Steve Grossman

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Information in the information age

Questions + Seth Godin = WOW!

I’m posting a link to this Untemplater video interview of Seth Godin on all my blogs today for two reasons.

1.) It’s brilliant and I’m not exaggerating. If you are wondering what’s going on the world today – financially, socially, etc., etc., – this interview covers most all of it thoroughly and insight-FULLY in ways you will not find anywhere else. Not only does Seth see the big pictures, but he puts them in dead-simple terms that will impact your life. At least I hope they will. Two quotes:
– “The future will not be like the past only shinier”
– The current economic template “was invented by people who owned factories”

I cannot oversell the importance of watching this video and paying attention to what’s said.

2.) From a web interconnected, new business model perspective – which is largely what this blog is about – relevant information does not come better than this.

Enjoy

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Filed under: Business_models, Society, Trends

Too much stuff = confusion = opportunity

More evidence found today about what I believe we’ll see next online – acquisitions, mergers and convergence. Why? There’s too much information in the world, and it’s growing everyday. As Steve Rubel says here, “more information will be created in 2009 than all prior years.” Not prior years online, or prior years in your life, ALL PRIOR YEARS.

So how are you keeping up? You’re not.

But don’t worry, no one else is either and the need will bring the next wave of opportunity online.

Curation
The Steve Rubel post correctly describes one of the growing trends dealing with this overload: curation. He sites several examples of sites that are designed to find, sort and deliver relevant information to interested niches. Give it time, there will be niches of every sort and variety.

Social Media
And then there’s the six trends in the Social Media space described by David Armano. The two that stand out to me are his take on “serious play” – game based services that reward participants – and the growth of mobile. Both of these will sort and filter content: “games” will give us what other people in our network deem relevant and mobile will, by it’s nature, deliver information filtered by proximity.

But these will only be steps towards where we’re going as long as all the services remain disconnected and focused on THEIR interests. For example: I’m interested in Marketing, Social Media, the music business, auto industry (mostly wholesale) and my friends in TN and across the world. Some of my friends are on Facebook, others are on MySpace and still others are on LinkedIn. American Express’ Open Forum covers many of the business topics I mentioned and so does BusinessWeek. The problem is they also cover all other aspects of business and industry. So on any given day I have to sort through these curators to find what I want as well as the three Social Network sites named above.

It’s doable, but how much am I missing? Lots.

The coming years will see the acquisitions, mergers and convergences of all these services into hubs. Hubs that will be customizable and powerful in the way they’ll pull (and push) information based on detailed preferences.

What do you think? Would that help your life?

Filed under: Business_models, Life_technology, Social_media, Society, Trends

Unrelated stories = future

Three unrelated BusinessWeek stories caught my eye today that pointed to a future I’ve written about here and here.

First, a report on Microsoft’s decision to give external programs access to Outlook’s e-mail, calendar and contacts. It is an unusual move for them, but one that clearly speaks to the move towards fewer walls and more data integration despite software programs and web domains. It’s a smart move.

Next is a story about Jaguar jumping to “Google Mail and other cloud software – saving millions of pounds.” The story outlines the difficulty in making the switch, but also mentions that it is a strategy “of simplification, standardisation and modernisation”. Um, yeah. It’ll also give them access to integrations and mashups that haven’t even been invented yet.

Last, a report on Twitter’s Business Model. No really. David L. Smith presents the best article on the subject I’ve read as he presents a number of possible revenue streams for the micro-blogging site. The one that stood out was this one:

Network marketing

The larger Twitter grows, the more the connectivity between users benefits all. But there is gold beyond the conversations that are going on. The pure connectivity in itself is valuable. While Twitter may not run advertising, many companies would love to license the right to target people using what is called “birds of a feather” targeting: identifying a group of people with a common interest and then expanding that target by finding others with similar interests. A number of companies are doing this right now, while honoring privacy; they don’t have to know who the people are.”

Though I’d not thought of it in terms of Network Marketing before, this is exactly where I believe we’re heading and I don’t believe Twitter will be the only one. We’re about to see a huge movement towards consolidations and acquisitions and the beginning of scalable revenue streams. One of them will be co-branding between users and companies.

Think I’m right or wrong?

Filed under: Business_models, Life_technology, Society, Trends, Work_technology

This video = the future of business

I saw the video below today thanks to Chris Brogan. Click here if you can’t view.

