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The next generation of Internet technology

What’s your nGen Era Story?

Posted by Susan Scrupski on April 29, 2008

BSG Alliance, my employer, changed its name to nGenera (en-gen-ER-a) this week. I really like the new name and logo. Because we’ve grown so fast (acquiring 5 companies in less than a year), it was important to mash-up all the humans under one single identity and brand.

I’m sure someone in my company will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was my idea to center on this meme we call “Next Generation Enterprises.” We kicked around a lot of strategic messaging ideas in the early days and this one stuck. Everyone and their half-brother is now moving into the space we scoped out about a year ago. Of course, we are ahead of the game and have a strong revenue story, so we can be smug for about 5 seconds.

The nGen meme comes to us by way of our in-house guru, Don Tapscott. Most readers of my blog should have already seen Don’s talk this year at one conference or another. I’m incredibly proud to be associated with the think-tankers up at Don’s research organization in Toronto. If you aren’t feeding the Wikinomics blog, today’s the day to start. Terrific bits of brilliance on the 2.0 scene come out of there on a daily basis.

We also have a deep and wide reservoir of expertise in the Talent arena with voices such as Tammy Erickson who is blogging on Harvard Business Online. One of the areas where we excel is pegging trends in the demographics of the workplace. Don refers to the cohort of kids who’ve grown up digital as N-Gens. In Don’s talk, he tells a story about how he thought his son was a prodigy when he was young, but soon realized all his son’s friends were prodigies too. They’re born digitally wired.

So it’s this particular slice of our nGenera story I want to focus on in this post– how different the “youngsters” are from us. This weekend I took my son and his friends to see “Shine a Light” the Martin Scorsese concert film of the Rolling Stones. I kid myself that just because I share an appreciation for 70s bands with my son, I’m cooler than my parents. I’m so not cool in his eyes at all.

I already blogged a while ago about how my son is a guild master on World of Warcraft, but the latest development came this year when his 6th grade teacher asked the class to take a keyboarding speed test. I remember taking typing in high school. A passing grade was 40 wpm, and it was tough for most of my peers to pass that test. My son Alex types 118 wpm with one error. He’s 11.

In the past month, Alex figured out how to use iMovie. He is now the neighborhood film director/producer/publisher. I am arranging for tutoring lessons so he can learn Final Cut from an nGenera GenY who works in our office. Like Don’s son, my son seems like a prodigy to me, but he’s just a normal nGen kid. He lives online. T.V. is a background noise if it’s on at all. He goes to school with his iPod, txts his friends with his phone, and IMs from his MySpace page most of the night, while surfing YouTube for skating videos.

Is Enterprise ready for my son and his friends? No. That’s my mission for nGenera: To make work like play so you can make more money doing what you do.

I’ll leave you with one of Alex’s videos. Taking a page out of Debbie Weil’s comment handbook, feel free to leave a comment for Alex. “No need to say you know me.” ;-)

What is your nGen story?

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Next Net, nGen, Personal Commentary, Social Media, social networking, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Enterprise Suits Up for the Ride, but Seeks a Safe Landing

Posted by Susan Scrupski on December 9, 2007

This is what would happen if Santa were an Enterprise App and he tried to automagically incorporate 2.0 grooviness overnight.

Santa as Enterprise App on 2.0 house

The irony just got the better of me… I’ve been wrestling with wretched old-school health forms all afternoon that will undoubtedly be, um, input or maybe scanned into some old-school enterprise system that will carefully set up my health insurance for 2008. If it weren’t Sunday, I probably could do some digging and figure out exactly what the “business process” is that will determine my paper-input-to-digital-imprint record through the labyrinth of enterprise systems. Will an outsourced provider be involved? Probably. A mainframe? Probably. A large-scale database? Oh yeah.

Have I enjoyed this process today? No. Was I able to customize my health insurance policy and my coverage according to my particular family’s health situation? Not in a 2.0 way. Was I able to choose a health insurance company by my review of doctors online and get recommendations from other insureds about which health insurance companies actually paid claims on time and answered questions with friendly, caring concern? Well, definitely not.

