Wednesday Nov 30, 2011

One Year Oracle SocialChat - The Movie

You’ve just watched – hopefully – my first short movie. Thank you! Here is a bit of the back stage story.

About 6 weeks ago colleagues from SNBC (Social Network and Business Collaboration) announced a Social Use Case Competition. It was expected to submit a video of 2 to 5 minutes duration on the Social Enterprise (our internal phrase for Enterprise 2.0). Hmm – I had a few vague ideas, but no script – no actors – no experience in film making. Really the best conditions to try something!

I chose our weekly SocialChats as my main topic. But if you don’t do Danish Dogma cinema, you still need a script. Hence I played around with the SocialChat’s archive, and all of a sudden a script and even the actors appeared in front of me. The words that you have just seen are weekly topics. Slightly abridged and rearranged to form a story.

Exciting, next phase. How to get it on digital celluloid? I have to confess I am still impressed by epic. (Keep in mind, epic was done in 2004.) And my actors – words – call for a typographic style already. The main part was done over a weekend with Apple Keynote. And I even found a wonderful matching soundtrack among my albums: Didge Goes World by Delago. I picked parts of Second Day and Seventh Day. Literally, the rhythm was set, and I "just" had to complete the movie. Tools used – apart from trial and error: Keynote, Pixelmator, GarageBand, iMovie.

Finally I want to mention that I am extremely thankful to BSC Music for granting permissions to use the tracks for this short film! Without this sound it would have been just an ordinary slide show.

Monday Feb 21, 2011

SocialChat: A guide to closing down a project

Beethoven deafness posed a challenge to have fluent conversations with him. His trick was to use conversation books, where you had to write your part and he would then answer verbally. These books have survived until today, and provide insights into… well, we have to guess his part of the conversation. But anyway.

Although I am not deaf, I want to share one page of my socialchat-conversation book that contains just my tweets and not the tweets of my colleagues. The topic this week: A guide to closing down a project. You can read topdown, but might need to fill in some impulses from other participants. I hope it still makes sense. Enjoy!

BTW_ Beethoven finished all his symphonies - Schubert did not.

  • Discussion Point 1) Have you ever worked on a project after it has lost momentum?(eg lost a sponsor, or where it's obvious it's a dead end) How did you maintain morale?
  • The first part of the question is easy to answer: yes. I guess I have no problem with my motivation because I am always involved in several projects at the same time. If one project loses steam, I can refocus myself to work more in others.
  • Some projects don't have a sponsor. And they are not the worst. You really try to bring them forward b/c your are deeply convinced about what you are doing. Although, these are never the main projects but some smaller ones.
  • Moving onto Discussion Point 2) Any tips on how to close off the project? Has anyone successfully handed off a project to be supported by another org?
  • wiki documentation (always a good idea) and TOI presentations (transfer of information) to the engineering team, who takes over.
  • This is even more important if you hand-over to yourself in the future. Then you need to pick up the game maybe a year later without starting from scratch. I call this 'freezing a project'
  • A party is also a good idea to close a project in order to finish it and turn around the heads for the next one. Celebrate success, or have a postmortem to do it better next time.
  • you can call a postmortem also 'lessons learned'
  • There is an EOL (end of life) phase in the product life cycle.
  • 3) Has anyone any experience with the 'Wither on the vine' approach (eg Nokia is using this approach with Symbian)?
  • wither on the vine (British, American & Australian literary):= if something withers on the vine, it is destroyed very gradually, usually because no one does anything to help or support it
  • 'wither on the vine' does not sound like a good management style. More like the lack of good leadership. Wasting nerves, money, and losing customers.
  • You cannot ride a dead horse. It's dead already, stupid! Though, it needs some experience and stance to recognize such a situation, and courage to react accordingly.
  • well, if the systems continue to run fine... Do they have a migration plan for the customers and just need to 'entertain' their customers until the new system becomes available?
  • I do not know it it is done deliberately and consciously. But I think it is better to manage the expectation of the users&customers rather than having rumors spread by the competitors.
  • google for for 'software train wrecks'. e.g. 10 Signs Of Coming Software Train Wreck
  • And one for the road if you go off-track -- this is the presentation that I just had in mind -- Scott Berkun about Saving Design Train Wrecks 

Friday Dec 03, 2010

SocialChat: Efficiency of E20

Efficiency of Enterprise 2.0 tools. This was the subject we discussed in our SocialChat today. Read my tweets below (top down):

