Saturday, December 17, 2011

Beyond Social: Talent Management as Strategy

If strategy is designed and executed at the fringes of the organization, talent management is strategy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Leveraging social technologies for talent management

HR should adopt social technologies to reinvent itself. Only in so doing can it reinvent talent management and build it into a strategic capability

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OccupyWallStreet and the social/business revolution

Ten days ago, as I had the opportunity to share some time with people at Liberty Square and assist to one GA, I was inspired by some conversations that defended the following general idea; "we are not here to be violent, we are here to collaborate, to participate in building something different. If the guys leading our banks and financial institutions do not want to participate, fine, we'll change them". As well as by these ideas, I was also struck by the collaborative, participative, shouted model, that has been developed in the GAs. Coming out of the Web2.0Expo, and participating to all these conversations about social media, I found the real life aspect of OccupyWallStreet amazing (videos). And I also found their professionalism, so to speak, very impressive, whether it is in the websites that have been developed and that show quite a mastery of social technologies or the "Direct Democracy & Facilitation Trainings" that are being developed by OccupyTogether.

In Europe, Occupy Wall Street is not getting the attention it deserves. Elsewhere, there has been some analysis of this movement, most of what I have read, by the way, pointing at its shortcomings (here is some perspective by James Marshall Crotty).

From my perspective, this movement is new in the level of internal and external collaboration it shows, and it obviously links to the Jasmine Revolution and the ones that followed. My perspective is that its success or failure will not rest with the protesters ability to make a long stand; this stand needs to be taken into account by leaders, giving way to change in mindsets, and eventually to a transformation of leadership. A leader: someone that leads ... Today, the where and the how are just not clear enough

Occupy Wall Street is a major business, social and political reinvention opportunity. Why is that ? 1. The economy is not providing the kind of prosperity people aspire to and seem ready to build. There is opportunity for a new kind of leadership. 2. The social or web2.0 technologies now deploying across the economy bring with them a mindset that allows fresh economic and business thinking and therefore the achievement of that new prosperity. There is an opportunity for this new leadership to reach its goals.

Optimistic view? Let me explain.

1. The economy, it can be argued, at least in the Western world, seems poised to grow slowly, at best, in the next two to five years. Jobs have been lost, and if you follow W Brian Arthur in this McKinsey Quaterly article, they will not come back. There might be some assets in savings, yes, but where there are savings (like in Europe), it seems that people are not willing to spend what's needed to generate growth.

As for businesses, most of them are unable to provide the products or services that would spur a new surge in growth. That's understandable, at least in the BtoC arena: consumers, hard hit by the debt tornado, do not have a real need for the stuff that's available. I would argue they are waiting for what could be called a new prosperity:  improved public services, health care, education, environmental savvy products, people-development activities, ...

Where are the leaders ? How are they responding to these aspirations ? It really surprises me that few business leaders, so far, have started answering the yarn for a new kind of prosperity by offering new services, new products that are in line with what people are voicing (yes, there are real demands, appart from "let the bankers go"). Offering jobs and offering value.

In one of the conversations at the Web2.0Expo, moderated by Cindy Gallop, we stressed how leaders were, in short, lost and frightened. Lost for lack of understanding of what is happening (and you have to admit it is a complex movement, that can only be understood as arising from a perfect storm made of social aspirations, technological progress, democracy progress, ...). Frightened at letting other people take the lead, whether it is for selfish reasons (those exist) or from very legitimate reasons (as a leader, it is difficult to let go when you are not sure that your are making the right decision).

And yet, opportunities are waiting for leaders to discover them. Let me underline some of them that I know well :

  • There is a need to transform transportation, to cope with a growing complexity of cities and a threatening environmental risk.
  • There is a a need to transform insurance, to take into account new risks coming from the new fabrics of society (anyone said subprimes ?). The same could be said about banking.
  • There is a need to make government and public services more agile, so that they provide real value in real time. 
  • There is a huge need to rethink education, and transform it, leveraging the assets of existing systems but also using new ways and technologies.
  • ...

All those, and many others, are opportunities for growth ! Demand is there, whether it is explicit or not. Financing is definitely there, just waiting for a real opportunity. Talent is there ! There are real expectations for meaning, for a sense of self-esteem that would come from the work we do, that could become something more than just "what I do for a living".

Leaders should take these opportunities. It would help navigate and going out of the coming recession; it would engage talent. It would allow them to gain legitimacy and honor in the eyes of society.

