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December 16, 2005


olivier blanchard

As a company, you have three choices:

1) Become a facilitator (or hub)
2) Do it better than everyone else (which could mean faster or with more style, depending on the need)
3) Do it differently from everyone else. (Which could incorporate #2.)

Tim Rogers

Couldn't agree more ... I'm in the "library business" and I'd like to see us focus on being the binding tissue that enables peer-to-peer sharing and indexing (there’s an ‘ole timey word) of locally relevant content ... what if ... instead of focusing our efforts on creating new library-specific tools, we focus on getting people to contribute ideas, questions, things that inspire others, and activities that result in community engagement. Training and encouraging folks to share content for the betterment of communities using existing (and relatively mature – it’s all relative!) technologies seems to me a great fit for our skills and positions in the community.

If we do that, we become the library for the next generation ... active ... involved ... distributed ... and conversant in the whats, whys, and hows of the whole information-to-knowledge-to-engagement thing

Tim Whelan

Jennifer, as usual another thought tugging post. I have a tendancy to agree with you here. The big exception however is in online content where free information seems to be a big draw for most web businesses. Few deliver with content of any value however, and in strategic terms miss the boat and long term success as always seems to elude them.Comunnity is something that has developed over the years in different places with success. The field of education is probably the largest and most active community from pre-school to the Halowed Ivy Covered Walls. Although not new to business the idea of co-operative interchange within departments, or even partnered busnesses, is taking form in a more proactive context as they move toward customer experience mnagement. Since corporate cultures are inherently resistant to cultural changes, even marketing, this will be somewhat slow. There is deffinately a fall over affect from the internet mentality into the product divulgent consumer comunity and if the marketers would align on this perhaps an additional push with a little pre-education the concept of cheaper lasting as long or the more expensive the item or service the better the return mentality will disapear. I doubt if it will go entirely away, but certainly enough to allow for new segmentations.


Thanks for bringing up the Yahoo comments about search evolution. I was thinking about the topic lately and yahoo view would be a useful input.

On community intelligence and where it's heading, probably you already read Nick Carr "The amorality of Web 2.0" article. A different point of view and inspiring, even if you don't agree with it.

Will Swetnam

I guess I understand your point about how a community can threaten the business plan of a company looking for revenue in support or for content driven product (you mention Wikipedia vs. EB), but does this really threaten companies that supply software itself? Until there are firmer standards on code sharing, integration of those code components together, and large number of folks willing to supply their time and effort to creating a product for free rather than having free time (or a paying job), I think that Microsoft executives and stockholders can rest easy at night.

The other question, as I see it, is one of perception... there is a deeply entrenched perception in business (and in some sense the general public) that cost must equal substance. A company I've worked for, while supplying a great product, was constantly losing jobs to companies that provided inferior product at a higher cost. The feedback that we received, by following up with these potential clients, was that since the cost was lower in our bids that the there wasn't going to be as significant substance to the product we delivered. When we raised our prices, our workload increased.

In the consumer arena, I know numerous folks (not just the folks who think that “trendy” expensive labels or brands equal a billboard for their success) that the cheapest HDTV, or whatever new product they are looking for, will be as long lasting or functional as a higher priced product.

Until these biases are overcome, I feel that businesses that put forth a solid product for a fee in a market that may have some no cost (or very low cost) options, will still succeed.

Who knows, perhaps it will just take time for folks to realize there could really be such a thing as a "free lunch".

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