Is Twitter Innovative? @biz at #wif10

June 11, 2010

Social Networking was well represented at the World Innovation Forum including discussion of Web 2.0 from former Amazon Chief Scientist Andreas Weigend, technology venture capitalist Brian Shawn Cohen and Twitter co-founder @Biz Stone.  At events, I use Twitter for taking notes (I’ll quote a few in this post).

RT @stephenshapiro: Biz stone from twitter on the stage. Surreal tweeting about twitter. #wif10 < surreal? no, flashback to 2008/9

5:36 PM Jun 8th via TweetDeck  [I also wrote a few blog posts about Twitter in 2008/9, and here I am again writing about it]

How do we innovate?

There are many ways that companies can innovate including internal development, crowdsourcing, and through acquisition.  Twitter has done all of these.  Twitter started as a very simple tool – broadcasting 140-character messages sent via SMS (text) or web for the world to see.  One of the most innovative things that Twitter did was not limit how users used the tool.  Several features created by users, such as hashtags and retweets, were eventually adopted by Twitter and built into the system.

@Biz at #WIF10 People are basically good and if you give them a tool to do good they will

5:36 PM Jun 8th by @KenMcArthur

Twitter has acquired a number of large pieces of the partner ecosystem including search (Summize) and an iPhone application (Tweetie).  They have also followed/copied ideas from other companies such as Lists (as seen on TweetDeck and Seesmic) and location/geo (many tools such as FourSquare and Gowalla).  I have wondered if we can really call Twitter innovative since so much of the improvements have come from outside.  When you consider that Twitter is a very young company (3 years) with a small staff, I think it is innovative that they have used all means possible to grow at such a rapid pace.  The community may be a little disgruntled form time-to-time, but that is even happening with Facebook and Apple.

Twitter had early fame, @biz concerned they don’t become like a crazy famous child actor, want to be like Ron Howard instead #wif10

5:38 PM Jun 8th via TweetDeck

People get all wide-eyed when you hear of the millions of people using the service who are sending over 65 millions tweets a day.  Twitter allows for connection of people.  Case in point of translating online to in-person: click on the tab of “Blogger Photos” at the top of my blog page.  Another example – I posted this question online at the beginning of Biz’s interview.

#wif10 @biz says that the starting point for Twitter is SEARCH – agree, but we need better analytics & access to more data

5:32 PM Jun 8th via TweetDeck

When we reached the Q&A, I ran down and asked Biz the question about analytics in person and got the answer:

Stone: We will provide a metric dashboard for twitter soon.#WIF10

June 8, 2010 5:57:50 PM EDT by @daniel_krauss

The Star Wars reference for 2010! RT @stevetodd @stu is directly asking @biz about Twitters search deficiencies. Brave, young padawan #wif10

5:58 PM Jun 8th by @InnosightTeam

In typical Twitter fashion, friends in person and online were excited that Biz gave me props for my @stu name (which I learned thanks to a RT by Hutch Carpenter of a blog from Jesse Stay).

Twitter Trends

This was the second year that the World Innovation Forum had a Bloggers Hub and there was a significant difference in the Twitter experience.  Last year only about half of the bloggers attending were active Twitter users, yet the conference trended worldwide twice thanks to lots of interaction from people around the world watching the stream.  This year not only were all of the bloggers on Twitter, but there was a lot of other very good Twitter content from the paying audience (which had doubled to 900 people).  There were over 3500 Tweets sent (you can see them all & download them from Twapperkeeper), yet the conference did not even trend locally.  Did Twitter downtime affect this – it was flakier this year than last, did the overload from the new iPhone launch affect the stability for the whole week?  Maybe it was just a mixture of other news and people being very busy (hopefully, with the economy picking up).  Sports, entertainment and news may dominate the trending topics of Twitter, but it is without a doubt that there are a lot of innovative communication going through Twitter’s channel.

RT @frijolita: Open exchange of information *can* have a positive global impact says @biz #WIF10 < such as getting together for beer!

5:48 PM Jun 8th

Stuart Miniman

Twitter: @stu


Seth Godin: Creating Tribes to Drive Change

June 9, 2010

Seth Godin, a prolific marketing blogger and author, spoke to the World Innovation Forum about innovation.  Much of his material was from his two most recent books – Tribes and Lynchpin.

Innovation is stuff that’s impossible, because otherwise someone else would have done it

Tribes is about leading the groups that already exist.  Communities in the past were formed around politics, religion or sports, now they can be for anything that can get people passionate.  As people get emotionally engaged, they can overcome fear of change by charging to the new way with a group of like-minded people.

In the IT world, convergence, virtualization and cloud are innovative trends that have the potential for companies to fundamentally alter the way that they do business.  Like any new idea, there is inertia and resistance to making this change.  For a couple of years, there have been thought leaders (including bloggers) that have been trying to lead this revolution.  This top-down messaging was a good start to allow people to become familiar with technology.  We are now starting to see field organizations from vendors adjust their structure to support cross-disciplinary offerings.  The prime example of this are vSpecialists from the VCE coalition – where there are employees from VMware, Cisco and EMC who are cross-trained on the full storage, network and server virtualization stack.  Enterprise IT organizations will also need to adjust to realize the operational efficiencies of the new solutions.  Nick Lippis had reported that some customers are creating a Chief Data Center Officer (CDO) for merging various disciplines.  J Michel Metz (Cisco) recently put a proposal out for a new SLAM (Storage and Local Area Management) Administrator to help with the bottom-up adoption of convergence.