The good news is, almost all assets and skills needed to reach goals that were not imaginable yesterday are there to be used. Or read Carlota Perez, if you do not trust me.

2. I mentioned in my last post that social technology was ready to help in changing the world. Technology is important, but most important still is the new mindset that is deploying with it. Just as it took some years for most business leaders to understand the benefits of mass production, it might take some years for this new mindset to reach a tipping point.

This is where I think some work needs to be done by those today operating in the social business / E2.0 / Web2.0 / ... arena. I have been reading these past few months how social technologies were going to help in improving existing processes by "social enabling them". And, behold, we found the ROI that we had been looking for so long ! Right and true. But that is certainly not enough and it is terribly short-sighted !

If used within the current optimization mindset, these technologies will help business at the expense of the individual and therefore society. It is important to remember that corporations are still widely viewed as vehicles for value creation through efficiency. Innovation, in most of them, is just appearing as an alternative for this value creation.

Efficiency is tightly linked, in an established management mindset, to a taylorist view of the world. Do more with less. And, believe me, social technologies have the potential to push us (managers, employees, leaders) where we do not want to go. To the point where every activity in our life can be linked to our work activity, to the point where there is always something else for me to do. CRM ? Not good enough, now we can link salespeople every single minute of the day, so they can "leverage" the "collective intelligence" to make yet another sale ... even though this "collective intelligence member" might be having dinner with her kids ! This probably rings a bell, right ? What I say for sales departments stands true for any other dimension of the corporation, if social technologies are used within existing processes, mindsets, organizations.

It is my belief, that we need to push for corporate transformation. And therefore, yes, as I said in my introduction "the social or web2.0 technologies now deploying across the economy bring with them a mindset that allows fresh economic and business thinking and therefore the achievement of that new prosperity. There is an opportunity for this new leadership to reach its goals. " There is an opportunity for growth ! But, and it is a huge but, it will need thinking twice about growth and the value growth creates, probably going in the direction pointed by Michael Porter or Umair Haque. And once some ideas about value evolve, there is a need to think about how to share the value that is created, probably using existing models such as Wikipedia, the open web, or so many others. Then, we just might need to reinvent strategy, so that the environment, society, people at large, are not considered as externalities. That thinking made strategy much too easy. It's time to grow up.

Friday, October 14, 2011

About W2e : the technology to change the world ?

The Web2.0Expo is a wrap. And as I start to look back on the speakers, start-ups and attendees I met, it strikes me that, for all the great announcements, innovations and ideas, technology is taking back-stage. 

Do not get me wrong: technology was impressive all along, but the real focus was on using it to change the world. 

Changing corporations
The IBM survey of CMOs and Melissa Parrish from Forrester pointed out that corporations are not ready for these new social technologies. CMOs (and leaders at large, it would seem) are yet to develop their awareness of the changes that have taken place and understand what the new technological (and social) environment, and mainly social technologies and data imply for their corporation. And let me be specific : what it implies for their organization, for their value chains and for their strategies. 
That view, though, is only the higher, hierarchy-focused view. Because in listening to the speakers and practicioners, you get the notion that social technology is mainstream now as are the practices to adopt it and make the most of it. It was interesting to hear Peter Kim present what he calls social media mythbusters : 
  • Consumers in control ? No ! Consumers are not in control, you, as a company, set the stage for their experience of your company’s services, and you should take responsibility for it. This idea of responsibility kept coming back during the conference. I loved the way in which Siobhann Quinn closed her speach about the five Laws of Engagement: "with those laws come responsibility, do not cheat on us, try to make us better people, better consumers, better contributors".
  • Social Media as obvious ? No ! Social media is not straightforward, you do need a strategy and even an advanced social media architecture as Joshua Ross defended. Seen from my prospective as a practitioner, indeed there is such a thing as a social media architecture, and I would argue that each corporation needs to design its own , adapted social media architecture. Indeed, your social media architecture won’t reach its potential if you haven't developed you own internal Collaborative Way. And you should know that, in developing your collaborative way and then building your social media architecture, the focus should not be on conceiving a great system but on engaging your managers and your employees to iteratively build it with you. Or, in the way Phin Barnes elegantly puts it, you need to design your organization for design

Face your responsibility, develop your collaborative way and your social media architecture ... but also, of course, learn and keep learning about each platform inner workings. There were great presentations about Facebook from Michael Lazerow and Ruben Quinones, and about Google+ from Adria Richards. It was even more interesting to listen about other platforms such as YouTube or from Dina Kaplan and their potential impact on internal communications.

