You Already Know How to Slam Dunk Using Web 2.0

Last night, I started reading Charlene Li's and Josh Bernoff's Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

I was struck by this description of a manager at Sony Electronics:  "Rick Clancy seemed worried…He was grappling with a force he didn't understand, one that was growing all the time…Consumers whom he'd never met were rating his company's products in public forums that he had no experience with and no way to influence…Rick had decided it was time to take matters into his own hands, to become a blogger himself…For this veteran of almost two decades of managing his company's image, the goal looked daunting."

I respect Rick Clancy's position.  The use of online – a.k.a. Web 2.0 - tools can feel daunting.  

Li and Bernoff define the "groundswell" as "a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their own experience, and get what they need – information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power – from each other…instead of from companies."

I think some managers experience the groundswell as returning the slam-dunking pro basketball player within them to Little League lay-ups.

No one likes to feel awkward, especially someone with hard-won expertise, experience, and credentials.

It doesn't have to be that way.

The day before, I had a meeting with Jim Littlefield, marketing advisor to VT KnowledgeWorks business acceleration center member companies.

He looked me right in the eye and said, "Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.'"

Jim pointed his finger in the center of the table for emphasis.

"No they won't," he said.  "Unless you tell them about it and how it benefits them, no, they won't."

Jim Littlefield is right.  Tell them about it…

Telling them about it, whether you're a high-tech entrepreneur or a curbside recyling start-up is as cheap, easy, and quick as writing a single sentence for Twitter or a paragraph or two for a blog.

I'll finish Groundswell and undoubtedly learn some subtleties.  Leader, manager, CEO, business or organization member who is reading this groundswelling-ground-breaking-take-matters-into-our-own-hands blog may want to read it, too.

But whether it's Web 2.0, Web 3.0 or Web infinity point oh, it's still people using it. 

And you already know people love your slam dunk.

So the game's the same but the equipment's a little different.  And it changes.

Get me or someone else to show you the latest Web 2.0 equipment.  It'll change.  

But you already know how to slam dunk.


  1. I'm a bewildered old guy. I spent days in Richmond in 1969-72 going to agencies explaining computer mapping and geographic information systems before they were called "GIS". I was trying to sell them, get agency staff interested, get them to buy software development useful to improve natural resource management. The system and agency-specific maps, together, was a good "mouse trap" and even with me being at THEIR door, the world was not beating. Now the world wants GIS … in a big way! Maybe it's the map colors…maybe…??? Maybe it's all in the telling, who tells. Maybe, mixing the metaphor, the ground has to be plowed just right for the seed to produce fruit??

    I think I'm hearing in this post more wonderment than advice, more diagnosis than prescription, more reports of a few successes than many failures. I'm immeshed here in metaphor, not theory. We have to communicate, but that may be a self-serving statement for communicators. Maybe people with ideas and inventions need to find a three-some (not placing all eggs in one basket) that can communicate their trap and its goodness to X-thousand people with a probability of "buy" of 0.10 and then, post-success, pay them a percentage (for they cannot be afforded in the startup).

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