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Barking At Shadows

ZeenaI must confess, my youngest son is responsible for the title of this blog post. We were sitting at the dinner table this nite and we were talking about our neighbours dog, deaf but not blind…soon though. Our dog (Zeena pictured on the left) on the other hand, has bionic hearing, she can hear the paper being dropped at the front door from anywhere in the house. She races to the door barking madly, when I open the door, nothing…. all she sees is her shadow. I said, this is just like social networks, and my son said, ya…you’re barking at shadows like those followers are real people. He said something there that inspired me to write this random thought process.

Also, this constant running and barking caused me to reflect on conversations on Twitter & FaceBook lately, in regards to LIKES, FANS & FOLLOWERS. I will call these three things shadows, shadows are very misleading, hard to determine, to see where they come from even, but mostly, we are lead to believe they are something far bigger than they really are.

We tend to put far too much stock in the number of followers, fans and likes. We even attach a value to these indicators, wrongly I might add, but we do it to justify our time getting them. So we can have a case for our actions. Don’t get me wrong, they are important, in that they tell you one thing for certain, someone came knocking at your businesses door. Those numbers don’t tell you much more than that, ideally we would like to believe there’s more data to be had when someone decides to follow you, be a fan, or when the like button is pushed. I would like to believe there was actually a plan in place when this data collecting started, but I’m skeptical.

If you didn’t have a plan, a strategy, or a desire outcome well thought-out before you put your business online, then your numbers merely mean you had a visitor. You might call them potential buyers, but nothing has been bought just yet, not until you can turn that fan, that like, or that follower into something more tangible. There is a very real way to this in Social Networks, but I’m not the one who will teach you this day, another far brighter than I will do it. Stay tuned, and I will reveal him to you in tomorrows post.

So, these numbers you are so proud of are no different than the shadows my dog finds, your bragging and pumping yourself up because you have large numbers is a false sense of security, you are hanging your businesses future on the number of likes, fans and followers, don’t do this, you’re just barking at shadows.

 

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The Future Of Business – Social Is A Feature Not A Platform

There is a technology cycle working in the background while the rest of the world is distracted with and by Social Media. I have shared with you in the past that Social Media is not the future of business, at best it will be a feature, not a platform. If you study technology at a deep level you’re probably unaware of the tide changing or shifting might be a better word. Something much bigger than Social Media is brewing and you should pay attention, because the tidal wave of change will knock you over and sweep you out of it’s way.

The social component is merely the doorway to engagement, but we are headed for a much deeper kind of engagement. It might surprise you when I say that Microsoft Windows is dying, Google may loose it’s stranglehold on search in the next few years.

Windows is suffering, it has gone from 96% to less than 50% market share, and soon will be 30%, this means the Desktop era has passed us by. The reason, SmartPhones. These devices have all but made us forget about Windows Operating Systems for the most part, don’t be surprised to learn that Windows 8 (Due out in 2012) might be the last big push for a Desktop Platform by Microsoft.

Index search has peaked, Google, like Microsoft, have many other ways to be a player in the new technology cycle, but not doing what they are doing today. Not with Index Search, and not with the desktop, the mobile marketplace is doing both of these things better and seamlessly, they’re not separate things you have to do anymore.

The big craze today and in the next few years will reshape the Internet, Apps, HTML 5 and Tablets, they have already set the pace for a new frontier. But if we must talk social, let me share this, if you are an investor or a developer, and a business owner, consider building on top of FaceBook, no one can catch up with them, no one. The same can be said of Apple’s iPad, and Apple’s financial structure, no one can catchup with them, they are the current leader with FaceBook. FaceBook IS the new Windows!

Social Media is not the future of business, it’s a side show, Roger McNamee is quoted as saying about Social Media, “This is not the mania you are looking for”.

The future of business is mobile and social, FaceBook is the new windows, HTML 5 allows all of us to participate, Apps and Tablets are the tools we will use to move products and services. Most of what we manually do today will be fully automated, like search, it’s just a matter of time. The real issue, how does your business leverage this new technology cycle, I think the first step is to open your mind to new better ways of being in business, the world has yet to arrive in the digital realm, are you ready?

Being Social alone is not enough to participate in the Future Of Business.

 

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The Future Of Business – Turn Your Business Into A Platform

This idea of platforms has been talked about for years now, new start-ups are popping up everywhere, many are trying to convert and become a useful platform. Why a platform? The business of the future needs to become a destination and useful, a place where people can come together and do something useful. People always return to things and places that are useful to them.

The best example of a platform to date is Google, they provide an environment where you can run your entire business. That in itself is very useful. Crisis mappers wasted no time responding: In under 2.5 hours Google launched its person finder application, which was also used when New Zealand’s 6.3 quake. A platform can be built upon and used, think of all the things you can do at Google, problems you can solve, and dare I say it, the time you can save. Today you can view your street via Google Maps, you can get images, videos, news, books, you can use Gmail for your primary email service, you can use Blogger to put your content on the NET, you can translate the language of a site. Google provides all these tools at no charge to you, an open & free business model to the extreme, it’s what the cloud is meant to be.

If you have a platform, you will need developers and other entrepreneurs to build on it, creating more functionality which brings more users. FaceBook did that. Networks are built upon platforms, the Internet is a platform, services like Flickr, WordPress, PayPal, self-publishing company LuLu.com, and business software Salesforce.com.

Google as I mentioned above is not just one platform but multiple platforms, multiple ways of using Google, multiple ways to build upon what Google has built and provides to you for free. What is a platform, platforms help users create products, businesses, communities, and networks of thier own. If it’s open and collaborative, those users may add value to platforms.

Questions to ask yourself: How can you or your business act as a platform? What can others build on top of it? How can you add value? How little value can you extract? How big can the network grow atop your platform? How can the platform get better learning from it’s users? How can you create an open standard so competitors will use and even contribute to the network and you get a share of thier value? It’s time to make your business a platform. It’s time to make your business mobile.

As you can see by the list of questions there is much to consider, pull together a team to begin the process of building you platform. If you are looking for help in creating ideas to adopt the future of business, stay here, I will be continually be posting concepts and ideas for you to build upon, or, just e-mail me.

What If Your FaceBook Profile Was a Book?

I was surfing about and came across this great video on Cristian D. Cano’s marketing blog, I just had post this video here on my blog, well, because I had to have it in my database : )

Having said that, Gary Vaynerchuk once said, everything we put on the Internet becomes our legacy, and that’s exactly what the question implies. If everything you put out there was turned into a book, would it be a best seller and how would people view you, not to mention, grand kids and so on.

Food for thought, but what would your FaceBook book be like?