Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

A Big Step For Microsoft and Cloud Ecosystems, a New Step In My Own Collaboration on Alliances   1 comment

Yesterday I published a new post on the impact of the new Outlook.com service on Microsoft’s partner ecosystem.
I believe this service is much more than a revamping of Hotmail; it is a key development in the impact of cloud business models on partner ecosystems for Microsoft and other platform vendors. It affects the whole partner ecosystem from OEM to distributors and resellers, to systems integrators and ISVs.

This post also marks a new development for me: I have published it as guest on the blog of a fellow alliances professional, Peter Simoons.

I look forward to exploring this collaboration and others among alliances practitioners. It will be interesting to see how alliances develop among alliance managers.

Leisure Time, Valuable Business Networking for Alliances   Leave a comment

Leisure and business go hand in hand when you enjoy both.

I was biking with my wife this week end, for family business and leisure together. We stopped to consider how to overcome an obstacle just at the same time as another wanderer did, much for the same reason.

This was an obvious foreigner, if fluent in Italian.
Her request to take a picture of her prompted me to offer a business card. She shared hers and we exchanged some more details about our interests. Beyond wandering in the neighbourhood, that each of us obviously enjoys, our business focus is similar, and our similar age gets us reviewing priorities and approaches during middle age and a global business crisis.
As it turned out, all the three of us have a business in helping organizations do business together.

We have invited each other to visit and may well meet again. If we do, it will most likely for leisurely biking (and triking) together before we ever consider business.
Still, it is amazing how we complement each other’s business. The other wanderer provides a technical capability in South East Asian languages and business culture – delivered in our town; my wife may well need this in her business, and my alliances activity becomes stronger whenever a similar option comes to enrich it.

Assessing an acquaintance will be an exercise and an investment in alliances, as well as a welcome pastime.

Traveling and Meeting People – Good for Alliances – Surprisingly So   Leave a comment

So much, so obvious: alliances are a relationship business, and meeting in person strengthen relationships.
What is surprising?

Let’s start from the beginning: to make the most of precious traveling, I have sought friends and fellow alliances colleagues in my latest trips.

I have refreshed and strengthened personal relations, including with:

  • Alliances colleagues I have known online and first met in person thanks to these very trips,
  • Colleagues turned into friends that I had last seen 15 years ago
  • Persons that provided services to my company, that I am befriending and together we just thought up some activity together that it will be nice and rewarding even to try, let alone actually do!
  • Former colleagues who did my very same job few years ago and shared invaluable experiences on how similar and how different is what they do now. For some of them, I feel like what I do has changed more than what they do.

It has been an invaluable development experience for me. What has made this especially significant for alliances?

First, each and every person I met was surprised by this approach. Of course, positive surprise makes meetings and relations warmer and more useful.
Here is a reminder of the value of innovation and of personal touch. And a reminder that innovation is sometimes very, very simple and stems from applying very basic principles – such as my doing justice to the value of travel.

Second, in addition to strengthened relationships, these meetings generated new business insight and opportunity that just was absent from our minds before we met.
I take this as a testament to the value of alliances, defined as professional management of relationships to pursue value that derives from how the entities in the relationship complement each other. However simple, however small, this has been alliances management, and has created tangible value alongside the intangible pleasure of  bonding.

Focus Helps Effective Social Networking   Leave a comment

The world of alliances, more than a few other businesses, gives plenty of opportunity to obtain, then seek to cultivate, more and more contacts.
Add online social networking, and you may well find yourself on a slippery slope towards collecting contacts for the sake of contacts, like stamps or PEZ boxes.
Yes, I have been there, and there were many of us. I have moved on since, and quite a few have yet to do the same.

Months ago, Lou Dubois published this valuable summary of how to make your social networking effective. As all good summaries, it articulates in one convenient place many good known points.

Plus, I found one new, powerful tool for focused networking: its classification of contacts in five categories.
The five definitions are easy to apply, with tangible criteria that make immediate sense. Most importantly, mapping my contacts to these categories makes it very easy to see how to gauge what they mean, and what I likely mean for them.

This drives a strong case in favour of keeping your contact network streamlined. A welcome support of what I had earlier experimented with streamlining my LinkedIn network.

As chance would have it, my experience and this article were just two days apart, even as it took me until today (and a useful twit by @FrancineAllaire) to connect them.

