Posted by Susan Scrupski on June 10, 2007
I fear poor, fellow Enterprise Irregular Dennis Howlett has been bitten by the startup bug. After taking the product for a test drive– I completely understand! FreeAgent is an online record-keeping, invoicing, banking, project management, tax liability keeping, time management, AND community-based, knowledge-sharing resource for freelancers, contractors, and independent contractors. (I probably missed a few dozen other features.) I was originally delighted by the pleasing user interface and easy to navigate design of the application and site. But what really impressed me is the depth of the product resources.
Having been an independent consultant many more years than I have been an employee, this product is a consultant’s dream! I’m not sure what the long term plans are for the product, but with some minor modifications, I could easily see this product morphing into a time-tracking powerhouse for large consulting firms or growing ones, such as ours.
For today, however, my only beef with the product– and it’s a good problem to have– is why UK-only? Us small fish –in the colonies out here– might be worthy of the privilege of such a fantastic product. Not only do we have local banks of origin outside of the UK, we typically serve global clients. I know my best client was based in Amsterdam when I was an independent consultant, and I had other international projects and clients. It would really have been handy to have a global platform where I could have been paid in Euros in a European bank. I can think of dozens of others of freelance friends of mine who were ex-pats living in Paris, London, Germany doing freelance writing and consulting gigs. My hope is FreeAgent will spread the love throughout the British Empire. 😉
On a more serious note,
I remember snatching up Dan Pink’s, Free Agent Nation, when it first came out. The book resonated with me because I don’t typically fit in well with large companies and much prefer to fly solo, like so many of my writer, analyst, consultant, and researcher friends. But the worst bit, anyone will admit, about being an independent is the @#$%^ bookkeeping and paying the tax man. What’s interesting to me about FreeAgent and Dan Pink’s first book is how web 2.0 technology has created the platform to deliver on the promises of what Pink forecasted for the new frontier of work. But even if you’re a digital Bedouin who happens to work for a corporation, like some of the guys I work with, it’s clear to me that whether we can thank AJAX or Ruby or a larger zeitgeist virally propagating as we collaborate and share across boundaries and nations via the next generation Internet– so much of the baby got thrown out with the bathwater in the 1.0 dotcom bubble.
In Free Agent Nation, Dan Pink says, “The basic unit of this Free Agent Operating System– the 1s and 0s of the underlying code– is trust. Trust , as scholar Francis Fukuyama noted in a magnificent book of the same name, is essential not only to a just society– but also to a healthy economy.” Trust is the currency of web 2.0 and its business partner, enterprise 2.0. As the individual continues to supplant the organization in power and influence, I’m continually reminded of these early visionaries that set the stage for the freedom we’re seeing today on the web.
Posted in AJAX, Consultants, Enterprise 2.0, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, SaaS, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »
Posted by Susan Scrupski on April 4, 2007
I’ve been taking a lot of satisfaction these past few weeks in how our little enterprise 2.0 garden is growing. In the past few weeks I’ve been asked to podcast, to appear on a video segment, and to participate in an enterprise 2.0 “rave.” All good stuff. The analyst and media coverage of enterprise 2.0 has really started to pick up too. I’m particularly encouraged by the management findings and recommendations we’ve seen coming out of MIT’s Sloan Management Report and McKinsey. I guess they legitimize our inner-circle zealot ramblings.
A few items of interest: I attended Ajax World a couple weeks ago. I listened to a few of the speakers, but spent more time trolling the vendors in the exhibit hall for real examples of how Ajax solutions were generating real business advantages for their customers. Nexaweb had some interesting case studies. They quickly rattled off projects at Bank of Toyko, Mitsubishi, Seimans, AFLAC and EMC where companies had built rich Internet applications that were making a difference in their markets. Another interesting observation was a casual chat I had with Chris Warner at JackBe. He basically told me the audience makeup is different this year. That it was not so much developers in jeans and ponytails asking technical questions, but guys in Polo shirts and khakis asking how to solve a business problem. He said, “When suits start walking around, we’ll know the market has matured.”
I ran into Dion Hinchcliffe in the lounge. Dion and Jeremy Geelan had kindly asked me to participate in their ground-breaking Enterprise 2.0 premier web TV segment. Unfortunately, I had to decline, but look forward to future episodes. Don’t miss the first episode, airing Monday, April 9.
