On my journey through life I am constantly on the lookout for ways I can make an impact. It’s not just figuring out better ways to make money, nor how much fun I can have, or even what the payoff is for me personally. Rather it’s what I can do to make the world a better place by adding my own intrinsic value in ways it will be multiplied.
When I took a risk and went off on my own in January to focus on Internet-as-a-platform and all the things driving the Web 2.0 meme, I started to ask myself one question: What does the world need that I can uniquely deliver? Whenever I think about what I should be doing, choices toward where I should be focusing my energy, or even where I invest, it all starts with that single question.
I’ve been fortunate to have had a really great high-tech career that spanned the microcomputer business all the way to the enterprise software space. It started when I was a manufacturer’s rep for Atari, migrated to selling this new computer company Apple’s stuff (I was in Hawaii in November of 1983 when Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the company) and ended with an incredible adventure at Vignette during the dotcom time and as VP of Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software. I’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, sold and marketed into virtually every type of distribution channel, learned more technology value propositions than anyone probably ever should, and built an intuitive understanding of failure and success.
So have I found an answer to my question about uniquely delivering value to the world?
I have the experience, business and technology insight to enable me to see what’s value propositions from the desktop to the enterprise as well as what’s going on around them both. Today, for instance, I can see the chasm that exists between Web 2.0 and the enterprise and realized a month or so ago, “Hey! I can help people in small-to-midsize organizations understand what’s going on. I own a small business, have started one, work with startups, have been an intrapreneur, a big corporate guy and I have a burning desire to guide, provide insight and give ideas to those who aren’t able to see what I do or hire strategists like an enterprise can.”
The report that came out as a result is the Rise of the Participation Culture. My goal was to deliver it before the Web 2.0 Summit I was at all this week, but had some trepidation about doing so since there are so many people I respect and see as thought leaders. Admittedly I had some fear that they might have looked at what I produced as being too simplistic and not cutting edge…but my desire to deliver it outweighed my reservations.
Imagine my delight when the emails started trickling in with praise, suggestions and criticism along with a mention at MNSpeak. Then I got home from the trip, logged on to check out my online life, and found this post which says in part, “Simply put, this report is the BEST primer I have ever read on the history of Web 2.0, Social Media and the related applications for any organization seeking to use this new media to further profit and NONPROFIT objectives.“
THAT is why I did the report, why it’s free and why I intend to iterate it just like a piece of software (it’s at version 1.0 and will have dot releases going forward). The world needs guides. In an age of user generated content, a tsunami of information flooding in from all sides, and technology ready, willing and able to deliver all of it to you no matter where you are, experienced filters are needed more than ever.
What’s my motivation besides the seeming intrinsic one about “giving back” and what might seem like fuzzy do-gooder stuff? Hey…I’ve received alot and I owe something back….but I also found myself explaining Web 2.0 over-n-over again to clients and others so this is sort of an education piece that will help me enlighten them and their staffs. Getting everyone on the same page is incredibly useful so we can get past the basics and strategize, create and innovate faster vs. having them pay me for “Web 2.0 for Dummies”.
What’s your unique value? What does the world need that only you can deliver? If you pooh-pooh that and automatically minimize your skills, perspective and intrinsic value…don’t. We’re all here for a reason, inextricably intertwined, and anything you do that’s positive moves us all forward.