Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘social networking’ Category

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: IBM’s Social Business Strategy

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At the Lotusphere 2012 session this afternoon entitled “IBM Social Business Strategy,” I had the opportunity to hear directly from two of IBM’s senior social business strategists, Douglas Heintzman and Andrew Warzecha.

IBM's Douglas Heintzman and Andrew Warzecha provide a detailed overview of IBM's social business strategy at Lotusphere 2012 earlier today.

The first headline on their first slide made a bold statement: A profound change is coming to business.

They spent the next hour explaining why, and to extent, how this change was already starting to occur, and its potential impact on the global business community.

Underneath that statement was a list of some of the chief characteristics that social businesses everywhere would start to take on:

  • Talent as a cloud
  • Digital reputation and individual brands.
  • Leadership by connections
  • Real-time teams.
  • Collective intelligence.
  • Engaged relationships.
  • IT access anywhere.

Now, just think about those for a moment.  Talent as a cloud, for example.

Heintzman explained that talent used to be found in organizations through other single-point based individuals who had an existing power base in the organization. They were the filter: Of knowledge, skills, etc.

Their role as the key node in the network is being increasingly supplanted by the reputation of key individuals in the organizations who have the skill to help make the firm a success.

Or collective intelligence, where our current inability to measure and monitor the sentiment of not only our customers, but also internally (think a negotiation with a union, a new medical benefits plan, etc.) is a missed opportunity to better understand real-time sentiment, a very powerful capability.

Talent as a cloud.  Talent used to have to be found through power brokers, but now is more based on reputation.

Our inability to measure and monitor the sentiment of not only our customers, but also internally (a new negotiation with a union, a medical benefits plan, etc.), understanding the real-time sentiment of that becomes a very powerful capability.

As he continued to observe, history is filled with examples of people coming together with new insight/capabilities, and that social business simply represents another of those massive transformational opportunities.

Perhaps some of his sound bytes better tell the story:

  • Social technology is changing the way we live.  More than 7 billion pieces of content are shared each week on Facebook, and social networking accounts for 22% of online time.
  • Smartphone shipments will outpace PCs by end of this year.
  • Workers increasingly shift seamlessly between work/personal roles 24X7 using smartphones and tablets.
  • There are 155 million Tweets each day (and yet 75% of folks still don’t believe advertising.)

This distinction between social media and social business is also an important one.

Social media is more commonly viewed as a new marketing channel, whereas social business, can help accelerate the velocity of business, provide for collective creative potential, and improve decision making in the organization.

Social media is more commonly viewed as a new marketing channel, whereas social business can help accelerate the velocity of business, provide for collective creative potential, and improve decision making in the organization.

Social business, in other words, encompasses organization and business operations, while social media provides a new communications and marketing platform.

If social business, then, is changing the way we work, the next logical question would be, “But how?”

In many ways.  As an example, social media monitoring is now done by 11 out of the top 50 brands using social media as a sustainable tool for marketing (I will have to come back to this one, as I’ve been a part of the team embarking upon IBM Software’s own social listening efforts, and there are LOTS of lessons to learn there).

In terms of product and service innovation (our Rational line of software is very helpful in this arena), 44% of the Fortune 200 executives report using crowd-sourcing to improve corporate responsibility, and already 95% feel it has positive benefits.

89% of organizations are now recruiting from social networks, and 55% are planning to invest more in social networking and recruiting.

And finally, much to the contrary of conventional wisdom, 51% of companies permit employees to use social media for business purposes, up from 19% in in 2009.

It’s just not hyperbole that’s driving this shift, however.  There’s a very real opportunity to drive business value from IT as it shifts from process automation towards people-centric processes: Everything from the the advances of “systems of engagement” (vs. “Systems of record”), to the demand for productivity and new markets that’s driving demand for social business transformation.

Renowned business thought leader Geoffrey Moore even suggested that such systems of engagement will drive 23% CAGR over the next several years.

So what’s the road map start to look like?  What’s the great Google Map in the sky that will point the way?

