...as far as enterprise land is concerned. My Enterprise Irregulars colleagues have been debating the merits of some shiny new toys like Twitter, Qik and Mogulus. The conversation kicked off with the extremely smart Jason Corsello:
Maybe this is Scoble specific but I just don't get it.
- Mogulus shows a connection error or just a bunch of people walking or typing
- Twitter is a bunch of code conversation I don't understand
- Qik shows people driving in a car with nothing to say
Who has enough time to waste watching this stuff?
Almost to a man (with the notable exception of Mike Krigsman who can't get enough of Twitter,) they've variously declared these services 'a joke,' 'waste of time' and in one case 'utter crap.' Mike waxed lyrical about making contacts for his NakedIT series via Twitter. Yes, Twitter allows you to lurk around and use it as a way of discovering people who want attention. Loic LeMeur, Mike's first NakedIT interviewee markets Seesmic anywhere he can. It's easy for any blogger on a big name title when you can spin the line: "I have a ZDNet blog and..." But as Chris Selland, a former CRM analyst of formidable reputation and business development manager fired back:
If I were still making a living writing/analyzing - i.e. being 'present' online - I'd probably find some uses for twitter too. But as a biz dev guy (who doesn't have time - or a reason - to be online much) - and despite the fact that my job is *all* about relationships - I find twitter to be pretty pointless. LinkedIn, on the other hand, I use every single day.
Vinnie Mirchandani, one of the most repsected tech negotiators I know who has a rolodex even Scoble can't match (forget Scoble's 300 video interviews of mostly tech startup CEOs; I guarantee we'll have forgotten about 90% of them by 2009) said:
I am still searching for a network which has more buyer reps ...most of those are old school membership organizations and the old boy network...no technology needed or allowed in them...
Which brings me neatly back to the title of this post. I've tried to play with Qik. The quality is so poor except under optimum conditions that it's almost unusable. Scoble trumpeted that he and the other Web 2.0 digerati would be broadcasting live from the PodTech bus to CES using Mogulus. It fell over pretty quickly and never really recovered. Another dud. As for Scoble's track record on tech picks, read his mea culpa on HD-DVD. It's the tip of a deep iceberg. Enterprise looks beyond the superficiality of the latest shiny toys. It is no longer so easily sucked into the hype and hope that typifies this branch of the fashion industry we call 'tech.'
As to Twitter, in its present form it's not going to make it in the enterprise. If you want proof, check out the comments at SAPs SDN blog following a post where I discussed the monetization options. Jeremiah Stone a SAPper for whom I have huge respect, largely because he challenges me about the new toys over which I tend to get over excited asked:
I do nothing but communicate with team members solving hairy conceptual and practical problems, and none of that interaction takes place over twitter. It takes place in regular conference calls, on our project wiki, in our project blog, in email, over IM, and last but certainly not least, in face to face conversation. What does twitter bring to the workplace party that these other modes of conversation don't?
This was a question my Irregular colleagues also raised. Are these enterprisey folk right? They are all influencers of what I call real spend, not the $5 app but the apps that come with a CXO approval price tag. Are they too out of touch to get it or are they dealing with reality? Let's be blunt, Twitter has no discernible business model except to get as many eyeballs as it can and then figure out. As I said at my SAP SDN blog:
But as we all know, developers need to get paid to put food on the table and hopefully profit from their labors. At present, Twitter is going down the community building route in the hope it will find a business model. For those of us in enterprise land, that has about as much chance of flying in the CXOs office as the proposition of installing chocolate teapots next to the coffee machine.
We could debate monetization all day long but alongside that must go utility. All of which leads me to believe that despite the fact enterprise can learn a lot from consumer style applications, the potential for cross over is limited. The theory might be right and at least one enterprise leader, JP Rangaswami, has bravely put his head above the parapet on this topic. In the Twitterverse I asked: "Most of my enterprise colleagues think Twitter is a waste of time. Discuss. Hint: Banks spend 20x Google's annual revs [on IT.]"
Two responses typify the way this discussion goes. James Parr said:
Most of my colleagues (recruitment) think Twitter is pointless too; til it gets critical mass of people they can't see the bens
while Nik Taylor offered:
"Enterprise People" in London initially shunned the telephone as being a secretarial tool. Lawyers in the Temple won't use Email
I still love Twitter and the many opportunities it gives me to discover new voices, garner opinion, get help and yes - have a bit of fun.
But, in its current form and despite all its openness and other attractions, Twitter won't get traction in the enterprise. That's why I believe that Twitter's utility will be mimiced, enhanced and made into a 'proper' enterprise application. Something Twitter like will be absorbed into other applications. Then we'll see who 'gets it.' Watch this space. You won't have long to wait.