Splommenters– please “no comment”

Correction: Spammenters*

Shame, shame, shame. I realize Social Media is the new black in the art of PR, but how irritating is this? Tammy Erickson, our in-house workforce guru, published a post today on women’s progress in the workplace on her Harvard Business School discussion leader blog. Her first comment was from Ms. Kimberly Rosenberg who lavishes her with praise then notso deftly segues into how she is using Microsoft Office Live for Small Business (no hyperlinks intended) to increase her productivity.

I sleuthed around online on Ms. Rosenberg, and it appears she has left virtually the same comment on at least 4 other blogs in the past few weeks. Ewwww.

http://www.blissfullydomestic.com/2008/04/an-organized-ho.html

http://experts.internetbasedmoms.com/aurelia/finding-balance-as-a-wahm

http://www.entrepremusings.com/index.php/2008/04/24/why-arent-there-more-rich-women-entrepreneurs/

http://empowerwomennow.com/news-women-entrepreneurs/index.php/how-to-get-your-partner-from-zero-to-hero-in-your-business/

Microsoft Office Live for Small Business product management– what are you thinking? So blatant an attempt to hawk your wares? Buy an ad. There are right ways and wrong ways to engage the blogosphere. Please start feeding any number of the excellent social media blogs that will instruct you on how to do this right. If Ms. Rosenberg works for a PR agency, send her to social media school. Or send her to start doing some homework here (Chris Brogan) and here (Brian Solis).

The smoking gun:

splomment

*Update: Thanks to Lara Kretler, the best term to describe this practice is “spammenting.”

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.” 😉

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=C4OKzlEWKZQ&amp;hl">http://youtube.com/watch?v=C4OKzlEWKZQ&amp;hl</a>

What is your nGen story?

Happy Anniversary to ITSinsider

I appreciate bloggers who celebrate their longevity… I decided to give myself an atta girl today. I started this blog two years ago, the end of January 2006. At the time, I had NO idea what I was doing, what I was going to track in the market– let alone blog about. It’s somewhat comical looking back now at my early journey back into the workforce from being out over 5 years as a stay-at-home-Mom.

Happy Anniversary

I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out, despite my rocky beginnings, fits and starts. I’m seriously enjoying blogging and participating in the global conversation.

I might even suggest I’ve learned more in these past two years about people and technology than I did in the prior two decades combined.

Exciting times and interesting friends. What more could a career woman ask for?

Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year!

Lots of folks on Twitter today this first day of 2008. Lots of reflecting, predicting, resolving going on… For my part, I took up Luis Suarez’s challenge to participate in his “Eight things you don’t know about me.” This is a fun blogging game of tag, somewhat, where we all randomly choose other bloggers to reveal morsels about themselves that we may not otherwise glean from regularly reading of their blogs. I chose to start a personal blog this year, so I included my “8 things” over there.

I then tagged these folks:

  • Todd Stephens, Collaborage blog. Also author of Trademark 2.0, which I highly recommend.
  • Maggie Fox, Social Media Group blog. Ms. Fox is the IT GIRL in corp. social media. We all need to know 8 more things about her.
  • JP Rangaswami, Confused of Calcutta blog. I think JP is approaching deity status; does he need an introduction?
  • Stephanie Agresta, Internetgeekgirl blog. I don’t know Stephanie, but I hear she claimed “Jersey Girl” before I could. She always seems to be having a lot of fun, and I’ve been following her on Twitter.
  • Shiv Singh, Going Social Now blog. Shiv is just one of those smart cats in the blogosphere. Hope he participates!
  • Thomas Otter, Vendorprisey blog. Thomas is my lone EI pick. He is a man of many surprises. I welcome his secrets.
  • Mike Stopworth. Mike is CEO of Cerebra, South Africa’s leading social media consultancy and one of the “planet’s special people.”
  • Vaughan Merlyn. IT Organization Circa 2017. Vaughan is my lone BSG Alliance pick. I’ve been coaching him on blogging. He’s a brilliant guy; I just need him to start linking more… Sorry Vaughan! It’s a little tough love. 🙂

My comment facility isn’t working correctly yet on the new blog, either, so anyone can comment here in the interim on that post.

