What is the Opportunity in a New Concept?

Tel Aviv beach at night, summer bathers do not mind less "transparency"! / © 2008

New concepts and ideas come to us all the time. In blogging and new media they seem to come faster and faster. In the Internet domain today there are many new concepts. Some are even developed into sample sites. But not many make it to the “efficient” or “useful” stage. But the concepts that make it into something useful present and incredible opportunity. How do you decide what is worth trying and not miss an opportunity? The scary scenario is missing the real big opportunity. In the last few years, seeing how companies have used new concepts (and how others have not) it is easy to understand missed opportunities.

Adopting blogging is an opportunity to give a large company population a voice. In Microsoft (blogs), this has literally transformed the way development engineers communicate with Microsoft customers, specially developers (MSDN blogs.) While Microsoft management, older and more conservative was slow to adopt blogging, not so for the younger and more technical workers. In the case of Oracle (blogs), their blogs target not just technical but also executive customers by Oracle executives. Here is a real adoption all the way up the management chain of command. The same can be said about Cisco blogs. Both Oracle and Cisco sell to top level executives. In the case of Oracle there is more involvement on the IT operational ranks. Database Administrators (DBAS) who buy and recommend Oracle products are not always the ones with budget approval ability. But in these ranks is where the real decisions are made. It is also the place where discussions of use and capability are carried out.

Both Oracle and Cisco blogs cover top level topics such as corporate governance and government’s influence on a company. If you look at just these three companies you get a wide range of writers, readers and topics. This should be enough for most corporate executives to see blogging in a corporate context. Obviously these are examples which may not fit smaller companies. In the next few articles I will look at smaller technology and non-technology blogging sites. It is interesting how a company’s blogging work can influence how we think about the company and even it’s products. It is even more interesting to see how each company’s competitors can influence it’s policy toward blogging. For example, I can imagine what Microsoft development and server (OS / Windows) engineers think when Red Hat blog brings up a certain topic. Imagine a company 50 times smaller (MSFT US$250 Billion;   RDHT US$ 5 Billion) brings up a credible topic such as transparency which is a key issue in corporate governance. Red Hat is essentially a Linux support company, but the issues it deals with are crucial to many business areas.

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