Web 2.0: Connecting people to dots
For the sake of the argument I’m about to make, let’s consider Web 2.0 offerings “dots”, people as people, and that my focus is on needing a better way to connect the two. Usually the dots are all the things that inform, disrupt, or are delivered into an industry or space, and I try to understand the trends, give guidance and deliver insight from them through connecting the dots. Even though I’m quite clear (and often delighted) about the tremendous value that is daily being delivered through next generation internet Web applications, I’m stunned how many people I talk to daily that *should* know about Web 2.0 applications…but are disturbingly clueless.
One example of an offering that should already be on everyone’s radar screen is Foldera. With all the disparate groups I’m working with (most geographically disbursed), having a phenomenally robust shared workspace (that’s free, by the way), means I can’t wait for this offering to go live so I can evangelize it, use it myself with groups, and help others achieve its benefits. The power and value of Foldera may be obvious to you when you’re using it, but I believe the value of this offering goes FAR BEYOND a very nice and strong collaboration tool.
Imagine avian flu hits and becomes a pandemic. A terrorist dirty bomb is detonated or a bacterial agent is released. Gasoline hits $5 a gallon. One or more airlines go out of business putting a material strain on an already overtaxed air transportation system. Risk mitigation and business continuity is vitally important for big enterprise organizations…but even more so for small-to-midsize businesses since these organizations have frighteningly low tolerance for financial disruption. All will need some way to connect with employees staying home, map as many of their business processes to the Web as possible, and leverage virtual spaces to simply continue to do business.
The risk mitigation glass is always half-empty. My glass is 51% full and I’ll tell you why…
On the upside I’m seeing people coming together and building ad hoc teams. Some are forming partnerships, others LLC’s, still others are working on open source projects and much more. While the more technical folks in these groups can use wiki’s and source code management offerings, most non-technical people cannot and they comprise the bulk of people in business. That’s the sweet-spot for many Web 2.0 hosted applications: they hide most of the technical underpinnings and give access to great power to those that either cannot afford it or are unable or unwilling to figure out more complexsystems.
How do people find the dots? Today there is only one effective way: buzz/viral marketing since “the dots” (the Web 2.0 companies) don’t have the marketing budgets necessary to jump forward in the adopter-consciousness via mainstream media methods. The most visible launchpad I’ve seen is Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch. Get to Mike as I’m sure many are, provide a sneak peek or scoop and help him understand the value proposition. If he deems it worthy of mention in TechCrunch the world of techdom sees it and buzz builds quickly.
An old sales book I read was called “Hope is Not a Strategy“. The basic premise was that most salespeople hoped they were with the right people to move along a sale vs. having a strategy to make 100% sure that all bases were covered. Too many salespeople don’t bother to truly understand an organizations pain, struggles, strategic plans, marketplace disruptors, and other motivators. Nor do many even ensure that they’re dealing with the decision-maker who can authorize and guarantee the purchase.
Web 2.0 companies face more complex, multi-buyer challenges. Still, most seem to be in “hope mode” seeing if they can get accepted into the buzz club and hope that non-technical decision-makers discover Web
2.0 applications by stumbling across lists. There are alot of lists out there (sparking this post of mine in March) but all are difficult to find unless a clueless seeker knows what to look for when surfing. None are yet 100% comprehensive and none give a newbie or person performing analysis a clue about how they work, interconnect to other apps, or where they’re headed strategically (or will either be acquired or go out of business). Which one(s) does someone bet-their-business on or even recommend to their boss?
The better way? Small-to-midsize (SMB) businesses — and even large enterprise leaders — need to have a venue to learn, to see and to understand the enormous value that Web 2.0 applications deliver at unheard of low costs and high return on investment (of either money or time). They must also incorporate these Web apps in BOTH their risk mitigation strategies as well as upside revenue generation, innovation or new company development activities.
Technical developers, innovators, entrepreneurs and interested others must grasp the next generation of internet-as-a-platform and the tools enabling it. The methods emerging to take concept to creation and delivery. Ways to become more collaborative with others so that Web 2.0 accelerates into 3.0, 4.0 and beyond. Today, it’s either heading to the Bay area for some unconference or trying to stay on top of the changes from afar. Not good enough and a place to learn, connect and play with technologies is absolutely imperative.
The result of connecting the dots to people? Web 2.0 companies can widen their audience of potential adopters and create their success. Adopters can learn, understand and feel the energy driving next generation internet forward. Those who take the concepts and manifest them into form (i.e., coding and building) have to have a way and a place to understand the tools, platforms, standards, and other emerging possibilities.
If there isn’t a better way and more robust venue, the adoption of next generation internet applications and leveraging it as a platform will grow…but more inefficiently and slower than need be.
Stay tuned for the idea…
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About Steve Borsch
Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.
What you raise is a huge issue; how to achieve knowledge saturation in an already saturated world. “Educating the market” is definitely what I sought to do at Shared Spaces (www.shared-spaces.com) prior to joining Foldera, and whilst I am extremely proud of the thinking and writing that came out of Shared Spaces, I lacked the reach and punch to get everywhere. Some of the things that I was thinking about doing included (a) attending lots and lots of conferences all around the world, to give speeches and to meet people; (b) writing a book on collaboration with a major publisher; and/or (c) running a “Collaboration Conference at your Desktop” … a monthly meeting by audio and web conference to share ideas, profile new products, etc, etc. I personally dismissed (a) because I didn’t want to travel that much, and Richard gave me such a great opportunity to work with him and the team that I dropped my ideas around (b) and (c).
So, some ideas to add into the mix of what you’re thinking about (and I’m definitely on the edge of my seat to hear your idea):
1. you/we need to talk about scenarios, situations, and use cases in which Web 2.0 technologies make a tremendous (+50% or more) difference to productivity for individuals and groups. That is, don’t talk about the products per se, but rather look at the situations in which people find themselves on a daily basis at work and at home, and compare and constrast their current toolset with the Web 2.0 ones.
2. if you want to travel around, having a book on Web 2.0 and its benefits would be a huge boost for you. I know it is “old technology”, but it still confers a high degree of credibility on the author. If you don’t want to author the whole thing, perhaps you could be the lead editor, and ask 10-12 people in the Web 2.0 space to write a chapter each of 10-20 pages about one of the situations / use cases mentioned above.
Happy to discuss further, either online or off.
And BTW, Richard says hello!
Global VP of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
P.S. Thanks for your kind words re Foldera. We very much look forward to getting our service into your hands soon.
An interesting component that is often overlooked by software is the transparency of relationships, maintaining them and then leveraging the equity of well being, performance, and ever-changing teams! Visit http://www.sonar6.com who have just launched an interesting view of this world!
A lot of hype but yet no product