Well, with social business as a market opportunity expected to reach $99 billion by 2015, I have no doubt we’ll see a variety of road maps emerge, but if you’d like to better understand IBM’s strategy, I’d encourage you to check out the IBM Social Business overview.

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Day One Announcements – The Setup

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It’s become self-evident the profound effect social media and networking have had on society and culture: The Arab Spring, the Japanese earthquake, the World Cup, even the tragic sinking of Costa Concordia over the weekend.

What’s new, however, and has gone largely unnoticed, is how this shift is causing a ripple effect in the business world.  Though many companies are focused on building out their own in-house social networks, the real opportunity will be for those who can gain real-time intelligence on the data being generated within those communities and to use that information to be more competitive in their markets.

Here’s some facts:

  • With more than 800 million Facebook users and 200 Million Tweets a day, the growing popularity of social networking has also created a social savvy workforce.
  • IBM’s 2011 CIO Survey of 3,000 global leaders indicated that more than 55% of companies identified social networking as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth.
  • Forrester Research estimates that market opportunity for social software is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2016, an increase of 60% annually from 2010.

This shift of consumer to business networking, also known as “social business,” has become the next big challenge for organizations who are looking to more quickly adopt these skills into their businesses to better reach clients and suppliers, while swiftly gaining insight on the data being created in these networks.

The winners in this challenge will be able to react more swiftly to customer trends, and to out-innovate competitors.

IBM is unveiling this week new social business software and services that bring together the power of analytics and flexible delivery models such as cloud computing and mobile devices.

More to come very shortly…


Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Turbo’s Late Arrival

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First off, I don’t know what I was thinking traveling during the AFC/NFC playoffs.  Did that happen last year?

Redmonk's James Governor, Silicon Angle's Alex Williams, and IBM's Rawn Shah talk social shop at Sunday night's opening kickoff party at the Dolphin & Swan Beach in Orlando, Florida

All I can say is, Thank God for Jet Blue and DirecTV.  It was a nice flight from Austin to Orlando, where I would be attending Lotusphere and IBM Connect 2012, and I was able to see the NY Giants’ fleecing of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, no less, some 35,000 feet up in the air (save for those nasty mid-air turns where the satellite went south…or was it north?)

In any case, there’s been a lot of fun NFL football this weekend…there was yesterday’s 49ers rout that sent the Saints marchin’ home, and the ever-laser-like Patriot Tom Brady who made Tim Tebow look like a rank amateur in the Pats’ victory over the Broncos.

Now if I could just find out who won the Sony out in Honolulu. (Oh, it was Johnson Wagner…who’s he??)

But enough sports talk, it’s time to get down to business.  At the opening Lotusphere kick-off party on Disney’s Swan and Dolphin beach, I got to catch up with some old blogger friends, not to mention made some new ones.  And clearly, I need to update my RSS feeds: ReadWriteWeb’s Alex Williams has joined the cadre led by my old friend John Furrier at SiliconAngle, and James Governor with Redmonk explained how he’s in the throes of planning his first “Monkigras,” not to mention preparing for the global invasion of East London for this Summer’s Olympic games.

At the party this evening, I did some catching up with all the above,  as well as some old IBM friends including Luis “What’s Your Email Address?” Suarez, and Rawn “What Social Book Are You Writing Now?” Shah.  There were lots of Androids and iPhones in attendance at the party as well, though I saw only one Ice Cream Sandwich.  Being a recent Android convert, I can honestly say I’m quickly grokking the Android code names.

As for tomorrow, I’m very excited to learn that former Apple executive and speaker extraordinaire Guy Kawasaki will be kicking off the IBM Connect event.

But for now, it’s time to get some needed slumber so I can be prepared for all things social and all things business in the am…with a particular emphasis on the former.

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2012 at 4:27 am

Just A Random Thursday

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Boy, there’s lots of stuff going on this first week of January 2012.

News stuff.  Business stuff.  Economics stuff.  Even politic stuff, which I’ve already addressed in the form of the Iowa Caucuses twice this week.

