I Made It To Dubai

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(Click on the globe to learn more)

Yes, I’m in Dubai but, alas, only virtually.  As noted earlier, we’ve been doing some groundbreaking work with the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) and the SAE Institute in helping them use social media tools and word-of-mouth techniques to let the world know about the new certification they’ve launched for aviation mechanics.

As part of the rollout of the exam, Cerado created an easily-sharable online quiz that gives a flavor of what’s involved in certification. Here’s what Sarah has to say about the Global Challenge quiz:

"This is a free 10-question quiz based on the PAMA/SAE
Institute Professional Certification exam that will test your
knowledge and get you thinking about your career. It’s also fun! (And
you may want to share it with your colleagues.)"

So, give it a shot.  Will you get stranded?  Or can you ensure your 747 makes it around the world?

Future of Talent

Seth Godin has a strong piece up today on the mindset shift taking place in the "human resources" functions of large organizations.  Seth:

"Like it or not, in most organizations HR has grown up with a
forms/clerical/factory focus. Which was fine, I guess, unless your goal
was to do something amazing, something that had nothing to do with a
factory, something that required amazing programmers, remarkable
marketers or insanely talented strategy people.

So, here’s my small suggestion, one that will make some uncomfortable.

Change the department name to Talent."

This change is already taking place.  For example, this past fall the Future of Talent conference raised key issues in the areas of how social networking is affecting organizations and the talent within.

Go The Distance

Last week Dan Greenfield and I chatted by phone about the question "does ‘if you build it, they will come’ work for social networks?"  (I say no.)  Dan’s post is up today and is worth a read.  Here’s an excerpt, read the whole thing here.  Dan:

"In one of my favorite movies, “Field of Dreams,” the main character Ray Kinsella struggles with the idea of building a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa. Questioning his sanity, he does so with the assurances from a voice that tells him: “If you build it, they will come.” In the end, he is amply rewarded.

Today’s corporate communications professionals probably don’t worry about baseball fields, but when faced with the idea of launching a social network they should not be faulted if they ask themselves the same question: “If we build it, will they come?”

As more companies launch forums, build social networks, or create FaceBook or MySpace pages, there is pressure to follow suit. And that’s not an easy task. Social networks force corporate communications professionals to face a legion of concerns, none more pressing than achieving critical mass. The blogosphere is rather unforgiving, and an irrelevant social network can be worse than no network at all.

In launching a social network, it is tempting to create a FaceBook page and declare mission accomplished. Yes you can check off that item on your social media to do list. But having friends on your company page rarely taps a user base looking for a meaningful forum to engage with your brand or company.

That is why I called some social network companies KickApps, GoingOn, CollectiveX, Broadband Mechanics, Snapp Networks, Haystack, and ONEsite. They provide tools to help companies build and brand their own unique social networks. Mark Hendrickson’s Techcrunch piece based on initial research by Jeremiah Owyang was very helpful in identifying these companies."

Link

Free-conomics

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I have a feeling that Kevin Kelly is about to rock my world again.

The first time was about 1995.  A co-worker of mine handed me a book and told me that I had to read it, immediately.  That book was Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control, and that book singlehandedly fueled my interest in how complexity and emergent behavior can arise spontaneously out of seemingly trivial interactions.  It also stood on my yearly "re-read" list for almost a decade.

He’s now working on a new book, and putting his nascent thoughts up at the Technium (backstory here).

A recent post, Better Than Free, explores eight different sources of value for the business models that may (will?) underpin the cases where a "product" can be super-distributed (and in some cases, created) for free.  Kelly posits the valuable things in a free-conomic world are:

"Immediacy – Sooner or later you can
find a free copy of whatever you want, but getting a copy delivered to
your inbox the moment it is released — or even better, produced — by
its creators is a generative asset.

Personalization — A generic version of a concert
recording may be free, but if you want a copy that has been tweaked to
sound perfect in your particular living room — as if it were performed
in your room — you may be willing to pay a lot.

Interpretation — As the old joke goes: software,
free. The manual, $10,000.

Authenticity — You might be able to grab a key
software application for free, but even if you don’t need a manual, you
might like to be sure it is bug free, reliable, and warranted. You’ll
pay for authenticity.

Accessibility – Ownership often sucks. You have to
keep your things tidy, up-to-date, and in the case of digital material,
backed up. And in this mobile world, you have to carry it along with
you. Many people, me included, will be happy to have others tend our
"possessions" by subscribing to them.

Embodiment — At its core the digital copy is without
a body. The music is
free; the bodily performance expensive. This formula is quickly
becoming a common one for not only musicians, but even authors. The
book is free; the bodily talk is expensive.

Patronage — It is my belief that audiences WANT to
pay creators. Fans like to reward artists, musicians, authors and the
like with the tokens of their appreciation, because it allows them to
connect. But they will only pay if it is very easy to do, a reasonable
amount, and they feel certain the money will directly benefit the
creators.

Findability — Where as the previous generative
qualities reside within creative digital works, findability is an asset
that occurs at a higher level in the aggregate of many works. A zero
price does not help direct attention to a work, and in fact may
sometimes hinder it. But no matter what its price, a work has no value
unless it is seen; unfound masterpieces are worthless. When there are
millions of books, millions of songs, millions of films, millions of
applications, millions of everything requesting our attention — and
most of it free — being found is valuable."

Which of those eight are baked into your strategies?

(hat tip: chris anderson)

On Control

Great post and even better conversation in the comments from Jamie Notter on how professional associations are addressing the Web 2.0 world.  An excerpt, from Notter:

"I have one more reflection about the Technology Conference from last week. As Reggie pointed out in his post,

the buzz was much more about web 2.0 than it was about traditional
technology "tools." The keynote speakers and many of the concurrent
session speakers were exploring the role of blogs, wikis, social
networks and other ways for users to collaborate more effectively and
create value for themselves and others.What struck me, however, was the nearly universal reaction of fear from association executives…"

Link to "The Myth of Control."

VRM Hacker Session Writeup

Adriana Lukas:

"Last Friday a few of us gathered together in the name of VRM.
Doc was there so the ritual could begin – geek talk about structured
goop with XML crap, excited interrupting of others whilst being
interrupted, nerd in-jokes and, most importantly, pizza with beer! Notes from the session can be found here.
(Warning – they will give you only the gist of it, and a – not always
meaningful – record of the multiple conversations throughout the
evening.)

VRM
is still at the stage of conversations, which, in my opinion, is right.
Some basic assumptions need to be clarified and spelled out. No point
in avoiding that or trying to gloss over them, as they’ll come out of
woodwork a few months down the line anyway, when more time and effort
has been invested. We all have our views and visions of VRM and although the concept is broad enough to accommodate them (in fact, it is a feature, not a bug that people have many and varied ideas about VRM) but there are a few that will need articulating."

Link to whole thing here.