Working Out Loud*

It occurred to me recently that my blogging has all but slammed to a screeching halt.  Since the Council was bought by Dachis Group, I’ve barely managed to blog at all, and my tweeting has wound down considerably, as well.   This is not to say I’ve slowed down with social engagement, in fact, it’s the near opposite.   I man the command center at Council central on our Jive and Socialcast social sites, and I monitor Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as well as our Dachis Group Yammer account all day.   I have a persistent chat going all day with my assistant on Skype, and I’m generally monitoring the social web for keywords I’m tracking via Google alerts.

I’m just not sharing a lot externally with my e20 neighbors outside of the Council, save for what I manage to post on Twitter or share via Facebook.  So, ironically, the social web has turned me anti-social.  I’m less transparent than I’ve ever been since I started blogging in 2006.  This is a peculiar and sad state of affairs, because I certainly know more now than I knew when I was blogging avidly.

All that being said, I am going to attempt to get back to blogging.  We debate a lot of important issues inside of the Council that deserve to be exposed to an external audience.  Another way we’re going to attempt to do this is via our new Podcast series that I announced this morning.  Of course, I have to respect the confidentiality of the members’ work-specific related issues, but the general trends we’re watching and trying to make sense of would benefit by some group discussion.

So consider this a short re-introduction.  I have a number of posts I’ve been mulling over.  I won’t waste a lot of time perfecting them, but will make every effort to stimulate some conversation.  Stay tuned.

*Work Out Loud is a great theme coined by our member @thebryceswrite

A Year’s Summary of Personal Reflection IV

Every year for the past four years, after the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, I have written an introspective piece about where we are on our journey bringing 2.0 to the large enterprise.  These pieces tend to be idealistic, and I ask readers to bear with me.  You can read their predecessors at this link.

I’ve decided to write a final piece in this series, as we are now well on the road to market acceptance.

In short, the Enterprise 2.0 journey reminds me of learning how to drive a stick shift  my first car: a ’66 Ford Mustang convertible.  Like every new driver, I was extremely excited about the prospects of getting behind the wheel and experiencing the life-changing freedom that comes with mobility.  Each year the Enterprise 2.0 market has grown, it’s been like a new gear on my 3-on-the-floor stick shift.

1. Years 2006-07/Gear 1.  We focused on just getting the clutch engaged and propelling the the damned thing forward.  Those early years were the most difficult of all.  I used every trick in the book to get people interested in the space, including invoking the name of Bruce Springsteen.

“I believe there is something BIG going on here– not because I’m an investor, not because I’m a CEO of a web 2.0 company, not because I’m a journalist of a SF-based publication, heck– I’m not even on the West Coast.  I feel a little like Mr. Springsteen in those early days, playin’ his heart out in those NJ dives hoping someone would dance, or better– listen to the lyrics.”

A handful of us hardcore Enterprise 2.0 bloggers kept pounding away and trying to get some attention for what we all saw as something, “New under the Sun” to quote Andrew McAfee.

2. Year 2008/Gear 2.  We got the thing to move by 2008 albeit in slow gear.  Momentum began to pick up toward the end of 2008 with

Social is as Social Does

One of the greatest joys of owning your own business is you get to break the rules when it’s warranted.  We have a hard and fast rule about Council membership that states only large enterprises can join with more than 10K employees.  Chris McGrath of ThoughtFarmer referred Ephraim Freed to me when we were first getting started.  I took one look at the Oxfam America website and immediately told Ephraim, “You’re in.”

In two different business contexts I’ve been asked recently what my personal goals are for my career.  In both instances, I simply stated, “I want to change the world.”  Now, that always merits a chuckle or a smirk.  But, the truth is, I’m serious.  In my small way, I think I can add to the collective voice of individuals who want to create a better “customer experience” living on our planet.

Today, Craig Cmehil is running a 24-hour marathon to raise money for Doctors without Borders.  I’ll be doing a segment at 11am ET on the Council, and I’ll be having a bit of fun with Dennis Howlett on “Enterprise 2.0 is a crock” at 1pm ET.  Please join us and do some social good today, and think about the larger implications of connecting a social planet.

Video of my interview with Ephraim.  (Sorry for quality; recorded on Skype.)

For Ada Lovelace Day: The other Esther Dyson / CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s hard to not think of Esther Dyson on a day that recognizes women in Science and Technology.  I’m not the first to write about her for Ada Lovelace day, but I hope to reveal a side of Esther that will serve to inspire women everywhere.

I first met Esther in 1989, I believe.  I was working for CMP (Now TechWeb/UBM) on Long Island, and my boss asked me if I wanted to join him at a lunch date with her.  “Absolutely!” I said.  There was no equivalent back then to Esther (and probably hasn’t been since.)  She was a bona fide tech icon.  Even then.  Without Twitter and Facebook, even.