As we roll into the New Year, I am wishing all ITSinsiders a tremendous ’08. May the web with with you– each and every one group!

Enterprise 2.0 at the Crossroads

So, I moved half-way across the country and have just returned from the second highly successful Office 2.0 conference. I started to live-blog the sessions, but soon gave up. There were a number of folks live-blogging, and I was really interested in the sessions, so I just wanted to listen. Sorry.

Let’s Celebrate the Entrepreneur, Shall We?

I feel the urge to pontificate on where I think we are with Enterprise 2.0. But first, let me say a few words on behalf of the heroes of the Office 2.0 conference. The true heroes of that event are the entrepreneurs, the startup CEOs and founders/developers who are taking the career risks and living on sheer faith. I believe it was John Creason, Chief Technology Officer, Smartsheet.com who you can watch here (Office 2.0 Set-up) who summed up the conference’s RON (Return on Networking) best:

“If I look at the Office 2.0 conference and what it’s meant to our company… A year ago, on this stage, I felt like we were giving our birth announcement for our company. We were young; I think we had less than 100 customers– most of those were friends and family… What happens here is a exchange of ideas. I was at the cocktail party Wednesday night. I walked out of the cocktail party with enough good ideas from talking to smart people here that if I would have went home [then], I would have been happy… Last year, Rafe Needleman beat us up on some ideas about our model– our pricing, our distribution– and in the last year, we’ve gone from under one hundred customers to 15,000 teams using our product, close to a Series A with Madrona, and we have paying customers in 15 countries. So, the ideas, the network, what happens here, is important…”

While I was scouting about recruiting folks to speak for the conference, I attempted to get some 1.0 (and 0.0) tech icons to talk about the Future of Computing. I talked about Ismael Ghalimi’s vision for Office 2.0. Because Ismael has planned the Office 2.0 conference from soup to nuts in 6-8 weeks each year– which is remarkable in its own right– it was tough recruiting anyone at the last minute. For the record, it’s worth noting that I truly believe Ismael is one of this generation’s leading visionaries. He has been faithful to his No Installed Apps pledge and has been running completely “in the cloud” for the past 18 months. I know there are others who have made the all-online transformation, like Dennis Howlett, but Ismael runs a fairly intense open source BPM company, Intalio, with customers and employees all over the world. More importantly, he is pushing the community to extend the limits of the “officeless office” including mobile platforms and helping to establish standards such as the OpenSAM framework. At the end of the day, it’s leadership that makes the difference for movements and “paradigm shifts” to succeed in technology. As I solicited recruits for speakers, I found myself comparing Ismael to a young Steve Jobs. He has a lot of heart, energy, smarts, a passionate network of friends and supporters, and runs somewhat counter-culture to the mainstream. Interesting comparison.

I just love entrepreneurs– the successful ones, the struggling ones, even the obnoxious ones (should we name names?) I was reminded here in Austin of the power of entrepreneurs when I signed up for my new Chase account here in Texas. When I told the Chase branch manager I worked for BSG Alliance, he told me BSG Alliance was a key account for Chase and I was entitled to a host of privileged banking services. Now, at the risk of sounding like a (gulp) Republican (does it happen that fast in Texas?), it occurred to me how badly we need to encourage entrepreneurs in our tech economy. I remember Steve Papermaster (BSG Alliance CEO) when he was just a young guy, a struggling entrepreneur. Some twenty years later, he’s created hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs. That’s awesome.

Maybe for the next Office 2.0 conference I will give away tee shirts that say, “Have you hugged an entrepreneur today?”

