Wink Wink, So What?

Wink.com has reinvented itself as a social-network people finder. Wink began as a social search service that tried to help people with similar search interests to connect to eachother and share various searches. The problem seemed to be that people really don’t care that much about what other people are searching about.

The success of sites like StumbledUpon and Delicious tell me that people are more interested in what other people have found, rather than what they are looking for.

So far, the people search is more or less useless. It returns no results for most people I have tried. Will Pate returns a bunch of girls, Zsa Zsa Gabor returns a fuller set of results, but I still can’t figure out why I care that Zsa Zsa is a cat, age 20, who lives in New York.

You have to wonder what that board meeting sounded like. Effectively, Wink is an entierly new project now, with new goals, a new direction, just with the same language.

We used to be worrying about the Now What? problem, sites like Wink take me in to distinct So What? territory.

Koral on Venture Capital

” I started by trying to think I could explain my concept without having to patronize everybody with artificial PowerPoint slides. I thought, what would I do if I was trying to sell to a customer. My plan: verbal 5 minutes to explain the business then straight to product demo where I could cover all of the concepts that would have been in my 2-by-2 charts in my deck. Doh Dare I steer off the course from the tried-and-true PowerPoint ritual? This approach generally works well with customers because I find it much easier to build rapport when we talk like humans than when we all stare at the PowerPoint slides being projected on the wall.

I was immediately reminded that they were interested in seeing the slides as the main partner who had courted me at DEMO in San Diego shuffled nervously through the print outs of the slides I had sent him in advance. All I kept thinking was, “if you made me send the slides in advance then why the fuck am I now going to spend 10 minutes talking you through them?” I was wrong. “Slides, please.” Okay. This is going well. “

What's next for the Enterprise?

The conversation around Enterprise 2.0 is getting more and more operational these days. As bigger and bigger companies are jumping in the game, the conversation is getting pulled in a lot of directions. That’s to be expected, but I also expect to fight it to the best of my ability.What’s really next for the enterprise?

Is the next big shift in how people work together really as simple as a cheaper, prettier, version of Lotus Notes? Or a bigger more mashable of your old CRM tool?Is the next wave of Enterprise Computing really going to be all about moving more information, faster, to more people? Some think it is.

I get a feeling in my stomach that tells me no.

Our Quixotic Adventure

don-quixote-sancho-panza.jpg

The search for greatness is nothing new, and it might follow, on some level, that when we have a great idea, we want it’s impact to be as wide and deep as possible.

It seems to me though, the more I look at it, that the most interesting new things are happening on a smaller and smaller level.

Our attempts to put on a suit of low cost armor to do the same job of the knights of old is a sad, timid affair. Instead of going off to play by the rules of the old knights, is it possible we could accomplish must more by instead working by a new set of rules? Or simply: can we accept our obvious and sometimes less glorious role?

The Power of Less Expectation

Enterprise 2.0 has been describe in a lot of ways, old terms and other new terms are now being piled on to the Enterprise 2.0 brand, SOA, KM and others are all now all used in the same brush stroke to talk about the evolution in software delivery and information management.

What if, instead of expecting new software to do it all, we simply expected the software to do very few things, and we started to let the people who use the software make the decisions again?

Instead of giving people an amazing new online spreadsheet application, why not give them a place to talk about the latest numbers in their job, and what those numbers really mean? Sure, the finance department sees that the trend is towards flatter sales, but it’s your front line people who have the power to change that — why not let them find out sooner, and in a more meaningful way?

Wouldn’t that change more, can’t we do that through using less?

Rather than asking everyone to use a document repository to turn out the same old documents, what if a radical social presence tool instead let your employees find out who was working on the same ideas, so that they could share in whatever way they were most comfortable with? It could be a group blog, or a wiki, or it might just be emailing Word Documents.

The possibilities for less are endless, and we need to start thinking more about taking down barriers, rather than just redesigning, redeveloping and recreating old barriers again.

The next great pieces of software will be those that let the user control their own world and manipulate the world in the ways which mean the most to them.

Are you thinking about how to give that control to people, or are you thinking about how to direct their destiny with your own hand?


This post was written for the FASTForward Blog, don’t forget to follow the discussion over there.

Blogs and clowning on the campaign trail

This post is related to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, refers to local politics and personalities, and will most likely bore the vast majority of my readers. Skip this one if you feel the need.


Campbell Webster thinks that it is best to hide and obscure your convictions and ideas in the name of politics. Taking shots at Cynthia Dunsford and Nils Ling.As a crackerjack columnist in the local newspaper on PEI, and this being his second (at least) attempt to take a swipe at the blogging community, it seems that Campbell just doesn’t have enough interesting and original things to say. Campbell seems to like to regurgitate old ideas in weird semi-pompus language in the local news rag alongside Contract Bridge and advertisements for the local tractor pull.

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enterprise2rave.com

The Enterprise 2.0 Rave will bring together leading thinkers in the areas of collaboration, knowledge management, e-learning, and social media with practitioners from a variety of industries – your peers – for an intense 24 -hour brainstorming session on the challenges and opportunities related to Enterprise 2.0 deployments.

I will be there, helping facilitate a few discussions and just generally hanging out. If you are going to be there, or in New York the week of May 21, drop me a note.