While I’ve been grousing about doing this all day, clicking on web sites, downloading forms, etc., I’ve had Snitter (a Twitter stream) up and have been keeping my eye on the chatter of the day. It appears Robert Scoble dared to ask why Enterprise Apps weren’t sexy, and well, you can imagine how my Enterprise Irregularguild” reacted to that. Nick Carr even got involved. It’s only Sunday too, so we’ll see where it goes. (See Dennis Howlett, Michael Krisgsman, Anshu Sharma, Vinnie Mirchandani.) Me? I agree with all of them, oddly enough. On the one hand, I’m having a miserable experience, and I agree with Nick Carr, and I really wish the health insurance company had more consumer-y features. New York Times Design Director Khoi Vinh expressed nearly the exact same sentiment with this post earlier this fall. I agreed with him then too.

On the other hand, for those of us who are working hard to try and transform, enlighten/educate enterprises on how they need to introduce some of this radical change to leverage innovation and wealth creation, we know what we’re up against. Enterprise applications are carefully managed fleets comprised of many battleships that simply cannot turn on a dime. Nor, would you want them to.

Should my son be rushed to the hospital in 2008 because he didn’t quite land that skating trick he’s been practicing in the street, I want to make sure all systems are go and the woman at the reception desk doesn’t get a message from my insurance company like this: 2.0 error

Posted in blogs, Consultants, Enterprise 2.0, Irregulars, Next Net, social networking, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Relationships are the Killer App and Marketing Rules.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on November 4, 2007

For a while, I had this notion that I should self-limit my friends to 150 on Facebook drawing on Dunbar’s Number that states basically you can not respectfully hold any real connection to more than 150 individuals. I’ve given up on this now for a few reasons. As social networking is now taking center stage on the 2.0 roadmap, I realize the more friends/connections I have, the better my harvest for weak tie benefits. Relation capital or relationship equity as I’ve called it before, is the new gold standard that will drive the economy of the next generation Internet. We’re seeing it first, of course, in the consumer economy where relationships matter most between brand marketers and their webs of prey.* And as more enterprise vendors, including Google, get more innovative about how to apply social networking utility to the complex ecosystem of partnerships and interdisciplinary teamworks that comprise the global world of commerce, we’ll see how crucial these relationships play out. What’s critical is your nodal strength and your influence. Whether you are influencing the purchase of toilet tissue or the purchase of hedge fund strategies, you and your relationship to your community will be indexed, matrixed, monitored, and analyzed to abstraction.

As Marshall Clark commented on the Organic blog:

Regarding Google’s benefit from all this – I think Open Social is a brilliant, cost-effective way for Google to acquire social graph information which they can now incorporate into future Google search ranking algorithms.

There’s a massive amount of information buried in the personal interconnections and communications on social media platforms, but until now Google has been largely blocked from indexing this content (we all know Orkut doesn’t count).

If PageRank was big, wait until ‘SocialRank’ rolls out in 2008. Google just pulled off a major coup me’thinks.

Because social networks are easily studied mathematically, I’ve been talking to our in-house math wizards about mapping and manipulating the data in social networks for our clients. It turns out there are volumes– years– of data on this, including dedicated academic journals. I was interested to see that Google is a member of the Sante Fe Institute that George Danner tells me is one of the most prestigious scientific research think tanks.

Speaking of relationships, it seems everyone is going to Defrag… I’m not going, but I will be lurking like a demon on Twitter.

I was particularly interested in this comment from Eric Norlin on the Defrag blog Friday:

John Chambers (of Cisco) has been sounding the trumpet about “enterprise 2.0″ technologies for months now. In fact, you might remember that Cisco also acquired Webex. The purchase of an authorization management company by essentially a collaboration company tells us that collaborative tools are about to get *serious* inside of the enterprise. All of which goes back to the thesis that Brad and I have been kicking back and forth — that 2008 is the year of the beginning of the enterprise IT spending surge.

*For a long while now I’ve been harping on the role the interactive agencies will be playing in leading the charge in bringing web 2.0 technologies into the forefront of big business adoption. There are many examples throughout my blog where I’ve highlighted their critical role as ambassadors to this new promised land. A lot of these firms are companies you may have never heard of, but they are on the cutting edge of these technologies. Of course, they’re relegated to the marketing silo of enterprises, but it is a start. As I said recently in our Enterprise Irregular group, some of the best advice I can have for our IT clients is to take their CMO to lunch to learn more about web 2.0.

Here is a video from interactive media firm IconNicholson who has been leveraging 2.0 technologies to enhance the customer experience for its clients.

Update: Hat tip from a Tweet from Jeremiah Owyang: AdAge’s ranking of the best 150 Media and Marketing blogs.

