October 2008 Archives
October 30, 2008
So much for the idea that businesses should be using Facebook-like news feeds. Auntie Beeb thinks we should be using Facebook itself:
And while more work-specific systems, such as LinkedIn or bespoke in-house software tended to be used for work matters, the likes of Facebook, Bebo and MySpace still had a place, said Peter Bradwell, a Demos researcher and the report's author.Of course, as one would expect, this is a horribly shallow rendering of a much more complex report, which you can snag from the Demos site.
"Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact. Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships."
October 28, 2008
Image by TomRaven via Flickr
Where does one get a digital hoodie? Do they offer iPhone integration?
October 26, 2008
October 24, 2008
A quick write-up of my notes from the Wednesday keynotes at Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin. I've already covered Suw Charman-Anderson's keynote about e-mail on The Social Enterprise.
Saul Kline, Index Ventures
Saul Kiline gave us a quick, harsh dose of reality. "The weather looks pretty terrible," he suggested. "The Valley is downbeat."
Startups are "fighting an imaginary war, with a product but no money or customers".
Good companies can be started in hard times. Microsoft and Apple started in the 75/76 depression. Even now, the Dow Jones is four times higher than when Apple and Microsoft were started. Most of the great tech companies started in downturns.
However, there is a market out there. The time we spend online has changed radically in the last few years. Social sites have more minutes per visitor then the big three, even if the Microsoft/Yahoo/Google trio are slightly ahead in total numbers.
And there's help: there are lots of free resources to help startups
BUT we are facing a recession. Capital will not be backing people with good PowerPoints, but people who know what they are doing. Angels will retreat and there will be a focus on professional investing.
- Don't panic
- Bootstrap like crazy
- Make products people want
- Cut your costs.
- Get to break even as soon as you can.
JP Rangaswami of BT Design went a little bit further in that direction, by outlining how social tools can usefully become part of our working practices - and even build on some of the existing ones.
Social tools enavble the communities within businesses to emerge. There are fewer figures of authority and it's more a peer space than the traditional heirarchial business.
And it's worth bearing in mind that communities are not mutually exclusive. You can be (and are part) of many communities, and (if you're lucky) many communities select you to be part of them.
Young people today are going to come into the workplace used to pervasive. mobile communications and they're not going to be impressed with the static, lock-down worsktations we have now.
"They're pre-trained not to think as stupidly as previous generations," said JP.
And you only get proper levels of productivity by loosening you grip on these tools. Instant messenging can be important because it's one of the few forms of communication where it's polite to be silent. "Are you still there?" has become part of the language of phones because mobiles drop connections. In IM it's not necessary, because there's a status, allowing you to see if people are online or not, or if they're busy, or away from their computers. In this context, e-mail has almost become snail mail - people become irritated if you don't reply.
So, public indications of what you're doing is useful. But in most companies, Outlook rules our lives, and it can tell you that the best time for this group of people to meet is this date. But it doesn't share or advertise that information beyond that group.
Compare that to Twitter where you can have a person to person conversation using the @username protocol, but it's in public. You can take it private if you want, through direct mesages, but the conversation is still captured in a useful form.
This isn't particualrly new - there have been forms of an activity stream or newsfeed since 2006 at least. But using these activity streams for aggregation of community activity is valuable. If you can share that data maongst working teams - or communities - you gain the benefits of the network effect.
October 23, 2008
- The stalker aspect of some social sites can be off-putting
- Women not putting themselves forward for jobs even in environments that would seem to be female-orientated.
There were no real surprises in his preamble. Big, traditional companies struggling to get to grips with the internet, but they need to because 99% of people you want to access are there. And so are their competitors, and they have equal access. Traditional advantages like location mean nothing here.
"We've had [the internet] for 16 years, and only now are we getting a sense of how to win," said Hinchcliffe. "The rules are so different that there's a kind of congnitive dissinance about how much your business needs to change."
And this is where the controversy happened. He started talking about how to get Enterprise 2.0 ideas into your business. "The easiest way to do it is to do nothing at all," he said. The ideas are viral and come in through the network."
However, whatever the level of importance he put on the idea, his suggestion was that these tools are so compelling that clued-up users will push them into work environment with or without IT's help.
And IBM is a e-mail driven company - and a distributed one. He works for IBM Netherlands, he works from Gran Canaria, and reports to the US. That's a modern business.
There were two reactions from his colleagues:
• You'll be sacked in 2 weeks.
• Finally, somebody with the balls to tell the company to not use e-mail.
Nine months later, he still hasn't been sacked. He's down to 20 to 30 e-mails a week now, mainly calendering e-mails. Instead, he's mainly using social software, to prove the point.
E-mail is locked, private and prone to the power games of the CC and the BCC, he suggests. Social software is more transparent, because most of your activities happen in public, or semi-public spaces. Suarez wanted to make his working practices more transparent, and that's important in the current situation.
The result? He's more in control of how he works. He no longer fights the corporation on e-mail. He hangs out with his communities, getting the job done. Adoption of social software happens within communities.
"'m more passionate about what I do, because I have a stronger feeling of community," he says.
