Category Archives: Uncategorized

Social Collation and Annotation of Learning Resources

I’ve posted over at the Whatever Company blog about the social collation and annotation of learning resources. I talk about how I’ve been using web 2.0 tools to prepare for teaching and packaging course content for learners. I even did a bit of wizardry in Keynote in an attempt to visualise what on earth I’m on about.  I also compare our own Knowledge Plaza (because that’s what I have been mainly using for the task this year) with Diigo and Delicious.  Click here or below for the full post. I’d love your comments.

I like Twitter…but…

…I find myself agreeing with this excerpt from .

Twitter is a Little Bit Distracting

One place where thousands of people have taken this to heart is the social network known as Twitter.  Twitter is a social media site where users can post short, 140 character messages known as tweets that their friends can receive notifications of.  Twitter allows users to follow individuals, and corporations in what often amounts to an overwhelming flood of interesting information.   No other social media site promotes the sheer amount of information enjoyment than twitter does.  People often become addicted to twitter, constantly refreshing looking for new blog posts to read, or tweeting to famous (or twitter-famous) people in the hope that will receive replies.  Twitter itself functions as a hotbed for random, mostly useless information which distracts and creates compulsive behavior in the human mind.

Many wannabe personal development, social media, and marketing gurus have taken to Twitter, proclaiming themselves “experts” in their chosen fields.  Tens of thousands of these people utilize auto-following bots, and spam techniques in a vain attempt to break through and become a guru themselves.  Because twitter is so easy to join and start posting information,  it has become a hotbed for people who have deluded themselves into believing they are experts.  They have literally taken the advice of bloggers like Chris Guillebeau to “do something positive with your own work.”  In some strange way, it seems many people view the most effective means of doing “something positive” as becoming a guru yourself. This only adds to the pleasurable, narcissistic noise that permeates social networks like Twitter.

My bookmarks for August 9th

These are my links for August 9th:

  • OmCollab – MIKE2.0, the open source methodology for Information Development – omCollab is a powerful, Enterprise 2.0 collaboration product completely built on open source software. It provides a web portal environment to create, share and search Microsoft Office content, files, shared bookmarks, blog posts and wiki articles across the enterprise.omCollab integrates some of the most powerful open source software applications into a single collaborative environment. It enables organisations to drive innovation, collaboration and community building.

    omCollab is a composite of a number of different products that provide a solution for collaboration. omCollab is used to provide the collaborative environment for MIKE2.0. – from Andreas

Are you still an Enterprise 2.0 Evangelist?

So what’s been keeping me from blogging lately?

It’s been a funny, yet exciting couple of months.  On the good side things, I have been really busy working on some very exciting projects.  One such project is managing the redevelopment of an Enterprise 2.0 start-up’s product interface.  They have a great product and great team, yet the existing interface just wasn’t cutting it in this 2.0 world.  The project has been challenging but great fun.  We are in week 7 of 10, after which I’ll do a post and screen cast on the entire project.  It will make a great case study and I’ll be proud to show off the new interface.  The company is

Another thing keeping me busy is the Web 2.0 University launch in the UK.  On the 30th September, Dion Hinchcliffe will bring the first ever Web 2.0 Executive Bootcamp to London.  I’m working with Dion on the logistics and promotion.  Full details are here:

What about the not so good things?  Well, as I took a short break in conference attendance and speaking, I increased my consumption of online information.  As a result I think I overdosed on Enterprise 2.0 topics, opinions and write ups.  I started to get just a bit tired of all the SharePoint BS (which it really is), over inflated egos and brash opinions from those on the sidelines.  I guess I suffered overexposure to the echo chamber.  As a result I decided to bury myself in implementation and business development.

I’m now emerging from the other side and will resume normal service.  I’m more passionate about Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 than ever.

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Understand and Embrace Web 2.0 for Marketing Success

The following is a recent article I submitted to a marketing publication.  Guess I may as well blog it!

Embracing Web 2.0 and social networks is becoming a key component to the success of many firms, especially those in the marketing industry.