How Do You Say “Freedom of Speech” in Social Media-ese?   Leave a comment

The Economist’s “Babbage” blog just posted a great introduction to a thoughtful Foreign Affairs feature by Clay Shirky on The Political Power of Social Media.

Time matters. Freedom of speech on the Internet before social media is different from of speech on the internet with social media. Freedom of speech before Wikileaks published quite a few confidential comments by members of diplomacies is different from the same after those comments were published.
Ask Mr. Shirky, who does point to Wikileaks as one of the places where valuable political conversation and coordination happens, likely before the recent highly visible wave of leaks.

Luckily, this coincidence fully supports Mr. Shirky’s very point: to determine how the Internet helps freedom and civil rights, and to help this process, focus on long-term (“environmental”) actions and effects, rather than short-term (“instrumental”) pressure to fight individual censorship acts such as tracking and punishing bloggers, or blocking access to international news.

Much better to support access to conversation than access to information: it allows long term mutual education and sharing, and it enables networked coordination, independent from hierarchies. Freedom of speech here is more about building an environment for civil organization and collaboration than individual tools. Conversation (“debate”) in these environments is what historically has shifted the balance of power between civil society and governments.

I find this notion a very effective simplifying tool to assess the value of media, including social digital media, for building freedom. Do check out the original article for much deeper and richer insight.

Update: for a likely more sobering view, see the Economist’s review of Evgeny Morozov’s book “The Net Delusion“. Based on the review, the book appears to support Mr. Shirky’s recommendation  mostly by highlighting how much the Internet can actually help authoritarian regimes track and crush opposers.

According to the review: <<“The internet”, Mr Morozov argues, “has provided so many cheap and easily available entertainment fixes to those living under authoritarianism that it has become considerably harder to get people to care about politics at all.”>> Perhaps even more importantly for how democratic governments and communities can contribute: <<Authoritarian governments are assumed to be clueless about the internet, but they often understand its political uses far better than their Western counterparts do, Mr Morozov suggests.>>

Nuovo Cowo Milano/Romolo: quando talento e coworking si uniscono, il risultato è un fantastico “rebelòt”!   Leave a comment

Nuovo Cowo Milano/Romolo: quando talento e coworking si uniscono, il risultato è un fantastico “rebelòt”!
Coworking: a valuable bricks-and-clicks, atoms-and-bits social networking and collaboration tool.
Looks like a must for any freelance, and food for thought for any gun that’s hired already.

Most importantly for alliances, coworking must be one of the ways to generate alliances among small businesses.
In turn, SMB alliance development can benefit this particular town and country very much, I believe.

Posted January 4, 2011 by Gianluca Marcellino in Alliances, Social Networking

Greetings for the New Year – and How Greetings Helped Turn Contact Management Into Social Networking   Leave a comment

I wish you the very best for 2011.
May your social networking and internet presence help you develop fulfilling acquaintances.

Here are some thoughts on this from my own experience. Thanks for any comments you may want to share.

New year greetings must have long been one of mankind’s heartwarming, feelgood rituals.
A ritual of immortality first of all – as in “Hey, I am still alive, what about you?”, and a ritual of  bonding – as in “Hi, I care about you, how do you care about me?”

Over the last couple of decades, computer-based personal contact management first, then email allowed us to manage meaningfully many hundreds of contacts – including their use for this very ritual.

This both increased the need for help in keeping context about those hundreds of contacts, and helped meet it. I believe this in turn was one of the key drivers for the birth of social networking itself.
Today, social networking is essentially the ultimate tool to grow both breadth and depth of our (virtual!) contacts network and, ultimately, become relatively well acquainted with so many people.
In terms of numbers, managed social networking can help establish meaningful relations and gradually grow acquaintance with thousands of people, if that is what you really want.

For me, keeping and building acquaintance is both a key tool of my trade – alliances – and a pleasure, if acquired somewhat later in life than for some of my friends. I have chosen relative depth over breadth, keeping hundreds of contacts at this time rather than thousands, and interacting with them relatively closely if seldom.

I find new year’s greetings invaluable for that rich, still broad contact management that grows acquaintance – social networking at its best.
It’s also a great way to start new conversations with old acquaintances.

In practice, I still exchange new year’s greetings by email and manually collect context and updates from these exchanges. I believe I will keep doing so until I find a way that I am comfortable with for basing all that context information on social networks.

How important may new year greetings be for your social networking?

How do new year greetings work in practice for you?

Posted December 30, 2010 by Gianluca Marcellino in Social Networking

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