Post #e2conf thoughts – installment 1.

by Gil Yehuda on June 26, 2009

in Enterprise 2.0

I have a ton of notes to share about the Enterprise 2.0 conference.  So I’ll break them down into multiple posts, each addressing a different aspect of the experience.

First a few words of gratitude.  The conference was really well crafted and managed.  Despite they typical annoyances that come up, (so many sessions to choose from, etc.)  the overall experience was totally high-end.  And the best part is that we never saw anyone sweat.  I’m sure that took lots of hard work behind the scenes.

One impression that I took away from the conference is that the community of attendees are quite informed.  I did not hear many newbie questions — in fact, I noticed that people in attendance were quite informed about the challenges and concepts.  This meant that speakers were not “teaching” per se, but helping level-set, share, and facilitate the conversation.  Many sessions were led by thought leaders — but had other thought leaders in the audience.  Let me tell you — that’s cool!  There were high quality conversations in the rooms and hallways everywhere.

This transltated to three initial findings for me:

  1. I was right on the money when I wrote about the long neck syndrome.  We continue to gel as an industry and understand each other.  That’s good, sort of.  The problem is that we now have to address the rest of the workplace.  We need to continue to focus on translating what we know into something that we can convey to others – using their terms and with respect to their motivators.  If we only gel together, we’ll create a tribal language that no one else will be able to understand.
  2. We get frustrated when we hear “motherhood and apple-pie” lessons about E2.0.  I would have screamed had I heard one more speaker or seen one more tweet telling me “it’s not about the tools, you know.  It’s about culture.”  Yes, we heard.  We agree.  But we are past this.  Let’s now talk about the nature of effective culture change.  Let’s get some Org-behaviorists in the community to help us.  Not just the ones who just tell us “it’s about the culture” — but the geeky ones with real data, real insight, and specific advice we can take to understand what culture change really means.
  3. We need to further clarify what we mean when we say Enterprise 2.0.  It started to get pretty slippery at times.  I heard about many Web 2.0 concepts.  But fewer Enterprise perspectives.  Yes, they were there.  And indeed those were the highlights of the show.  But I’m not going out there and telling businesses that they should allow intranet access to Facebook and YouTube in order to make their workers more productive.  Really now.  We’re inspired by Web 2.0, but we have to bring it to the work context.

These are all closely related.  We as a marketplace of vendors, analysts, consultants, clients, educators, and implementers (etc.) understand that the Internet has changed from the way it was used 10 years ago.  Some of us remember that the Internet was social and communal 20 years ago.  It got commercial 10 years ago.  It’s now much better in terms of being social and communal again.  It’s also a much more productive platform where we can build and find functionality – and use it easily.  It has a much greater demographic reach.  It has a growing presence on mobile devices too.  These inspire changes in thinking, and that creates business opportunities.  And we found that those companies who begin to leverage these business opportunities find success – and more interestingly, they transform parts of their own behaviors and business patterns in the process.

Let me share one example of what I mean.  One of the better keynote addresses was the first one: Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief Technology Officer & Founding Partner of Blue State Digital who spoke about the lessons we can learn from the Obama campaign.  Politics aside, the use of the social computing in this campaign was impressive and revolutionary to the political process.  But the reason he was there was to tell this audience about the lessons they should learn and figure out how to apply them to their environments.   E2.0 buyers are not raising money in their business by auctioning the artwork that their customers create out of their CEO’s photographs.  Rather, we are looking to connect people, emotions, content, and work in effective, transparent, but well-managed environments.  I would have loved to hear more about the tension between the grass-roots campaigners and the professionals.  How did the professional campaign strategists and staff deal with the loss of control when they saw regular people creating their own campaign messages?  Did the find ways to regain control?  In other words — tell us about the “culture change” process that the Obama campaign had to accept internally as it shifted into a new strategy — one that changes the landscape of politics.  How did Blue State Digital get in and sell a new vision? You know what I’m looking for here.  The stuff that E2.0 folks can take home and use at work.

So that’s installment 1 of my post-conference thoughts.  Next week I’ll talk about vendors.  Who was there to talk, who was there to listen, and which I think have something worth looking at more closely.

{ 8 trackbacks }

Twitted by gyehuda
June 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm
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Will Enterprise 2.0 change corporate culture or reinvent the silos? | The Knowledge Worker Desktop.
June 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm
Summary of Some Summaries of Enterprise 2.0 Conference | ★ Technology News | Tech Crown
July 3, 2009 at 1:42 am
Entreprise 2.0: ouf… Le bilan de santé est positif!
July 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm
Enterprise 2.0: Culture Is as Culture Does « I’m Not Actually a Geek
July 10, 2009 at 8:02 am
Reflecting that rewarding is essential in important Conversations To Have To Bridge The Enterprise 2.0 Cultural Gap (tnx Barry Camson( « Fredzimny’s CCCCC Blog
July 10, 2009 at 11:59 am
Lionel Tardy blog » Blog Archive » ENTERPRISE 2.0, résumé des comptes-rendus de la conférence E2.0 de Boston
September 25, 2009 at 10:10 am

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ari Herzog July 2, 2009 at 3:54 am

Looking at @gyehuda’s #e2conf wrapup – – and reminding myself to write my own summary.