Posted in blogs, Enterprise 2.0, Interactive Agencies, Irregulars, Next Net, social networking, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Dorothy, we’re not in Manhattan anymore…

Posted by Susan Scrupski on October 21, 2007

Oh, sorry, it appears we are, but Manhattan is now in Kansas: the center of the web 2.0 universe this week for me. Everything is upside down and inside out, like a tornado has scrambled the fixed variables of space, time, and location. The guy who is making the most sense of the dramatic shifts taking place among the youth culture, the nextgen web, and the user-generated digitization of the planet is Mike Wesch, who is heading up the Digital Ethnography program at Kansas State University. We were introduced to Dr. Wesch’s work earlier this year on YouTube with his “The Machine is Us/ing Us” video of web 2.0.

What I love about Wesch is he’s an Anthropologist (I really want to say, For God’s Sakes!). He’s not a code junkie, a VC, a journalist/analyst, A-list blogger, or a consultant. He’s not even remotely associated with the tech market. His bio says that while most of web 1.0 was rising and falling, he was in Papua New Guinea doing anthropological research on “social and cultural change in Melanesia, focusing on the introduction of print and print-based practices like mapping and census-taking.”

This week’s contribution features two videos. The first explores the changing shape of information creation, retrieval, and filtering and the second explores what’s on the minds of 200 students as they face their future.

Yes.  Everything is Messilaneous.  Incidentally, the above video is based somewhat loosely on David Weinberger’s book, “Everything is Miscellaneous.” I highly, highly recommend it.  I sometimes have trouble explaining this book to my colleagues, but it is an essential read for your 2.0 library.  Also, I would highly recommend following Dave on Twitter.  I don’t follow a lot of folks on Twitter I don’t know, but I do follow Weinberger.  In addition to being brilliant, he’s hilarious.

Thanks to Zoli and Thomas Otter to tipping me off to this.

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Next Net, social networking, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Game Day: Office 2.0 in San Francisco

Posted by Susan Scrupski on September 6, 2007

Here we are!

Ismael just informed me over 600 people have signed up for this year’s conference. I’m sitting here in the second row, close to the stage. My colleage, Tom Steinthal, and I got here early in the main show room to ensure we’d have a power source. There is a terrific wireless network this year, and the bandwidth on two floors is promising to deliver all the wifi all bloggers, speakers, and demo presenters need

If you were unable to get here this year, my friends at Veodia (remember Veodia from the McAfee/Davenport debate?) are live-streaming all the sessions. Information on that can be found here.

We’re getting some instruction on how to use our iPhones to navigate the conference. Very cool. About to start the first panel…

Update: The opening panel featured:

Om Malik (Moderator), Founder, GigaOmniMedia
Steven Aldrich, VP Strategy & Innovation, Small Business, Intuit
Denis Browne, Senior Vice President of Imagineering, Business User Organization, SAP Labs
Danny Kolke, Chief Executive Officer, Etelos
Richard McAniff, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office, Microsoft
Jonathan Rochelle, Product Manager, Google Spreadsheets, Google

Opening panel Office 2.0

I was particularly impressed with Danny Kolke of Etelos.

Update:  Adam Carson kicked off the Enterprise 2.0 Track.  He’s doing a thorough job explaining the difference between web 2.0 and the realistic front line issues facing user adoption in the enterprise.   With his specific focus on the investment banking sector in the Financial Services market, he’s doing an excellent job kicking off the key issues he confronted during his 9-month journey as a one-man internal evangelist.

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Next Net, Office 2.0, Social Media, social networking, Web 2.0 | Comments Off

Office 2.0 Enterprise 2.0 Track Zeros in on Adoption Issues

Posted by Susan Scrupski on August 12, 2007

office 2.0 logo

In true 2.0 form, the conference organizers for the Enterprise 2.0 track team have been collaborating around the world, assembling an A-list of early adopters on Enterprise 2.0, evangelists, and visionary entrepreneurs. Using Skype, IM, wikis, and the occasional email, we have been able to bring together a terrific team of speakers from three continents.

Ismael will be posting the agenda sometime in the next 24 hours, and some of the invited speakers are not yet confirmed, but I wanted to start getting the word out about what we have going on on our side of the house (there is a mobility track running concurrently with the Enterprise 2.0 track).

