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Sunday, February 10, 2008


OUR Time

Yes, it is our time. Mine, yours and everyone else's.

It has been almost a year since I last posted – things have been busy…and busy is good.

I have spent the last few months speaking a lot with prospects, customers, analysts, journalists, partner, and anyone else who doesn’t fit in one of those categories. We have made some significant announcements in the last few months ( and subsequently, there has been a lot of interest in what we are doing. I have spoken to many, many interested and inquisitive people. I have learned a lot from these people and for that, I am genuinely grateful for the time, the attention and the feedback. This is a part of my job that I truly cherish.

Which is why I am genuinely shocked when someone attends a briefing thinking they are doing me a favor for taking my meeting or phone call. For these folks I offer the following advice:

Tips for A Professional Briefing
  1. My staff and I spend copious time researching who covers our market and technology areas. We often spend a lot of time and effort filling out your forms which ask us about the nature of our briefing. Read the brief - if you aren’t interested, politely decline the briefing. If you aren’t sure, invest a few minutes looking at what we do on the web and then decide.
  2. If you do take the briefing and you expect me to understand what you cover, what interests you, and what you have written, the least you should do is take a 30-second look at your questionnaire before getting on the phone or joining the meeting.
  3. If you are not sure if you are interested or not, I suggest you take the briefing, but tell me you have only 15 minutes. If you become genuinely interested, you can extend the call/meeting. If not, we both “invested” 15-20 minutes and we part our separate ways. Being impatient and condescending is just rude and it reflects badly upon you and your organization.
  4. In my opinion, a brief is an exchange of information, not just a one way monologue. I like to ask relevant questions; if this isn’t on your agenda, state so upfront.
  5. Often, I talk to people who are working on reports, studies, or articles, or who are working on background materials for different projects. I can’t guess what you want to know by reading your blog or bio. Asking you up front if there is anything in particular you want or don’t want to talk about, seems like good practice to me. If this rubs you the wrong way, then I propose the following deal – answer the question without condescension, and I promise not to show you any Powerpoint slides.
  6. I can understand you don’t like market-speak or empty buzzwords. I will avoid using them if you promise to avoid categorizing my story/company/product/case study, etc into one of your convenient buckets, without first listening and spending a few minutes trying to understand what this is all about.
  7. And most importantly…to paraphrase Jeff Spicoli, “this is our time. Yours and mine. Your time is no more valuable than mine. I am a busy person. If you aren’t interested, I have better things to do with my time.

And to those of you who are courteous, inquisitive, and make this job as fun as it is, I apologize for having to write this….Those are my two cents.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Travel, Rudeness, and Two Conferences

I have just returned from a whirlwind two-week trip. 22,000 miles in 14 days. Lots of time spent in airports waiting for cancelled flights. The high point was our company launch at DEMO 07 in Desert Palm, CA. (See the demo at It was a lot of fun. Preparing for the conference was a lot of work, but the feedback has been extremely positive, so it was more than worth it. The absolute low point was being in Chicago and watching the Bears lose (in -27 wind chill weather).

In contrast to the congeniality of the show, I was really shocked by the rudeness of some of the bloggers who "covered" the show. There were so many stupid comments about things that had nothing to do with the conference. Bloggers wrote about what clothes the presenters wore, mocked the terms they used (one guy had a really tough time with the term "long tail"), and generally downplayed what was being shown on stage. Once I noticed it, it seemed to appear in each subsequent posting.

I walked away thinking, "what is happening to us?" So I guess it was prescient that I ran across a book called, "Talk to the Hand" at the airport. How can you turn down a book whose subtitle is "The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door?" Written by Lynne Truss, this book is funny, and really hits the nail on the head regarding how rudeness has permeated our society. Certainly, part of this has to do with the relative anonymity of blog posts and email flames. I think another part has to do with trying to sound clever and insightful, when people don't really have anything to say. Whatever it is, the downside of blogosphere democratization is that people don't feel they are held to the same standards of decent behavior as in the "real world," and this is a shame.

On this trip, the airport and travel "downtime" gave me an opportunity to catch up on reading (and crossword puzzles as well). I also attended FASTforward in San Diego and met some interesting folks. More on all of this in upcoming posts.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Holiday Postings

At a recent Web 2.0 conference, a speaker asked the audience how many people checked email as their first activity of the day? About 3/4 of the hands in the audience went up. When asked how many check email as their last activity of the day, even more hands went up. These are the kind of folks who blog their way through their children's birthday parties and family reunions; these are the kind of folks who are emailing via their Blackberries when they are in the bathroom. In short, these are the folks who are ALWAYS on.

