Friday, October 07, 2005

This Post Isn't For You

It's ultimately for your boss and for your organization.

I had to laugh while watching "The Apprentice" last night. The task was to show retirees new technologies. As the show developed, I played along and thought about what new technologies I'd show my grandmother. Tivo? No way - she can barely figure out the VCR. Digital Camera - No way - her eyesight is not good enough to deal with tiny screens.

As I try to get to my point, I want to point out that I AM NOT suggesting that your boss is a retiree (but they are thinking about it in part because of what I'm about to talk about next...)

Here's a fun experiment - use technorati to search on your company or one of your products and send your boss 3 or 4 links with relevant posts. Assuming they click the links, you'll probably get a response that looks like this:

"Where did you find this?"


"Who the hell are these people and how can we get them to stop"

Your boss (I'm obviously generalizing here!) is not only "out of it technologically" - but is perhaps missing a fundamental shift in communications, marketing and culture.

NPO's like mine (and I bet yours too) have no clue about what the world is about to drop on them. What I'm talking about of course is fundamental shifts in social behavior that will forever (and may already have) alter our world and our ability to maintain the status quo.
  • Have you noticed that direct mail is a bit harder and that email doesn't seem to have any way to "take it's place?" Where was your direct mail program 10 years ago - where will it be in 10?
  • How much money are your raising online today vs. 10 years ago? I'd venture a guess that the growth rate over that span of time far exceeds just about anything else you are doing.
  • How many more constituents are you reaching with your web site today than 10 years ago? A lot? Thought so.
  • 5 years ago, if your email system went down for a day, could you still operate your business? Oh yea - well how about if that happened later today? Ouch.
Are these technology issues or is it something more fundamental? Here's a statement: fundamental nature of our world is technology based, like it or not.

So, as a thought experiment, I had this idea about doing a Sr. Executive brown bag lunch to help them understand at a very real level what's going on. I haven't actually done this, but the more I think about it, the more it makes a lot of sense. If you take these ideas and put together a session like this, let me know!

Your World Is Upside Down

To gain a basic understanding about the fundamental shifts that the Internet has created in today's world and to creatively think about how our organization can utilize it to accomplish our mission.

  • At least 1 "kid"
  • At least 1 person on your team who is in the office, ready to complete a canned IM and Skype demonstration
  • Sr execs attendance is required
Part I. A Tour
  • Blogging, Wiki's, VOIP/Skype/Vonage, Mash Ups, Online Gaming, iPod demonstration (iTunes purchase), Tivo, Technorati, Google API demos, Search engine marketing, Bittorrent demonstration
  • The numbers (a review of how many people are doing these things for the numbers driven in the crowd)
Part II. Assignments

The idea here is to pair up each Sr. Exec with a member of the organization who "gets this" and have them create something or use a new technology during the session and report back to the group.
  • Start your own blog
  • Upload a photo to flickr
  • Try out google video
  • Create (or more likely, enhance) a post about the company on Wikipedia
  • Define and give 3 examples of Mash Ups
  • Understand RSS and subscribe to at least 1 feed
  • Instant Message someone for business purposes who works across the country
  • Anything else they can think up...
Part III. New Opportunities
  • This can be done as follow up, or you could prepare some ideas in advance.
To wrap this already too long post up... I'll simply quote Tom Peters

They say “We need more steady, loyal employees.”

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