They say blood is thicker than water. But viscosity can’t be the only reason that watershed and bloodshed are such vastly different concepts. Believe it or not, milkshed has yet another completely different meaning. Never mind that none of them store water, blood, or milk like you might expect if you looked up the definition of shed.
Archive for November, 2008
There has been some recent buzz about Michael Eisner’s comments that “professionally produced” exclusive content will triumph over the platforms that the content is delivered on. He says that the platform owners are “being arrogant and saying, ‘we’re it.’ But eventually exclusive content wins out.”
As a person who has worked in radio, television, and software development, I can emphatically state that great content is key to success. But without a way to deliver that content, you have nothing. Television and movie theatres deliver content. I have a friend who still makes a great living trucking DVDs all over the continent. Netflix is a very successful platform mixing (and making a transition from) physical media to electronic delivery.
But the Internet is founded on the concept of connectivity and interaction. I believe great content still has a role to play… but there are some fundamental reasons why YouTube rose to huge prominence (and it is not the singular factor of Lazy Sunday even if that was a watershed event). The ways in which the audience interacts with the content is key. Buzz around a particular video can be created quickly with embedded content spreading across the blogosphere within hours. Comments (and video comments) give people in the audience a much more tangible connection to the content.
Applying this theory of people and their connections (social media) to enterprise content management, we’re starting to see the intersection of two key things: people connecting content (with effective single-sourcing and reuse) and content connecting people (collaboration and sharing of expertise).
When mainstream content creators like Michael Eisner start to see this power in the ECM context, perhaps they’ll realize that the platform owners have just as much right to be arrogant as the studio kingpins.
Back in February 2007, I wrote about the conclusions I came to based on reading a very smart person’s blog as he surveyed the 3-D internet landscape at the time. Irving Wladawsky-Berger shaped IBM’s internet strategy and really knows what he is talking about.
Since then Google got into the game with their Lively offering. It was launched in July 2008. Today it was announced that Lively will be shutting down by the end of this year.
Is this an indication that the 3-D internet is not as sure a future bet as some first thought? I personally think it just means that it is still before its time. Second Life is still alive… and I still hate it. But I believe that the comments Mr. Wladawsky-Berger made are still right on the money. There is a future for 3-D chat. I think I may be a late adopter though. The whole thing creeps me out.
Abstraction is important. Discrete, consumable chunks of code are even more important.
Lesson learned: a beautiful framework upon which you can build a very robust application is not the holy grail. How about a series of building blocks upon which multiple purpose-built frameworks can be constructed? How about simple applications that want to take advantage of just a few of the callable items in a library, without the overhead of a full-blown framework?
Bill Higgins makes this point from real-world experience on the Jazz project. Makes a great read.
Mark McGuiness, on the excellent web site dedicated to creative entrepreneurs, outlines what he calls three critical skillsets:
- Creativity – generating new ideas, evaluating them effectively, taking action to turn them into new products and services.
- Collaboration – connecting and working with partners, clients, and other significant players in your network, which will probably be scattered across the globe and contain more ‘virtual’ relationships than face-to-face ones.
- Entrepreneurship – identifying opportunities in the marketplace and using business skills to turn ideas into products into profits.
McGuiness focuses on creative people like artists and musicians. Software developers, as I have always maintained, are more like artists than engineers. Yes there is huge value in applying engineering principles to determining the best approach to a problem, but the variety of solutions is almost infinite and often the end result is more akin to art than a manufactured product.
Interestingly, borrowing from Gerber’s E-Myth assertion that the creative side of a business is actually provided by the entrepreneur (not the technician), McGuiness says that creativity is more about creating opportunities than works of art. If you are a technician (the worker in the business who actually makes the product or service) you are often pursuing creativity from a completely different standpoint.
And that brings us to collaboration.
You get value as a technician by collaborating to get things done. You can get help on solving technical problems, acquire skills from others in an area of technology with which you’re not familiar, and you can contribute your own expertise back into an ever-growing pool of knowledge.
Exponential value, however, can be derived when entrepreneurs use collaboration. It allows them to spot trends in other businesses, gauge the feasibility of any new idea, derive best practices, and generally “shape” whatever new opportunity they have dreamed up.
In today’s world, the fear of someone “stealing” an idea is balanced against (and perhaps overcome by) the benefit of all the virtual associations we have made in our network. Every entrepreneur, excited by a new business opportunity, is likely to bounce the idea off of everyone available. Now the wider network can be involved in this “toe-in-the-water” sanity check.
One caution: the naysayers are just as plentiful in the virtual collaborative world as they are in the close circle with which we traditionally shared.