Sunday, February 05, 2006
There has been a lot said about Naked Conversations on the Web this past two weeks. Check Technorati’s tag search on naked conversationsfor the latest list. I was at the launch party two weeks back - it was quite a ball, thrown at home of the Dillows, who are Bill Gates’ neighbors in Medina, WA. There was a super view of Lake Washington from their patio. Since then it has taken my eight days of bus commuting to read the book cover-to-cover. It would be easy just to say, it’s a great book and beautiful written. It is a page turner. But I’d rather add something to the conversation…
The big takeaway for me from this book, isn’t the excellent free flowing writing, but the idea that business blogging is raising, what Francis Fukuyama would call, the social capital of trust across the World. Business blogging is raising expectations that businesses should be more transparent and more honest. The nature of search engines and their preference for blogs and the customer’s preference to trust blogs more than anonymous reviews on e-commerce sites, fuels that growth in expectations. Companies that get naked will reap the benefits in increased business and they will pull share from their competitors who don’t.
My second takeaway is that business blogging adoption follows a pattern that might be expected from what Fukuyama outlined in Trust with the exception of France and Germany. Fukuyama portrayed France as a low trust society full of command and control organizations. He analyzed the “demographics” of French companies and described them as a saddle distribution - lots of small family owned businesses and lots of very large (usually) government owned command and control businesses. As a result of the command and control culture that the French are used to, Fukuyama suggested that entrepreneurial spirit is lacking, their is dearth of new medium-sized businesses and that what he called spontaneous sociability (and self-organization) were not popular in France. However, the evidence presented by Scoble and Israel suggests that business blogging is bucking the trend. I wonder why? There is probably a good Ph.D. in the answer to this question. Equally Germany is an anomaly. Fukuyama classifies Germany as the country most like Japan. Germany is a high trust society. Germany has a large Japanese population and several Japanese people I know have confirmed that they like Germany and enjoyed living there. However, Germany has been slow to adopt business blogging. Precisely the opposite of what Fukuyama’s work would predict.
My third takeaway is that business blogging will contribute to the flattening of the corporation and the change to a self-organizing culture of empowerment and delegation. The old command and control hierarchy is history. Business blogging may be the driver to finally enable what Tom Peters has been saying since the early Eighties. BTW. Peters wrote the foreword. [Nice coo guys!]
My final takeaway is somewhat speculation. Will countries, that are not culturally disposed to business blogging, suffer economically because their businesses do not engender sufficient trust in the marketplace and consequently lose market share to more naked competitors? If this is the case then blogging will have truly changed the World.Technorati Tags: Robert+Scoble, Naked+Conversations, Shel+Israel, Tom+Peters, Trust, Francis+Fukuyama