One theme persistently comes up whenever I talk social media, either inside my workplace or outside. This is “culture change.” When talking about catalyzing adoption of social media within the enterprise, at some point, someone will predictably say something like, “the most important thing is to get the culture to change.” Framing social media adoption in these terms is basically a show-stopper, because it means you’ve trotted out a reassuring phrase that allows you to view yourself as a visionary, others as obdurate idiots, and gives you something abstract to blame when (not if) your initiative fails. I don’t have an alternate framing, a phrase to replace “culture change” because there isn’t one. “Culture change” is merely a zeroth-order framing that screams “some hard, context-specific thinking needs to be done here.” When you hear the phrase, you are hearing lazy thinking. The key is to start thinking, not to substitute a different lazy-thinking phrase. Here is how you can unclog the mental plumbing.
Here’s the short version: there is no such thing as culture change. The only process that can actually occur is Darwinian natural selection and displacement of a central culture by a marginal one within industry sectors and inside individual companies. The odds against this happening are astronomically high if a business is healthy (why mess with something that isn’t broken?). The odds improve slightly if the business is in some sort of strategic trouble and requires a new business model to survive. They only improve slightly because the case that needs to be made is a two part one. If the company is mulling shifting focus from manufacturing declining margins product X to manufacturing newbie product Y, you first have to argue that Y demands a different culture. Then you have to argue that social media catalyzes the right culture to be a manufacturer of Y. The only dead-certain way to clinch both arguments at once is to point to some upstart little disruptor in your industry that is growing rapidly and taking away marketshare, is selling Y and has a social media DNA.
I can’t tell you how to solve that complicated problem, since it is about industry specifics, competitive strategy and business model architecture. But it does help to stop the unproductive “culture change” train of thought in its tracks.
Five Ways to Get Out of the “Culture Change” Mindset
Have fun being Darwinian!
Venkatesh G. Rao writes a blog on business and innovation at www.ribbonfarm.com, and is a Web technology researcher at Xerox. The views expressed in this blog are his personal ones and do not represent the views of his employer.
Thought-provoking post — thanks for arguing the contrarian position.
I refer to culture change in terms of our social media initiative, but I hope I haven’t been using it in the negative ways you describe (perhaps, but I’ll have to give that more thought). What I mean when I talk about culture change is the positive changes in our culture that result from using our social media technology.
Still, you’ve given me plenty to think about, and thanks for that!
Good, holist post. I loath some of the the techno-centric fad-babble that’s being recycled from the first Internet bubble. Introducing a new solution (note “solution” – not technologies) into a complex ecosystem of work, humans, technology, etc. has many, many dependencies. To pin the adoption on any one issue is a joke. There’s a lot of good thinking that’s coming out the E2.0 moment, but let’s not forget the hard-learned lessons of the past.
You are clearly responding to some very specific uses of the term “culture change,” and it would be usefull for you to more clearly bracket yoru analysis within a cited situation.
Then you claim that culture change doesn’t exist, you cite Kuhn and “paradigm shifts,” but fail to even define the term “culture”. Geetz’s widely used definition of culture as a shared “system of meaning” gives the lie to the idea that cultures are chosen rather than developed.
I understand that your point about avoiding the “victim mentality” is useful. I just think you confuse the issue and undermine your argument by using the theory of culture as your lever.
I didn’t define the term because this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive scholarly treatment with orderly argumentation or thick description. It is a thumbnail sketch on a blog, and there is enough consistency in the use of the term ‘culture change’ in the context of enterprise 2.0 conversations (the default bracket on this site) that I didn’t think it would add much value to belabor a definition overtly.
I personally do think of culture in terms of Geertz’ definition (a chapter of the book I am writing is titled ‘Deep Play’ after his Balinese cockfight article), but there is a tradeoff between satisfying those who want the quick ‘n dirty sketch of the argument, and those who want the journal paper version. People already tell me my blogs are too long :)
I don’t see though, how a reference to Kuhn undermines the argument. The broad point I am making is ‘displacement is the more important dynamic, not transformation’
If its not the term “culture shift” that we can use, we can use and I do use, Tipping Point and eventualism. As an eventualist, I can say that over time the desired result or a new desired result will emerge and there the tipping point will be. It is all a fad, everything. Email, txt, skype, wiki, blog. Something else comes along and we jump. Some jump faster than others, but the tipping points for these citizen circles vary at the speed of the circle you are in.
