Tag Archives: David Terrar

Holding back the tide

David Terrar recently argued that social media consultants should drop the “social business” moniker and start using “amplified business” instead. His reasoning was that the term “social business” has become too ingrained in people’s minds with “social enterprise” and not “social media”.

While I’m sure a lot of you will be thinking “Well, what’s the difference there, anyway?!”, here’s the comment I posted on David’s blog in response:

This is an important debate. The problem is, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in technology again. You say the common perception of “social business” doesn’t involve “micro-blogging, collaboration and social media monitoring”.

But, as I’m sure you constantly tell clients: micro-blogging and social media monitoring (as with any other aspect of the social media toolkit) are not ends in themselves, they are simply the means to an end.

And if the social media consultants’ version of social business is NOT about technology, but about people (as I think you agree), then we need to focus on what exactly it is that the people (our clients) are trying to achieve.

Okay, I agree it’s possible that a client may work for Mr.Evil Inc. In which case, his/ her goals will be along those lines familiar to any James Bond fan: world domination, unrestricted access to global resources and endless pots of money for Mr.Evil.

But, to give them their due, most modern organisations are at least trying to shake off this sort of image. If today’s businesses do not actually have a social conscience, philanthropic goals and ethical conduct, they are, at least, pretending to (some more convincingly than others).

Ironically, the number one tool for putting an ethical gloss on business is social media, but any company that’s become tarred by social media appreciates that its pretty much impossible to preach humane values without practicing them.

As I wrote on this blog a few months back, the wheel has come full circle. To my mind, social business (as social media consultants define it) and social business (as social entrepreneurs see it), are two sides of the same coin. They are both about putting people first. And ethical and environmental concerns are fundamental to any people-centric approach.

By the way, as King Cnut (or Canute) himself knew, it’s never easy to reverse a wave. As O’Reilly’s Josh Ross wrote a while back: railing against the popular lexicon is always a losing bet.

Having said all that, please keep me posted on the Amplified Enterprise meetup – I’d love to have a further rant!

Big thanks to James Yu for the photo.

Ooh look – an all-male panel at a tech conference!

The final session of day 2 of the Cloud Computing World Forum and these five have the fun task of drawing conclusions from it all.

They are (from left to right): David Terrar (chair), John Hall (Head of Strategy & Portfolio, Siemens), Simon Abrahams (Head of Product Marketing, Rackspace), Gowri Subramanian (CEO, Aspire Systems) and David Wilde (CIO, Westminster Council).

Things move in a very predictable manner. For example, when David asks if the IT dept should see the Cloud (which is, in this context, all about moving IT services off individual company servers and onto the ‘Net) as an opportunity or a threat, the managers answer as follows:

David Wilde: IT dept shouldn’t see themselves as gatekeepers but as enablers.

Gowri: if they see IT as a way of adding value to the business, then they need to position themselves more on the business side than the technology side.

Simon: you can only be an innovator if you don’t have to go through a baroque approval process. They need to see this as the future.

John: IT departments have a role and a responsibility to drive forward cloud computing.

These guys are managers, they think in business-like, strategic ways. I keep wishing for Roy or Moss from The IT Crowd to jump up from the audience and say they don’t give a toss about the Cloud, unless adoption of it will have a direct impact on their job, in which case they want to avoid “enabling it” as much as possible.

But sadly Roy or Moss don’t go to this sort of conference.

More’s the pity.

Show me the money!

Earlier this week at the Social Media World Forum, David Terrar was asking if any of us could name one company with a co-ordinated, coherent, holistic “social” approach to corporate communications.

Zappos? Cisco? Dell, maybe? A German bank that David mentioned… [NB: There are also examples like WL Gore – companies that are “social in essence”]

The problem came up again yesterday at the SOMESSO/ Headshift Social Business Summit: where are the fully-integrated case studies?

A central plank of 90:10, David Cushman’s new project, is investing in new, social, businesses. Such a great idea!

I wish 90:10 all the best. And I’d love to hear more about any other investors dedicated to backing social start-ups.

Lord knows, we need them.