SOUR ‘日々の音色 (Hibi no neiro)’

At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss this as another example of the young people of today wasting time online. And perhaps there’s truth to that too. The video doesn’t actually DO anything, right? It’s not selling anything or espousing a message, nor making money directly or indirectly. But I see the future of business.

A future that must have vision, technology and expression.

This video represents the willing and joyful participation of people all over the world. People engaged in the experience of collaborating to make something bigger than themselves. Something that couldn’t happen without the technology and the participation. Participation that allowed them to be fully themselves while contributing to the whole.

And the result is a powerful video. And Linux. Firefox. The Ap store.

And the future of business.

Filed under: Business_models, Society, Trends

Microsoft = Kidding? = No

Thanks to my Pastor, I was introduced to this blog post about something I had not heard about: Microsoft Windows 7 Launch Parties.

No really. Here’s Microsoft’s instructional video.

Thankfully I don’t have to say anything humorous about the fact that Microsoft has the worst marketing of any company on the planet, it’s already been said:

From Wired magazine: “The “House Party” video is part of their training. Training for throwing a party: how very Microsoft.”

From CNBC: ““I’m beginning to think that no one involved with Microsoft’s advertising has ever left the house or spoken to a real person,” Ian Douglas” and “About the only real moment was when, in a nod to Microsoft’s patch-y past, hipster white guy advises party hosts to “Play with Windows 7 before the party.”

Even they know it’ll likely crash during the party. Amazing.

Which is Microsoft’s way of admitting Ryan Stemkoski question is a real possibility: “Of those (parties that actually occur) what percentage do you think will be interrupted by a frozen Windows 7 machine?”

For more laughs, do a Google search and make sure to read the comments too.

As CNBC mentions: “one Washington Post reader wrote: “If Microsoft had been put in charge of marketing sex, the human race would have ended long ago, because no one would be caught dead doing something that uncool.””

Yup.

Filed under: Business_models, Marketing

Business Design in the Information Age

I realized today that more and more of my life is moving to “the cloud.” For instance, instead of using e-mail – computer to computer communication – I’m increasingly communicating via pages online. Pages on Facebook, LinkedIn or the corporate intranet site at my company (built by Jive). I even tweeted that I’m “slowly moving to the cloud and getting excited.”

Then I read three articles that brought more clarity to where we’re headed technologically and what that means for business. The first was an exploration of the bigger picture behind “social media”. In a post entitled From Social Media to Social Business Design, David Armano asks: “Imagine if a company like GM, was at the core “social”. Not just participating in “social media”—but through every part of their business ecosystem, were connected—plugged into a collective consciousness made up of ALL their constituents, from employees to consumers to dealers, to assembly line works etc.”

It’s the right question.

While it’s certainly true that participating in social media can accomplish x, it is much more powerful when the x is an unknown that happens as a result of communication and relationship building. Both of which require listening. Active, participatory listening. Companies that can tap that will be far ahead of those that don’t. As David says: “Media has never solved…(sic) why would “social media” be any different?”

The true and revolutionary benefits of social media will come to companies that have cultures of communication driven research, problem solving and innovation empowered by the tools of social media.

Which brings me to the second article: The Role of the CTO & CIO in Cloud Computing by Renven Cohen and particularly his closing points: “I believe we are in the midst of a realtime information revolution. No longer can we sit back and analyze what happened yesterday, we must focus on what is happening now or even what will happen tomorrow. Those companies who have the most efficient access to a realtime data stream will dominate…”

And while Cohen was using his thoughts to support his ideas about the role of executives, it strikes me as relevant to every aspect of business design.

No one will argue that we live in a “happening now or even what will happen tomorrow” world. We are all feeling the pressure of streaming information and the inherent overload. And the way we most often deal with overload is to run to constants and normals. But it’s important to see the big picture. The macro economic and cultural reality of the birth of the information age.We’re not dealing with new versions of old things, we’re dealing with new versions of new things.

Twitter isn’t telegraph, e-mail, instant messaging, search, helpdesk, information desk, useless or useful. It’s all the above and far more. We aren’t simply moving what we used to do in Word to Google Docs or the corporate intranet (the cloud), we’re creating an entirely new way to collaborate, share and create.