So why is it, I wonder, was there so little blogging activity over the Christmas weekend? Most of the blogs around the Web 2.0 space were surprisingly silent over this past weekend. Is it because we were able to truly "step away from the browsers and PDAs and put our hands in the air" for several days. Is it because we were busy enjoying our family and friends, spending time with the kids, or reflecting about the past year and thinking of the year to come? Honestly, I kinda doubt it.

How many of us secretly snuck out of family gatherings to see what was going on online - secretly hoping to see something that we could respond to? How many of us felt guilty posting over the weekend, fearing that it would look like we had nothing better to do? Considering the kind of crackberry users we all know, I tend to think it is the latter. On the other hand, maybe everyone was at a Christmas party on Second Life, and I was just not invited....

Monday, December 25, 2006


Something To Look Forward To In 2007

After years in the enterprise software space, I am still amazed by the excitement generated around the "possibilities" of new technologies (look at Gartner's ongoing hype cycles), with less initial focus on exactly where can the technology solve a really difficult problem. In regard to Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0, I am not convinced that for many companies, wikis and blogs will not solve email proliferation, storage, or content management problems. Large companies typically have email 'policies' that are intended to solve this problem (I worked with an email trainer from a large company once and she explained exactly how it is was supposed to work in her company - pretty scary stuff). People largely ignore these and continue to spray emails all over the place.

At some point, most companies will have 'wiki policies' and 'blog policies' and these will likely be ignored as well. The new technology will not change the balance of authority in companies any more than email did (or faxes did before them, or memo before them, etc.). In the same way that email speeded up written communications, wikis and blogs afford the same evolution in speed and reach of communication.

Personally, like many new technologies, I think that in the short-term, there will be misuse and general unfounded over-enthusiasm for these technologies. When folks realize it ain't going to change the balance of power, and 'won't solve every communication problem they have,' they will identify where they can foster productivity and really solve a problem.

I think that it will be fascinating, follow the cultural and commercial interactions that will impact the adoption of E2.0 and see where the sweet spot really is for their use in the corporate world. As 2006 becomes 2007, I think we may be in for a few surprises in the coming year, and that is certainly something to look forward to!

Happy holidays to all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


LePolitique or LeWeb3?

Writing from the LeWeb3 conference in France, I am amazed by the lack of regard the organizers have for the conference attendees. Having spent thousands of Euros or Dollars or Pounds, the attendees traveled to Paris in the winter to hear about web 2.0 topics. Instead of presenting the advertised fare, the organizers have turned this conference into a parade of politicians that have very little relevance to web 2.0. Shimon Peres spoke this morning about world peace....and the Internet, and now, we are being treated to a parade of French presedential candidates, speaking mainly in French. What about the 400-500 attendees who are not French and who could care less? The organizers seems more interested in the fact that someone is paying attention to the conference than in the conference topic itself.

Ironically, as the presenters debate whether traditional media is irrelevant, the TV trucks roll up outside the convention hall, the TV correspodents replace the bloggers onstage, and "let the show begin."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Around
As I talk to people working in and around the Enterprise 2.0 space, I am struck by how "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The collaboration aspects of E2.0 are getting a lot of play - basically, wikis and blogs being used to let people communicate better within the organization. While I do not belittle these new technologies and the possibilities they offer, business was, is, and will always be about providing a product or service to customers with the "best" price/value. Providing that product or service in the most efficient way possible has always been a challenge. With the increasing deluge of information that people have to deal with (customers, suppliers, inventory, service records, etc.), this is becoming more and more complicated, particulary with the shift towards information-intensive service industries. It seems to me that the real challenge of Enterprise 2.0 is providing a user experience to employees and clients that makes them more efficient in their jobs, not only more efficient at communicating with their peers.

In my opinion, one of the people who gets "it," is Bill Raduchel, former CTO for AOL/Time Warner and CIO at Sun, who recently spoke at the Longworth Ventures Annual Conference. According to Innovation Creators , Raduchel identified "navigation" (and not "collaboration") as the killer app for Enterprise 2.0. If that means connecting knowledge workers with the information they need to do their jobs, then I think Raduchel is on to something. More on this later.

Does Your Design Firm Make House Calls?
In continuation of my saga to find the appropriate graphic design firm, I contacted another few local agencies. Two firms declined my corporate concept design (and associated materials) project because it was not broad enough and they are being "very selective in the projects they take on these days." Another was willing to schedule a meeting several weeks out, but couldn't be bothered to trek out to our corporate offices (about 15 miles away).

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