So here’s some of the business news that seemed worthy of highlighting:

U.S.car sales ended with a strong year, and a particularly strong December.  Chrysler’s sales rose 26% for the year, Ford’s 11%, and GM’s 13%.

“You Push The Button, We Do The Rest.” Eastman Kodak is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection. Reports suggest they’re trying to stay afloat by selling off parts of their patent portfolio, but Chapter 11 looms in the distant. I feel a new song brewing: “Di-gi-tal smoked the silver-halide…”

Yahoo’s got a new boss.  But is the new boss the same as the old boss? EBay exec Scott Thompson, which currently runs eBay’s PayPal group, has been hired to bring Yahoo out of its financial blues.  My recommendation: The way out is through the data, Sensei.

Netflix is makin’ content with the owner of the Bada Bada Bing!  Steven Van Zandt comes back to Gangster life in “Lily Hammer,” this time as a NYC mobster relocated to Lillehammer, Norway. Get it? Lily…Hammer?  I’m guilty as charged, I watched the Web preview and laughed my tush off. Tune in Feb 6.

Beautiful music is being made, bought and sold online, more than ever.  Nielsen SoundScan reports sales of complete albums reached 330.6 million last year, with a majority of music now being sold and distributed online (vs. Physical distribution via CDs, etc.). British R&B artist Adele led the way, with her “21” selling some 5.82 million copies. So, please, don’t stop the music!

The American worker is getting back to work.  Less folks filed for unemployment benefits in the United States last week, even as the private sector added a smokin’ 325,000 jobs in December, according to ADP’s monthly hiring report. Still, unemployment was expected to tick up to 8.7% for the month of December, especially with continued weakness in manufacturing and construction.

Mark Cuban and Jason Calacanis in the same room? Well, maybe not in the same room, but they have helped social CRM startup Nimble raise $1M in funding. Nimble CEO views Nimble as a “combination Hootsuite, Yammer, and Salesforce,” allowing Nimble users to authenticate into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google and ultimately connect contacts, calendars, and communications.  Sign me up — just so long as I don’t have to appear in a reality TV show with Cuban.

Okay, that’s enough for now.  I have to go make some money for the IBM company.

Do You Yahoo!?

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Remind me never to get fired by Yahoo!.

CEO Carol Bartz was fired by Yahoo!’s board chairman overnight.  They fired her via the phone.

Ouch.

Bartz also sent out an email, from her iPad, to the Yahoo! troops, telling them, and the world, that she was fired via the phone.

To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.

Carol

Hey, at least they didn’t break up with her via Yahoo! Messenger.

Oh, that’s right, nobody uses Yahoo! Messenger anymore — that would have been kinda difficult!

I dunno, aside from being downright rude, firing someone in this day and age via telephone seems kind of primitive, especially for a technology company like Yahoo!

Couldn’t they have used a Google Hangout or something to deliver the news pseudo face to face?  Kind of like that character in the George Clooney movie, who fires people via videocast.

“Good morning, Carol, have a seat.”

“I’m already seated, thank you.”

“You’re fired.”

“Oh, thank Heavens. I thought it was something horrible, like you wanted us to merge with MySpace.”

I’m thinking even carrier pigeon might have been more suitable. It’s a more personal touch — oh look, this nice pigeon just showed up on my front stoop!   You know, for when you care enough to send the very best — and you don’t want to hear any protestations about the firing.

Hey, I’ll cut the Yahoo! chairman a little slack — delivering bad news is never easy, no matter how you deliver it.

But judging from the reaction, there’s not been a lot of love lost in Yahooville.

The latest ratings for Bartz on Glassdoor by Yahooligans show about a 33% approval rating, a long, double black diamond downhill slide from 90% when she first joined the company in 2009.

Reminds me of the marketing campaign Bartz launched after she joined the company, the slogan of which was “It’s you!”

Apparently, it wasn’t.

Written by turbotodd

September 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

IBM Introduces New Mobile Social Software

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If you’ve been following the communications around IBM’s smarter planet initiative, you’re probably aware of the major underlying themes.

