Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  politics cnn campaign_2008 web2.0 cnn_youtube_debate 1 Comment 5,668 Views
I was really looking forward to the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate last night.
It seemed like it could be a perfect combination. Old media meets the new.
Detente on the great stage of digital media convergence. The best of breed, where the candidates would be forced to listen to the people, then speak directly back to them.
One-to-many, and many-to-one.
It was not to be.
Start with the depixellation of demoing YouTube-sized videos on the massive audience video screens. The impact of the questioners' often very personal and intimate questions was lost in 1080p translation.
Second, it was clearly a 21st Century user-generated media format crammed into a 20th Century Q&A debate format, whereby the candidates were forced to issue 1-minute sound byte responses to detailed and yes, even sometimes seemingly biased, questions.
For Heaven's sake, I don't necessarily want hours of Lincoln-Douglas style debating, but on the other hand, let the candidates answer the ---- questions with some substance.
Per Jeff Jarvis' post earlier on the topic, let the people ask and choose the questions. Create an online voting system whereby We the People get to choose what questions the candidates must answer, not the CNN editorial staff.
Finally, instead of the usual politico talking heads, bring in some mere mortal commentators who can, from a laypersons' perspective. help summarize what We the People heard and try and discern who seemed the most responsive to the questions, who had the most intelligent and thoughtful responses, who fell flat on their face, etc.
If I wanted to hear what CNN's political commentators had to say, much as I respect them, I can tune into "The Situation Room" any night of the week.
The user-generated media are just that, and that's what the traditional mass media still don't understand.
Which is why I suspect the continental digital divide between YouTube and CNN will continue long into the 2008 election campaign season and perhaps even beyond.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  web2.0 innovation social_computing mesh06 media 3 Comments 5,347 Views
Well, while the Mesh Conference in Toronto may now seem like a distant memory, it certainly left some lasting impressions.
As we learned in Web 1.0 or, as I like to refer to it, the pre-Jurassic Web -- the reality of the situation on the ground (or, in this case, in the ether) usually lies somewhere between extreme hyperbole and disproportionate skepticism. Such is the case with Web 2.0.
As Om Malik told us in his keynote interview on Monday, we'll look back on all this Web 2.0 frenzy and none of it will matter. He may be right, but tell that to all the folks standing around inhaling the oxygen from this bubble.
However, as was noted by so many at the conference, this time around the playing field is more level than the first go round. It's less about the money and more about the ideas (well, okay, it's a little about the money). And, we have a whole new field of players, ones who don't necessarily have the baggage from Web 1.0 and who, more importantly, grew up living and breathing with interactive technology.
That fact alone cannot be understated...just ask all the big media dinosaurs running through the Web 2.0 jungle trying to gobble up the young upstarts and buy their way out of extinction.
When the barriers to entry are whether or not you have a credit card, access to a Web server and Ruby on Rails programmer, and a good Internet connection, stand back and watch the fireworks. Because innovation (a good idea well executed) -- not capital -- becomes the gating factor to success. That, and a basic understanding of how to spark a good conversation about your product or service via the Web.
The Mesh conference itself is a good example on a small scale of what I'm trying to describe. The conference began as an idea over a beer a mere three months ago by several Canadian technology journalists and entrepreneurs who wanted to bring together Canada's Web 2.0 best for some mixing and mashing. Within days, what started as a beer shop talk meme had a number of big corporate sponsors, a Web site, and a lot of substantive buzz. (Mark, Mathew, Mike, Rob, and Stuart, my hat's off to you all. You took a great idea, stayed lean and mean, and ran like mad to the finish line.)
Ultimately, what I learned at Mesh was that this generation doesn't want to be told what to do, when to do it, lied to, poked and prodded by marketers. They certainly don't want to be lied to by large institutions with big balance sheets and bloated bureaucracies.
Heaven help you if you blatantly lie to them and they find out about it.
They also seem to have permanently lost the TV remote (I'm sure it's around here somewhere). No, instead they have glued their hand to their mouse, programmed their own entertainment schedules on the TiVo or iPod, and are driven by the inate need for human sociability and honest communication. They share everything, and the network effect abounds.
If you want to reach them as a marketer, give them straight talk, not platitudes. If you want to involve them in your brand, don't lie about your product's excellence. Instead, be honest about its faults, and demonstrate to them that you're taking some of that money you used to spend on marketing and putting it back into making the product better.
What a concept!
