ITSinsider is looking for love not work… :-)

humptydumptyI read an old-fashioned user-generated column in Newsweek this week where a young woman quoted her mother as saying, “…finding a job you love means never working a day in your life.” For the past nearly two years, I’ve had the special privilege to cover the Enterprise 2.0 sector as an employee of nGenera. Hands down, I have had the best job in the business. I’ve met extremely bright people and have had the opportunity to listen to real Enterprise customers as they struggle with the choices related to introducing 2.0 into their large enterprise environments.

I will continue to work with nGenera, as the company continues on its journey. But I will continue as an independent, not an employee. Although, admittedly, it’s scary facing the prospect of not having a salary during oh, say, the worst economic crisis ever in my adult life time, I remain optimistic. Let’s just say I’m taking a huge leap of faith that dictates when I jump off this ledge, there will be a large, strong net– the social web– ready to catch me. I’ve been inspired by so many in the 2.0 community to trust, to share, to work together to achieve common goals. Now I’m putting my own rhetoric to the test. Is there a market here or not?

I hope you’ll help me prove there is. If you’re interested in speaking to me about any way I can help your organization grapple with 2.0, or if you’re a vendor who feels misunderstood and under-appreciated, you know where to find me– I’ll be home, here on the social web. I look forward to having a conversation.

And, if you really want to help, but don’t have a budget (lol), do me a social networking solid and leave me a recommendation on LinkedIn.

What’s your nGen Era Story?

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.” 😉

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What is your nGen story?

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

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

Relationships are the Killer App and Marketing Rules.

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.

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

Dorothy, we’re not in Manhattan anymore…

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.

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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.

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

Game Day: Office 2.0 in San Francisco

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.