Collaborative Technologies Conference

Out at the Collaborative Technologies Conference this week (speaking Thursday morning) and it’s been a great event thus far. Hats off to Jennifer Pahlka and crew who’ve pulled it off while making it seem effortless. What is down below is certainly no recap (the other three speakers were quite good) but the first person hit me since I view the world from a more global, holistic viewpoint and appreciated the first speaker’s perspective most.

This morning’s first speaker was John Seely Brown. His central theme was the macro nature of computer mediated networks and their effects but he, like many speakers today, clearly emphasized the fact that humans are the collaborators and it’s not just about technology.

What was amazing was his story of Li & Fung. This firm has a loosely coupled network of 7,500 suppliers. It’s a collaborative, relationship-based, feedback-looped network that’s provided them with one helluva competitive advantage (even thinking about managing such a network and its interconnections made my eyes glaze over).

Interesting points:

  • The world may becoming flat…but it’s actually “spiky”. The competitive future is to those that can identify unique differentiators by partners and embrace them.
  • Tools: must be simple! People need simple. Can’t be any extra work.
  • THE most important element in videoconferencing is *eye contact*. People need to see that others are engaged with them and it’s eye contact that does it.
  • It is possible now to have virtual connections be better than being there in person
  • Meetings are just part of collaboration.
  • Web 2.0 is a participatory medium (damn…that’s one of my slides for Thursday!)
  • Discussed Second Life. You talkin’ collaboration? What’s more collaborative than being in an immersive environment?
  • An Accelerating Confluence. Brown said we’re on the cusp of a 100 fold change in “punctuated evolution” disrupting Moore’s Law! Mainly due to commodization of hardware and software.

I was also delighted to connect up with the guys from Foldera (Richard Lusk, Oliver Starr, Jnan Dash and a new addition to the team, Marc Orchant). Finally got a full, hour long demo of the product from Marc and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be. Looks like I’ll be getting credentials in the next several days and plan on *really* putting it through its paces.

After meeting with Marc, I felt like I’d known him for years. Same with Richard though 20 years seems like a better description. Though it’s all about the product, this team’s intensity, passion, enthusiasm and overwhelming interest and desire to engage with *anyone* makes it seem almost as thought they’re willing Foldera toward success. Any investor will tell you that the hallmark of a winning leadership team is full engagement, willingness to listen (yet still overcoming objections), being open to modification and course changes, and constantly scanning for opportunities. These folks have this in spades.

As always happens to me, events like these energize me. Hearing people like Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps from NetAge talk collaboration, networking and virtual teaming — and realizing that they’re the people I’ve been looking for as I’m exploring in all my social/clustering/teaming posts written previously — is why venues like these are so important…virtual worlds, collaboration or not.


  1. Richard Lusk on June 21, 2006 at 7:12 am


    Thank you so much for the kind words about the guys and Foldera. It really means a lot.

    Everyone is looking forward to your session on Thursday, and hearing what you have to say. Im gonna get there early to make sure I get a seat.


    Richard Lusk

  2. Steve Borsch on June 21, 2006 at 8:17 am

    Whoa! Let me throttle expectations waaaay down there bucky. Gotta promise that you and your colleagues participate (it’s an “open discussion” after all) vs. heckling that poor schneeb from Minnesota lamely connecting little dots in business continuity and collaboration.

  3. Marc Orchant on June 22, 2006 at 11:02 am


    It was a real treat to meet you and spend such quality time talking about collaboration, Foldera, and a variety of other topics. Having been a reader of your blog for quite some time, it was a particular pleasure to have a chance to “hang” with you at CTC.

    I look forward to the next opportunity to get together and will follow along here until that time.


  4. Ste on June 22, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks Richard and Marc. Just landed in Minneapolis and realize how enjoyable the time there was, how my awareness was raised in several areas, and that I got to know you both better.

    Looking forward to more…

  5. Sam on December 28, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you Steve,

    Have you put Foldera through its paces? Did your impression change…is it stall all you hoped it would be?

    I was’nt chosen for the Beta and I’m curious if this thing is really usefull and easy to use


  6. Steve Borsch on December 28, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    I have to a degree. I’ve been involved in an already setup Foldera group so have used it a fair amount. Mainly I’ve interacted at several events with the leadership team and had pretty extensive hands-on with the software. Yes…it’s everything I’d hoped it would be. I want my own space asap but they’re revamping and relaunching it early next year and what I’ve seen early on of what they’ll be delivering…it looks even better.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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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.