Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DevLearn ‘09 Keynote: Andrew McAfee #dl09

Wednesday morning.  Bright and early here in cloudy - but balmy to my east coast sensibilities - San Jose.

Brent Schlenker – here we are pushing the future of e-learning!   Brent in his usual enthusiastic tone welcomes us and runs through the business…

Andrew McAfee

New book out: Enterprise 2.0: The State of an Art


Twitter: @amcafee

Blogging for 3 1/2 years.

#30 on the list of most influentital list of folks in IT.  #1 was Mark Zuckerberg founder of facebook).

  • Where we are with enterprise 2.0?  The state of an art.
  • Challenges to core assumptions: how work gets done, how people get on with each other.
  • Most recent version of tips or rules of the world – how you succeed in deploying the new tech kit.

Definition: “Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms by organizations in pursuit of their goals.”

Line managers and decision makers aren’t interested in the tech side – they want to know what the use case is and that it addresses business challenges and opps. 

McAfee talks about how tech is being used.


“Where there’s no librarian and no one’s in charge.”

“The internet is the world’s largest library, but all of the books are on the floor.”  -- that was Web 1.0.  But in Web 2.0, we can now find what we need – fantastic card catalogue (Google’s page rank algorithm).

Are your Intranets as easy to use and navigate as the intranet?


McAfee tells story of getting stuck in his call.  Tweeted for help, within 5 minutes got 16 responses and he got the car to start!

“If we make it easy to help each other, there’s a surprising willingness out there to do that.”

More productive approach: letting the people help each other out (rather than build some crazy system that tries to answer questions for you)

People envision nightmares of letting the doors open to letting people interact with each other. But this doesn’t happen. McAfee has asked around and the worst actual story is that someone posted an ad for their used car.  Whatever.

Stop obsessing about the risks.  People are hardwired (in general) to not be nasty to each other). 

Trolls are popular on internet because anonymity is possible.  With the enterprise, within the firewall, anonymity isn’t there. 

Lower the barriers to altruism.  It’s easy to tweet, making it easy to help people out!

Process. Process can impede. 

For years, we’ve carried around implicit assumptions about how to guarantee good outcomes: concentrate on the process.

Beware of the ‘one best way’. 

Wikipedia shows us the value of getting out of the way.

Ask “how much workflow is necessary?”

Use tools that let structure appear.

Create an environment that is structure free, hierarchy free and (something else) free. 


Spin off of Eli Lilly – Innocentive (company name).  Merck lab puts up the problem statement.  Anyone from around the world can download that problem statement.  80,000 people have signed up for an account.  you download a problem statement and then upload your solution.  Merck looks at the problem.  If you solve the problem, you get $$ bonus. 

30% of problems were solved.  Diversity of scientific interests among people who looked at it – this increased the likelihood that a problem was going to be solved.  With enough eyeballs, all bugs are shelved.

Question Credentialism.

Instead look at the expertise; look at contributions rather than credentials.  This is common in open source community.  Can you solve this problem?

Build communities that people want to join – that are interesting.

Thanks.  I'm in!  Finally....

Is a crowd wise? YES!

Gives an example of prediction market results for predicting US electoral college results in the last election.  Astoundingly accurate!

“Democracy is the worst possible system, aside from all the other ones we’ve tried.” ~Winston Churchill

Crowds can be very wise. Enable peer review.

Experiment with collective intelligence.  These are low cost tools.

Why aren’t prediction markets more popular?  They have been demonstrated to work.

Benefits of 2.0 Toolkit

Before 9/11 – pockets of alarm going off all over the place, but no one could connect the dots.  The massive failure of the community --

In the intelligence community – the benefits of the intellipedia article was not that it was the best source of info but rather: “Because of the intellipedia article on Taliban and Afghanistan, I now know someone who analyzes satellite imagery and she really knows her stuff and I picked up the phone and called her.  I now know of her existence.  I never would have found her otherwise.”

Better collaboration is not the only goal.  The benefit of 2.0 toolkit is now you know who you should be collaborating  with.

“Narrate your work.” Blogs and other web 2.0 tools let you narrate your work – make it easy for people to interconnect.  Help people find you.


Results of a McKinsey study about web 2.0 tools:

  • Access to knowledge 68%
  • Access to internal experts 43%
  • Employee satisfaction 35%
  • increasing innovation 25%
  • increasing customer satisfaction 43%

Sitting this one out (web 2.0) is a bad idea!

Look at technology with fresh eyes.

We’re not going back to business as usual. 

Business will have huge technology component to them.

How NOT to make this happen (turn around the tip sheet) – how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

  • Declare war on the enterprise – instead organize as a hive mind.
    Don’t go after the hierarchy!  That’s a BAD sales strategy…also it’s wrong.  Orgs do need structure and hierarchy.
  • Allow walled gardens to flourish – set up different group environments for every different group that wants them.
    If set up unlinked environments, you don’t get that cross pollination.  Enable large, wide-scale harvesting of the good stuff.
  • Accentuate the negativePoint out the negative, but change our tone and point out the great stuff that happens when we deploy this stuff.
  • Try to replace email.   Instead, turn on technologies that do things that email can’t do.  Microblogging scratches an itch that email can’t scratch.  Who sends an email to all of their colleagues when they have a question?  But that’s ok with Twitter!
  • Fall in love with features.  People want what works.  Start out with something really simple.  Add complexity down the line – people fall in love with the iPhone, Gmail, etc. because easy to use.
  • Overuse the word “social”  -- this word is not helpful.  It has neutral to negative connotations for most business types.  Executives don’t want to make business more social.  They want to make it more agile, lean, productive, etc.  (Here’s what most business execs think of when hear “social”: flashes up the classic Woodstock images of hugging hippies with bodies strewn on the lawn…) 

Parting Words:

“The world of the future will be an even more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.”

Norbert Weiner, 1954


colleen said...

How did you capture all this in real time? Amazingly accurate service to all who couldn't be here, and those of us with oral attention span of 10-year olds. Thank you.

jay said...

Hold it. Andy was #30, Zuckerman #31. Not #1. That's why Andy said the pollsters had to be loony.