Are you comfortable with the state of things today, or are you willing to help lead change?  I’ll leave with with a couple more words of wisdom from Seth Godin:

If you’re working for a big company, start with small changes, such as writing a blog or changing a meeting and these can grow into larger innovations.  Ask yourself, am I doing what I should be to make a difference or should I give my chair to someone else.

Go make something happen!

Stuart Miniman


Michael Porter: Changing the Delivery of Value

June 8, 2010

Michael Porter kicked off the World Innovation Forum at the Nokia Theatre in NYC today.  He spoke on healthcare – a topic which affects everyone – you can see a portion of this content in a video that was posted from Davos 2010.  There are also plenty of lessons around strategy that can be applied broadly.

Porter believes that there is a fundamental issue with how the challenge of healthcare is framed.  Most people are concerned about the cost of healthcare (where there is a downward spiral of losing as everyone tries to shrink the bottom line) while the focus should be on increasing value for the patient.  He defined value as the patient health outcome per dollar spent.  We know in business that the worst competition is based on price and that it is better to focus on solving customer problems.

In general, it is not a technology issue, but the delivery of the value.  Porter said, “We are delivering 21st century medical technology with 19th century organizational, management and pricing models.”  He gave an example of the German healthcare system which is focused on specialization. Similar to large organizations, there are cylinders of excellence (silos) where there are specialties for everything and an abundance of paperwork and processes which limit the flow and speed of information and care.  The German system changed by creating integrated practice units which changed the focus to the patient and specific connected areas (cancer, migraines, etc).  In corporations, while not every company can be flattened or reorganized around solutions, there can at least be cross-functional collaboration that can break through the walls of the silos.

Another change that Porter advocates for the delivery model is that healthcare providers need to look beyond their own resources.  In the old way, hospitals would try and treat every patient for every ailment and surgery possible.  In the new way, providers that have specific expertise around a specific disease or surgery can move beyond their current geographic limitation to provide services through affiliations and partnerships.  An example that he gave was that a hospital that did one knee replacement a week was inefficient, wasteful or resources and likely to be lower quality than a hospital that does dozens of these surgeries a week; they should partner.  This is the same sort of innovation that we have seen in business where companies create synergies with partners to deliver more value at lower costs.  To take it a step further, while companies have come a long way to improve manufacturing processes and partnerships in sales, most are still not leveraging and sharing information as well as they do resources.  People are good at looking at Google and Wikipedia for basic information, but through communities and social media networks, companies and individuals can get real-time answers and insights.  I would challenge you that if you have a process or technology that you are struggling with, consider reaching out to whatever community that you are on – Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and see if someone has an answer or idea to help solve it.  I know that I’m a little biased on the power of communities, since I’m not only active on those social media sites, but working at a company allows the IT community to share and collaborate.

The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #wif10 and you can follow me @stu.

Stuart Miniman


Q&A from First Week on the New Job

June 4, 2010

The first week at Wikibon has flown by.  I’ve gotten a bunch of questions from people and thought I’d do a quick Q&A.

What does “Wikibon” mean? Very simply, Wikibon = wiki (quick from the Hawaiian wiki wiki) + bon (good) >> Quick & Good Information

What is the logo? The bee is associated with community.

What will you be doing? On the technology side, I will be doing research and being an analyst.  The area that I am going to focus on is the “the convergence of server, network and storage – INFRASTRUCTURE CUBED”.  I’ve written a couple of blog posts on the Wikibon site already, I will tag all of the posts on this topic with the infrastructure_3 tag which you can find here.  My first full post is FCoE related; I’ll be branching out to cover virtualization, infrastructure and lots of other topics.  You can also subscribe to the Wikibon blog.

As for the community/social media aspect, I also put my first entry on the wiki side – an idea on how to further engage and leverage the community to help create an “Executive Primer” on the various technologies that get discussed.  It’s a very broad community which I’m looking forward to getting to know more about and engage with.

Have you met with any EMC competitors yet? Yes, I had my first NDA meeting and it was with a competitor (one of the attendees was a former EMCer who I knew – no shock since there are lots of great people at EMC, and plenty of great people who have left EMC to work on other things).

How is the commute? I can get to the Wikibon HQ a few different ways depending on traffic. The morning ride for me is 10 miles further than the old one, but is the same time since it is highway instead of back roads with plenty of lights and school busses.  The ride home is a bit tricker.

Do you have time for lunch? The month of June is rather busy, but possibly yes.  Within a 1 minute drive from the office are Five Guys burgers, Chipotle, Panera, an Indian restaurant and many more.  The grocery store nearby has a good salad bar which I’ll be trying to use more than the other places and I’m going to need to hit the gym to make up for all of these indulgences.

What about the Blog Stu site? I expect to be very busy writing in a number of places.  My current plan is that the more technical (Infrastructure Cubed) posts will be on Wikibon while general social media and innovation related posts (such as what I’m doing next week at the World Innovation Forum) will go on this blog.  There will be times that I’ll syndicate content on both sites (I also post on SiliconANGLE).  My Twitter account and Google Reader/Buzz shared items will be a good central source for all of my content.

Thanks everyone who has been writing me notes of encouragement and for reading and following on the various sites.  I’d welcome any feedback or suggestions on how I flow content between the sites – let me know how I’m doing at balancing the “personal vs. career“.

Stuart Miniman

PS – Am I link too much?  Would you prefer references at the end rather than links embedded? See “Delinkification” from Nick Carr.