Going Rogue: Taking a Leap of Faith – in Humanity, the Social Web, and the Brilliance of Marshall Kirkpatrick

So, I’m alone again, naturally.*

I have been letting friends know over the past few weeks that I resigned from my incredibly great new position at 7Summits.  It was not them; it was me.  The more I got into the thick of the work, I realized I am far too independent for a real day job.  The past few “jobs” I’ve had at nGenera (now Moxie) and even with Dachis Group via the Social Business Council enabled me to work independently, tracking the market and educating the non-believers.  This is the real work that I love.  Although the affection for all things social is chilly these days, I believe in the market phenomenon more than ever.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to bear witness to some of the mind-blowing step changes that have taken place organizationally in some of the largest enterprises  in the world.  Yes, the pressure is on to deliver shareholder (and institutional) value, but the Trojan mice have been unleashed.  There is no turning back.  The benefits of the social revolution inside enterprises will deliver all the benefits my curmudgeonly EI brethren are seeking, as well as mine for making life on the planet better.  Like my friend Sameer says,

So, I may be racing (slowly) on a different track, but all lanes lead to the promised land that early “2.0 evangelists” were originally so pumped up about.  I know many who still are, in fact.  The passion around doing this has just taken on a more mature, more focused pragmatism.  Yet, I urge you, dear reader, to do a little soul-searching like I did over the holidays.  Do some reading on the Aaron Swartz tragedy.  It sobered me up and realigned my priorities.  Is it so wrong to want to change the world?  I don’t think so.

The good news is I can rest on a big data set of evidence that supports my ability to influence the conversation on what is happening in Social Business. (More on the #socbiz label in another post).  When I was interviewing to work with RWW (another gig that was just not for me), I met with Marshall Kirkpatrick at SXSW in 2009.  Sitting at a table in the noisy Austin Convention Center, he showed me a brilliant software tool that he developed to help him uncover who the influencers are in any category. Presumably, he used this to do his world-class reporting.  I remember being slightly afraid of him, but also in awe.  When Marshall finally left RWW last year, he put plans in place to launch Little Bird.  Little Bird is a powerful social media tool that identifies the “experts that most experts trust.”  He’s received great press coverage and VC backing from Mark Cuban.  The tool is really powerful and I urge anyone trying to find category influencers to sign up for the free trial.

As it turns out, according to Marshall’s algorithm, I’m the “expert” that most experts trust in Social Business.  I occupy the #1 position among the top 500 insiders on Social Business. Now, before everyone unfollows me on Twitter, I’ll qualify that by saying, what Little Bird does is something analogous to Google page rank.  It’s not that I’m the brainiest or most knowledgeable person in Social Business, it means that the most knowledgeable and brainy experts in Social Business are connected to me.  And there are a lot of them!  I celebrate every expert in this category and wish only for continued success of everyone in the space.  That actually includes the vendors.  Hence, you can see why I feel the need to maintain an independent voice in the market.

So, after I slogged through my soul-searching exercise over the holidays, I decided to put my science-based faith in the social web with its labyrinth of interesting nodes to ensure I won’t starve as I set out to be an independent blogger/researcher/advisor/solopreneur again.  I am looking at  a few interesting projects – one that is not even squarely in the social business space, but has a lot of appeal to me as a researcher in a bustling vertical market undergoing a lot of innovation.  I’m also working on the business plan for a startup that has me simply jazzed.  But, in the meantime, I need to pay the bills.  I’m openly accepting all offers for project work in my sweet spot.  I’m particularly interested in case studies and interesting stories about how social technologies are being applied to create big changes in the enterprise.

Finally, The ITSinsider blog will once again be tracking new players, technologies, and developments in the biz too.  I hope you wish me well, and that you too come around to #myPOV which is, of course, to #changetheworldFTW.  🙂


*How alone am I really?  LinkedIn tells me I am connected to 14,673,066+ professionals and 41,500 new people since Monday.  If I can’t find project work, then this whole social thang is a cruel ruse.  The odds are against it.  

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Author: Susan Scrupski

Longtime fan of technology to improve humanity.