Participation in social networks, blogging and online collaboration is no longer limited to the under 25’s, nor should it be limited to an outside of work activity. Firms need to embrace the desire and ability of their staff to use Web 2.0 tools and services and know how to facilitate and extract real business benefit from the activity.

From a marketing perspective, it’s about being where your market is, being part of your market and having visibility of conversations relating to your brand or products.

Yet where social networks such as Facebook are concerned, many employers block access and warn their staff against using such sites. An alternative would be to create a culture where using these Web 2.0 tools is permitted and encouraged in line with a Social Media strategy. Such a strategy would identify the benefits of using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed, and put in place a framework for responding to the opportunities presented. An example would be to implement an internal blog for employees to discuss the trends, contacts, conversations and opportunities they are seeing when participating in such sites. Managers can then act on any opportunities or threats.

The way brands interact with consumers is also changing. On sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we are seeing brands interact with consumers in a bid to improve loyalty and drive brand equity.

For a company looking to engage marketing professionals this kind of familiarisation of Web 2.0 is fast becoming part of the selection criteria. Marketing firms should be able to demonstrate their staff are keyed in to the most popular sites and services on the web and have a process for leveraging this involvement.

Any business wishing to learn more about Web 2.0 and the opportunities it presents can attend the Web 2.0 University on the 30th September in central London.

Web 2.0 Executive Bootcamp

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Reactions to SharePoint session at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference

Coverage of the SharePoint session at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference on Twitter:

MS guy: “Sharepoint is between major versions, so we can’t do all we want to out of the box”

WTF squared. that Microsoft guy just said its strategy for master data management was to integrate an acquisition into Sharepoint????

MS failing dismally at showing off Sharepoint collab tools. IBM totally ate their lunch.

Watching MS demonstrate SharePoint in an ‘out of the box’ manner…seems very slow and not as intuitive as Lotus Connections

Watching Sharepoint suck … LIVE! … Enterprise 1.1 FTW!

Sharepoint showing old fashioned activity feed: “Send me a portal link when the official HR info about a direct colleague is updated”

This Sharepoint walkthrough makes we want to weep for people in companies where IT are walking zombie-like towards the product. Really.

Ouch!  I think the problem is that Microsoft’s aggressive marketing at the Enterprise 2.0 / online collaboration market is up against some pretty slick solutions from other vendors.  It’s not that SharePoint is bad all round, but they’ve have been pitching it too high and wide.

Bootstrapping Online Collaboration with OneNote

Ben Gardner and team have been raising eyebrows at the global Pharmaceutical giant by combing two Microsoft products to create a neat collaboration tool. They are rolling out OneNote to their customers in conjunction with SharePoint to create…..OnePoint ! Yes, they thought of the name all by themselves.

We have combined OneNote 2007 with SharePoint 2007 to create an excellent team knowledge management tool, which we refer to as ‘OnePoint’. This implementation provides an intuitive user-friendly interface onto a SharePoint document library with automatically managed online/offline capability. In addition to this the ability to add hyperlinks, text and pictures alongside these document files adds significant value to a team – users doesn’t always have to open a document to find information.

Teams with OneNote installed are jointly accessing and working on notebooks and libraries stored in SharePoint, thus using SharePoint as a mini Amazon S3. Their data is in safe hands.

I hear from reliable sources that it’s going very well, with users requesting it across the company.

OnePoint is not only revolutionising team collaboration, but also reducing email traffic, eliminating information silos and being demanded by users of all technical ability!

Ben’s slides are on his post which detail the positioning of the product in the ‘heirachy of information’.

OnePoint: Revolutionising team collaboration

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Enterprise 2.0 & Blogs – First Mover Advantage

It’s something I’ve seen a few times now. If you’re the or one of the first people in your organisation to start an internal blog, you can leverage much more influence than if you’re late to the party.

I’ve seen people get the ear of the board, senior Vice Presidents, influence company policy, gain exciting projects and become promoted to official ‘2.0’ ambassador both within and outside of IT lines. How and why? They have been quick to leverage one of the most powerful communication channels emerging inside the firewall. They’ve also realised that getting in early, before it gets ‘noisy’ is key to success.

