Monthly Archives: June 2007

Atlassian User Group: Palo Alto

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It is a sad day in Mudville: We are not interviewing Paris Hilton at the User Group, and we are not giving away free iPhones. If you can get over that…

Stanford University is the idyllic setting for our First Inaugural Bay Area User Group. The spine-tingling, white-knuckle highlights include:

    • Customers presenting a variety of case studies from Sony, Apple, and Polycom
    • Scott Farquhar, founder and CEO
    • Chris Kohlhardt demoing the groovy Gliffy plugin to Confluence
    • … and more!

    Oh and lest I forget: Beer! And the venerable, Collectors Item: Atlassian T-Shirts, for which folks have been known to sacrifice their first born. The T-shirts are exceedingly more popular than iPhones, we have discovered.

    And rumor has it that in attendance will be a few of the Enterprise Irregulars. You heard it here first.

    RSVP here.

  • Enterprise 2.0 ROI

    Enterprise 2.0 ROI? Wrong question. I am hearing ROI debated here at Enterprise 2.0, and it’s not particularly useful. Shouldn’t all software be subjected to this rigor? Well, no actually.

    At dinner last night with the Enterprise Irregulars, Andrew McAfee said he asked fellow Harvard professor Robert Kaplan, an innovative researcher on linking cost and performance, and recently elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame [yes, there is one!], can we measure ROI with these new social tools. Kaplan said it cannot be done.

    Why?

    • The productivity and improvements are micro-tasks. It’s akin to doing operations research studies with a stop watch on the benefits to using email. Did anyone get fired because Microsoft Office was released? I highly doubt it. Wikis shift work from email and documents to wiki pages and a more facile method of collaboration. Measure it? Spend your time in more fruitful endeavors.
    • Management consultants who are actually trained to do these types of studies generally avoid micro operations improvements because they walk in the Land of Serious Business Cases. They have to; their fees are so high. They know that if you cannot measure productivity with a yard stick, then forget it.
    • If you’re spending $4,000 on a wiki, how much time should you spend on an intense ROI analysis? You are much better served experimenting with these tools, finding out how others are making them work, giving them to the pioneers in your organization, and learning.
    • When software companies give you ROI analyses, leave the room. As fast as you can. This is true for any type of software. The fixation on ROI during the economic downturn — which was because salesforces were shrinking and they desperately needed something to justify themselves — was largely patent BS. I have not seen an Enterprise 2.0 ROI study, but I will be as excited to see one as to stick needles in my eyes. Beware.

    Of course we want to derive benefits and understand them. ROI studies are not the way.

    LinkedIn: New School vs. Old School Networking

    Talking about adoption issues with new social tools eventually touches on age differences. Are younger people more inclined to use Web 2.0 technology? Are managers less inclined? Whether you believe so or not, do we encourage this problem? It’s one thing when traditional industries struggle with this, and it’s another thing when technology or internet companies perpetuate this hurdle to 2.0 networking possibilities.

    With business people now using Facebook for networking, I was struck by noticing on Susan Scrupski’s Facebook profile that she is a member of a network called “Dump LinkedIn and other networks in favour of Facebook”. Is LinkedIn old school networking? Some people must think so.

    LinkedIn runs the risk of alienating an exploding market of 2.0 advocates if it doesn’t address this type of challenge. I am not surprised LinkedIn is allowing this to happen.

    Sharing a panel with a LinkedIn exec, I asked him if LinkedIn had ever considered creating a collaboration space on a wiki platform such as what SAP does with its SAP Developer Network. Perhaps LinkedIn could offer a more exciting collaboration space to complement its network. LinkedIn’s question-answer feature is rather old school. Now I can be accused of promoting wikis, but his response said a lot about LinkedIn’s view of the 2.0 world. He said LinkedIn targets senior professionals and senior people are too busy to edit wiki pages and that senior people have little time to write, let alone handle email.

    LinkedIn I will assume is commercially minded and has concrete business reasons for taking this tack. But why perpetuate this hurdle when you have such a huge valuable network? Whether it’s a wiki or not, I would like to see LinkedIn get more new school-minded and make the experience on their site a lot more interesting.

