this – his schoolwork.

I try to comfort my customers about the potential of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook by suggesting that these are indeed quite fundamental, maybe even crude, but so was the personal computer in the early eighties. I recall a manufacturing expert at the largest of computer companies (at that time) telling me that he did not own a PC because it only seemed useful for “collecting recipes and writing letters (printed on that dot matrix, tabbed paper device). At that time, who could have envisioned having two applications open such as word processing and a spreadsheet, much less global interconnectivity of these machines or the form-factor being smaller than a calculator of that time. Here’s one: my first HP caluculator cost nearly $500 in 1973; my 16gb iPhone cost $200 in 2008. And the iPhone includes a decent calculator.
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US Military Academy Leadership Breakfast Series

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Flattered to be invited as the inaugural speaker for the USMA’s RTP Chapter Leadership Breakfast Program. Next month’s discussion will be led by Duke’s Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Krzyzewski, followed in autumn by General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General John Moellering, Chairman USAA. Sometimes it pays to be the first over the side.

Web 2.0 Tools & Techniques
– Web 1.0 was about Presence & Publication
– Web 2.0 is about Participation moving from millions of customers & dozens of markets to millions of markets comprising dozens of customers
– Knowledge is no longer power as Everybody knows. How can each of us and each of our organizations become facilitators of everyone knowing.
– the delivery device will be a mobile device / smart phone, especially for the evolving customer demographic

Financial recovery will follow-up sequence of: Restoring Liquidity (via debt); Re-capitalization; increased Merger & Acquisition activity; focus on Customer. Customer retention will be paramount and customers will have many, many options.

For project funding, product or service will have to fulfill one of several categories: 1) record time to cost-recovery or ROI, usually less than 9 months; 2) facilitates Transformation of the fundamental business model whether people, process or technologies; 3) enable the enterprise to be more Innovative. Innovation does not have to be large and radical, could be incremental and small so long as it provides competitive advantage.

Reviewed recent IBM Global Services study Toward Transparency and Sustainability (email me for copy: perrien@us.ibm.com). Recommend 18 May 09 New Yorker article which overviews financial crisis. Entitled: Death of Kings.

Photo is view from breakfast meeting. Not exactly the home office view.