And to boldly go… again.

I have watched Star Trek, as most have,  when I was very young. It used to come early in the mornings on Doordarshan, India’s only channel at that time. And then I watched it again when I was 14, and this time the world had globalized (it was yet to become “flat”). Mr. Rupert Murdoch (who I would better get to know later on in life as the man behind Fox News) had brought Star Plus to the huge Indian market. This time around it used to come late at night, and now I was allowed to stay up at night – well most nights anyways. So I consider myself kind of lucky to have seen at two very different, but young stages of life. So anywho, the show has a special (aww) role in my life has been established… 

I loved Star Trek. It was awesome, as awesome as an early summer movie should be. We are asked to go boldly back in time when James T. Kirk was born and Spock was learning how special and hard it was going to be to live as a Vulcan and a human. The movie would have been great if it was to be just a story of how these two very unique icons of American film culture learn to live with each other – both different aspects of the human brain: one instinctive and the other objective. I enjoyed that interaction as much as I enjoyed Spock captaining Kirk for that very rare moment. But it is more than a back story… the action is amazing – missing is the predictability of a Star Wars lightsaber fight and the over indulgence of sci-fi effects… it is just right. The litmus test for a remake is the casting and it is perfect – very hard to do that when the old characters are so firmly embedded in your brain.  And isn’t it so cool when the backstory actually makes sense… 

JJ Abrams has definitely brought it back… in style. A must watch for human, vulcan and a fan.

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And on the 101st Day…

The President rested.

Not really. On his 101st day as the President of US of A, Barack Obama probably woke up and went about his day doing what he has been doing for the previous 100 days – fixing the mess left by the Bush bunch. So I do not quite understand this pause to smell the roses or this desire by the media to give the President a grade on what are not even his mid terms… so while the media celebrated/vilified (depending on if you were watching MSNBC or Fox News) the first 100 days of Barack Obama, I choose to do something different. I am marking his 101st as the President.

What about the grade you ask? Well I give him an “Incomplete.”

But what I am going to do, more for me than for those reading this blog post is to express my impressions of this young Presidency.

Or let’s KISS – keep it simple stupid and let me jot down the keywords/meta-tags I associate with the object: President Barack Hussein Obama after the first 101 days in office:

Tags: pragmatic, calm, soothing, appeaser, conciliatory, smart, able, athletic, young, promising, deliberate, upbeat, anti-Bush, spender, borrower, articulate, charming, wise, presidential, husband, cool, promising, future, cunning, media-savvy, professorial, comfortable, leader, nerd, leftie, lefty, humble, web 2.0, engaged, engaging, father, writer, thinker, disciplined, politician, philanthropic, daring, brave, democrat, thoughtful, historic, witty, intellectual, thank God he is not Sarah Palin

This by no means is exhaustive… and I am sure more tags will get added as the days goes by. It has been a decent start: I am very happy about certain approaches like the foreign policy and not so happy about others like his fixes for the banking sector.

We definitely needed a change in the words we spoke to the world, and the way we spoke those words. Obama brings that very refreshing change of humility (“If you’re ahead, shut up and stay ahead”) and a conciliatory tone. To some it may seem a weakness, but to me it is a sign of strength. It takes a secure man and a nation to admit his/its faults. I loved the town hall meeting he had with young students in Turkey.

As far as the banking sector is concerned, I tend to trust scientists when it comes to science, doctors when it comes to medicine and economists when it comes to economics… and economists seem to believe that a temporary qausi-nationalization would have been the more painful but quicker solution to the crisis. Barack Obama is a politician and no where it is more apparent than in his approach to the auto-industry and the banking sector.

But, as I said, it has been a decent start Mr. President – you are Reagenesque in behavioral economics, Roseveltic in long term solutions and Clintonesque in articulation of those solutions.

Yep – decent start.

Seeking: A Community Manager

After a meagre community organizer became President of United States, you would think every company out there would be looking for a community manager. Fire a CMO, hire a CM.

This blog post is heavily inspired by Micki Krimmel. So thank you Micki, from the community.

