People of the LinkedIn Universe

If we don’t know each other, don’t send me a message with only the default connect message.

  1. Mark, it is good to see you on LinkedIn…
  2. Mark, because you are someone I trust…
  3. I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn…

You need to tell me why we need to connect. If you want to sell me something, the bar is really hard to justify connecting. If we’ve never even been in the same zip code, state or country at the same time then I’m not sure why we should connect. You need to make a case for it.

Don’t be lazy.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming…




Interesting Online Tools

There is a web site and service called ifttt which means if this then that. The service allows you to glue together different online events to cause other things to happen.  Examples are on the site (and templates) which allow one to glue together things to cause other things.  For example:

  • if I favorite a tweet, then it can send that to instapaper
  • if the temp tomorrow is below freezing it can send me an email
  • etc. etc.

I’m wondering how IT might use these services to glue together some corporate IT events. If a certain event happens, then cause something else to happen. Some of the channels would be usable by organizations, not just people fooling around. For example, if a corporate IT service goes out can these services be used to spread the word via several different channels to your team in an automated fashion?

Have you tried anything interesting with this service?

I’ve also been using Buffer a lot lately. I am currently watching 331 blog/sites/feeds and I  like to share the best ones (see the post to the right). I’m using this tool to send favorite ones which are then posted on twitter at predefined times of the day. With this, I can read through a lot of things and highlight ones to share, but then send them in a more orderly fashion instead of sending 10-15 at a time. It is not a big deal, but I like this approach. If you do a lot of tweets, take a look.

PS. After doing this post, WordPress recommended I link to the site below.  If I type a blog about this then show me related ones I guess…   Funny.

Clay Shirky at Gartner Symposium

This past week I heard Clay Shirky speak at one the keynotes at the Gartner Symposium. Here are some of the thoughts that he shared:

  1. Business is changing due to social media. Social media is about everything, not just business.
  2. People and machines and companies are intertwined and the lines are blurring. He told funny stories of individuals being upset with a bank’s new policy and fees and starting a grassroots campaign on Facebook critical of the policy and the bank then reverting the policy back.  Unhappy customers in the past could complain but now they can coordinate their campaigns and complaints.
  3. This is both a threat and an opportunity!
  4. Business needs to understand that in the past communications were between individuals and the company. Now it is between all parties simultaneously. The network and connection possibilities are huge.
  5. Access to information has changed in regards to amount, availability, speed and cost.
  6. Amateur public speech is now real and powerful.
  7. Individuals can network and form groups locally or around the world.

The impact on IT is huge and IT needs to recognize that social networks and media are being dragged and carried into the workplace.  IT needs to figure this out proactively, as many firms are doing. He told the story of the DARPA challenge to find 10 red balloons deployed around the country and how people at MIT solved the problem by attacking it with brillant social network thinking.

The idea of cognitive surplus being harnessed to solve problems was terrific. He told funny stories about blog policies at companies the amount of time spent on wikipedia vs tv and a funny story about a reusable camera sold by a drug store. Good stuff.

He closed by saying the companies can likely find out more about the drinking habits of their employees than their work habits.

Lots to consider. I’ve not read his book yet, but will soon.

A Few Great Posts to Read

Wanted to pass along a few great posts that I’ve collected from others in the past weeks.  Some of these I’m still thinking about and might post further on later.

  1. Mark McDonald is at Garter Group and he wrote a piece called  12 Things Every Business Needs To Know About IT on his blog.
  2. There is an article on Forbes CIO Central called The Coming Crisis of IT Management which has a lot of good points.  I might share this with my boss and use this piece and the prior one with my boss as a conversation starter.
  3. JD Meier wrote a great piece on Business Scenarios for the Cloud which outlines business reasons why cloud solutions make sense.
  4. And finally Bertrand Duperrin always writes great stuff about collaboration and social networking in the enterprise.  He wrote an interesting note called Making the Most of Key Resources in Collaboration about attention, connections and communication.  I’m still thinking about this one.

I recommend watching all their pages too.

Everybody is in Love with Big Data and Analytics

Last week I had the great opportunity to attend a vendor CIO conference in San Francisco. Without doubt the number one topic was the rise of Big Data and the need for more and better and deeper and easier analytical tools to enable the business to leverage that Big Data. Certainly organizations are saving more data than ever and they are attempting to mine that data for insights into their own products, their business state and their customers and suppliers.

Speaking as someone in the storage business, I think this is great. The more data the better and I say save it forever because you never know when you might need it. Last year I had a meeting with some junior CIOs of a large banking outfit on another continent and they indicated that the laws in their country had been changed to mandate keeping banking records forever! Very funny that such could be codified into the law and I guess everyone just winks and nods and salutes and says ok.  Perhaps they can build pyramids and chisel the records into the walls.

On the point of analytics, there are some key requirements that are still very open. First, there is definitely a need for easier tools for the non-IT business user who is trying to answer whatever question of the day. Most of today’s tools, even the ones that are for casual users, aren’t quite casual enough yet.  One person at the conference indicated that only about 20% of the possible users are actually using today’s tools and there are many corners in the business world that are using nothing.

Second, there is significant growth in unstructured data throughout an organization in places like wikis and in external social tools like Twitter and Facebook. Imagine if one could tap these sources as well as your internal call center data as well as other data sources to build a more complete picture of the state of your products/services and customers in near real time. As I saw on some post somewhere nobody needs to be trained to use Facebook or Twitter and the next generation of analytical tools need to be that easy to use.

Third, mobility via smart-phones and tablets will keep going and users are going to want to answer their questions on the go.

This is going to be interesting area to watch over the next few years. In the mean time, save all that data because you never know what question you might want to answer later.

ROI of Social Media in the Enterprise

Interesting and brief post on the ROI of Enterprise Social Media in Fast Company.   I think these are generally true, but I still think they are hard to measure and then to establish that improvements are caused by social media use in the workplace.   I am a big fan of these tools and ideas, but establishing direct links on cause is difficult.

By the way, there is a great post defining Enterprise 2.0 which I found via twitter (can’t remember where) that I just wanted to pass along.  I’m going to pass this post along to colleagues here at work.   It does a good job at talking about some of the new tools and why they are different.   I especially like the closing comment about the tools meaning nothing unless collaborators embrace them.

I’ll be at Dreamforce for a couple of days next week.   Look me up if you are there.

Enterprise 2.0 Recent Thoughts

Resistance to Enterprise 2.0 and Results of Better Interactions Between employees and teams.

Found two good posts on Enterprise 2.0 ideas that I wanted to share.   The first is a rather hysterical presentation about security risks with a new medium which Saqib highlighted to me.   I’ll not say more and you need to take a look at it yourself.

Unfortunately there is always resistance to change and concern about what is happening and what might happen, in the worst case. It is interesting how people will tell you the negatives or the 1-2 things they worry about but they likely won’t tell you the positives and the 1-2-75 good things that might happen.

Also, there is a really great post by Jamie Pappas about social interactions in the workplace and results from some serious studies on the matter.    Her post is Understanding Human Organizational & Social Behavior in an Unusual Way– A Chat with Ben Waber of the MIT Media Lab. I found this post via Twitter post by Susan Scrupski who writes a lot of great material on Enterprise 2.0 ideas too.   Both are recommended.

I won’t repeat the points in Jamie’s post, but one item about the value of face-to-face interactions in the workplace was clearly demonstrated to me years ago when I worked in Asia.   I found that when team members who were trying to work together with the Pacific ocean between them would suddenly make huge progress and things would go smoother when the managed to get together for a few days.   This ‘learning’ is probably a good case for Telepresence.