I already blogged about the dynamic duo Gavin/Revell Show which will open the conference track on Day One. This presentation will set the agenda for much of what will be discussed at the remainder of the two days of the conference, as these guys were early into the Enterprise 2.0 game. As Ismael is interested in focusing this year specifically on customer issues, the Pfizer case study will cover the gamut of early adoption issues. I don’t know exactly what these guys will present, but if my hunch is correct, you may want to bring ear plugs to soften the sound effects of their presentation. :-)

We also looked hard at what is happening in the social media space in the enterprise. We are still trying to put this together, but our intention is to have Facebook, Ning, Plaxo, and LinkedIn together on a panel moderated by Shel Israel. Shel has agreed, and we’re slowly signing up the vendors… I’m particularly excited about this one. Please start formulating your questions for this panel. Remember, you’ll be able to send your questions directly to the panel via your iPhone…

Like Andy McAfee says, “It’s not (just) the technology.” Culture, culture, culture is the new barometer for success with Enterprise 2.0. But cultural changes can be painful especially within a large enterprise. Some argue they are too disruptive to be effective and that hierarchical systems work for a reason. We put together an expert panel on Culture in the Enterprise to discuss these larger issues. Similarly, we will have a Customer Panel who will share real war stories from the trenches. From investment banks to pharmaceuticals to manufacturers, hear first hand from evangelists and practitioners what’s working and what’s not.

Day Two begins with a presentation by Adam Carson who has been on a mission to bring Enterprise 2.0 to Morgan Stanley. Adam’s story took some interesting twists and turns this year. Everyone will find something they can relate to in Adam’s presentation. Then, coming from half-way around the world will be Stephen Collins who has done some of the best slideshare presentations I’ve seen on Enterprise 2.0 this year. Steve will present “Knowledge Worker 2.0.” Who is the KW2.0? It’s you.

This year’s new collaboration tool is mindmapping. We included a session on the power of visual collaboration. This panel will explain this powerful new collaborative tool and how to employ it within the enterprise. Finally, still pending confirmation, we hope to have Dion Hinchcliffe give us a wrap-up of the state-of-the-market in Enterprise 2.0 and then lead a panel on company-sponsored user communities such as SAP’s Software Developer Network (SDN). Other user communities we are recruiting include Sony, Webex, and Atlassian. If you have a large user community and would like to be on this panel, please let us know.

These sessions may change as we near the conference date, but this is what we have planned thus far. Keep checking the Office 2.0 site for Ismael’s posting of the conference track agenda.

Posted in blogs, conferences, Consultants, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, RSS, Social Media, social networking, Web 2.0, Wikis | Comments Off

Meet Charlie – Live at the St. Regis. Tickets going fast…

Posted by Susan Scrupski on August 6, 2007

Meet Charlie

There is no better Enterprise 2.0 Case Study than the story of Charlie and his viral travel throughout the Enterprise 2.0 worldwide community (tens of thousands have viewed the show on slideshare and many more have forwarded it to friends and colleagues). Well, maybe the story of Pfizer and two passionate believers who felt they could maybe use collaborate enterprise 2.0 tools to change an enterprise in culture, in process, and in practice.

Who knew?

Scott Gavin and Simon Revell will be speaking at the Office 2.0 conference to tell their story. The funny parts, the sad parts, the silly parts, and the fantastic parts. It’s history in the making. The conference agenda is filling out nicely, but this one was worth blogging about straight away…

Here they are in real life:

GavinRevellThompson

From left to right: Scott Gavin, Bill Thompson (BBC journalist), Simon Revell.

Posted in blogs, conferences, Consultants, Enterprise 2.0, Next Net, Office 2.0, Social Media, social networking, Web 2.0, Wikis | 3 Comments »

Exiting Stage Southwest– Weird Austin. Home, home on the Strange. AND mashups.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on August 6, 2007

As Marc Andreessen says, the new B2B is “back to blogging.” My posts are really thinning out because I’m in the throes of moving to Austin. If you’re following me on Twitter and Facebook, you all know this already. I’m going to to try and jam a few posts in today that have been in the backlog queue.

First, my sincere apologies to Vyew and Freshbooks! Two fantastic interviews I have done in the past few (jeez it may be over a month now) that I have not had time to write up. I promise I will get to these ultimately! It may have to wait until after Office 2.0 at this point.