First a word of caution. If you really are the very first person to set-up an internal blog you are going to be subject to scrutiny, risk being shut down and might be disappointed if your efforts go nowhere. This is especially true in large bureaucratic organisations.

Now the good news. Being the very first (or one of just a few) puts you in an influential position. People will sit up and take notice. Here are some reasons you’ll attract attention:

  1. Senior management will want to know who you are and what you are saying. Are you a threat or an innovative individual who’s willing to share his thoughts in a public forum?
  2. The first blog is like a when a new kid starts school. People want to know who you are, what you are like and what you have to say. Whether they take to you after this is another matter and is up to you.
  3. It can feel like a new era has dawned on your company. This is especially true if the blog originates outside of a technical IT line. Such a simple thing as a blog can make people feel like the company is moving with the times both culturally and technically.
  4. You are doing something new that others wish they had the courage to do, so they’ll take notice and champion your efforts.
  5. You’ll be seen as a risk talker and innovator. In many companies this is a good thing.

So now you have this attention, what are you going to do with it? Well, I’d steer clear from being too hard-line about anything or controversial to begin with. Remember that by becoming the first blogger you have the unofficial job of setting a precedent, theme and image of blogging in general. If you start off ranting and raving about why the company is in a bad way, then you’ll just give blogs a bad name and represent yourself in a negative light.

Here are some way’s to get started:

  1. Speak on behalf of a interest group or project. This gives you a hook, subject matter and identity.
  2. Brand You. Brand yourself, give the blog and by association yourself an identifiable image. I mean logos, tag lines and aesthetics as well as your writing style.
  3. Be consistent. Get a post out on a regular basis.
  4. If supported, allow people to subscribe to your blog.
  5. Promote the blog in your email signature.

I’d suggest you start off by posting material with broad appeal. Whether it’s something like reporting on developments in a certain area/interest, or discussing an important project, this is your hook to gain readership.

So now you you’re up and running and have an audience how do you up your game and get some of that influence?

  1. Challenge the status quo. If there’s some stupid stuff going on or out of date practices in your company why not question them? Don’t come across as negative; instead offer to be part of the solution. Solicit ideas for how improvements might be made.
  2. Establish an unofficial interest group via the blog. This should be on something important to the company goals, industry or playing on trends on the outside, such as online collaboration.
  3. Be true to yourself. If you’re just playing the game and doing this just for a promotion then people will see through it and you’ll lose respect.
  4. Been seen to facilitate discussions and keep comments and content appropriate. By this I mean keep the language clean and be grown up with what you are saying and allowing others to say. If someone starts an inappropriate rant on your blog, then politely bring them back in line or filter the content. This will establish you and blogging in general as a mature communication medium.

I’m not saying any old Joe can achieve great things just by blogging. However if you really are great, and have great ideas and interesting things to say, then step up and get noticed.

These are just some of my ideas and observations over the last few years. Many factors are at play when it comes to elevating yourself to an influential position. Being first to set up a blog could be one way to gain advantage.


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Free Platinum Pass to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston

The kind people organising the Enterprise 2.0 conference have released one FULL PLATINUM PASS (worth $2,195.00) and one $100 OFF DISCOUNT (or a free Demo Pavilion pass- unlimited) code for me to give away.

I’m not attending the conference this year (boo hoo) as I just can’t free up the time at the moment. However, Simon Revell will be there speaking about the work we did at Pfizer and of course the Meet Charlie franchise. It looks like it will be even better than last year with more case studies and more analysis around exactly what is happening in the E2.0 world. Air fares and accommodation in Boston are quite reasonable at the moment so it’s a great time to go.

If you’d like either of the tickets (for you or a friend) please leave a comment answering the following question:

Q: What event am I organising with Dion Hinchcliffe on the 30th September in London?

The first person to answer correctly gets the FULL PLATINUM PASS, and the next gets the $100 OFF DISCOUNT.

Good Luck.