Because if you don't, and your product isn't any good, they're going to make sure the rest of the world knows about it -- and I do mean the world -- in about three seconds. And there won't be much you can do about it except watch the Google queries exponentially multiply and the sales drop like a lead weight off the Empire State Building.
It sounds mean and ruthless and Darwinian and utopian all in the same breath, doesn't it? And in the end, it's probably all that and more.
But based on what I learned "meshing" in Toronto this week, I think we'll all be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Because moving forward into this strange new world, what we say as people, as large institutions, organizations, companies will no longer matter nearly as much as what we do and how we do it.
What we buy will be more influenced than ever by what we know about the product, certainly, but also about the people who make it, market it, sell it, support it...all the way down the line.
Yes, we will all benefit from this. But it will require some changes.
Changes in the way we communicate. Changes in the way we manage. Changes in the way we relate. Changes in the way we market and sell.
That change will be hard...change always is. And many won't like it.
But that change will be required to participate in a participatory economy.
And it's already happening.[Read More]
My fellow blogger, Lotus Notes and Domino guru Alan Lepofsky (we're not worthy!), just released some killer IP via his even more killer blog. If you're a Notes user of any variety, I think you'll find his tips and tricks to be extremely helpful.
Called simply the "Lotus Notes Tips Presentation"-- aka, "I didn't know Notes could do that!" -- the presentation is a simple-to-consume presentation that, in screen show mode, links you directly to the featured Notes/Domino tips on Alan's blog (I don't follow instructions very well -- I know, I know, difficult to believe -- so the show-n-tell like overviews Alan provides are most useful.)
For those of you who like Cliff Notes, you'll love this presentation -- in about two seconds, you'll be able to judge whether or not it's a tip you can use...and if not, simply hit page down and keep on truckin'.
Just the way I like to learn in this ADD world of ours...Thanks, Alan...really great stuff.
Meanwhile, if you didn't see the hullaballoo around our Lotus Sametime 7.5 announcements yesterday, following are some details on some of the key headlines featured in the press release.
In order of the Turbo excitement meter:
1) Multiple person VOIP -- The next best thing to being there is...well...being there with 5 of your closest colleagues...without having to look up a bunch of phone numbers.
2) Mobile support for the RIM Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile Devices -- instant messaging anywhere and everywhere, bay-bey. Hey, no driving and Sametiming! You might run into a cute little emoticon on the side of the Information Superhighway!
3) Location-based Awareness: Sir, we know where you are. Now put down the Blackberry. We're just gonna take a look at those poor blistered thumbs of yours.
4) Integration with Microsoft Office, Outlook, and Sharepoint. Same Microsoft products, new and improved integrated conferencing and collaboration with Lotus Sametime 7.5
5) Open Programming Model via Eclipse -- If you're a Business Partner or developer, get ready to be able to build mashups and new applications on the fly (Think Google Maps integration with your location-based awareness capability, and suddenly you can build a mashup that indicates all your salespeople are actually focus group testing a new Pina Colada mix at the very chic Hard Rock Hotel pool in Las Vegas instead of attending that sales conference in Des Moines. Can you say busted by the mashup?)
This announcement, I know of which I type. Many of we IBMers live on instant messaging these days, as we are a very distributed workforce and Sametime is the only way to track down a fellow IBMer in real-time. The integrated telephony and real-time meeting capabilities have already begun to meet some key needs inside these Big Blue Walls, so I suspect our customers and partners are going to be digging the new release.
But seriously, no Sametiming and driving. Those cute little emoticons never hurt a thing.
Usually around this time of year, I'm down in Orlando paying a personal visit to Mickey Mouse -- and the always intellectually stimulating Gartner IT Symposium.
IMHO, if you've never been to a Gartner Symposium, you've not earned your information technology stripes. The Gartner events I've attended in Orlando have always been some of the most useful, actionable, and intellectually stimulating IT events I've attended. Seriously.
Of course, IBM is usually there as a vendor, so my focus has normally been on working the event. But I had the opportunity to blog from there last year, and judging from the media coverage I'm already seeing come out of Orlando this week, there's already some very good stuff going on.
No sooner than the fumes from the Google/YouTube deal are starting to get inhaled and processed by the wisdomish crowds, Gartner analysts were reported to have said today in a CNET story that there is going to be a "large-scale shift in technology influence toward consumers and away from central corporate IT departments."
Get your consumer Internet jiggy on, "central corporate IT." This could be a wild and fun ride!
Gartner director of global research Peter Sondergaard said that "there is a shift in technology ownership" and that IT had better get prepared to handle this new onslaught of what he called "digital natives."