When IBM shared its vision three years ago, we explained that a smarter planet presented an opportunity to infuse intelligence into every system through which the world works.

IBM introduced new software today to help organizations take social computing capabilities into the mobile space, continuing its focus on helping companies transform themselves into social businesses.

We explained that in such a world, everything is becoming instrumented with sensors and computational power.  That the world is becoming interconnected via vast, ubiquitous networks.  And that many things are becoming intelligent by applying analytics to the mountains of data they can collect.

One of those key underlying networks is made of people.  People connected to other people using social media and computing technologies, not as their own end, but as a means to the end of communicating with one another and creating new business value through those connections.

Just as the Internet changed the marketplace forever, the integration of social computing into the the enterprise represents another enormous shift in the landscape. Those organizations that successfully transform into social businesses can reap great benefits, among them the ability to deepen their customer relationships, drive new operational efficiencies, and optimize their workforce.

Today, IBM announced new software to help organizations continue on this journey by allowing them to embrace social networking using the broadest range of mobile devices.

Getting Social, Going Mobile

A shift is occurring in the enterprise. The adoption of mobile devices and social software is rapidly becoming a vital business tool, enabling organizations to transform virtually every part of their business operations from marketing, customer service and sales, to product development and human resources.

According a recent report from the Renegade firm, 86 percent of business people now use social media to help them make business decisions. With more than one billion mobile users combined with rise of social networking in the workplace, companies are looking for ways to better integrate these industry forces to help organizations accelerate collaboration, deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, and enable a more effective workforce.

Being social often now also means being mobile, and with today’s news, IBM is delivering its industry-leading Connections social networking software and enabling people to download it from all the major app stores, including Android, Apple iOS, and RIM’s BlackBerry.

Connections enables your people to gain immediate access to blogs, employee data, status updates, and wikis, as well as share files, videos and photos.

As part of today’s news, IBM also is helping IT administrators simplify the management of corporate and personal data on employee devices.

With more companies allowing employees to use their own device for work, the time and management of securing personal data was becoming a burden to IT administrators.  A new IBM collaboration software “partial wipe” capability for Apple iOS devices allows IT administrators to wipe only the confidential company data from the device while preserving a worker’s personal email, photos, videos, and games.

No matter how applications are accessed, social businesses of all sizes need to communicate and collaborate on the fly across a global network of clients, partners and employees. To fully enable a social business, IBM is announcing these new mobile apps:

  • New social networking app: Available at no charge, the new IBM Connections app works just like the industry-leading IBM social software with added functionality for Google Android smartphones and tablets, Apple iOS devices and BlackBerry smartphones. In addition to the popular File share application, Profiles, and Activities, Blogs and generate-and-vote-on-ideas features, workers can now take photos with their smartphones and upload them directly to Connections. All three apps are available now in the respective apps stores.
  • Partial wipe for Apple iOS devices: New IBM software provides “partial wipe” capability for Apple iOS devices allowing an IT administrator to wipe only the company data from the device while preserving a worker’s personal data, such as personal email, photos, videos and games. Administrators can still initiate a full reset wipe if circumstances warrant it, as an alternative to this new partial wipe option.  Traveler enables IBM email, contacts and calendar information to be accessible from the most popular mobile devices.
  • Click-to-call from Android OS device calendar: Available in beta now, Lotus Notes Traveler will allow IBM email users to call people listed in their calendar views with just one click.
  • Unified Communications for Android devices: IBM’s Sametime software for Android extends presence awareness and instant messaging with new features including text-to-speech which can read incoming messages when the users cannot stop to look at the device, for example, when driving; send photos taken with the device through Sametime chats; and automatically update location status. Workers who also have Sametime Unified Telephony software reduce phone use costs by initiating calls to whatever phone happens to be nearby.
  • Online meeting support for BlackBerry: IBM Sametime meetings support allows BlackBerry users to participate in online meetings using their mobile devices.
  • Cloud-based meeting support for Android:  LotusLive Meetings support for the Android OS is planned to be available later this year.