    Twitter 2.0

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    Twitter 1.0 is your first experience with The Illness. The Affliction. Twitter 1.0 can be disappointing. As CNET’s Elinor Mills complained and old friend Bob Page points out, knowing someone is eating a cookie or having problems with bodily functions does not exactly enlighten one’s life. Twitter 1.0 fails for many because they listen to the wrong people, or they may not have the proper Digital DNA to find a positive outcome with the medium. Ed Yourdon, who I remember from my structured programming days (OK, this was after punched cards), has referenced both generational and existential issues with social software:

    Talking … with a group of very savvy, up-to-date colleagues who … felt very strongly that blogging is a largely narcissistic, unproductive, self-centered activity, and one that presents significant risks to companies. I’m beginning to think that all of this is somewhat of an existential thing: if you don’t blog on a fairly regular basis, you can’t imagine why anyone else would do so; and if you’re predisposed to think that blogging is just narcissistic chattering, then you’re not likely to spend very much time (if any at all) reading anyone else’s blog either. It may also be a generational thing: middle-aged and older people are less likely to read or write blogs, and younger people (and those who still feel young) are more likely to do so. This is not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but it may be one more thing that separates the generations these days.

    Ed is talking about blogging but it’s the same: are you social software inclined?

    jp.jpgTwitter 2.0 requires a little existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre may have made a fine Twitterer. Twitter 2.0 is when you get past the initial traps. Twitter 2.0 is when you start finding value.

    What value have I found? For openers, the return is modest. Don’t expect the value you get from a wiki or IM or an insightful blog. The trick is the investment is very low. The ROI is good as Jeff Clavier has told me. I don’t spend much time on Twitter: quick scan, anything interesting, and exit. Because I am ADD and nowhere near as focused as James Governor or Robert Scoble, I don’t tweet much. As least yet.

    Here’s the value I have found so far:

    • I find out what my network is thinking in a more organic way than through Techmeme which is expansive although useful.
    • I learn news important to my business. A customer alerted me to their purchase of the clustered version of Confluence on Twitter.
    • I find events. This weekend Brian Solis had a BBQ near my house, and I ran into some 2.0 colleagues. Last week, I connected with Susan Scrupski on an Enterprise 2.0 event. Both thanks to Twitter.
    • Twitter allows staying in touch with folks where you don’t want the more intense engagement and commitment of email or phone.

    … and on a more basic level…

    • I sold two of my band T-shirts — raising money for a cancer charity — to people I have never even met, Ric Hayman in Australia, and Thomas Otter in Germany. That was very cool. Twitter and this blog made it happen.
    • Stephen Wright: perhaps the Single Greatest Thing about Twitter is getting this comedian’s hilarious tweets like, “If God took acid, would he see people?” Now if only Eddie Izzard Twiitered, my life would be complete.

    Twitter 3.0 will be about refinement. So far I am accumulating people, but perhaps I’ll need to prune the Cookie Eaters, and get picky. Right now my criteria is lax. Twitter 3.0 may also be about Facebook. There’s a new link to get you on Facebook, and I signed up. Aside from my kids harassing me endlessly for being on Facebook, I have joined Stewart Mader and the Social Media Today on Facebook and will see if this is a useful extension to Wikipatterns. For now 2.0 is working.

    SAP Developer Network

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    Normally I don’t block quote an entire blog but this one I could simply not resist:

    As part of my current role, I am integrating several products with SAP Business One and have been utilising the great resources that are SDN (SAP Developer Network). Today as I was looking through the SDN Wiki and while waiting for a page to load the usual SAP logo flickered over to the Atlassian logo for a few seconds.

    I suppose it should come as no surprise that SAP would use Atlassian Confluence as its Wiki given Atlassian’s impressive list of customers, nevertheless I was pleasantly surprised.

    It may be debatable whether the five year old Atlassian is still a Startup. We will give them the benefit of the doubt seeing as their stationery cupboards are still open, but Startup or not they stand as an inspiration for countless young Australian tech companies and entrepreneurs and for that they deserve a mention.

    Maybe SAP should change their SDN logo to ‘Powered by Atlassian Confluence’.

    Thanks Dave with the Mysterious Last Name.