Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spreading New Ideas...

I was pointed to a great little article by a colleague "The Challenge of Spreading A New Idea" on Fastcompany.com (they are still around?).

I love this framework and applied it to what I'm working on at Microsoft...

To spread a new idea, connect it to a familiar one, then give it a twist. Here are four examples.

Success: Cloverfield
Breakthrough: Blockbuster event movie shot in digital video
Message: Godzilla meets Blair Witch
Upshot: The film has grossed about $168 million worldwide on a $25 million budget.

(Read More examples)

Here's the CIO Network through this lens...

Jury's Out: The CIO Network
Breakthrough: An invitation only, private online network for CIOs to build peer relationships, talk about issues and get connected to Microsoft execs and product developers.
Message: Unique opportunity to connect with like minded strategic CIOs and get behind the scenes at Microsoft.
Upshot: Will CIOs actually participate in such a forum?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Book Notes: Wikinomics

Just finished reading Wikinomics while on vacation in Vancouver and I wanted to dump out some book notes before I get too far into my next book and forget it all.

This was a good book, and one that actually reinforced a lot of what I already think and know about mass collaboration. The case studies in books like these usually never disappoint, and this book was no exception with great examples in Goldcorp, Dell and Innocentive.

Late in the book, the authors drop an incredible quote from Internet Pioneer Vint Cerf that really says it all. Paraphrased, "The 3 golden rules of the Internet are that nobody owns it, everybody users it and anyone can add services to it." It's obvious I know, but these rules mean fundamentally that the Internet is a totally new beast, something different than any preceding communications channel in history. Obvious I know, but still great stuff!

The 4 principles that the authors (Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams) outline are openness, peering, sharing and acting globally. Trust me, the book goes into great depth on these 4 principles.

Mass collaboration seems to be less about complex technology (how simple is a wiki after all?) but more about mindset and culture. It has been interesting to see how the different organizations I've worked in have embraced and/or rejected mass collaboration, and not because the technology was too hard. Even at Microsoft, there is sometimes an unwillingness to use Live Meeting and/or Groove for different reasons that don't ever seem to be technology related (perhaps surprisingly).

For those readers that think mass collaboration isn't a real force in the marketplace, consider that Amazon derives 30% of it's revenue from 3rd party resellers, or that P&G has an ambitious goal of finding 50% of all new innovations from outside the company. It's real, and mass collaboration isn't going away.

I always enjoy Tapscott's book and this was no exception. Highly recommended reading for proof that all this web 2.0, collaboration stuff is very, very real in the marketplace.

Updated a few hours later...
Looking at my notes, I realized I left out the most important part of these short book notes. The closing line in the book really summarizes things for me as I move forward as a mass collaboration proponent. "Is your mind ready for wikinomics?" It seems like a trite question that plays off the title of the book. But I think the authors very specifically and intentionally left this signpost for us as a warning and a promise.

If your mind and your organizational culture isn't ready, wikinomics will be hard, if not impossible to work well, if at all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Recurring Themes...

I keep coming back to this idea about how people recover from career mistakes and how they move on. I recently blogged about Gerald Levin, who moved on from a pretty big error he made while with AOL and I obsessed over J.K. Rowlings Harvard commencement speech about failure. I guess it's on my mind lately!

The latest installment of this story is a new article from Julie Wainwright, the former CEO from Pets.com. Yep, she was the sock puppet lady. It's fascinating to get an inside look at her thoughts and the aftermath which included a deep depression. I really love this article and the 5 mistakes. My favorite mistake is #3 "I stopped believing in myself." I can speeak from direct experience on this one and while fear was a part of my mistake, it isn't the entire story. I got caught in an odd circumstance at a past job and simply couldn't/wouldn't continue to believe in myself.

The honesty and authenticty in this article is like a breath of fresh air to me.. why can't more marketing copy be written like this? Why?!

While you are reading the article - take a peek at the comments. When was the last time a "marketing blog" post generated such amazing words of encouragement and love? (Hint, the answer is never). Also notice for the record, that Julie continues to reply to many of the comments and posts.