Monday, April 13, 2009

A rare breed – Web 2.0 savvy executives

I engaged in my first blog posting at the coaching of a group of Gen Y “mentors” who asked me to use blogging to “mentor the masses.” It was uncomfortable and I had to unlearn many of the skills that made me successful in business. I had to write in the first person, present personal perspectives and have stated opinions otherwise, it would be just another company website.
As it turns out, these skills are valued in the business world, and executive search firms have this talent as a new requirement in their current searches. A recent article on titled “But What’s Your Screen Name? - Companies need executives with Web 2.0 know-how, but many are struggling to catch on” by Alan Rappeport explains why executives with strong Web 2.0 understanding and experience bring in top dollar.

If you are hearing about blogs and want to learn more, a good place to start is to read the domain blogs you are interested in and perhaps comment once in a while. Executives might gain as much street credibility in blog-land by supporting as they would by hosting. If you want more insights or ideas, you may appreciate Mike Hyatt’s “Corporate Blog Handbook” ideas posted on “Working Smart.”

Have you had to unlearn skills to be successful in Web 2.0-land?


Alex Kersha said...

Great post, thanks for sharing.

If I were to single out one thing I had "unlearn" it would be having to move away from the typically uncommitted, and neutral stance you often take when expressing opinions on all things business. I have found that the new generation of leaders in my experience appreciate it when you express an opinion and stand by it. No more of this false diplomacy and playing by "Swiss" rules. I think this applies itself very well to blogging.

Take a stance, commit to an opinion and write about it. At the same time, it's just as important to be willing to accept feedback even if it's contrary to your own standpoint and be able to have an intellectual conversation around it.

Alex Kersha

Bill Kane said...

I have heard a great deal of talks since moving to CA on using Social 2.0 web sites in searching for employment. Twitter of course has been covered quite a bit recently in the NY Times, WSJ.

In addition to Linkedin, I use Twitter, Facebook ( my Asian friends prefer this site for email), Youtube, and Flickr ( post my photos of Railroads).

Often I comment on others blogs,and this site as well, as I am right now.

I have a wordpress account for blogging, but have not engaged in that tool for currently I have been busy with changing coasts.

I have attended talks on blogging, wordpress, and google applications

Fast company did an article in the last few months that referred to how Cisco had deployed Web 2.0 internally and externally. There are numerous other examples Starbucks, Dell.

As a NYorker I listened to Bloomberg radio while driving around and found it very useful to make investment decisions based on their interviews.
While listening online the other day, Tom Keene, host of Bloomberg on the Economy announced he was now on Twitter.

It was empowering to connect directly too him via Twitter, versus simply being a listener, I could comment live on his guest and interview in progress.

As I complete this post, I just learned I am one minute away from a bloomberg radio interview with the CEO of Linkedin, and he will be commenting on using web 2.0 for networking and job search


Bill Kane

Inventor - six (6) IT Decision Support and Engineering Patents

Madan Kumar M. Kamath said...

Well I have been on this out of personal interest, but that todays requirements look at 2.0 savy executives is good news!!!

Anthony Reardon said...

Absolutely. John, another fascinating post.

Am I to gather your blog is read by Gen Y audiences or their mentors?

I have what you might call an accellerated learning approach. I liken it to that old Michael J. Fox movie, The Secret Of My Success. In it, he picks up volumes and takes bold inititiative when the opportunity presents. Eventually he takes over the company because of his knowledge of the real business. However, that's not much more than old fashioned industrial spirit.

What I found was a lot of people talking about blogs and the such and me having very little time online. I was so busy learning and doing in my professional environments, that I knew much was being obsoleted. Just about a week ago I had my 1 year anniversary since I started blogging.

My blogging demonstrates my aptitude to adapt and evolve new skills for new challenges. The weblog serves as a sort of documentary about my development as a business and the use of blogging. However, I am still very involved in this and integrating the way I blog with the way I intend to do business.

I too realized the special importance of first person, personal perspectives, and decisive opinions. I'm practically counting on the notion my online work will be a credit to my qualification for some amazing opportunity. However, more impressive I think would be to actually create my own thriving organization and demonstrate what I can do as a CEO.



David Porter said...

I'm not so sure about "blogs" per se, there are clearly good ones and bad ones, but they do have their utility. One thing about the Web 2.0 things like blogs and wikis, they are more likely to be search & retrievable than unstructured unfindable Word files lost on a Sharepoint nobody knows about or can remember.

I think what is in shorter supply in my company, are Web 2.0-aware people seeing the values in Web interface, REST interface, tagged-data, XML oriented solutions. It is clear to me there are big opportunities we are missing because many people's mindsets are locked into tables / rows / columns of 80's style RDBMSs, and the 90's vintage "web interface" used to get at them. That seems to be the first or only solution folks jump to, and then you're locked into an expensive company-developed straightjacket, particularly if the interface, data, or retrieval is not designed really well. More bad (text) fielded data locked up somewhere in some overcomplex table nobody can get to. We spend $$M chasing and maintaining this tail.

There's got to be a better way. The fluidity, extensibility, searchability, re-use potential, openness, standards based, open source, vendor tools, sparse and efficient development etc. etc. of XML, REST, XSLT, native XML database, XQuery, XProc & so forth hosted as internet resources are notable, and we could use more executives, and staff people, who could put these pieces into play against real Boeing requirements. They have gocompany stack up well by comparison.

Thanks for posing your thoughts Mr, Bishop, they struck a chord over here, although a somewhat tangential one.

J Wong said...

I think blogging has become very trendy in my company and can see blogs popping up all over the place from various executives who have their 'mentors" help them start up a blog, but I wonder how affective many of them are. There are a handful that do well and are well thought out but then there are blogs that just die on the vine. I wonder if pushing the executives to blog, even if they don’t want to do it, is the best idea. It is almost destine to fail if the passion does not come from the author to begin with. It was your passion that made your blog successful in corporate America and is also what drives it here in the outside world. Keep up the good work John.

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