Getting introduced to Bluepulse

I spent Friday night out with Geoff McQueen from Internetrix and Frank Marzano from Itree (plus our respective partners) to watch the local basketball team win a game, which luckily they did. As you know, I’ve recently discovered Twitter – however, Geoff introduced me to Bluepulse:

Bluepulse is a free mobile social messenger for you and your friends. You can message your friends from bluepulse using their email address, phone number, name or group name. You can receive all incoming messages and profile updates in 1 inbox. You can also build your profile and share pictures and videos with 1 friend or a whole group really easily.

Bluepulse is very much focused on the mobile social experience, however, just like Facebook and Twitter etc, its built on an open platform that third-party developers can use to create new mobile widgets. So, its a mobile social messenger and a mobile widget platform wrapped up together. BTW Bluepulse has origins in Australia, which Robert Scoble is pretty impressed with.

Looking for the magic in team collaboration and social software

I’m not quite sure what to make of this new Gartner magic quadrant on Team Collaboration and Social Software:

The collaboration support market is being revitalized, with buyers and sellers looking to add social interaction in the context of broad collaboration support. We map how new and established vendors focusing on teaming, communities and social interaction are positioned in this changing marketplace.

SocialText have shared the quadrant online, but not the detail.

SocialText just sound excited to have just made it over the line to be classed as one of the only two visionaries (the other is SuiteTwo); but there are no leaders and IBM and Microsoft are the only challengers. So if we ignore the four exceptions, everyone is a niche player – which actually makes sense, but doesn’t provide much value in terms of analysis.

Dan Farber points out that the quadrant isn’t an apples for apples comparison and then makes a rather bold prediction that:

As social software matures, consolidation among vendors will occur and comprehensive suites, rather than best of breed, will dominate enterprises.

I’m not so sure – do you view team collaboration and social software as one or more applications or a stack of capabilities that enable team collaboration and social interaction? For that reason, I was surprised not to see others in the Enterprise Web 2.0 stack like Cogenz or Attensa mentioned, but I guess more fundamentally it depends on how you define the scope of team collaboration and social software – e.g. as a starting point I would at least expect to see some or all of the elements of McAfee’s SLATES model addressed in each. For that matter, where is Google in this?

I’ll guess I’ll just have to get hold of the actual report to see if it makes any more sense.

UPDATE: Ross Mayfield and Jeff Brainard from SocialText are going to send me a copy of the report. Thanks guys –
I’ll let you know what I think.

Millennials, Process Continuity, Leadership and Discontinuity

I think we’re all familiar with the impact of generational change in the workplace, but it never hurts to find an accessible and well written piece on the topic – in this case, Microsoft‘s Daniel W. Rasmus writes in NASA’s ASK online magazine about the next generation workforce and project management. As well as offering some tips for retaining millennials he discusses the following issues:

  • Process Continuity – The next-generation worker’s interest in a diversity of experience may lead to high rates of turnover. This means that organizations will lose knowledge unless they can find ways to rapidly transfer it to new members, or to retain it in knowledge bases or other codified forms. We at Microsoft are seeing a growing use of wikis and blogs as impromptu knowledge bases.
  • Leadership – Top-down or command-and-control methods will prove less effective for the next generation, but millennials can be brought together for a mission they consider meaningful.
  • Discontinuity – The coming retirement of baby boomers will be an upheaval unprecedented in size and impact. Organizations that thrive will be the ones that use their imagination, adapt quickly to change, entice employees with opportunities for learning, and retain them because they continue to challenge them and empower them to use their knowledge and skills to benefit both the organization and their team.

Thanks, Mike.

Twitterquette or twittersnobbery?

I hadn’t thought about the need for “twitterquette”, since Twitter only gives you 140 characters to play with you wouldn’t think there is much damage you can do. But I’ve discovered Robert Scoble has set the anti-pattern for twitterquette:

The 10 rules of Twitter (and how I break every one): If you follow the talk over on Twitter you’ll see that there are some unwritten “rules” and that I am breaking lots of those rules and pissing lots of people off. I break the rules so you don’t have to.

Twittergram is a good example of stretching the Twitter paradigm – it lets you send a short tweet with a url to short MP3 sound file that you can upload or record over the phone. Apparently some people hate them.

