The conference opens, with a video introduction from Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz. The theme of the conference is “The Power of Communities”, and the first session is from Joe Hartley, Sun VP for Global Government, Education and Healthcare
- he also bears a striking resemblance to Steve Martin and I keep expecting him to break into a stand up routine! He talks about communities and networking, and how some of the new technologies are facilitating the establishment of communities. Communities are only successful if they members of them have commitment to them, and can either provide or obtain value from them. He introduced some of Sun’s ideas of communities especially those surrounding open source software.
The second speaker was Barry Libert from Mzinga, and co author of a book entitled “We are Smarter Than Me”. Co-author normally means there’s one, or two others, but in this case there were 5,100 contributors. Barry used the concept that WE based organisations could be more successful then ME based ones – ie those that embraced the concept of community could gain a competitive advantage, and that the pervasiveness of the internet and the rise of Web 2.0 and social networking technologies was facilitating this. Some interesting statistics – 36% of Americans use Wikipedia, 112m people write blogs, and many millions more read them, there are more podcasts than radio programmes, there are 250m pieces of tagged social media on the internet, and 65m Facebook users.
Some examples of how this “WE” culture can be used in organisations:
To develop new products – the Dell Idea Storm
To support users – Apple support forums
To sell products – eBay (apparently there are more people making a living from eBay than are employed by Wal-Mart)
To provide finance for projects – prosper.com and kiva.org being two good examples
To do proprietary research – Innocentive
To write code – open source software development
Some of the links are worth looking at. OK, back to the conference (this is my lunch break...)