Do you think Steve Jobs wants to be a serial entrepreneur? Bill Gates? Warren Buffet? Larry Ellison? All these guys put big stakes in their life’s work. Companies that they built from scratch, that they’ll champion until they can champion them no more. Sure, they may have hobby companies on the side, but for each of them, there’s one defining business, one spectacular legacy to leave behind when they’re gone.
Gary Hamel on managing what he terms the “Facebook generation” (I’m abridging the list to remove his explanations, so you would do well to read the whole article):
I compiled a list of 12 work-relevant characteristics of online life. These are the post-bureaucratic realities that tomorrow’s employees will use as yardsticks in determining whether your company is “with it” or “past it.”
- All ideas compete on an equal footing.
- Contribution counts for more than credentials.
- Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
- Leaders serve rather than preside.
- Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
- Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
- Resources get attracted, not allocated.
- Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
- Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
- Users can veto most policy decisions.
- Intrinsic rewards matter most.
- Hackers are heroes.
These features of Web-based life are written into the social DNA of Generation F—and mostly missing from the managerial DNA of the average Fortune 500 company. Yeah, there are a lot of kids looking for jobs right now, but few of them will ever feel at home in cubicleland.
The generation gap between the Boomers and Generation Y/Me/F/whatever-you-want-to-call-them is going to be a big battleground in the business world over the next few years, if it hasn’t already begun. These are two groups with vastly different expectations of what it means to be part of something.
Booksquare on Amazon’s purchase of Lexcycle two days ago:
Right now, it’s time for the publishing industry to step up to the plate. Stop worrying about fake issues like text-to-speech and start worrying about your customers. You may not be able to stop the settlement you negotiated and you cannot stop Amazon from acquiring better technology. But you can demand that your books be sold in the most consumer-friendly manner possible. Take the initiative to be a leader in the future of books — recall that your competition is changing rapidly — and you’ll be a leader in the future of reading.
The Lexcycle sale is great news for the hard-working team that developed this incredible application, against so many odds. It’s not so great news for everybody else. Consumers are slowly being locked into a single vendor. Publishers are being backed into Amazon’s corner. Yet, yet, yet, I ask again: where are the publishing initiatives, the fresh thinking, to protect the free market?
There’s more at the original article.
The greatest strength of the Kindle format isn’t the reading device or even the book format, but the ease with which you can purchase and download a book. Stanza was a worthy attempt at a competitor.
Chris Brogan on company presence management:
Let’s say you build a pretty decent stream of conversations on Facebook. Maybe it’s your junior comms person and they’re just drumming up excitement for a new product that the people want. Everything’s going great, and there’s an active group, and people feel like they’re being treated like humans. Know who comes next?
Marketing. In some companies, they come crashing down from the hills like angry Mongol raiders, set on converting people from interested community members into hot leads to purchase. They start asking to push materials down the community channel. They ask for lists. They push for opt-ins for email marketing.
Is it the right move? Not as listed above. Not if that’s not how you set the presence up to begin with. It will feel like horrid bait and switch. People will flock away pretty darned fast if you switch them over into convert mode. They’ll also hate you if you just pull up stakes and run after the product is launched. If they’ve committed to talking with you at those points of presence, they want you there for the long term.
Be wary of this. Think further out than a single campaign. If you set up the direct line, you have to be willing to answer it for more than the short term.
I don’t always agree with Brogan (or even the rest of the article), but on this I think he’s spot-on.
The most important thing for you to do with social media and interactions is to talk with your customers and to listen to them. Give them the “direct line,” as Brogan says elsewhere in the article, and then embrace that method of communications. It shouldn’t be a single point of contact for all your customers, but instead a network of people who are invested in their work who are passionate about serving people and connecting with the people on the other side of their work.
There are some people who go through their entire lives waiting and watching to see what everyone else does. They predicate their actions on the success of others.
Does a venture look like a risky bet? Wait for everyone else to try it and then see what they’re saying afterwards.
Hit upon a new technique? Stand by and let someone else implement it first, then see if it was worth it.
Does the water appear cold? Nudge your friends into going in there first, then only go in yourself when it appears they’re not freezing.
Sometimes, the risk is worth it. Sometimes, you need to be the first one in there. You can’t always depend on everyone else to set the trends, because the trend-setters often enjoy success. Many times, they’re the ones who get to direct what’s going on—the ones who get to really lead.
Maybe this time, you have to be the one jumping into the cold water first. Make some waves and do a cannonball.