IBM Clients Are Becoming Social Businesses

In an embrace of social business transformation in the enterprise, thousands of clients are adopting IBM social software on tablets and smart phones including Amway, Bekins Van Lines, University of Zurich, Virginia Commonwealth University and Cummins Inc.

Cummins Inc (NYSE: CMI) is a global leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel engines, power generation systems and related products and technologies.

Cummins, a global leader in diesel engines and power generation systems, uses IBM Lotus Notes Traveler software to increase the productivity of its farflung workforce.

A Fortune 500 company with 2010 revenues of $13.2 billion, Cummins has approximately 40,000 employees in 353 locations in 190 countries. Cummins is the largest independent maker of diesel engines and related products in the world.

The ability to collaborate from a smart, mobile device enables Cummins employees to be more productive in more places because they can access mail, calendar, contacts, and to do lists anywhere in the world.  In the future, the promise of mobile computing expands “true” business capability enabling new business paradigms ranging from performing diagnostic tests while working on top of large engines to taking parts inventory and finalizing parts distribution logistics to having instant access to comprehensive business analytics that reflect a business unit’s growth in a key market segment.

“Cummins’ workers have benefited from the use of IBM Lotus Notes Traveler and its functions have been well integrated into our model of how we work and help to increase the productivity of our workforce overall.  We look forward to expanding our use of IBM mobile collaboration applications in order to enhance the flexibility and on demand features that allow workers to work where they want to work,” said Eric Christian, Director, Global Architecture and Security, Cummins.

For information about additional mobile platforms supported by IBM (including Nokia Symbian) visit www.ibm.com/software/lotus/category/mobile-wireless/

LinkedIn Floats

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Whoa. How about that IPO for LinkedIn that floated earlier today at the NYSE?

Perhaps business social networking is sexy, after all.

At least, so it seems, to investors.

A few days before its IPO, LinkedIn raised its offering price some 30%, to a range of between $42 and $45 per share.

Then, I see this coverage on TechCrunch indicating they started trading at $83 per share, before rocketing past the $100 market and even into the $130s, before settling back into the $105 range.

As Leena Rao points out, even at $83 a share LinkedIn is looking at a $7.8 billion market cap.

I was watching the talking heads yesterday on CNBC about whether or not this new way of social and tech-related IPO interest suggested a “tech bubble,” to which I just laughed out loud.

Putting aside whether or not you believe LinkedIn’s float came at too high a price, comparing today’s environment to the tech bubble of the late 1990s is absurd on its face.

I remember those 1999 IPO valuations, where a Web metrics report and a PowerPoint seemed to justify hundreds of millions in value.  LinkedIn, on the other hand, along with a number of the emerging social plays, are actual revenue-generating companies who benefited from the Internet cloud build-out since the bubble burst.

Lower storage and computing costs, higher and more ubiquitous broadband access, open source and lower cost development tools and platforms, and yes, a great diversity of venture capital…all are factors that helped pave the way to this digital renaissance.

But make no mistake, compared to many Internet outfits in 1999, the GroupOns and Facebooks and LinkedIns of the world are generating cash, which is always helpful to a viable and ongoing business concern!

And speaking of viable concerns, the latest IBM SmartCamp was held in Austin, Texas, earlier this week, and though I was too busy to attend, the event was covered on LiveStream.

SecureWaters has a patented technology that monitors, detects, and identifies toxins in surface water, and sells a smarter, real-time early warning electronic monitor and alarm system.

You can see their one-minute elevator pitch here.

IBM SmartCamp is an exclusive event aimed at identifying early stage entrepreneurs developing business ventures that align with IBM’s Smarter Planet vision.

Applications are still being taken for the New York City event on June 28-29, but you to have applied by June 3, so if interested, get those applications in!

Written by turbotodd

May 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Smarter Consumers, Smarter Commerce

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Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there around the world!

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the one day of the year you’re officially recognized for all the other days you do so much for your children, your husbands, your families, and your communities.