I’m a relative newbie in this space, and I advocate for E2.0 at work. I am guilty of the culture change argument, so I’ll bet rethinking some of my positioning. I struggle with some barriers to adoption that I don’t know how to qualify except as corporate culture. Such as:
Transparency – Willingness to let other people see what you are working on –
Beta-sharing – Publishing unfinished work out to allow commenting/editing by anyone interested, without concern for criticism.
Recognition – If I allow too much input into my work, it’s not mine anymore and I don’t get the credit.
Do I just wait for the Darwinian process to run its course?
Interesting point Mark. I think when putting people on a spectrum on these attributes (transparency, beta-sharing, recognition), you have to separate out 3 reasons for these:
a) Fundamental personality variations in human nature (some are just more secretive than others, and would be on that end of the spectrum whether it is 2009, 1492 or 2200).
b) Situational adaptive behavior: they behave this way because that is what has succeeded in the past. To get this to change, you have to treat people as economically rational players, and change incentives, not “culture.” The fear of losing credit and having ideas stolen isn’t imaginary. It is real, and it has to be addressed in real ways!
c) Misattribution of success: people have been successful in the past behaving the way they have and WRONGLY (i.e. irrationally) attribute the success to their transparency/beta/credit tactics. Here you need to re-educate them to show that they succeeded DESPITE their maladaptive behaviors, not because.
The bottomline: a) cannot be changed, b) can only be affected by economic levers, not cultural ones (though the economics need not be $ economics; it can be “whuffie” economics) and c) cannot be attempted by random champions of blogging. It is a deep kind of influence that will take a therapist or professional coach.
Okay, you got me. This was an April Fool’s post, right?
Consistently, culture remains the issue, in my experience on Enterprise 2.0 adoption. And it’s not because I’m smart (visionary) and the clients are dumb and don’t get it. In fact, I could be accused of having an overwhelming grasp on the obvious.
The 2.0 philosophies of openness, sharing, flattened hierarchies, emergent outcomes, transparency and unfettered collaboration are anathema to nearly 100% of the large organizations I’ve encountered in my zeal to evangelize e2.0.
Realistic roadblocks are presented by management with invested power/influence, governance (regulation) and legal concerns, and yes, the 9x factor that McAfee pointed out early on, which you’ve also alluded to. I do agree with you regarding the user experience and likelihood of adoption, however.
A command and control corporate culture that spawns fear, protectionism, and paranoia will never be a good candidate for e2.0. When we say it’s more about the people than the technology, this is what we’re referring to. The technology is liberating, but unless every vested member in the org chart is willing to be freed from industrial age convention, it’s unlikely change will come soon. These are corporate culture issues and they’re pervasive in the adoption story. I covered this in a post about a year ago on ITSinsider. http://bit.ly/1oK7zx
I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Although I’m guilty of making the culture change argument, I’ve always felt like it was a cop out. As opposed to using ambiguous and meaningless terms, we would be better off developing specific mitigation strategies to deal with our specific organizational risks. In some cases there will be no choice except to acknowledge and accept the risk. In others, we will be able to make small, yet meaningful adjustments that may help move the organization toward a tipping point. In the end, the cream will rise to the top. Go Darwin!
I see where you’re going with this, but I’m strongly inclined to agree with Susan (and not just because we’re friends).
You’ve chosen to misframe a number of factors that are usually argued as cultural elements – management mindset, archival instinct, for example. Most of your other arguments include similar aspects.
In every effort I’ve been involved with, the major task(s) that we’ve had to succeed at to make the Enterprise 2.0 aspects work were the “hearts and minds” ones. Behavioral change, habit shift, new ways of doing things, acceptance of the new over the old. If these things aren’t culture change, I’m not sure what is.
Interesting characterization Stephen. One person’s “misframing” is another person’s “reframing.”
If you have succeeded via the “change hearts and minds” approach, you have perfected an exceptionally effective and scalable form of mass psychotherapy, and your skills are being wasted in IT systems evangelism :)
In my experience, “changing hearts and minds” is not only a very slow “1 at a time” process that could never finish in the time frames demanded by technological change, it is also far from sufficient. There are also elements of “culture” that are codified and embedded in high inertia systems and processes that represent externalized mental models (often belonging to people dead and gone and thus immune to influence, and stewarded by lesser folks who lack the talent to “reload” the externalized mental models back into their heads to change them).