Enterprise 2.0 Rubber will meet the Road this year

Dr. Phil Over the past six months, I’ve had more exposure to large customers. I’ve come to the simplistic conclusion that just because you “can” DIY doesn’t necessarily mean you should in the enterprise. About this time last year, I was writing about user angst and dissatisfaction with the IT department and how this pent up demand will propel maverick departments to choose alternate methods to collaborate “under the radar” of IT. I believe that will continue. But what will be the result? Isolated uses of wikis, blogs, RSS aggregators that will be disenfranchised from enterprise applications. The reality is– you need IT on board with enterprise 2.0 adoption to really maximize the depth and breadth of these tools for the enterprise. For large enterprises, that is.

As I learn more about large organizations, I feel like each CIO I meet transmogrifies into Dr. Phil and says, “Get real, dude. We run a serious company here. We’re not going to put our assets at risk by exposing them to anything beyond our complete control.” It’s not that they’re control freaks; they’re liable for where, when, how, and why the information in the enterprise is handled. Period. That’s their job. You would think IT’s only stakeholders are users (err, people who work), but they’re also accountable to lawyers, the government, the board of directors, investors, stockholders, who did I miss? You see my point. So, I’m getting real. Not liking it, but I’m getting real. And, is it their fault that enterprise applications are so godawful impenetrable? So, I’m lightening up on IT. Hoping to see more idealistic enterprise 2.0 principles coming from Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and Oracle (MISO). SAP seems to be leading the pack here. Just about every blogger I know (okay, an exaggeration) lists SAP as a client, so they’re getting lots of 2.0 advice.

I’ve begun to see some good posts lately in the e2.0 “getting real” vein, such as this one, “Enterprise 2.0 Show me the ROI.” Perhaps it’s my bias, but I was happy to see Bill Ives’ post this week on Serena Software. In the grab-bag of Enterprise 2.0 tricks for the enterprise that have the most promise, my money is on mash-ups. We were having a conversation about this at the Office 2.0 cocktail party. (By the way, please VOTE for my panel hosted by David Berlind at SXSW on mash-ups). Mash-ups are technical enough to be interesting to IT folks, and simple enough in the way they solve business problems so that business users will clamor for them.

Then, what is at the intersection of Office 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0? No doubt we will see liberal infiltration of social networking in the enterprise via blogs, Facebook and Facebook-esque platforms (for instance, we use a private instance of Ning at BSG, which we love) to communicate and connect, as well as online communities and ad-hoc wikis for collaborating. Knowledge workers (ordinary web-savvy folk) will also graft on their own instances of Google apps for the enterprise, as well as experiment with dozens of online apps such as all of those represented at the Office 2.0 conference. I’m certain individuals and small groups will see productivity gains and experience the synergies 2.0 fusion brings to newcomers. But, until IT embraces and synchronizes its own Enterprise 2.0 strategy for the global-intergalactic-infrastructure-labyrinth, chances are we won’t see the technicolor dream unfold… it will take a village (IT, enterprise vendors, knowledge workers, 2.0 startups, evangelists) to raise this child.

Ismael asked me to plan the next Enterprise 2.0 track for next year again. I tentatively said yes. If I do accept the challenge, I will continue to look for case studies of hard core evidence of Enterprise 2.0 working in large organizations. Whether it came in through the back door– bottom up (like Scott Gavin and Simon Revell who formed a rebel working 2.0 collaborative committee that is now the delight of Pfizer) or top down (like Adam Carson at Morgan Stanley after getting the nod from Chairman and CEO John Mack to pursue the strategy), the stories are excellent and everyone takes away something they can relate to.

I will continue to blog about developments in Enterprise 2.0; I’m still a stalwart believer. I’ve never known greater freedom and creativity as a knowledge worker 2.0 (see Stephen Collins’ fab presentation), but I know there is a tough mission ahead of us. The reality should be sinking in for all of us right about now.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Ross

Ross Perot

At the risk of alienating (confusing?) all my friends on Facebook and in the blogosphere… I’m taking a public moment to wish Ross Perot a Happy Birthday. If it were not for him, I would not have enjoyed the 20+ excellent years I have had in the technology business. I joined EDS as a young writer in 1986. Perot meant a great deal to the early employees of EDS. I will always have a place in my heart for him and his first management team.