Last of these speakers about the impact of social technologies and evolving mindsets on the corporations, Christina Gagner gave an overview of where the regulation is going. Self-regulation was the key word, as regulators are still playing catch-up and not necessarely from the most adapted viewpoint. Europe, a regulatory leader, would have some lessons for America.

Summary about the corporations then: the technology, the strategy, the managerial practices that are needed by our corporations have already been developed. The race is on to adopt them, and, believe me, no one will talk about a mere nice to have new social media.

Changing the Economy & Society
Social technology is also making its way towards changing society. One of the showcased start-ups,, aims at helping Newyorkers learn to eat again ! So it’s technology, yes, but used to diminish waste, to save time, and to learn old and forgotten key social and family traditions like the family dinner. 

Great presentation also from Nora Abousteit about how technology can change fashion and community, but also, most interestingly, about how all the achievements in technology should bring us reconsider the educational power of making.

Shelley Bernstein talked about how technology helped her engage the Brooklyn Museum visitors, and, as a result, collectively transform their experience of the Museum.

It was Carlota Perez that helped us make sense of these social ventures. We are in the fifth industrial revolution (after the first one, the second with the steam engine, the third with heavy industry and the fourth with mass production) and we are entering the deployment phase of this information revolution. Today, "what's good for IT is good for the world, and what's good for the world is good for IT". A very interesting perspective on why leaders are lost as they look on the existing conditions with their common sense (read what Duncan Watts has to say about the myth of common sense) and a call to action for all those that, as the examples above show, having understood technology are out and using it to change the world.

Changing democracy ?
But my ah-ha moment came during the Start-up showcase, when the founders of ElectNext introduced me to their beta version. ElectNext later became one of the two choices of the Expo for most interesting start-ups. How these choices were made says a lot about the organizers own sense of responsibility. It was not about winners and loosers, it was about starting the most meaningful conversations. And their two choices were start-ups that are transformational to society and to democracy.
But let me come back to ElectNext: using basic social technology and business model (online dating) to improve the voting experience. When I think about it, is it not a great way to educate voters, that usually have no time to delve into how the candidates voted (and not only what they have to say) and most often rely on their common sense when participating to political choices ?

I have been arguing these past few years that social technologies were an opportunity for corporations to reinvent their social value, their role in society. Would you not say that mastering these three dimensions are key milestones on a roadmap to renewed leadership ?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What leadership programs will not achieve - thoughts about Steve Jobs

I was trying to put together a few ideas about the future of training and leadership in this connected world, when I learned about the death of Steve Jobs.  So I thought I would pay a tribute to someone that co-created and built a company I started understanding and admire only ten years ago.

Even though I started working with a Mac, I was really converted to using Apple products by Claude, one of my good friends and partners. Convincing me would take time as I was all about building Talent Club into a software company at that time, and managing costs (I thought) was key. So Claude did convince me on the "cost" side - yes, Apple products are really cheaper than you would know, but you need to understand some things like value in a different way. Following, he started a slow (maybe painful for him) process of giving me some insights into Apple ways. And his main lesson, that I have made mine in my consulting activity today was : "Well, if that's what you need, why don't you just do it ?". Apple products are built so that you can easily do everything that they promise - no more, no less.

There are two other things I remember about learning the Apple ways. First, the importance of being true to its own principles. If I understand correctly, most of the success of Apple today rests on it having built a community of developpers on this very foundation (software development principles in this case, but you could argue the same about design principles and industrial principles).

Second, the ability that Apple has (or Steve Jobs had) of inventing the product you could not even dream about but, deep inside, unconsciously, you were ready for. It is how I translate my experience each time I discover a new product or a new evolution : I would certainly not have thought about it, but I was actually waiting for it to push my own professional practice further. I have really had these experiences each time I change my Mac or upgrade OSX.

All will be said about Steve Jobs these days, by people who knew him, so I had better stop here. I would just add that the the impact of people like Steve Jobs would not be predicted nor made possible by any educational, leadership or management program. And that is a very humbling thought for someone who has tried understanding how improving individual and collective ways of working can help advance our corporations

I've had the intuition for a long way that leadership practices we so carefully develop are only a way for corporations to face the shortage of truly exceptional people.