Second, I am in fact, finally relocating to AUSTIN. Wow. Whatta town. Every time I go to Austin I learn something different that I like about it. If all goes well, I should be there by the end of the month, probably sooner. Speaking of relocation… Remember my relocation fantasy? While I was at Mashup Camp, I had the great pleasure to meet IBM’s Dan Gisolfi in person who took me through the personalized QEDWiki mashup he made to satisfy my wanton mashup desire… (OH THE SPAM I will be attracting because of this post. C’est la guerre, n’est-ce pas?). Dan was able to mashup the GreatSchools.net web site with available real estate and customize a viewable “situational app” just for my personalized benefit. Well, not just me, but for anyone who is interested in relocating. Awesome.

You can view the demo of that QEDWiki mashup at this link. Please give it a looksee.

What struck me about this mashup was although I was thrilled personally, it occurred to me we were invariably disrupting a 1.0 business model in the process. Sites that depend on advertising and eyeballs stand to lose with mashups. The challenge with mashups will be how to rationalize the web services sharing in ways that benefit the content providers. This is still new to me, but the ramifications were obvious even for a neophyte.

Posted in Next Net, Enterprise 2.0, AJAX, Enterprise Mashups, Office 2.0, Wikis, blogs, social networking | Comments Off

FREE iPhones– for Free Thinkers.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on July 25, 2007

iphone

Want One? Have One? Listen up.

The word came today that if you’re joining us at the Office 2.0 conference, you’re getting an iPhone. If you already have an iPhone, boy, you’re gonna give it a workout at this conference. The theme for this year’s Office 2.0 conference is Mobility Productivity & Collaboration. The entire conference will be run off the iPhone. If you want to exchange contact info with other attendees, you’ll use your iPhone… you’ll see demos with your iPhone… you will vote for demos with your iPhone… you will ask questions to panels and moderators through your iPhone… you will watch presentations from other sessions through your iPhone… and, oh, the whole conference will be videopodcasting live, viewable on the iPhone and around the world. But this is one conference you won’t want to watch on a screen– you will want to be there.

And yes, we’re importing speakers/moderators from outside the US, as the “officeless office” is a global phenomenon. Our European and Asia/Pacific friends have a lot to teach us about mobile productivity & collaboration.

Ismael is truly pushing the envelop with this nextgen Office 2.0 event. He is starting to blog regularly on the technologies and philosophies that are driving Office 2.0. The history of this conference truly embodies the free-form, emergent spirit that is driving the 2.0 phenomenon. If this year’s event is even a fraction as exciting as last year’s, and I know already it is primed to far surpass it, we are setting a new, high bar for conference organizing, attending, engaging, and learning.

 

Posted in blogs, conferences, Enterprise 2.0, Next Net, Office 2.0, Social Media, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

The Original Unconference: Mashup Camp

Posted by Susan Scrupski on July 19, 2007

What is not to love about Mashup Camp? This is my first unconference event, and I am an easy convert. It defines the free-form, emergent foundation of enterprise 2.0 in that it is completely user (developer) driven. No formal speakers, no imposed structure. What’s interesting is that developers mix easily with vendors and sponsors because from what I’ve seen they’re all intellectually curious and are asking a lot of the same questions. I don’t see a lot of marketing and selling going on here.

The day starts by mapping out a series of sessions the camp wants to discuss with peers. Developers get to pick time slots first, then sponsors, then other vendors.

mashup camp1

Next, each session is posted on a large, paper schedule that is transfered by David Berlind onto a wiki that everyone can access and annotate with session notes all day long.

mashup camp2

Then, everyone self-assembles and visits sessions that interests them. There was a lunch a break (day one), and the favorite part of the day for me was “speed-geeking” which consisted of 5-minute demos of about maybe 2 dozen mashups located at tables in the grand hall at the computer museum. Each participant had five minutes to explain his or her mashup, show its main features, and answer questions.

mashup camp3

All the mashups were impressive, but I know I and Jeff Nolan were particularly impressed with the Plaxo mashup demo. Straight from the press release, the 3.0 version:

“has a content sharing feeds system, which several networks are leveraging, especially after the combined success of Facebook apps with its newsfeeds feature. Individual feeds for Plaxo users will initially include those for Flickr photos, blogposts, Amazon wish lists and Plaxo contact info modifications.”

I videotaped the demo here for you to see for yourself. I apologize, but the “night vision” option was accidentally selected on the camera I shot it with. Grrr… Still viewable, though. This is Joseph Smarr, Architect for Plaxo, demoing Plaxo’s new 3.0 version.

 

Posted in Next Net, SaaS, Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, AJAX, Enterprise Mashups, Office 2.0, Wikis, Irregulars, RSS, conferences | 2 Comments »

 
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