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Gary Hamel’s Hierarchy of Employee Traits for the Creative Economy

Over on the Spigit blog, I published Gary Hamel: Hierarchy of Employee Traits for the Creative Economy. It’s notes from his talk last week at the Spigit Customer Summit. The post has the full details, but I wanted to share this graphic from it:

Gary Hamel - Hierarchy of Employee Traits for the Creative Economy

The key point is this: the traits that will determine success in the Creative Economy are different than those that govern the Information Economy. They are much closer to the Enterprise 2.0 ethos than that anything we’ve seen previously. The top three traits are something that employees themselves bring to the job. As Gary Hamel says, they cannot be commanded.

Check out the post for a full description of what Gary Hamel talked about.

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My Ten Favorite Tweets – Week Ending 081409

From the home office in Taiwan…

#1: Investigating this foreign land, Facebook, now that FriendFeed is to be folded into it. Already had FriendFeed features, so kinda familiar.

#2: Imaginatik CEO @mark_turrell & I (with Spigit) debate the merits of Enterprise 2.0 and innovation: http://bit.ly/Dd55d Good stuff

#3: Jeffrey Phillips: The directed, invitational external community model best for generating disruptive innovations #spigit09

#4: Jeffrey Phillips: Great exercise is to purposely build ‘failure projects’. Learn what can go wrong, pick up signals for innovation #spigit09

#5: Reading: Should you do only things that are “strategic”? http://bit.ly/HTQty by @bankervision Small stuff in aggregate much bigger

#6: Great list by Gary Hamel: 25 Stretch Goals for Management http://bit.ly/vd8om (found via @sniukas) #innovation #e20

#7: Microsoft’s SharePoint Thrives in the Recession http://bit.ly/17g5I2 Microsoft is getting stronger in the #e20 space

#8: What Works: The Web Way vs. The Wave Way http://bit.ly/ZYWPN by @anildash His take: Google Wave will inspire changes, not *be* the change

#9: Has seeing the time “11:11″ on a digital clock ever freaked you out? You’re apparently not alone: http://bit.ly/XrqVB

#10: Hiccups tip: Eat a teaspoon of sugar. My Dad taught me that, and it works every time. There must be a scientific explanation.

Demise of tr.im makes me realize I’d pay for bit.ly

URL shortening service tr.im announced that they will discontinue the service. Apparently, they couldn’t find a good way to make money with it:

We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential. tr.im pushes (as I write this) a lot of redirects and URL creations per day, and this required significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate.

Seeing the various Techmeme stories about tr.im, I tweeted this:

Cannot take seriously the advice to stop using URL shorteners after tr.im’s demise. Alternative – use full URLs – is unworkable.

In a twitter conversation with Doug Cornelius, what became apparent to me was not that we should stop using URL shorteners. Rather, we need a service we can rely on. The market will converge on a single majority provider, either tinyurl or bit.ly.

As a user of bit.ly, this dawned on me: I would pay to use the service. Well, the value-added part: analytics. Here’s how I could see it working:

  1. Free: anyone can shorten any URL anytime and use it
  2. Pay: access to clicks and analytics for the shortened URL

Not everyone needs the analytics, so for them, the service is free. For me personally and professionally, it is important to understand the analytics. I would pay for those. Say $1 or $2 per month? bit.ly’s click counts were pretty lousy there for a while, but have improved dramatically the past few weeks.

If that revenue model takes hold, bit.ly gets cash to support its basic service. And it apparently has designs on larger types of data mining ahead.

Sign me up.

How many of us find our true talent? She did.

Photo credit: cyclingnews.com

Photo credit: cyclingnews.com

Over a year ago, I wrote a post here titled How Many of Us Find Our True Talent? In that post, I speculated that the vast majority of us find vocations and activities we’re good at. But we likely have talents in totally different areas that never really see the light of day:

My own theory is that each of have talents that are uniquely strong in us. For some, these talents would put them on the world stage. For most of us, they’d probably vault us to the top of a particular field. And yet I suspect that most of us never hit on those unique talents.

And here’s the exception that proves the rule. The Wall Street Journal ran an article this week, Cycling’s One-in-a-Million Story. It tells the story of Evelyn Stevens, a 26 year-old top-ranked cyclist who will be competing in the upcoming Route de France. That itself is impressive enough.

How about this: A little over a year ago, she didn’t even own a bike.

A former tennis player at Dartmouth, she was working as an associate on Wall Street. Putting in the hours needed, she barely had time to jog. Deciding she needed more exercise, she bought a bike. Pretty quickly, it was apparent she was a natural at it. The WSJ article relates how early on, with little training, she clocked a mile-and-a-half hill climb in 5 minutes and 40 – 50 seconds. Strong, trained male riders do the same climb in the low 6:00’s.

She’s now quit her investment banking job, and doesn’t actively pursue her previous sport, tennis. She’s found her true talent. As the Wall Street Journal noted:

The truth is that Ms. Stevens is one in a million: She was lucky enough to stumble into the exact pursuit she was born for.

