Archive for the ‘collaboration’ Category

Wherever you turn on the web these days you’re constantly hearing about the next social web 2.0 site. Whether it’s twitter, Facebook, or MySpace or the next big site or technology destined to conquer the web, everyone is after the hearts and minds of the individual trying to build the largest social network. What I’m wondering is why someone hasn’t started the MySpace or Facebook equivalent for local businesses.

Despite all of the improvements to the latest search engines, it is still very difficult to receive great results for the local companies you would normally use the phone book to find. The only way Google, Yahoo, etc. can return these results is if these business have a web site which many of them still don’t.

To solve this problem, I’m proposing a simple low cost (or free) alternative to creating a web site and that would be to create a site similar to MySpace for local business. This Local Business site would focus on what local businesses need to promote themselves; address information and maps, contact information, and coupons. It would allow ratings for services, blogging by business owners, and event information. Most importantly it would allow businesses to connect and partner with one another similar to how people connect on Facebook or Linkedin. Think about this for second. How powerful would such a feature be?

Here’s one example, I recently purchased a new gas fireplace insert. The company I purchased the fireplace from also recommend two different plumbers and a mason that I could call for estimates. Recommendations like this can be priceless to local businesses and simplify my search. This information could be readily available on the Local Business site. What if I needed a plumber and didn’t know where to look. If I go to the phone book, I just start calling people based on their ad or their business name. Wouldn’t it be better if you could look up a plumber on the Local Business site and see what other local business have partnered with them?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The potential for such a site would be enormous especially when you factor in advertising, perhaps a Google Adwords type system built into the site. Certainly, like all social software, it’s only as good as the people (or in this case businesses) that join but I think the advantages of joining such a network would be huge for many businesses. It would also save me, and probably thousands of others, from wasting their time randomly choosing people from a phone book.

Now I just need a team, a business plan, and some funding 😉

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Here’s a post worth reading on wikis over at the Socialtext blog. Just like we’ve evolved proper email etiquette over time, so will proper wiki etiquette need to evolve as well. This will be dictated by the culture of the company and will involve a feeling out process before standard practices and habits become the norm.

Many are familiar with the Wikipedia etiquette where everyone contributes to a single document on a particular topic. In the work place, employees will be able to contribute but the way in which the editing is done will vary from a Wikipedia style to more of ownership mode where one person owns the wiki and others make suggestions on updates to that wiki by posting drafts that don’t alter the main page.

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I like this excerpt from Shiv Singh’s The Workplace Blog regarding Information Week’s recent Enterprise 2.0 article.

Companies say collaboration and information sharing is important and as we saw in the 1980s and 1990s have been willing to invest a lot of money in it. But the article does not discuss why specifically it is important and why employees will be motivated to collaborate. In my experience, the unfortunate reality in most organizations is that employees don’t believe the benefit that much when they go out of their way to collaborate and communicate. Organizations need to make the case for collaboration more strongly before implementing any technology.

This is an excellent point. Today, business collaboration is done in one hour blocks in a meeting room with 1 person typing on a laptop or by passing a document between a couple of people through. Both could be considered collaboration but both are limited by time and tools.

Unfortunately, this is the business model supported by most companies and used by most employees. This is where Enterprise 2.0 comes in. To have real collaboration and information sharing, every employee should have the tools to view a working document and edit it from any where in the world while also seeing other employee edits in real-time. No longer would different versions of documents be floating around in people’s email boxes. A small team or company with thousands of employees could all see one document, talk about it, and it edit it all at the same time. No more emailing a document to the team and having each person on the team make their changes and pass it back to the team leader who then has to figure which edits to keep and which to get rid of. With Enterprise 2.0 real collaboration starts with everyone working together in a single space that isn’t governed by time and place. However this shift in thinking and process requires

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If you haven’t checked out the book yet, then you need to check out the wiki! There’s a lot of great information on mass collaboration and how it will impact business that makes this book/wiki a must read.

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