My bookmarks for May 19th

These are my links for May 19th:

  • Hershey Forms Social Network for Scientists – Simon continues to rock E2.0! In 2006, employees of global pharmaceutical company Pfizer began blogging, thanks to the work of Simon Revell, the company’s manager of Enterprise 2.0 technology development.
  • IT Pros Called Upon to Leverage Web 2.0 – Enterprise demand for IT professionals capable of working in the Web 2.0 world is growing as more and more firms call upon this technology to address problems facing their information systems. Go on be a business hero!

Enterprise Social Search – Belgian Style

Louvain La Neuve, 35 minutes south of Brussels hadn’t featured on my Enterprise 2.0 radar. However, nestled away on a brand new science park, a stone’s throw from the bustling university town is start-up Whatever, and their product Knowledge Plaza.

I spent two days at their San Francisco style offices meeting the team, looking at the product and evaluating their R&D pipeline.

Knowledge Plaza is a Web 2.0 knowledge management environment that mixes the power of a type tool with documents, workspaces, contacts, emails, tagging and some very innovative search and representation.

The team is a great combination of personalities including a star from the open source world, a serial entrepreneur, lots of young talent and……an ex CEO of Apple in Europe.

By the way, if you need reminding of who I am in the picture, then I’m the handsome one, front and center, wearing his iPhone on his belt even though he knows it is soooo wrong! 🙂

My bookmarks for May 12th

These are my links for May 12th:

Enterprise 2.0 Office Space

Earlier on today, I was at home looking in vain for the little usb cable for my new camera (Lumix TZ3).  I couldn’t find it so thought I must have left it in my office.   The trouble is I seem to be collecting office space at the moment and I’ve been at each of them in the last week.  I have my European (I guess it could be worldwide) head quarters 🙂 at the end of my garden (hand built by myself a few summers back).  I also have space at the University of Kent and Canterbury, kindly donated by a grateful client.  Add to the list a desk at my main client’s site, and of course my official business address in London which comes with an on demand hot desk.  Most of the professionals I work with on engagements are home based and as yet I’ve not had a client ask to visit my premises.  I wouldn’t know which one to choose anyway.

This got me thinking.  It’s really happening, the workplace of the future.  A few years ago I read an article about how businesses of the future would be more flexible in their approach to location and the space they occupied.  Their employees would work from home or hot desks near customers.  As a result their carbon and financial footprint would be greatly reduced.

I do kind of miss going to the same office every day, the banter with colleagues and the predictability of it all.  Flitting between locations based on need and mood has its advantages but is prone to leaving a trail of tiny usb cables and gadgets in various parts of Kent and London.

So where do you guys and girls work?  Are you based at home, a combination of places or do you go to the same office every day?

Bring that beat back

Just a quick note to say I’m still here! It was a busy end to 2007 and 2008 has started off just the same. I have a ton of stuff (that doesn’t fall under a NDA) to blog about so need to get some down time to get it out of my Moleskine and on here.

This week started off badly. I was supposed to be in Marbella, Spain launching a collaboration site to 100 + medical professionals who collaborate from all over the world. Unfortunately I didn’t make the flight as I needed to deal with a minor emergency at the last minute. I’m not sure what’s worse, letting people down or missing 3 days in the sun when it’s freezing at home.

I’m really excited about what this year holds. There are some exciting partnerships in the pipeline and I want to grow my personal ventures by getting more serious with the promotion and networking, as well as finding more of the right people to work with.

On an unrelated note, I was recently introduced to and a guy called Loren Feldman. You should check out his videos. He lays it down straight, says exactly what he is thinking and doesn’t pull his punches. Whilst some of the things he says are questionable (or offensive), I admire anyone who speaks their mind and has the ability to see through the sea of bull out there. He’s inspiring me to break out the cam again, although I won’t be adopting quite the same style (I do have a similar haircut).

Actually, I’m sure Loren is the guy corporations are afraid will emerge if they allow their staff to blog and produce media!


Ok I gave in, and opened a Spock account.  When I started receiving requests to joins people’s Spock network I honestly thought it was a hoax as the name sounds like a spoof networking site.  Today after another bunch of requests I finally clicked ‘accept’ and now have an account. 


I don’t know if I will maintain my Spock profile as I do like LinkedIn, but if my core network migrates away from there what am I to do?

Does anyone have any comments on why I should use one or the other?