Here in Austin, it was a nice, not-too-terribly-hot weekend, although you can feel summer’s advent quickly creeping on.  And still hardly any rain to show for our otherwise delightful spring (although we’re hoping that will change this week!)

There won’t be any escaping the heat in the info tech IPO market.

Reuters is reporting this morning that LinkedIn, the business social network, is looking at floating nearly 8 million shares in the $32-35 range, which would net nearly $150M U.S. in its offering.

At that price, LinkedIn’s valuation would come in at around $3 billion, ahead of Facebook’s own IPO. LinkedIn earned $15.4M in 2010, against net revenue of $243M, but when you consider the more upscale, white collar audience LinkedIn largely serves, one has to wonder if there’s not more utility and upside just waiting to be tapped in all those B2B connections.

Maybe they should hire someone to make a movie about them?

No celluloid will be needed for Apple, Google, and IBM, which finished first, second, and third in this year’s BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, billed as “the most comprehensive annual ranking of brand value.”

You can download the report for the full skinny, but the headlines that jumped out at me are mostly macroeconomical in nature.

Hey, anywhere we can get some good news, right?

First, most sectors in the report “grew in value” compared with 2008, pre-recession levels.

The Top 100 brands increased 24 percent during that period, “demonstrating the resilience of leading brands and suggesting the economy has shifted from recovery into real growth.” In fact, the report goes on to note, the Top 100 brands have added $500B in value since 2008.

The report also notes changing consumer behaviors, perceptions and values.  “Brands will continue to feel the impact of the recession-accelerated shift to considered — rather than conspicuous — consumption.”

It goes on to note that “consumers emerged from the recession more skeptical and savvy and more empowered by digital technology to search for the best prices and most trusted reviews…These developments influenced the ways brands communicated with consumers, increasing investment in social media, as ‘engaging’ replaced ‘targeting’ in the marketing lexicon.”

So, this new world reveals a more empowered, engaged, and considered consumer…what’s a poor brand to do?

I’d suggest you get on over to the part of our Web site that talks about the idea of “smarter commerce.”

As the smarter commerce site suggests, customers increasingly approach a sale empowered by technology and transparency.  They have more extensive information from more sources than ever before. They expect to engage with companies when and how they want, in person, online, and on the go.

And they want these methods to tie together seamlessly.

On the smarter commerce site, you’ll find a video overview explaining the concept, as well as several case studies and a presentation from the recent Impact conference to help you learn how IBM is helping its own clients adjust to these new realities.

SXSW Interactive 2011: Russia Online

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One of the great opportunities that SXSW affords those attending is a powerful networking nexus from people around the globe.

At this year’s event, I serendipitously met a new friend from Moscow, Julia Neznanova, a client services director with the Moscow-based DigitalZm agency.

After Julia and I got to chatting, I realized our conversation was a podcast waiting to happen, so Scott Laningham and I arranged to capture her insights about the Russian Internet landscape on disk.

The resulting interview can be found here, and I think it would surprise many who aren’t familiar with the Russian online landscape just how vibrant the digital scene is in Moscow and beyond.

Thanks again to Julia for her insight.  Scott and I very much enjoyed and learned a lot from our conversation, and I hope you will, too.

Written by turbotodd

March 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Austin: The Social Business Hub

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When I moved to Austin some ten years ago, I figured career-wise, I was cutting my own throat.  I had been with IBM ten years at that point, but for six of those I had been centered around the beehives of Somers and Armonk, NY, and the general New York area, which was where the nerve center where IBM’s marketing teams lived and breathed.

But I’d had enough of life in the big city, so when an IBM opportunity presented itself here in Austin, I lept at the chance, even as I thought it might limit my future Big Blue career options.

Actually, the move opened a range of other doors.

Austin, despite having had some negative blowback from the dot com boom, still had several anchor technology tenants (Dell, IBM, AMD, Vignette, Applied Materials, etc.) that helped feed both talent and technology into the Austin business community.

The creative sector was also thriving here (GSD&M, frog, Toquigny, Razorfish, Ants Eye View, Fleishman-Hillard, UT-Austin…), and certainly the great weather and live music didn’t hurt (and did I mention the  world class Tex-Mex and new international airport?).