  • Lack of efficiency in the (communication) tools can be frustrating and eventually lead to poor effectiveness & minimal creativity.
  • I see it this way: With a limited amount of energy and attention I want to work as much as possible in the effective&creative area. Spending my time in the basics, ie. finding my way to the info and people, is wasted for me and the company.
  • efficiency w/o effectiveness is useless. efficiency is about effort and speed. Effectiveness is about results.
  • E2.0 tools bear the potential to get faster into the results and solution corner of the spectrum. But only if there is a critical mass of people using the tools.
  • The more people who use and contribute the higher the effectiveness for all of us. If the tools cannot cope with the demand, then we have a happy problem to solve.
  • A "single social platform" definitely bears the advantage not to miss info&experts in dark branches of the intranet. At least all internal platforms need to be interconnected.
  • E2.0 tolls create a flexible communication structure by ignoring the company's org-chart. This is more efficient (and effective) than sending the info up the chain and down into another team.
  • If the tools live up the the promise you can even communicate with people you don't know upfront!
  • I was happy to see (when coming from Sun) that the corporate yellow pages use tags. But tagging is complicated and there is almost no positive feedback loop in place to harvest the advantages of tagging.
  • Tagging should be easy, as well as retrieving the clusters of knowledge and competence. I would like to see more efficiency to understand the swarm(!).
  • I set up a Connect group to aggregate (= get a combined feed) for a couple of Oracle forums. This is much more efficient than checking the forums manually or receiving updates via mail
  • My hope is that others follow my example, and that I can benefit from their cleverness regarding E2.0.
  • Do it anyway because we benefit. Be cool. Be fast. Be more efficient and effective. And BTW_ tell others about your way of getting the job done.

This is, what I just did. Hope you enjoyed this posting.

See also Benefit of Social Media in Corporates? by Sreya Dutta

Friday Oct 29, 2010

SocialChat on Sharing Best Practices

This SocialChat touches the heart of Enterprise 2.0: Why is it challenging to share best practice? Once again, we had an interesting crowd together exchanging ideas at our internal microblogging channel. Read my share top down:

  • In my opinion "sharing best practice" has at least two problems:
    1) The entry barrier is to high. If you ask yourself if your case is a good example for best practice, then it is likely that you say no. So asking for just the best is wrong.
  • 2) Collecting "best practice" is most of the time an after-though, once the project is done. But then you are already preparing for the next project and don't have time to think about the previous lessons learned. 
  • Therefore "sharing best practice" needs to happen while you are still on the project. It should not be an extra step that causes extra work that nobody pays for.
  • @gary Indeed, social software can help to identify the nuggets. But this can only happen if the information is easily accessible and has an URI to refer to. And of course #3) we need a culture of sharing, referring and recommending stuff.
  • @amy "close communications" yes, but not "closed". Other employees need to be able to participate.
  • The trick is to exploit the selfish attitude of some people. (The altruistic do it anyway). The argument to convince the selfish and ego-centric is the following: …
  • @amy Incentives don't work. They don't change the culture.
  • @amy "What's my benefit if you can do your job better and get a bonus?"
  • As nobody is asking how to convince the selfish, I guess I keep the secret. :o)
  • @frank Open source is all about sharing. And the s-curve in Sun's recent visual brand was a symbol for sharing.
  • @frank But I do not want to sound too enthusiastic. Reality was somewhere between the ideal and the average. 
  • The secret trick revealed in the final minute...
  • Share with yourself! You gain something for your future projects if you blog some notes or fill some wiki pages about the current project for later use. (psst, others might do the same and you all benefit.)
Credits for the nice infinite icon: KPT #18

Friday Oct 22, 2010

SocialChat about the Next Big Thing

You can ask the oracle about The Next Big Thing. Or you can listen to the tweets of a guy at Oracle thinking about The Next Big Thing at one of our weekly SocialChats. Read top-down and try to fill in the parts of the invisible guys:

  • For me it is very helpful to distinguish between invention and innovation. If you want to know what is the next big thing, you have to look for the inventions from 10yrs ago.  
  • 10 years might be the time they need to gain traction in the market and turn into innovation. (innovation := inventions with market success)
  • Flying cars is a good example. They exist. They fly!
  • E.g. a smartphone similar to the iPhone was invented by IBM in 1993.


  • There is no single path through history of technology. The similarity between iPhone and IBM's device is, that they both are based on touch.
  • I think analysts and the press are not close enough to the research labs. They have to provide good stories to entertain their audience. But in the early stages of innovation the stories are hardly existing and not very convincing -- like the flying Moller car.
  • Bruce Sterling gave up. He says there is nothing left to write about that makes really interesting science fiction.
  • Minority Report was a real research project for the science consultants. No science fiction at all. See John Underkoffler's TED talk.  
  • Just a shame that we are not using hypertext in the original sense. I mean, why are we satisfied with the current state of the art? May I post another talk? 45' Ted Nelson at ACM Hypertext 2001
  • The question "What's the next big thing?" is too good to being answered on the spot. What is going on in the research labs now? Provides insights regarding technology. What is missing? Provides insights regarding user adoption.
  • Do we have anybody in the chat who participated in Oracle IT2020?
  • My IT2020 prediction
  • But I have one more. Bill Buxton's closing keynote at ACM Computer Human Interaction Conference in 2008 really impressed me. There are only my notes left. Basically he draws the connection between the artist and the environment.
  • Who would have been Mozart without the forte piano and the concert halls, and a society who appreciates his music?
  • The same is true for research scientists and their customers and users.
  • And one for the road: reconstructed slides and notes from Bill Buxton's talk On Being Human in a Digital Age - enjoy! and have a nice weekend. -Matthias
Recommended Podcast: Paul Saffo at Longnow: Embracing Uncertainty - The Secret of Effective Forecasting
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