Here is Dion’s description of the show:
The Enterprise 2.0 TV Show Airs Web-Wide This April from the Reuters TV Studio in Times Square
We’ve teamed up with former BBC producer Jeremy Geelan — and IT industry maven extraordinaire — to create a new world-class Web-based TV show with broadcast quality production values that obsessively covers the rapidly emerging topic of current industry fascination: Enterprise 2.0. Taped in leading venues throughout the country, the Enterprise 2.0 TV Show is designed as an open, freely-distributable communication stream created to tap the exploding popularity and delivery models of the online video medium. The show is carefully crafted to help non-technical business leaders explore the power and potential of the very latest industry developments on the Internet. Each show delves into the most important new trends that are helping reshape the face of the enterprise today and have the potential to unleash significant productivity gains and competitive advantage. Episode #1, a deep dive into the moving parts of Enterprise 2.0, has already been taped with industry leaders such as SocialText, Kapow, Jubii, and Near-Time and will be ‘airing’ in April on the show site as well as everywhere else on the Web. Also, if you are interested in appearing on the show or want to advertise or sponsor, please contact Jeremy directly.
I first started writing about what we now call “Enterprise 2.0” the end of June, last year. I believe it was about this time last year that McAfee published his seminal, “Enterprise 2.0: the Dawn of Emergent Collaboration.” Now, barely a year later, we’ve got our own T.V. show and we’re hosting Rave parties (more to come on that). I’m looking forward to harvesting the rewards of this year’s crop. It’s fun blogging history in the making.
Update: the Enterprise 2.0 Rave has a web site now… Lots of buzz on this already. They tell me they’re creating a button for blogger discounts, but if you want save $250 now, sign up here. I think they are capping the number of attendees, so it’s first-come, first-served.
Posted in AJAX, blogs, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, SaaS, SOA, Wikis | 1 Comment »
Posted by Susan Scrupski on March 28, 2007
Thanks to my new friend Brian, I found out that Nike has dumped (WSJ – requires registration) its longstanding Advertising agency relationship in search of a partner with more digital expertise. This may be the seminal event/wake-up call that will rattle the cages for marketers everywhere.
Interactive Agencies are the game changers in the new marketing economy. Young, digital zealots pumped up on Red Bull, what’s not to love?
Posted in Interactive Agencies, Next Net, SusanScrupski, Web Integrators | Comments Off on Just Do it. (Go Digital)
Posted by Susan Scrupski on February 26, 2007
Relocation is a bear. My lastest mashup desire comes in the way of a simple consumer interest to buy a nice house in a good school district. So, the mashup becomes “Available real estate” + “Good schools.”
What do these two images below have in common?
Yep, Google Maps. Now, I’m no programmer and API means “Associated Press International” to me, so the likelihood of me figuring out how to get at the data and display it easily approaches zero. Nonetheless, it can be done, yes?
My simple mashup fantasy is similar to what Dion Hinchcliffe is writing about lately. Clearly, I am living proof of his call for ease of use as a “key issue for successful mashup creation tools.”
Ease of use: Being usable by virtually anyone with any skill level using any browser in any language without any training will be essential for mashup tools to succeed with the general public.
So what’s a simple-minded home-buyer to do? Call a local realtor?
Maybe, but not yet. I emailed contacts at IBM (QEDwiki) and Teqlo over the weekend and asked if they could figure it out. The good news is they both said yes, but not just yet. It occurred to me what a tremendous market opportunity these mashups would be for the data sources of this information. Take GreatSchools.net, for instance, a site I refer to often. There is an enormous amount of public and user-generated information on that site for anyone interested in researching schools and school districts. This simple mashup would drive a tremendous amount of traffic to their site. You can see how the network effects from this simple application would create value for the site’s users; thereby increasing its value in the market.
In addition to the market expansion benefits for the content sources, the benefits to users are limitless. It’s a simple matter of knowing what you want.
It’s like Dion is saying here:
But what is clear is the vision, ingenuity, and widespread interest and potential benefit that really good DIY Web tools could bring to literally hundreds of millions of users around the world.
Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Next Net, Web 2.0 | 7 Comments »