Probably just as importantly, the tech trends were playing to my favor.

What we came to call Web 2.0 and, later, social media (and now “social business,” a sobering term that suggests a maturity far beyond its still nascent adoption in the enterprise, but leaves the door open for widespread and mainstream adoption) took root early on in IBM.

IBM was one of the first major players to issue social media guidelines, and we also used the technology to conduct our own business, creating a whole new set of company values through an IBM internal “jam” online that elicited responses from over 100,000 IBMers around the globe.

I’d be remiss in not pointing out that we were also enjoying investments in emerging markets around the globe (India, China, Argentina, Brazil) which, no matter your nationalistic perspective on “rightsourcing,” required new ways of working and time zone adjustments, not to mention a more astute and tuned in sensibility to cultural variance.

We were IBM, and we were living up to the “international” part of our name in ways I had never imagined possible.

You couldn’t just think global, you had to act global.  And me, I had to do it from right here in the middle of Texas.

But, I could, primarily due to some of the technology we were developing, along with my ever-umbilical broadband connection and always on phone line.

In the meantime, the Web 2.0 snowball blossomed into a social media juggernaut.

New terms, tools and technologies spread like wildfire.

And new approaches to communicating and marketing were happening literally underfoot, leaving a range of carcasses along the way for those who didn’t “get it”: Dan Rather, Kryptonite locks, even Dell during their “Dell Hell” regime (but to their credit, they now have a world-class social media infrastructure and staff and even a newfangled social media command center introduced to the world by none other than Michael Dell).

Out with the old, in with the new.

Austin was poised to take advantage of and capitalize on this new wave in a big way, and for a variety of reasons:

  • The young, smart creative class that had been borne both from the great universities and through interstate (and even international) migration.
  • The business friendly (and very green) climate offered by the Austin municipal government, as well as the low-taxing and right to work environment of the great state of Texas (no state income tax).
  • The ongoing SXSW Interactive, Film, and Music festival which, though originally more music than film, is now more interactive than both film and music, and which kick starts here this Friday with an expected attendee base that will likely sound an alarm with the Travis County fire code.  (SXSW has brought more creative and business talent in and out of Bergstrom airport than no amount of stock options likely could.)
  • And, of course, the Austin venture capital community that has long cultivated and invested in content, media, and, most recently, social software.

There’s a culture of optimistic innovation that transpires here, which feeds back into the tech and creative community, but which is also fed by it.  People here are passionate about the opportunity social media presents, but also grounded in the reality it will take to help bring it to bear for businesses and individuals.

Some examples: Our friends from Coremetrics (which IBM later acquired), BazaarVoice (founded by the same co-founder of Coremetrics, Brett Hurt), Powered (later acquired by Dachis Corp.), and, yes, social business consultancy Dachis Corp., co-founded by digital and social media marketing veterans and led by Jeff Dachis, original co-founder of leading interactive shop Razorfish. (Blogger’s Note: IBM is a co-sponsor of the Dachis Social Business Summit tomorrow here in Austin, and also to be held in other cities around the globe).

So, that’s a long way of saying, the future’s so bright in Austin social media, you gotta wear shades…preferably some 3D shades that make that big ol’ Facebook “Like” button for the “City of Austin” get so large it jumps right OFF the page and nearly scares you back to Silicon Valley.

#winning #TigerBlood…sure, all that and then some.

Because, if you’ve spent any time here at all, you know our longtime unofficial mantra is “Keep Austin Weird” (Go rent Richard Linklater’s “Slackers” for the back story).

I’d like to suggest we rename it: “Keep Austin Weird…And Social.”

Very, very social.

(Blogger’s Note: See some related perspectives on Austin leading into SXSW and the Dachis Social Summit from my friends [and IBM’s own] Kathy Mandelstein, Ogilvy’s Virginia Miracle, and Dachis’ Peter Kim, and ALL Austin residents.)

Written by turbotodd

March 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm

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