At the high end of the ladder, it's all about believing in yourself (“You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that it’s the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me.”) and showing strong character (“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”) - quotes from Macstories

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Against Facebook SOS - the danger with analogies

The number of conversations around social operating systems has been increasing lately. Ben Elowitz even argues that Facebook has "boldly annexed the web" and become the central social operating (SOS) system of the social web (here).

I have written myself about social and corporate operating systems (here and here), and I am quite worried about what I see appearing. There are three reasons why I am worried:

  • To begin with, analogies are useful as explanation tools, but they carry with them an empoverishment of meaning. That implies responsibility from anyone using an analogy;
  • Secondly, considering Facebook (or any other social platform, for that matter) as a SOS demands that you ask some tough questions about resources, applications, hardware, users and, most importantly, ownership and meaning;
  • And finally, there is the corporate wave of social technology adoption. One of its impacts is the generalisation of "generally accepted social usages" (GASU) within corporate firewalls. A corporation may master these GASU without any need for deep reinvention. The corporate OS is just an OS, such as the SOS is just an SOS. It will certainly give corporations unheard of power. The question about meaning and intent again needs to be asked.
What can you do when given acces to a powerful OS ? So many wonderful things and the more powerful the OS, the more astounding your achievements. But there are no intrinsic ethics in achievement. And therefore the key issue is responsibility, both corporate and personal. In this post, I will concentrate on the social sphere and will write about corporate OS in a future post.

What does it mean for Facebook or any other to be a social OS ?

What does the OS provide its users with ?

  • Easy access to ressources - in this case, ressources are Facebook algorythms and our own personal data - welcome Timeline !
  • The possibility to build applications that accelerate the leverage of these ressources,
  • The potential to achieve the user's goals (personal or profesional) faster and deeper.

Now, who are the users ? Obviously, ourselves, anyone who has a Facebook account and plans to use it to make Facebook friends, share information with friends and family, keep track of relatives whereabouts, and engage in new social interactions. Keep in mind the potential of the system to develop new social interactions as an effect of developers creativity ...

There are other users : organizations, and today these are mainly marketing, media and PR companies as well as the members of Facebook business ecosystem.

Who is the owner of this system ? Facebook. What is Facebook ? A joint-stock, limited liability corporation. What is its goal ? To make a profit from serving its clients. Who are its clients ? Well, Facebook clients are the second category of users : Marketers. PR firms. New media ventures. Application developers.

These firms will pay Facebook for the right to use our data to better serve us. Us, the final beneficiaries of the whole system. This is just a business relationship, governed by the principles that have brought us where we are in terms of wealth, but also in terms of risks. And, given the sheer size of Facebook, and the amazing and growing speed with which the whole business ecosystem operates, it is key to loudly ask the tough question : where is the regulation that ensures that no entrepreneur turns to the dark side ? That no firm uses data patterns and intrusive technology to steer our consumption habits, play with ingrained fears or wants, in short, make a profit out of an unbalanced relationship ?

We are entering a whole new social dimension, and we come from a time when corporations (or the capitalist system, you might say) has been able to transform almost all human activities into economic activities. Lack of farsighted regulation has got us into financial trouble these days. I would argue this is nothing compared with the potential for trouble now building in front of us.

Facebook is a social utility, or at least it goes by that denomination. There are other utilities : transportation companies, water companies, ... They manage some of our key natural or urban ressources. Facebook manages part of what will become one of our key ressources in the future, the data and the knowledge that results from our interactions.

I do not question Facebook ethics nor its right to pursue its own corporate objectives. But i think it trades in a ressource which will prove key in building the future of our relationships, of the products and services we develop and consume, of the collective knowledge and intelligence we produce.

Its potential for profit being what it is, this is too important a business field to be left to the "invisible hand" to govern.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why firms should stop adopting social technologies

I was reading a piece of counterintuitive writing on the Forrester blog, when it struck me : corporations should really stop adopting social technologies or even embarking on a path towards E2.0. Wait, isn't this my job after all, helping my clients move in that direction ? In fact, it really isn't.

When I try to understand what's behind the groundswell of social technologies, three facts come to mind : deep IT & business education of entrepreneurs; availability of funding (and advice); existing web (or internet) ecosystem. Same three facts, by the way, that could help in describing Google culture (I know google culture is much more complex than just three facts ...).