The 2 to 3 hours a day people spend on e-mail he's spending in social tools with colleagues or customers. With customers, it's Facebook and Twitter, for example.
"You guys need to be the ones challenging [the corporate culture]," he told the Web 2.0 Expo crowd. "Go where your communities are - and work with them. E-mail doesn't give you trust, social tools do. "
October 22, 2008
This video captures some of the key reasons why Web 2.0 matters to businesses:
Web 2.0 & The Enterprise from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.
Sorry for the typing noises. A large number of people attending the discussion were liveblogging furiously, myself included.
The key message here is subtly different from the one that seems to permeate much of the conference. There's an implication that Web 2. startups should be shifting away from ad supported models, because of the economic downturn and the steady drying up of ad budgets. But Alan's point is deeper than that. What he's illustrating in these slides is that the "Free" model was never, ever going to work for anything other than a tiny handful of companies. Simply put: there was never enough ad spend out there o support the number of companies who were relying on it.
And that brings us into a whole different ball game. What the credit crunch has done is expose the reality of a situation that was already there, rather than creating a new one. And that has profound implications for the sort of Web 2.0 tools we'll see emerging over the next 18 months.
Oh, and it's broken.
That, at least, was what Suw Charman-Anderson suggested at one of the keynote sessions of the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin today.
She pointed out that e-mail has gone from something you needed a business case for a decade ago, to the first thing you get in a new job. And that's creating a problem:
• 13% of people are getting more than 250 e-mails per day
• 56% of people think they're spending too long on e-mail.
The reality is worse than that, she suggested, because we tend to underestimate our e-mail use.
The fundamental problem is that e-mail alerts interrupt us - there's a cost to that. It takes us
Psychologist have a term that describes our relationship with e-mail: operant conditioning - when we check e-mail, sometimes we get a nice one.That starts to create an emotional relationship with checking e-mail. Scientists explore the idea by feeding rats when they press levers. Rats will press a lever five times, if that's how often it takes to get food. But they get obsessed with lever-pushing when the food reward is random. That's exactly relationship we have with e-mail. We keep checking it, in the hope that an emotionally-boosting one will come through.
Coupled with that, e-mail has become a proxy for work. Web working makes it difficult to judge how productive people are. If send lots of e-mail, clearly they're doing lots of work - or so goes the thinking.
Together, these responses are rapidly eroding our productivity. So what's the solution? You need to thhink about other ways of doing the same tasks - but with different tools.
Document collaboration - doing this via e-mail, and merging it all at the end is one of the most soul-destroying ways of doing it. Using wikis is easier.
Sharing Information - Don't e-mail it. Publishing blogs and make sure everyone uses RSS. There need to be RSS readers for everyone in the company - a step that is often forgotten.
Short Conversations - use IM and chat for instant communication. E-mail makes conversations go on too long, as everyone feels need to be polite. IM conversations tend to be quick and to-the-point.
You can read a summary of a more detailed version of Suw's talk at her site.
- There are distinct differences in national character which you need to take into account as you spread. The Germans use Fon to save money, the Japanese see it as an altruistic act.
- It's essential to have a great team supporting him. He has an inability to do just one thing.
- Sometimes, though, he just burns out and takes two year vacations - particularly after downturns. I believe the phrase "lucky git" applies.
- The concept of a salesman is really bad in Europe, but we all need to be one. Product design is the other part.
- Digg: human recommendation
- Techmeme: algorithmic analysis for linking behaviour of A-list bloggers.
October 21, 2008
- Proposition: there's too much information to handle
- Provides user personalisation and recommendation engine.
- Works on news to retail sites.
- It works cross-domain - content from the long-tail. OpenId to sign in.
- Plugin - doesn't need publisher co-operation (but they would like it).
- Always find your doppelganger - or someone different.
- Essentially it stalks your web travels, and suggests other places based on similar users.
- Social network / community tools
- Social action projects in first phase
- Getting idea out (magazine tools)
- Network (collab tools)
- Fundraising opps and voluntary support
- Amazee camp (/camp) - join 150 get free pro, online help desk. Not back office person, CEO doing it! Professor Project Pete weekly updates.
- Bucket - money!
- Cute vid:
Startup Ignite from Amazee on Vimeo.
Brady, in particular, thanked everyone for coming during this crunch time. He suggested that lightweight web apps like the ones discussed at this conference would be more important in harsh economic times.
And so, Tim O'Reilly takes the stage...
Of course not, but "we need to think about where we're going".
Cheap, easy venture capital isn't there, so some start-ups may survive by being very basic in their operating costs - like sleeping under the desk. "Me too" startups will fail.
We're not in an investment bubble, but a reality bubble. We're in harsh times with financial, environmental and political crises all around us. "And our best and brightest are working on things like this..." (He shows us a Throw a Sheep Facebook app and iBeer for the iPhone. Sure, GPS and the like will make fantastic applications, but still...
Discipline in business for things like this - it's called scenario planning.
Worst case, middle, best. Reality was so much worse than they predicted in the case of oil drilling equipment in the 80s. A loophole was closed and the marlet went to hell.