In the industrial age, if Monster.com was alive, I would probably see job postings for factory workers and if Craigslist was accessible in the agriculture era, I would probably be seeking another farmer, but this be the knowledge era and this be the knowledge era 2.0, when knowledge is increasingly social while remaining inherently personal, when masses go on the web and become communities, when pushing knowledge has given way to pulling knowledge. Yep it is definitely an interesting age to be alive. Beats being a factory worker in London in the 30s…I tell ya.

So in this new age when pull beats push, listening beats talking and the community already exists, you need someone to understand what is being pulled, why it is being pulled, how it is being pulled and who is pulling it? You also need someone who  listens before he talks… and you need someone who is managing (insert your favorite verb here: organize, engage, relate to… etc.) that already existent community. You need a community manager.

Who are community managers? They are “creators, empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers.” They are the ones that give your customers a hug when they need one and your company a conscience when it doesn’t have one. Now if AIG had a community manager… okay bad example.

He is the customer’s lawyer on your company’s board, he is your communication gateway to your customers and if your brand is Jesus than he is your Pat Robertson.

So how do you hire for this really important person? Rather, who do you hire? Hint: your company’s biggest fan will make for a pretty good community manager. Love is contagious….

So when you do hire this biggest fan of yours, make sure he has the autonomy and is able to move around the company and learn from/about every department. And definitely make sure that he has authority. Well at least more authority than the silly PR firm you hired, that you do not need.

And community managers: you are in a unique position because before you exercise that authority you have two questions to ask:

1. Is this good for the company?

2. Is this good for the community?

So anyways get working on that job posting for knowledge era 2.0 – Seeking a community manager.

Content to Context

So lot of interesting details at the Web 2.0 Conference this year. The general theme: from content to context.

What do I mean by that?

To measure content, you have to understand the context around it. Vague? Thought so… let me try and explain it this way:

To me as a content owner/provider it is important for me to measure the metrics (number of views) around the content, but to understand the true impact of the content, I will have to measure the context (user comments) around it.

To me as a viewer of that content it is important for me to see how many of my friends liked it, but it also becomes important for me (in order to get a “complete” perspective) to understand why they liked it.

Basically, how content when treated as an object, relates to the viewer/reader/listener is the context of that piece of content.

And that seemed to be the general theme of web 2.0 this year. Conversations were largely about the effect that web 2.0 technologies have had and how people (It’s the People, stupid!) are beginning to relate to those technologies.

The single biggest difference from the last time I attended the same conference: things are beginning to make sense. Business models are actually a lot more tangible than they once were. Web 2.0 is no more about: build it and they(users) will come. But it is about they(users/communities) are already there, how best can our business models relate(engage/organize) to them. And that is evolution.

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The question that was on my mind before the conference and sorta remained unanswered after was: how do you measure social? And then how do you scale it?

Answers are beginning to form… but we are not there yet.

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Interesting question someone asked someone: How can you tell a web 2.0 “dude” from a web 1.0 person?

Answer: A web 1.0 person will always talk to you about the internet, as if it was a network of computers… a web 2.0 dude will talk about the internet: as a network of people.

Even a CISCO talks about the human network.

Our next bubble might be the commodity market. But this new genre of social web entrepreneurs are for real. Believe you me, this is not the dot com bubble… the social web + green technology + biotech is where long term sustainable growth will come from.

Oh by the way, I suck at making predictions.

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A shout-out to Eric Ries. I sincerely believe in the work he is doing. It directly affects the way we are doing things @ Marcellus. He is a great thinker and a wonderful presenter.

Another shout-out to Clara Shih and her extremely relevant book: The Facebook Era. Great read.

My Lonely Blog

Resolution: I am going to post more often.

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Update: Still a mac user and a happy mac user at that. T’was the iPhone that pulled me in. But I am not complaining.

Web 2.0 was great. There has been quite a visible evolution in the web space, it is making sense now. Well at least it is making more sense than it did. Details need a separate blog post.

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Twitter thinks it is worth more than a billion. I don’t know one way or the other, but I like the attitude. And I also know that it ties in really nice with Google’s bigger picture.

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I feel that the Europeans trust President Obama (PrezBO henceforth) more than they trusted W. And that is a good thing.

I am a Mac user

Yep… day 1 involved downloading Firefox 3… how many days till I give up and install Vista?