Indeed.

Tide Basic Detergent. Is this Innovation?

Photo credit: Wall Street Journal

Photo credit: Wall Street Journal

Adam Hartung, Managing Partner of Spark Partners, a strategy and transformation consultancy, asked this question on LinkedIn:

Do you think “Tide Basic,” a less-good formulation, is an innovation? Isn’t innovation about making things better and cheaper, not just cheaper?

The genesis of the question is a story in the Wall Street Journal describing why P&G recently rolled out Tide Basic. Tide Basic “lacks some of the cleaning capabilities of the iconic brand — and costs about 20% less.” As the article notes, Tide’s historic posture is to improve the laundry detergent continuously. It gets better every year. And the price does go up as well. The decision to go down-market didn’t come easily.

Much of this is reminiscent of Clayton Christensen’s analysis of the steel industry. In that story, low-cost mini mills ultimately led to the demise of the big, integrated steel mills.

Reflecting on that, here’s how I answered Adam’s question on LinkedIn:

Conceptually, going simpler on something *could* be an innovation. Clayton Christensen’s mini steel mills were the catalyst for disrupting the steel industry in the 1970s and 80s. The innovation was decoupling the low cost, simple steel from the integrated high end. It enabled quality customers wanted at much lower prices.

A lower cost, less featured Tide sounds similar, doesn’t it? A difference here is that there’s nothing new in the manufacturing process for Tide Basic. Remove the more expensive ingredients, change packaging, sell for less. Nothing wrong with that either. It addresses the needs of a segment of the market. I consider it smart business.

A key difference between Tide Basic and the mini steel mills is that the mini mills recast the economics of the industry. At the low-end initially, then upmarket as well. Tide Basic doesn’t recast the economics of the industry. There’s still a linear relationship between the ingredients put in the detergent, and the price and performance of the detergent. The mini mills caused a fundamental shift in the pricing of steel.

That was their innovation.

How about you? What do you think?

Conceptually, going simpler on something *could* be an innovation. Clayton Christensen’s mini steel mills were the catalyst for disrupting the steel industry in the 1970s and 80s. The innovation was decoupling the low cost, simple steel from the integrated high end. It enabled quality customers wanted at much lower prices.

A lower cost, less featured Tide sounds similar, doesn’t it? A difference here is that there’s nothing new in the manufacturing process for Tide Basic. Remove the more expensive ingredients, change packaging, sell for less. Nothing wrong with that either. It addresses the needs of a segment of the market. I consider it smart business.

A key difference between Tide Basic and the mini steel mills is that the mini mills recast the economics of the industry. At the low-end initially, then upmarket as well. Tide Basic doesn’t recast the economics of the industry. There’s still a linear relationship between the ingredients put in the detergent, and the price and performance of the detergent. The mini mills caused a fundamental shift in the pricing of steel.

That was their innovation.

My Ten Favorite Tweets: Week Ending 080709

From the home office in the former Soviet republic of Georgia…

#1: GigaOm: One RSS subscriber equals 5 to 10 Twitter followers http://bit.ly/MkRHF

#2: Interesting take: “To enable innovation it may be necessary to reduce the number of social ties between coders” http://bit.ly/5apJn

#3: RT @berkun The best approach for wicked problems is to break them apart into smaller problems. Repeat until there’s a piece you can solve.

#4: @GrahamHill Toyota had 20 million ideas in 40 years? Wow. That’s says a lot for how they got to the top of the automotive world.

#5: Checking out @lindegaard‘s list of books and people he finds useful for #innovation work: http://bit.ly/18MUk3

#6: Lloyds CIO: RT @kat_woman have u had a look at spigit? We used it 2 create a world-first idea mgt system internally that runs like a stk mkt

#7: Just spoke with Gary Hamel re: next week’s Spigit Customer Summit. Very nice, very sharp. His keynote will be: “Inventing Management 2.0″

#8: Reading: Go cloud, young man http://bit.ly/h2wx3 by @philww Cloud computing is the future #saas #careers

#9: With family, we’re hitting the shopping holy trinity: Target, Costco, Trader Joe’s

#10: I see these foursquare updates of people out and about, looks great. Mine would be…home….home…playground…home… Kids, you know.

How User Reputation Scores Will Change Twitter

Item #1:

As the spam annoyance factor on Twitter goes up, the credentials/relevance go down meaning less user value. @biz huge deal!

Kim Patrick Kobza, President & CEO of Neighborhood America

Item #2:

Twitter Search will also get a “reputation” ranking system soon, Jayaram told me. When you do a search on a “trending” topic–a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the Twitter.com sidebar–Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank the search results in part based on that.

Rafe Needleman, cnet, May 6, 2009

Item #3:

I guarantee that if Twitter implements a ranking system, the same old crowd will shove everyone else aside. If I want to read the same people over and over, I already have Techmeme.