Speaking for all the other digital natives out there, let's rejoice in a collective virtual hallelujah and sing a William Gibson/Bruce Sterling/Nicholas Negroponte-ish version of "Kum-Bay-Ah."
Tell you what, I'll go and collect some firewood, you go and gather some leaves, and then we'll all get ready to build a big fire and send out these Gartner smoke signals to all the other "central corporate IT" folks who didn't make it down to Orlando so we can try and get the message out.
Then again, I guess we could just build a wiki?
Follow the rest of the week's native action on the official Gartner Symposium blog.[Read More]
Lotus Connections: People Who Need..and Can Find...and Can Communicate...with People (Are the Luckiest People in the World)
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  lotusphere2007 lotus social_software web2.0 1 Comment 4,929 Views
Details are up about the Lotus Connections social software technology.
Lotus Connections has five Web 2.0-based components, including "Activities," "Communities," "Dogear (social bookmarking)," "Profiles," and "Blogs."
The press release does a good job of articulating the value of the new product, so I won't belabor it here.
Just know that I believe the key word in all this was in the sub-head: "Integrated." As in Integrated Tagging, Blogging, and Professional Networking Tools."
Too many of these technologies for too long have been too disparate and discombobulated.
We're stopping the madness.
Lotus Connections takes the value of social computing technologies straight to where they're needed most: In organizations with far-flung employees trying to find one another and tap into one another's expertise and knowledge.
It happens all the time here at IBM.
We're a small company, IBM, with only about 330,000 employees at last count. Not unlike your typical small town in West Texas, the kind that has one hotel, one dry package store, and lots of tumbleweeds.
Normally, any one of us IBMers can just walk down the hall and find that expert in multi-threading spatial geometry (Blogger's Note: I just made that term up for maximum editorial effect.)
But sometimes, and more often than not these days, we need to really dig down and find someone to help us solve a problem, and that's when we use our Bluepages' "Profiling" technology to go out and "find the expert" with a keyword search.
Or we turn to our internal blog tools to learn what the expert on multi-threading spatial geometry last posted so we can refer to it in an upcoming meeting (I refer to multi-threading spatial geometry all the time!)
Or we turn to our social bookmarking tool to find out who's already folksonomically categorized the latest HR applications so we don't have to spend the next four days looking for it because some unnamed individual in HR used the most obscure acronym they could think of instead of simply referring them to as "HR Applications."
Yeah, tell me you've never had a problem like that.
Me, I've used the tool myself many a time to go out and look for somebody inside IBM (and usually found them), and I've been looked for (and found) many a times as well.
With Lotus Connections, you can run...but you cannot hide.
I’ve had some time to synthesize some of the key memes I heard in and around SXSW Interactive, and here they are distilled for your near-sound byte consumption (and yes, some are obvious, but stating the obvious isn’t a bad thing when it’s obvious!)
Online video is poised for a full-on breakout, but significant issues abound. You know, like that billion $$ lawsuit the Viacom gang filed against Gootube. Also, concerns linger about the increasingly filled pipes (Where’s Senator Stevens when you need him?) and Net Neutrality (Who’s going to pay for carrying all those “Box in a Box” videos)? But those things aside, video’s about to break wide open.
Internet advertising is poised for 20%+ CAGR over the next several years, and even at that online spend is disproportionate to Internet usage. Do you know where your children are? They're probably on MySpace or Twitter, but you wouldn't know it from the amount of advertising being spent online. Also, improved targeting, local and personalized search, and usability are driving more efficiencies and growth for all types of Internet advertising. However, inventory continues to be an issue, and search will continue to dominate (3X that of display advertising online by 2010).
Search marketing – paid and organic – is rapidly becoming cost-of-entry marketing. Like global warming, its efficiencies and effectiveness are now unquestioned. However, incumbent ad agencies dependent on big media percentages are struggling to figure out how to make a living in the organic space, and many clients are turning inward to develop indigenous search talent, which continues to be at a premium. However, account control could be at stake, so acquisition is the quick way in. Look for lots of cultural and organizational dysfunction as the old media meets the new and tries to figure out how to speak a common lingua franca. GRPs and SERPs don't mix very well.
Web 2.0 is not about new features and functionalities – it’s about corporations learning how to give up control. Not giving up control is not an option. Marketers are no longer completely in charge of their brands, and they need to get over it. They must learn how to contribute to the conversation (via blogs, wikis, foras, RSS, etc.) without trying to continually dominate it. In the new media, listening is as important as talking, and those that continue to attempt to dominate the conversation simply don’t understand what’s going on out there and will soon find themselves like those trees that fall in the forest: they may make a lot of noise when they fall, but nobody’s around to listen.