Scoble‘s post is funny, but I prefer this comment from Kelly @ pinkfu.com:

There is 1 rule of Twitter: Do whatever you want and if people don’t like it they can stop following you.

What ever the medium, I think all social software is little like that – how we use it will be defined by how we choose to use it, not how others tell us to use it. The other approach can only result in a kind of twittersnobbery where only those who get it, get to play.

But what do you think?

I want to work for John Holland

Not really (well, I’m always open to offers…) but great to see a company see the light about Facebook and reverse a pointless and clearly damaging decision in the war for talent:

CONSTRUCTION giant John Holland says allowing employees to access social networking site Facebook can play a role in attracting and keeping young workers…

…John Holland, which employs approximately 4000 people nationwide, recently locked out its employers from Facebook, but after several weeks decided to restore access…

…’It doesn’t really matter for us if Facebook is open or closed, it’s not going to send us broke, and we can monitor what’s going on.’

Ross Dawson is going to love this 🙂

What can you do with two cables?

Interesting post, from the author behind the book called the Long Tail, about his two network cables:

On my desk at work I have two ethernet cables. One is black and one is white. The black one is connected to our corporate network. I use that one when I want to print things. I could also use it for Internet access and stuff, but I don’t because the corporate network blocks a number of ports, including those used for Skype and Second Life. It’s also pretty slow.

The white cable, meanwhile, is a standard consumer-grade DSL connection to the Internet, with nothing blocked at all. Our local IT staff installed it by popular demand, possibly without checking with headquarters (we love our local IT staff!). It’s fast. I use it all the time.

But make sure you read the comments too – I’m glad that someone mentions the Jericho Forum, as in the long term deperimeterization is a much better approach than having two cables!

Incidentally, I’ve certainly come across the concept of dual-LANs in an organisation – e.g. production and office networks that are kept separate.

The makings of a big, smart ball of string

While I’m not a beta groupie by any means, I feel like I should be excited about the currently being hyped “semantic web” application called Twine.com… but I just can’t. From the screen shots it looks a bit like another social bookmarking site, without the personality of Facebook.

Perhaps its because the exciting stuff is all behind the scenes? In an interview with Read/WriteWeb, they explain that Twine.com will support:

  • Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Simple Protocol and RDF Query Language (SPARQL);
  • Web Ontology Language (OWL)*;
  • Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL), which is used for defining Extensible Markup Language (XML) document transformation and presentation; and
  • Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL) – this is apparently used for for getting RDF data out of XML and XHTML documents…

Hmm. Still not excited? Basically what all this means is that Twine.com becomes an engine for linking together content and data in a meaningful way, leading eventually to the possibility of machine intelligence that users and other applications can tap into. In fact the more we put in, the better it will get. Now, isn’t that exciting? Actually this reminds me that many people have had the idea of using Wikipedia as a source of machine intelligence, but something like Twine.com should make it easier and better.

Tim O’Reilly provides more background information, but comments:

I’m going to withhold judgment till I can get my hands on the service. Until the system is populated with a lot of data — far more than shows up in the demos — we won’t know whether we’ve spun a smooth twine, or a gnarly knot. But I’ll look forward to trying. I’m seeing a number of startups trying to work this same problem. None has yet gone live. But I’m confident that eventually someone will make some headway, and I’ll be excited if twine gets there first.

UPDATE 2: Also worth reading is Nicholas Carr’s review of Twine.com and also Freebase (another semantic web “brain”) from earlier in the year – CineSpin gives you an idea of how an application cap tap into semantic data . He also outlines Twine.com‘s business model:

Business model? It’s a work in progress. In the near term, expect the obligatory AdSense ads. Longer term, Spivack is counting on using the site’s insight into its users and their interests to develop a custom system for serving highly personalized ads and product recommendations. More interesting, Twine will offer a for-fee professional version (the basic version is free) aimed at business people and, in particular, teams of workers doing research or otherwise tracking and analyzing information. Spivack says he plans to allow outside services to tap into the Twine database through open APIs, although heavy users will likely have to pay for the privilege of incorporating the Twine brain into their own products.

*Of could this could also be Ordinary Wizarding Level, a test of magical aptitude in the Harry Potter novel series, which would be a lot more interesting to most of us.

UPDATE: BTW Twine.com is another site that doesn’t like IE6 – you don’t even see all the content…