I think that to reach the level of value creation existing in the social web (which is possible) corporations need to disrupt themselves. Why ? Because bringing deep IT and business education to all, making funding available for projects depending on executives flair (and not tired CAPEX measures) and opening up their intranet spaces to all, is disruptive. Because long IT projects (taking six months to choose a CSN !), existing ROI mindsets and static performance measures will not let a corporation really change.

As a leader, you should not adopt social technologies to change your corporation but think instead about why social technologies flourished in the web, in the first place. These technologies are helping unlock human potential in a way that has never been seen before. THAT is a real, worth fighting for goal for your corporation, and not, obviously, just making the number of conversations grow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Going Foursquare! Gamification of talent management

This is a post I first intended as a Hack for the Management Innovation eXchange

Origins of Talent Management ... stil valid ?

Talent Management Systems have been developed in classic, hierarchical organizations. They are most often based on heavy frameworks (competency framework, performance framework, key positions framework, ...) that have proved their value in slow-changing organizations (themselves buried in slow-changing environments).
These systems are great options to develop leaders and managers supposed to fill the shoes of their elders, and continue with the same type of leadership and management models. Such systems have been extremely efficient in industrial-age corporations such as General Electric, Danaher, Valeo, ...
These systems have two important shortcomings : they are selective and static. Simply put, they lead to choose between two leaders or managers and they certainly do not foster innovation (innovative skills, behaviours, gems - see this hack).
In an ever accelerating organizational evolution and a deeply socialized world (through social technologies), these systems represent a major hindrance for organization evolution. They often result in HR teams having to work "around the system". They also result in dissenters and alternative talents leaving the organization.
From practices to a "Talent Locator & Accelerator"

The talent locator and accelerator is built following three phases : analysis of existing social networks that have a proximity with the corporation; defintion of a dynamic system (the talent locator and accelerator); new system adoption driving 
HR teams should analyze the recognition & engagement systems in social networks, that are specific to each social network focus (professional, conversational, friending, ...). Such systems have been able, at the same time, to engage an ever increasing number of members while being able to make each individual stand out in regard of her/his particular abilities, friends, opinions, postings, ...
This analysis will help HR teams define new recognition systems in terms of :
  • What needs to be recognized (basis for engagement) : is it participation, contribution, belonging, raw talent, innovative talent, particular abilities, exceptional performance, ... ?
  • How to identify / measure the items that need to be recognized ? If, say, participation or contribution can be measured in terms of quantity and quality, measuring an innovative skill is almost impossible. In this particular case (and similar ones), HR teams will need to innovate themselves and devise new means for identifying particular abilities or innovative talent. For instance, a marketing expert that gets an unusual high number of "likes" (or its corporate equivalent) has probably a new idea or a particular ability. HR teams should be able to poll the "fans or followers" (or their corporate equivalent) of the marketing expert and identify the new talent or ability;
  • Who will be responsible for recognition : leaders & managers ? peers ? the whole organization through a specific social intellegence tool ? a given community members ? Working on measurement and responsibility for recognition is probably a huge opportunity for impact of HR on strategy development
  • When (if ever) is formal evaluation needed ?
  • What type of reward will be tied to a particular type of recognition : financial ? reputation ? influence ? professional development ? social engagement ?
  • How will recognition translate into the existing corporate social network ? Badges, recomendations, other symbols ?
Adoption of such a system should start where new social technologies and usage is high, but also in parts of the organization that are in dire need of innovation. Adoption of such a system is not a simple, unidirectional project. It is a continuous feed-back loop, in which new dimensions are added to the recognition system as new business, functions, geographies adopt the system.
In the end, recognition of talent, abilities, performance, participation, must become a solid part of the corporate culture and of individual activity

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beyond Talent Management - musings from SuccessConnect

I was in Amsterdam these past two days, invited by Pierre to witness the presentation of SuccessFactors. It was a pleasure to discuss with Pierre and French team, with Patchen and CubeTree team, and get some insights into the company's new developments and vision. I was impressed by the execution power the suite gives you and by the vision that was presented to me. But more than that, I could indulge into some day-dreaming about what comes next for talent-centered, innovative corporations ...