Customer service is the new marketing. Helping your customers helps. Helping your customers help your customers helps more. Those companies who help their customers help their customers create new efficiencies and build brand loyalty. In embracing the new media you are de facto involving your customers in your brand and operations. Helping your customers help your customers is the new black. Wear it proudly.
Transparency is the new 4 “Ps” of Marketing. Forget product, price, place, and promotion. The new 4 Ps of marketing is “Transparency” with a capital “T.” If you’re lyin’, you’re dyin’…instead of being disingenuous, be genuine, frank, and honest. Instead of asking what your customers can do for you, ask what you can do for them. But don’t lie. Your nose will grow and you’ll feel really bad about it later. Anyhow, the cover up is always worse than the crime.
People participating via highly-motivated commons-based peer production can outproduce anything most single companies can make (if organized effectively). Just look at Firefox, Linux, and Wikipedia. These new modes of production – along with the network and the ability to overcome great time and distance via collaborative computing -- have put the power back in the hands of the people. And they intend to use it.
The consumer is back in charge and has many options, most available at the tip of a search query. Understand that Web 2.0 features such as social bookmarking, ranking and filtering, tagging and the like are not simply new widgets – they are a line of demarcation that demonstrate a firm embrace of a more participatory business environment. In this brave new world, listening is as important as talking. If it makes it any easier, most of us have two ears and one mouth. Your organization should be no different.[Read More]
And then I see that Ed posted on the recent Forrester report about CIOs wanting to exert some control over their Web 2.0 deployments (see my last post for context), that many "trust Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP" for such deployments because "they're running half of their enterprise applications already. It's so much easier and so much more reliable to get it from those guys who are already in their shops."
Nice. Harmonic social media convergence.
Yes, we're from Web 2.0 headquarters, and we are definitely here to help.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  champagne_bubbles web2.0 digital_media digitollywood writers_strike 4,690 Views
John Heilemann's in New York mag 'splainin' how New York just doesn't get Silicon Valley, even suggesting that there's a little bit of Valley Envy in all this New Yawk Bubble 2.0 tawk.
One of Silicon Valley's esteemed scribes and historians observes that most of the Bubble talk is emerging on the East Coast, and that those in the Valley point out that the ebb and flow of capital, even at the extreme margins, is just business as usual.
What's a couple of billion dollars among friends?
Quoting Netscape, Loudcloud, and Ning founder Marc Andreesen: "The whole structure of how the technology industry gets funded—by venture capitalists, angel investors, and Wall Street—is predicated on the baseball model. Out of ten swings at the bat, you get maybe seven strikeouts, two base hits, and, if you are lucky, one home run. The base hits and the home runs pay for all the strikeouts."
It's a Red Sox VC nation, bay-bay! Roll those dice and swing that bat, and maybe you, too, can become the next Facebookian monarch in the Valley!
Pre-dated stock options all around!
Forget that 757, let's get our own personal Space Shuttle and put in a zero G hot tub! I hear it's going out of service!
And let's roof test the new carbon-friendly Tesla and see if the batteries can hold their charge after being dropped from the top of Letterman's studio!
Meanwhile, mi amigo Steve Rubel piles on and posts that the Web community is "skunk drunk" on its own Kool-Aid and that we all need to enter Betty Ford Clinic 2.0.
Dood, if I'm willing to admit I have a Web 2.0 problem, will I see Britney 4.0 or Lindsey 5.0 while at Betty Ford??
Because if there is a bubble in the Kool-Aid, I just want to make sure I get to pick the flavor du jour before it bursts and I get decarbonated Veuve Clicquot all over my face.
'Course, while the Silicon Valley Web Booster Clubs sits out a round in the Great Hyperbole and Ajax Greed Penalty Box in the sky, the writers in Hollywood are sharpening their picket line axes and preparing for their digital royalties offensive.
Screenwriters, sharpen your macros! (You know, those people who were there when the Google Doc entry was blank?)
And talking about great stories, also on the Digitollywood front this from Tom Krazit with CNET: He reports that NBC's Jeff Zucker asked Steve Jobs for a cut of iPod revenue as part of their failed negotations for a contract extension to sell NBC shows on iTunes.
His justification: Apple made lots o' money on the back of NBC content.
Excuse me for one second while I choke.