What I found most curious about our lunch was, in addition to sharing morsels of wisdom, she took the time to speak to me personally, in earnest.  She told me to check out a few women in technology organizations and offered to introduce me to some contacts that shared some of my interests.  I never forgot that meeting.  (I’m sure she did.)  What was memorable was her kindness and instinctive generosity, in addition to her intelligence and confidence.

Over the years, I kept in touch with Esther mostly as a reporter/researcher.  She never hesitated to return an email or give me a quote.

In 1998, when I decided to launch a business, I reached out to Esther to become what I cleverly described as an “e-Advisor.”  Essentially, my pitch was that I would only contact her if it was absolutely necessary, and all she’d have to do is return an email with her thoughts.  I still have the original email I sent her.  It’s a little over-the-top, but to her credit, she not only agreed to be an “e-Advisor,” she agreed to meet me in her office in New York to review my business plan.

Long story shorter, over the years, Esther has always (always) been there when I’ve reached out.  I most of the time can’t believe it.  Her advice has saved me from some pretty dumb amateur mistakes, and her insight has opened my eyes to considerations I never would have recognized on my own.  I once sent her a Van Morrison CD because I felt I needed to do something to thank her for all her support and help.  It wasn’t much, but I couldn’t really think of anything she could possibly need, so I sent her something I liked.

The lesson in this story for women everywhere– and all professionals young and old– you’re never too famous or too special to show a kindness to a stranger.  Share what you’ve learned over the years with someone who’s still learning.  Just this week, Esther has been helping me sort out a business opportunity.  Once again, I begged her to let me do something for her.  To this she responded:

For this reason, in addition to being a brilliant technology and science icon (who happens to be a woman), I celebrate Esther for being just a really great human being.  May we all (attempt to) emulate her.


Enterprise 2.0 is a Crock!!! says Dennis (the 2.0 Menace).

Here’s who says it isn’t:


Adidas Group+




Alstom Power+



Bell Canada+

Booz Allen Hamilton+

British Petroleum+


Cardiff University (UK)+



Compagnie de Saint Gobain+






Deutsche Bank+

The Disney Corporation+


Electronic Arts+

Eli Lilly+

EMC Corp+

European Central Bank+


Ford Motor Company+

GDF Suez+

General Mills+

General Motors+

GlaxoSmithKline +

Goldman Sachs+

Hatch Associates+


Honeywell International+




Intel Corporation+

International Paper+

Johnson and Johnson+

Juniper Networks+

Lockheed Martin+

Lowe’s Companies+

Lyonnaise des Eux/Suez Environment+

Massachusetts Institute of Technology+


McKinsey & Company+

Medtronic, Inc.+









Penn State University+

Pitney Bowes+

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne+


Procter & Gamble+

Progressive Insurance+


Research in Motion+


SAP BusinessObjects+



SK Telecom+

State of Maryland+

Sun Microsystems (Oracle)+

Swedish Armed Forces+

Texas Instruments+

The Washington Post+

United Business Media+

Wells Fargo+

Wipro Technologies.

And we’re just getting started…

The Urgency of Now

The news about Sarah Palin broke today while I was working.  Where did I see the news?   Twitter (of course).  Seconds turned to minutes, and I found myself impatient with not knowing the inside scoop on the why behind the resignation.  What was the target of my impatience?  The Twitter community.  Seems ridiculous, but it’s just expected these days that you’ll get to the heart of a breaking story within seconds.

To that end, it reminded me I wanted to write a post about the “unbearable heaviness of not-being” current.  Way, way back around the Christmas holidays, I was flattered to be one of only three reviewers for Andrew McAfee’s book on Enterprise  2.0 by Harvard Business Press.    They asked me to review the manuscript, and I accepted (for a small stipend).  They gave me a couple weeks to review it, and I submitted my comments in mid-January.

At the back of mind, however, and something I probably should have included in the review and regret now that I didn’t was a lingering doubt.  “This book will be obsolete before it’s published for the community of folks who track this sector.”

When Andy and I caught up at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, he told me that he too is really troubled by the delay on the publishing schedule.  He had hoped the book would have been published by the conference deadline (June), but it is now pushed back until December.  December?   You’re kidding me.

The demand for Andy’s book is today, not six months from now.  I’m wondering if, as a community, we can lobby Harvard Business Press to move the publication date up as its value is inextricably tied to its timeliness– especially in this fast-moving space.  The Editorial Director in charge of the publication timeline is Jacqueline Murphy .   I urge you to contact her and express your support for moving the book up in Harvard Business Press’ publishing queue.  I also started a Facebook group with the same goal.