Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How NOT To Use Powerpoint

I just came across this very funny video on YouTube:
"How NOT To Use Powerpoint By Comedian Don McMillan"
Good advice for anyone who uses PowerPoint.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Facebook’s nailed it!

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about online social networking tools such as MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

In my view, Shakespeare predicted MySpace nicely with his line from MacBeth: “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

There is research that indicates that people tend to ignore all data when they are given more than they can process. Recently, neuroscientists tested people for the effects of information overload and found these symptoms:

  1. Irritation
  2. Boredom
  3. Inability to take decisive action
  4. Pervading sense of “So What?”
  5. Failure to respond

This is how I felt about MySpace. I found MySpace overwhelming and without meaning.

When I read an article in the February issue of Business 2.0 about LinkedIn, I was excited about the possibilities of LinkedIn and started to use it to link to other business professionals.

After a slow start, the service has nearly doubled its membership during the past year. Seeded with Hoffman's own high-powered network, a magnet for tech's movers and shakers, LinkedIn has capitalized on the Web 2.0 boom to attract more dealmaking members and race past its rivals.

VC heavyweights Sequoia Capital and Greylock - whose hit parade includes Apple, Cisco, Google, and Yahoo - have pumped nearly $15 million into LinkedIn. The private company says it's profitable and on track to hit $100 million in revenue by 2008.

I feel sure that if I were job-hunting, a recruiter or solely-responsible for business development, I would use LinkedIn much more than I do.

So far, the actual results have been underwhelming. I can’t see how it’s had any significant effect on my business or my relationships with professional contacts.

Then Bill Petro invited me to join Facebook. I’ve known Bill since he took our “iPresentation” workshop at EMC in March of 2002. We’ve since become friends. At first, I thought, “Oh, great – another networking site that won’t live up to it’s billing.” That was followed by the thought: “Bill is a pretty tech-savvy dude. He must see some value. Why not give it a try?”

I signed up and found it easy and pleasant to interact with friends and clients online … but it still didn’t hit me as a ground-breaking application.

I read an article in Wired magazine about Facebook that caught my attention. It was titled: "How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web's Hottest Platform."

Today, Zuckerberg, 23, is famous for other reasons. For one thing, analysts think he could be the nation's richest man under 25, with a net worth estimated at $1.5 billion. But more important, he has transformed his company from second-tier social network to full-fledged platform that organizes the entire Internet. As a result, Facebook is the now most buzzed-about company in Silicon Valley, and Zuckerberg is constantly compared to visionaries like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Even some of the tech industry's most legendary figures are genuflecting before Zuckerberg. In an entry on his blog, Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen called Facebook's transformation "an amazing achievement — one of the most significant milestones in the technology industry in this decade." Says Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, "I'm in awe."
This article caught my attention and raised Facebook's profile on my radar screen. Then, something remarkable happened. I received this Alert from Google: “Serena Software Adopts Facebook as Corporate Intranet."

Serena Software is a client. In fact, I have managed the Serena Software account at The Henderson Group since we started working with them in December of 2003. In addition, I have personally delivered all the workshops we’ve done at Serena in that time frame. We’ve worked with sales, marketing, professional services, and development teams. Consequently, I have a LOT of relationships there.

This struck me as a seminal moment for both Facebook and Serena. Both have received significant press as a result of this announcement.

In the last few weeks, I have found myself having conversations with clients, many from Serena, on a daily basis.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. I find myself looking forward to spending time on Facebook much like I enjoy spending time at YouTube or IMDB.com.
  2. Facebook is the ultimate web mash-up incorporating so many elements of the web into one interface.
    For example, videos and photos can be posted on Facebook. Hence, YouTube and photo apps such as Flickr, Yahoo! Photos and Snapfish should be feeling the heat. When I can log into one site and interact with friends and associates, take a look at their photos, blogs, or videos, without having to do another stinking log-in … How cool is that?!?
  3. Conversations with clients take on a MUCH less formal tone because I am hearing about the details of their day. For example, people post their current status such as:
    “Terry Gault is enjoying the comfort of home. Aaaah.”
    “Dave is contemplating leaving the City...”
    This last remark led me to contact this client/friend to learn more about the reasons for leaving and explore if there might be a business opportunity for my wife, RealtorRobin.
    Hence, the platform drives a higher level of intimacy and authenticity – a major theme in my work as a communications trainer and coach.
  4. Facebook is the hottest platform for do-it-yourself developers. In this video (from Serena) titled, “Why Facebook?” Tim Zonca brings out some amazing facts:
    Facebook allows users to access 7400+ different applications
    The most popular apps have 3 million users every day
  5. The traditional marketing methods are no longer necessary to create an audience of users.
    The decision to open the Facebook platform to developers has enabled them to create applications that users can easily access in one place and recommend to their friends. Hence, do-it-yourself developers can develop a HUGE audience of users by creating a fun application that spreads through viral word-of-mouth recommendations. Whenever, someone adds an application to their profile, that fact is published to all their friends. Often, these applications (comparing movie tastes on Flickster with Bill Petro, comparing traveler IQ with my nephew, insulting my actor buddies with the Shakespeare Insult Generator) are how the interactions take place on Facebook.

It’s a fully integrated web experience unlike any other I’ve experienced. Facebook has delivered on the promise of creating community online in a way that’s been talked about for years but never delivered … until now.