So you need to get companies thinking about extreme examples.
Robust strategy 1: Work on stuff that matters! We need innovate thinking, rather than yet another social network.
Pascal's Wager: if you believe in God and you're worried about going to hell, you'll live a good life. If there's no God, you've lived a good life. It's a better bet. The modern version is assume the worst, and we'll make better choices.
- witness.org - providing recording equipment to people documenting human rights abuses.
- Using Google Earth to track illegal deforestation in Brazil
- Biblioburro - carries books around the area he came from.
- WiFi access
- Venue is roomy and easy to navigate, and very well lit
- Lots of chance encounters in the corridors
- Great media centre with power sockets
This use of Web 2.0 in the enterprise is going to come into sharp focus in the coming months. As economic woes increase, social web startups are going to be looking to enterprise sales to fund them, as advertising sales fall away. And enterprises themselves are going to be focusing on cost-efficient solutions to increase business efficiency. And that's the key promise of enterprise social software - to unlock the knowledge in your staff, and increase collaboration across the business.
These are make or break days for the concept of social software - and for companies who have to make the decision to adopt it, or not.
Of course, Social Enterprise has connotations beyond just the use of social software. A business that uses social tools internally, but has no social awareness outside the company firewall probably lacks a real relationship with its customer base, so expect some blogging on related topics, too.
I'm writing this post in the Media Room of the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin, a three-day get-together for the European Web 2.0 community, and I'll be blogging the best of the enterprise-related content of the congress here. I hope you'll join me over the next few days.
October 20, 2008
However, I'm also using this as a springboard for a new project within the day job, which I'll fill you guys in on tomorrow. In the meantime, here's some Berlin scenes I grabbed with my Flip Mino earlier:
Arrival in Berlin from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.
So far, so good. The taxi drivers are far more competent that their Parisian counterparts (the first taxi driver I used in Paris for Le Web last year took me to the wrong part of the city...), the city looks beautiful in the autumn sunshine and I'm only 10 minutes walk from the conference venue. But what about the hotel?
October 19, 2008
What are small, incremental steps one can make to fuel change in their media organization? (Yes, we'd all like to swing in our newsroom, lay some boot heels on chests, hoist the black flag and change everything by the end of business on Monday -- but the reality is, that ain't happening unless you have a couple buckets of cash to buy a paper of your choice and a rusty sabre.) So what are some realistic, real-world examples of free (or cheap) ways you can help fuel change at your newsroom?
- Stop defining people by outputs. If you call a man a feature writer, he will write features. If you can a woman a news editor, she will edit news. Start defining people by either working methods, or by topic specialities. That de-couples their job from a particular style of journalism and opens the way for more experimentation.
- Get out of the office. You have a laptop and a mobile phone. That's all you need to do journalism. Get out there, amongst your readers and your market, and talk, network, record and report. We spend too much time talking to our colleagues and not enough to our contacts. The first technological shift journalism has been through - the arrival of computers - tied us to our desks. The second shift - the pervasive internet - should free us from them once more.
- Experiment Cheaply. You can but a Flip Mino for a little over £100. A digital compact for less than that will produce perfectly adequate pictures for the web. Open Source blogging software like Movable Type or WordPress can be had for free. Many web tools like Flickr or CoverItLive can be used for free. Resist the corporate tendency to invest heavily and only spend serious money when the case is proven.
October 14, 2008
October 13, 2008
If you're still wavering about attending, you can check out the Web 2.0 Expo Blog for running updates about what's happening at the show (and doesn't the venue look lovely?), and the main site has an updated list of events around the show, including a number of unofficial ones.
And, of course, there's the opportunity to meet me. :-) Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail if you'd like to touch base while I'm there. I'll be in Berlin from mid-afternoon on Monday the 20th.
And if you've just made a last minute decision to go (rather than a last minute decision to actually book things, like me....), remember that you can bag a 35% discount by registering using the code webeu08gr9.
October 10, 2008
October 9, 2008
October 8, 2008
October 3, 2008
October 2, 2008
More details on journalism.co.uk and Press Gazette, and my colleague Andrew has something to say about it, too.
October 1, 2008
However, Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer is busy combating the post-lunch lull with a face full of stays about the decline of print media, and the prospects of the internet through the current credit crunch.
Now, it's all ad-focused, but as that's where most if us still make our revenue, that's important. Around 6% of companies are lokling at Virtual Worlds. But it's not a mass Market medium, with only 500 people per week in most location in Second Life.
So Search takes the majority of ad revenue, but can traditional media startvto steal that back as they redefine themselves digitally?
Ramsey is big on video. He likes big stats on YouTube, and people watching full shows. But advertising is only about 2% of ad spend. Set to grow massively? Oh, yes, says Ramsey. Why? You can measure it, you can target it, you can share it.
Social networks? 30% of Internet users are frequent visitors. 70% of teenagers, though.
So, recommendations from friends arevthr most trusted marketing message. But how do you tap into that? Users aren't interested in ads in social networks. Over half never click on the ads.
1. Look, listen, lounge and learn.
4. Provide tools for sharing.