Tag : web 2.0

I can work from anywhere. Can you?

Do you let your employees work where they’ll be the most productive?  CEO’s and business owners fall into two camps.

One = I trust my employees. I tell them what I expect and I give them to tools to do their job. Performance is what matters.

Two = I think it’s human nature to try to take advantage of lax supervision so we don’t allow for flexible working conditions.

Hmmm. In the war for talent (do you believe there is one now? if not now, is one coming?) it will require us to change the way we think about work. The winners will be leaders who understand the way work is accomplished today and leverage it.

I have a client, a construction company. Perhaps not the kind of company that you might think is on the leading edge of marketing but these guys are so cool, they totally get it. They think about customers first…both the contractors and the homeowners. They are morphing the way they interact with and help both.

Caterpillar Inc. (yes the folks that make the big yellow earth movers) are also leading the way in marketing. How? By creating communities where customers can discuss equipment, business or regulatory issues. Collaboration among customers is cool. Cat gets to learn a ton about what is on their customers mind with very little effort.

All you office people; you may not think that you can learn something from these folks, but you can. Pay attention, the war for talent is heating  up in every industry.

photo credit : O2.com.uk

Pakistan. We hear about in the news. Do they harbor terrorists? Are they our enemies? Perhaps.

But one thing I know is that in any country, there are people, just like you and me who only want to work so they can feed their families. We have way more in common than we might imagine.

Look at these kids. They are dressed differently but they just want to play.

When I read that twitter had been rolled out  in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu for the first time, I was ecstatic. (Languages that read right-to -left presented special programming challenges.)

They did this with the help of:

            13,000 volunteers!

… including some who live where Twitter is officially blocked. The reason? ” to help more “ordinary people” make use of the service;  both to hold politicians to account and to tweet about their everyday life.”

Understanding each other, communication and learning are key ingredients to preventing war. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Photo credit: Glacier  Kids (Boston.com)

I really enjoy teaching grad students in both the classroom and online.

In person, we interact, smile at each other, laugh and even share an occasional pizza. Online we interact, smile at each other :), laugh (lol) but, so far, we haven’t shared pizza.

6 million students — a third of total enrollment @ post-secondary institutions –were taking at least one online course (2010). One third of high school students study part time online.

Students want and will get… un-tethered, digitally rich, social-based learning. Since teens, especially minorities, use their mobile devices as their primary computers… opportunities to solve educational problems abound. Teachers, schools districts and parents will all need to adapt.

But online learning is only part of the story.

“90,000 students enrolled in a building a search-engine online course ” taught by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University research professor and Google fellow who led the development of Google’s self-driving car. Yes, you read that right 90,000 students enrolled in the 7 week online course.

Welcome to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)– a tool for democratizing higher education. Last semester, Stanford University offered these MOOCs  — Machine Learning (104,000 registered, and 13,000 completed the course), and Introduction to Databases (92,000 registered, 7,000 completed).

Higher education is getting ready for a disruption of Amazon.com proportions. (Hmmm, I wonder if Jeff Bezos will be taking Amazon into online  education.) Educators, start your engines… you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Photo credit: Slodive.com

You've Got Email... Not!

I’m old enough to remember the world before the Internet. We didn’t use email because only the Internet removed the need for matching hardware and software –  so prior to the big “I” — electronic communication was largely an internal communication tool for large corporations.

I like to ask people if they find direct mail or email more intrusive and the answer is a resounding, “Email!” So in a couple of decades we went from no email to too much email and now we’re heading… according to some… back to less email.

Check out this article titled, “Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy, ” from ABC news. It describes how a European tech company is working to ban internal email and replace it with real time collaboration tools like … a “Wiki, which allows all employees to communicate by contributing or modifying online content, the company’s online chat system which allows video conferencing, and file and application sharing.”  They are not banning external email with customers just internal spam and nonsense.

Are you ready to collaborate in whole new ways? If you had to start work at a new company and they asked you to share your thoughts on a wiki, would you say, “Sure, no problem,” or would you stare blankly at your hiring manager.

What are some of the new collaboration tools? Check out Yammer. It is a free private social network (like twitter) that is used by over 100,000 companies worldwide. Little companies like Ford and LG.  And what about those wikis? Go into Google and search for almost anything and add wiki to the search. You may be surprised to see how companies are using this handy technology to develop everything from policies to tech road maps to employee on-boarding processes.

Whether or not email goes away entirely or not isn’t really the issue. How we adapt to new ways of communicating and collaborating is. The rules, tools and expected results are all changing folks. Get ready!

I have a friend who talks about the power of two. One person can make a huge difference in the lives of many people. However, 2 people, joined in purpose and intent, can move mountains.

I believe that the way that we work, play and innovate is undergoing a revolution and social media/web 2.0 are at the heart of it. Beyond Facebook, Twitter and Linked In are wikis, online communities, videos, ning groups, meet ups, blogs, podcasts and so many more cool ways to communicate that we have barely begun to scratch the surface.

Back in the mid-1990’s, we used altavista to search for information on the then new “world wide web.” Remember?  If we had to use a search tool like that today, we would be tearing our hair out. The tools we have for collaboration are similarly unsophisticated compared to what we’ll have at our fingertips in just a few short years. The ways we want to work together are already evolving faster than the toolkit.

I have started this blog to share ideas and get us thinking not only about tools for sharing ideas, but also how we work together. I came across a book called “The Power of Two” and from it, I took this excerpt;

Effective allies agree with these 3 statements:

  • We focus on each other’s strengths, not weaknesses.
  • We accept each other as we are and don’t try to change each other.
  • We are understanding of each other when one of us makes mistakes.

In those cases where you work with one other person, how effective are you as a partner? When we focus on the power we have to make great things happen, guess what; great things happen.