Long pregnant pause...Turbo chokes quietly in the background. Abby Lockhart from E.R. arrives to help Turbo unchoke, but because there's no script writer she can't come up with any words to ask him what's wrong...Turbo is hence forced to perform the Heimlich maneuver on himself.
Okay, I'm much better now.
Perhaps I'm way off here, but isn't that kind of like Exxon charging Ford for putting Exxon-produced gas in its cars? Great mileage if you can get it...Vroom, vroom, vroom....putt putt putt.
So if the Bubble is about to burst and there's about to be a small army of displaced, hypercaffeinated Ruby programmers descending on Haight-Ashbury java joints, and if Hollywood writers are about to strike and there's no made up stories to be told, methinks it could be a most opportune time to start pitching new Web-based reality shows!
Here's the coverage:
A team of 5 Sand Hill Road VCs and 5 major network media executives are parachute dropped into the Australian outback.
On their person, they have only the clothes on their backs (Advantage: Sand Hill Road), their AA Executive Platinum cards (Advantage: NY Media Execs), their American Express Black Cards (Advantage: That one's a wash), and their iPhones (Advantage: Sand Hill due to non-bricking)
The first team who can find a working cell signal in the outback and who can convince Sergey and Larrys' lawyers to come to an agreement for intellectual property protection of Digitollywood-produced videos on YouTube and who can also get them to agree to fly over and pick them up in the refurbished Boeing wins.
The Losers have to work in the mail room of the winner's New Digital Co. for 5 years sans contract and no car service privileges.
But please, no champagne. We wouldn't want anything to spoil the taste of that most excellent Cherry Kool-Aid.[Read More]
We had rolling blackouts here in Texas yesterday. You remember those from the 2001 California energy crisis? Well, there I was, slaving away over my hot ThinkPad T40, cranking away on yet another endless set of slides meant to convince IBM management that they should give me more money for marketing via the Internet, when suddenly my power went out.
Mind you, this is Austin in mid-April, and the temperature outside is already surpassing 100 degrees. But if you can't stand the heat, get out of your home office, I say.
Which, of course, is exactly what I was forced to do, because the power going out meant that both my Internet connection and phone service went out as well, the latter service offered by Time Warner, and which also carries the pipeline that provides my Vonage VOIP connection.
My survival instincts immediately kicked into high gear and I promptly put myself into cell phone power rationing mode, keeping a cautious and conservational eye on the power bars of my Motorola Razr cell phone as I called people outside Texas to find out if there was any news of this sudden AC/DC power shift. Fortunately, my dear colleague Deloris in the Carolinas reported back to me that, in fact, CNN's Wolf Blitzer had a story on the "The Situation Room" indicating that Texas was experiencing rolling blackouts.
Rolling blackouts? In mid-April in Texas? In the early 21st century? On the very same day that oil reached its highest closing price since its New York Mercantile Exchange contract started in 1983?? Was this coincidence, conspiracy, or just plain bad luck?
I Can't Blog Due to the Cirrostratus
As I pondered whether or not my T40 would run via solar power, and as the rolling blackout began to roll to another region of Texas and my power finally kicked back on, I saw that Dave Sifry (founder and CEO of Technorati) had posted another one of his increasingly infamous "State of the Blogosphere" reports. They're kind of like the U.S. president's State of the Union address, but not really.
This version's headline: The state of the blogosphere is strong! The blogosphere is now over 60 times bigger than it was three years ago! He also reported that Technorati now tracks over 35.3 million blogs, and that the blogosphere continues to double every six months. Well, yeah, assuming you have power to run them all. Let's see how many blogs you can power, much less measure, with all the lights out and your Web server quieter than a church mouse!
But my favorite parts of Sifry's State of the B'sphere reports are those pithy sound bites that folks like Wolf Blitzer repeat over and over when they're not covering Texas' rolling blackouts. Quotes like, "On average, a new weblog is created every second of the day" or "19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created."
Of course, he doesn't explain the mystery of what happened to the other 15.9M bloggers who aren't posting 3 months after they created their blogs?
Perhaps they have blogrolling blackouts?[Read More]
If you've been trying to get your head around this whole idea of Web 2.0, the state of the Web, this whole participatory community social bookmarking and tagging sharing thing, watch this video on YouTube.
Then watch it again.
It says more in 4 minutes about the evolution of and import of Web 2.0 than I ever could in a gazillion posts. And that's kind of the point.
Thanks to an old friend for sharing. Because that's kind of the point, too.[Read More]