And entirely new ways of doing things are only embraced by organizations that decide to embrace them. And that’s done by design.

Filed under: Business_models, Trends

Where I’m hoping to point

I started this blog because of my deep interest in the birth of the information age and the way it will affect business. I’m not the only one writing about these things of course, but I do offer a unique perspective combined with personal beliefs that empower my goal – that you be motivated to join this economic and societal revolution too. It is a time of great change – and great opportunity. We need you – your ideas, thoughts, passions, dreams.

As I just said though, I’m not the only one writing about the core topic of information and business. Another such writer/speaker is Gerd Leonhard who I first ran across through the blog “Future of Music” because it often pertains to my other blog, Why I Failed.

I say all this because of the post that appeared there on May 10: 8 Key Trends for the Next 5 Years. It’s one of those posts that I wish I had written. It captures much of what I too see coming and yet so much more.
It’s the so much more that’s so important. For instance, in talking about netbook-like devices he says:

“They will be touchscreen, zoom-interface enabled, cloud-computing, speech-controlled, location-aware, mobile-money equipped, socially hyper-networked, always-everywhere-on, HD-camera equipped and possibly project images and audio or even support basic holography”

And about business and marketing:

“UGC or UGDC (user-generated content or user-generated & derived content) may make up to 50% of the global content consumption by 2015. Consumers will be (co)-creators, marketers, sellers and buyers, and come in a hundred variations, from totally passive to totally active. Then, indeed, filtering, culling and curation will be the key to success.”

Please read the whole thing. No matter what you do, there are ramifications to you in this post. Enjoy and dream big.

Filed under: Business_models, Life_technology, Work_technology

A Foundational Post

I launched this blog about a month ago and have posted random thoughts since then. I’ve also tried different themes, configured twitter to auto-post here (and vice-versa) and thought about writing a foundational post about why I launched this blog.

It’s time to write that post:

First, I am fascinated and dissatisfied with the web. Fascinated because it is the outward and interactive manifestation of the greatest global transformation of the last 400 years: the birth of the Information Age.  Dissatisfied because I can’t wait for it to get where it’s going.

And I have ideas about that.

Second, I am fascinated with business models and in light of this global transformation fully expect them to change dramatically too.

And I have ideas about that.

Third, I am immersed in the world of Social Networking or Social Media. I have multiple blogs, web pages, wiki’s, RSS feeds, integrated services and assorted other freely available web 2.0 tools. And all of them are pieces in an as yet unfinished web that I call online me.

And what’s unique about that?

Nothing except for the fact that I’m not a Gen-Y’er, I’m a 47 year old husband/dad/businessman/boomer. And that gives me a unique perspective on all the above.

And so I have hopes for this blog. Hopes that I can have an outlet for my ideas, concepts, observations and thoughts on the Internet, business and life at the dawn of the Information Age. And hopes that I can help other non-Gen-Y folks grasp the significant and life changing opportunities that are all around us.

And so I offer a blog about ideas, concepts, observations and thoughts on the Internet, business and life at the dawn of the Information Age.

It’s time to get excited.

Filed under: Business_models, Life_technology, Smart_technology, Social_media, Trends, Work_technology

TBE and Making Cars

Over two years ago, I was part of “The Business Experiment”, aka: TBE, an online community assembled to design and launch a business. It was an experiment written about here and one that I wish I had had more time to participate in.

One of the first steps we were led to do, I’ll add expertly led by Rob May, was suggest business concepts to pursue. I don’t think I suggested it, but I was an advocate of building a car. No really. It’s been on my mind for sometime that automotive manufacturing will soon go the way of…well, go the way of this quote from a post by Seth Godin:

“One day soon there will be car companies that have 200 employees.”

He’s right. It is an industry ripe for massive, disruptive change. And it’s coming. Read more here.

I should have pushed harder.

Filed under: Business_models

The power of where we’re going

Seth Godin, a man I quote often, offers 9 innovations for the Kindle and in the process, demonstrates disruptive thinking and the long tail.

For instance:

“2. Give publishers the ability to send free samples of new books to people who have opted in. For example, I could have a master setting on my Kindle that said, “for any book I finish, give the publisher permission to send me up to six free samples.” This creates a lever for successful authors and an asset for successful publishers. It lets them start publishing books for their readers instead of trying to find readers for their books.”

Read more here.

Filed under: Business_models