Executing from your Talent environment

First thing that caught my attention, you could start working, collaborating, executing, right from your "talent page". If I understand correctly, Cubettre and Jambok give the suite the possibility, first to connect and collaborate and then to accelerate content sharing and social learning. Of course, that's what many social collaboration software suites do ... But the starting point, here, is your own "talent" page (home page) the one that is linked to talent management processes. That makes a huge difference

Another key point to me was the very "toy-like experience" of the suite, and namely in its mobile version. 

I have been working in E2.0 projects these past few years, and quick adoption is key to reach the benefits of extended professional collaboration (innovation, labor productivity, process efficiency). As Patchen had it, if your collaboration environment is linked to your talent management suite, if the user experience is close to best practice (Apple, Facebook), you can achieve 100% adoption. Point taken. I have not seen 100% adoption so far, and sometimes threats to adoption come from HR teams focus on control. This might be an answer.

HCM suites have the potential to make talent management a strategic capability, way beyond it being a simple addition of professional practices. Adding social collaboration to this capability is a great move.

I wrote some years ago how we were moving to people-centered corporations. I also wrote that collaboration would bring talent management from execution to strategy ... That is the vision I understand Successfactors has

Strategy from the HR field ?

If I try to look into what adoption of similar HCM & social suites could bring, I would underline:
  • First, a great agility for Talent Management processes. Social collaboration has the potential to "break the process sequence" if necessary. That helps accelerating execution and saving "muda", as they say in lean manufacturing ...
  • In second place, if social collaboration is widely deployed, it will greatly help Talent Management culture deployment. This is when Talent Management can become a capability (when it is shared by at least every manager from top to front-line);
  • Then, HR professionnalisation is made easier from tools like Jambok or just from "folloving" the activities and social production of selected peers; of course, professionnalisation is not limited to the HR team;
  • Tying collaboration to people management will help its deployment, as said earlier. The key point here is that the collaboration culture can be driven from the HR perspective (behaviours, usage, values, ethics). This is a key point. Collaboration through social technologies has a great potential for improvement, and that is why it should be driven from the beginning by strong governance (and not control). You could choose tool governance, what some corporations are doing. The danger here is to end doing just that, governing tool deployment and forgetting about professional behaviours and values evolution; 
  • Finally, when you link collaboration to HR, it should be easier to identify professional behaviours that foster innovation. And that is key in the 21st century economics.
Beyond talent management

Let's dream for a moment. Imagine that corporations adopt integrated and distributed HCM suites, and that they are conveniently linked to a state-of-the-art collaboration environment (social technologies, mobility). What could we imagine for a such corporation ?
  • In the first place, and regarding talent management, you could go beyond "breaking the processes sequence". In fact, there is room to reinvent talent management practices and fundamentals by learning from new collaboration practices and behaviours. And reinventing talent management practices is key if you want your corporation to transform itself into an innovation-based corporations;
  • And that is just the beginning. Because, to take full advantage of the mass collaboration opportunity, management practices too, have to be reinvented (see what social value means). In my view, corporations need to move from managing execution to managing innovation, and that is a huge step;
I wrote some months ago, that you need depth to thrive in the new, accelerated, connected, real-time business environment. Making collaboration a key capability, and not only enabling it through tool development will make all the difference.

Maybe it's time for HR to take the lead

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In 2011, do not pay taxes (to Google)

I was reading a nice piece from TechCrunch, that got me started on what the key movements could be for a better economy in 2011. I have two main ideas :
First, it would be good if we stopped paying Google any more taxes. After all, the WWW is ready to die (or be born again), and there are "civilized" places that are already replacing it : FB and all other social networks, to start with.
It is as if we were going out of the Gold Rush era, when gold seekers would enrich peak and shovel vendors while going bust at the same time, and new, organized business (as Sears or the railway monopolies) would patiently build their trade.
Yes we need a new Google, because it's high time we got paying for value, not for Google sponsored links. And we really need Google, because I do not like the perspective of an internet totally dominated by social networks. Innovation happens at the fringes after all ...
Second idea, we need a vision. All this social technology is so powerful that it really needs the ideals that ignited the web at the very beginning to take hold of society. Of course, by society, I also mean business. Umair Haque has written it all in his "New Capitalist Manifesto"
For us E2.0 practicionners, it probably means moving from technology to strategy and then to meaning. Transformation. After more than five years working in this field, I've found out that nothing is more important to the succes of communities, of corporate social networks, of pedia environments and of any social technology initiative than trust and autonomy.
It's all about people, not taxes. I liked the "do not evil" stuff better