2 Jacqueline Prescott June 30, 2009 at 3:59 am

Thanks for your insights. Speaking as an organizational culture geek, I’m excited to hear the interest building for the “softer” side of 2.0.

I’ve posted a few thoughts on adoption / culture on frank’s blog. ( The post includes a few aspects of culture to examine in order to maximize 2.0 culture fit. A few examples include shared values; sponsorship; common language; pace of change / change tolerance; internal competition; organziation hierarchy; personal “safety” and leadership ear size.

Would love to hear from anyone interested in further culture conversation!


3 Brian Magierski June 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Post #e2conf thoughts – installment 1.


4 Gil Yehuda June 28, 2009 at 10:17 am

Thanks. I will reach out to you and let’s talk.


5 Courtney Hunt June 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hi Gil.

I have been reading your blog for the past several weeks and have regularly posted links to it on the Social Media in HR (SMinHR) LinkedIn group I have created, as well as my SMinHR Twitter account.

I’d love to talk to you about the point you made in finding #2. I have a PhD and tons of experience in Organizational Behavior, and I am establishing a consultancy to do exactly the kind of translation/intermediation work you refer to. Please feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn if you’re interested in talking further about the possibilities.

Thanks. Keep up the good work.



6 Gil Yehuda June 28, 2009 at 12:43 am

Blog post #e20 Post #e2conf thoughts – installment 1. – I have a ton of notes to share about the Enterprise 2.0 con…


7 Gil Yehuda June 27, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Anne (@drmcewan)
Thanks. I’m going to take you up on your offer. Let’s take E2.0 to the next level of maturity. Get ready for a fun ride. I’m looking forward to speaking to you!


8 Jenny Ambrozek June 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

@gyehuda Great post Agree re “twitter-like”, but not twitter”. My conference take fyi


9 Jenny Ambrozek June 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

@gyehuda Great post Agree re "twitter-like", but not twitter". My conference take fyi


10 Bertrand Duperrin June 27, 2009 at 11:08 am

Reading: Post #e2conf thoughts – installment 1.


11 Hutch Carpenter June 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

Good post Gil. I like your critique of endless motherhood and apple pie advice. Just saying it’s “about culture” isn’t enough to move the needle.


12 Anne Marie McEwan June 27, 2009 at 3:41 am

RT @ITSinsider: RT@gyehuda: #e2conf thoughts ” Let’s get some Org-behaviorists to help us.” I’m ready when you are :-))


13 Anne Marie McEwan June 27, 2009 at 3:41 am

RT @ITSinsider: RT@gyehuda: #e2conf thoughts " Let’s get some Org-behaviorists to help us." I’m ready when you are :-))


14 Claire Flanagan June 27, 2009 at 2:13 am

@gyehuda: Don’t forget to mention that Mars candy and famous drug co came without samples #e2conf


15 Susan Scrupski June 27, 2009 at 12:16 am

RT@gyehuda: New blog post: installment 1 of my post #e2conf thoughts [the hits keep on comin']


16 Mike Gilronan June 26, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Hi Gil-
Nice summary. I look forward to the rest of your dispatches. Ironic that we both chose the bluestatedigital keynote for our first blog post subject.

I agree that there’s definitely a growing body of applied knowledge here, and E2.0 is one of the “flatter” conferences I’ve attended, where the knowledge of the audience is as valuable as (or moreso) that that of those on the dais. Of course, this might be skewed by the fact that E2.o users are more likely to broadcast their knowledge than others…perhaps those org-behaviorists can opine on that as well…


17 susan scrupski June 26, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Hi Gil. This is great (of course). I’m happy to see you use the word, “emotion,” in this post. Somewhere along the way as we get fixated/frustrated about the lack of real business value (read: analytics/metrics), we lose sight of the fact that the socialweb is humanizing us in a profound way. We are left brain AND right brain beings with feelings. This is the most difficult terrain, imho, that we have to get right in order to achieve success in the enterprise: the delicate balance of the leveraging the “whole human” asset.

p.s. so great to have your contributions this year, dude. group hug. :-)


18 Mark Sylvester June 27, 2009 at 12:13 am

RT @gyehuda: New blog post: installment 1 of my post #e2conf thoughts (just in time — see you all tomorrow night).


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