Paul Boutin, VentureBeat, July 31, 2009

Word of an upcoming Twitter reputation system has been dribbling out the past few months. It’s an intriguing idea, from a social web product perspective. Like any product, the devil is in the details of how it is built and how it is used.

The following are some thoughts about a reputation system on Twitter.

Let’s Admit: We Already Do This Implicitly

There is a pecking order out there. Really. And once you’ve been on Twitter, or reading blogs, or checking out Digg , or reading Hacker News, or hanging out on FriendFeed…you know it’s there.

Want to know who celebrity VC Fred Wilson pays attention to?

I use techmeme, hacker news, tim o’reilly’s twitter links, dave winer’s 40 most recent links for tech news

See? Fred Wilson doesn’t pay attention my tweeted links. Or yours (unless you’re Tim O’Reilly or Dave Winer reading this).

Arguments against assessing users’ authority are noble efforts to preserve an egalitarian ethos, but they don’t reflect the reality of human behavior. Like it or not, there is an unspoken reputation system already in play.

It Won’t Affect Your Experience…Unless You Want It To

We’ll talk about the basis for a Twitter reputation score in a second. Assuming they exist, how would that affect your daily use of Twitter?

You’re already deciding who you follow. If someone with low-grade authority is bugging you, what do you do? Unfollow. Same goes for high-grade authority.

Maybe if Twitter allowed you to view tweets only from those with a minimum authority level, it would affect your usage. You know, enable a “fake follow“.

OK, let’s hope they don’t do something like that.

Control the Trending Topics Spam

I’m all for crowdsourcing what’s buzzing. You can look at the trending topics on Twitter and get a sense for what’s going on now. Apparently it takes between 1,200 and 1,900 tweets per hour on a given topic to hit the trending topics. Once it does, people like to dive in and have fun. Exhibit A: see that #threewordsaftersex meme a couple months back.

Once it’s a trending topic, tricksters can’t help themselves by using the hashtag in an ol’ tweet, whether related to the topic or not. This is a dynamic that will only get worse.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about this occurring during the recent #iranelection hashtag activity. People would set up fake accounts. They’d then spam the Twitter stream using #iranelection, and tweeting misinformation or links to spammy things.

It’s that trait…fake accounts…that the reputation scores would help. On searches, only show me tweets from accounts that have actually had a pulse for the  last month or so.

What about people who pollute the Twitter stream, but are real accounts?

Can We Rate Tweets?

There are two mechanisms for indicating that you like a tweet: (1) retweet it; (2) favorite it. Both are positive rating actions. Favoriting doesn’t get much of a workout, retweeting is 3% of Twitter activity.

Suppose you put lightweight rating tools in the hands of users? Maybe simple arrows that accompany each tweet? People could positively or negatively rate tweets. My guess is that such easy voting would get higher usage. The negative votes would only come out for the egregious stuff that people post. And it’d likely only occur on hashtag tweets that are godawful. Because if someone you follow consistently posts crap, you’re going to unfollow them anyway.

Digg and Slashdot have been doing this for years. Generally, the really inane stuff gets buried well.

If you let the community rate tweets, along with retweets and favorites, you’ve got a distributed community rating system. Of course, this will also give rise to the inevitable gaming that occurs in social media. “Hey, please rate this tweet up!” But on the whole, these community rating systems work.

Scores would take into account these community ratings, how often you’re retweeted, how often people click your links, how often you’re favorited, the average score of those who follow you, and your number of followers. You can imagine a pretty comprehensive score here.

Reputation Score Visibility

Twitter profile reputation scoreNow this would be something. How about if everyone’s Twitter Reputation Scores were visible? Consider what is available now:

  • Number the person is following
  • Number of followers
  • Number of tweets

We implicitly consider these numbers as part of the calculus in deciding whether to follow someone. They’re not the primary weight, well at least not for a lot of us. We’ll look at their page of tweets and bio as well.

But can you see Twitter making this information available? My guess is that the blogosphere and the Twittersphere will demand transparency. If reputation is affecting the display of tweets in any way, they will demand to know what each user’s score is.

And then people will incorporate yourr Twitter Reputation into their decision whether to follow.

Reputation Becomes the New Number of Followers

Right now, there’s an emphasis on your number of followers. It is an important metric, because there is an element of old-style media reach there. It is also something that people game by blindly following thousands of people, hoping for them to return follow.

Well, Twitter Reputation will become the new Number of Followers.

Bloggers would post their Twitter Reputation Scores on their blogs. People will talk about them endlessly. Social media shops will advise how you can improve your Twitter Reputation. Companies filling social media positions will go beyond requiring a certain number of Twitter followers. They’ll look for minimum Twitter Reputation scores.

Not Your Father’s Twitter

Twitter is in a position where it has to prepare for the coming onslaught of spammers who will take advantage of the system. Reputation scores have proven effective in other communities. But Twitter is different from Digg or Slashdot. It’s more a mainstream communication platform, so using these traditional community management tools will likely cause quite a gnashing of teeth.

The challenge for Twitter is to ensure that reputation scores don’t kill enthusiasm for its service.

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