Find the choir, fuel it, work on a very few key fence sitters in a very limited ‘change hearts and minds’ process, let the other fence-sitters bide their time (they don’t need to be changed, they just need to be given time in proportion to their risk aversion), and let the laggards be. Just wait them out. That’s the only approach that I’ve seen working. And so few minds/hearts are being changed in the process that it cannot be called ‘culture change’ but at best ‘power shift’ among different populations of people.
I cannot resist another point: even in the few cases you DO try to change hearts and minds, you do not work directly through rhetoric (logos, ethos, pathos). You work through real incentives, making it more economics than culture. As a certain famous person remarked, “when you’ve got ‘em by a certain body part, their hearts and minds will follow.”
I am not recommending that sort of manipulative mindset based on threats, carrots and sticks, but generally thinking in terms of economics and power relations rather than culture and beliefs.
But of course, it is evil to talk of the word “power,” isn’t it? Topic for next polemic: why openness, collaboration and networks replacing hierarchies aren’t about empowerment, but actually about making power dynamics more efficient.
What is “culture”, first, I think is the real question? Whether in a company or a country, it is common sets of styles, beliefs, and understandings, which form the basis of peoples ways and trust between two individuals or many individuals in the organization or community.
That said, when transparency is allowed and shown from the top leaders of those “tribes”, without fear of repercussions in expressing one’s ideas for improvements and change in the organization, when the upper management ALSO contributes openly in collaboration, without fear of humility, others join in. Simply. The leaders set the example, they allow change, they encourage change, they steer the “culture change”.
Truly open, flexible and non-fearful internal leaders like this steer and encourage trust and innovative collaboration *with openness by example* – from the bottom to the top and everything in between in their corps.
Over time, the results experienced because of this shift to open styles is INDEED a culture change, for without it, it is business as usual, despite whether the business is doing well or not.
Is it easy? Of course not – these types of leaders are not common, though fortunately with Web 2.0 technologies, becoming more common.
Regardless, I am positive it is worth it *at the bottom line* for corps that embrace these ways.
Venkat, I think your position is growing on me a touch. :)
Although I think we’ll continue to disagree that our positions on culture are the same, viewed from two different (but possibly equally valid) perspectives.
We would appear to deal with the same issues. I call it culture and have had similar experiences to you – small changes, picking your battles and allies. I see where you’re headed with the power shift concept. I still think that’s culture change – a flattening of management structure and acceptance of more open discourse is arguably exactly that.
I’m very much for carrot economics in these shifts. Give those involved something to move to that is highly desirable. Using stick approaches will get you rapidly nowhere.
I think talk of power – in the right context – is very much okay. Particularly when we discuss cultural aspects of deference to and acceptance of power accorded by one of the several valid mechanisms.
I now wish I could get to the conference in June. We could have a great conversation over lunch! Unfortunately, I think I’ve already wiped any further (non-client related) travel options for this year.
Great thought provoking post.
Obviously adoption of social tools is easier when you have a top-down sharing type culture. I posted about hoarding vs sharing http://libraryclips.blogsome.com/2008/05/12/is-knowledge-hoarding-all-about-your-pay-cheque/
And if you haven’t got this, you can’t as you say force a culture, it’s something that happens when a disputer enters the ecosystem http://johntropea.tumblr.com/post/93302217/when-patterns-are-broken-new-worlds-emerge
The perfect disrupter or adoption method or positive viral infection to inject into an organisation is by finding tech savvy and willing people to use these social tools (yr reference to the choir). Hopefully these people will infect others.
People truly understand the benefits, but then they go back to their desks and forget about it. Instead we need peer to peer influence. I’m more inclined to try something new if someone I trust is doing it.
I like what you say here about the momentum and power shift “let the other fence-sitters bide their time (they don’t need to be changed, they just need to be given time in proportion to their risk aversion), and let the laggards be. Just wait them out. That’s the only approach that I’ve seen working. And so few minds/hearts are being changed in the process that it cannot be called ‘culture change’ but at best ‘power shift’ among different populations of people.”
The bonus of a social tool environment is that it self regulates and self-recognises. Your incentive and recognition comes from your participation (people linking and commenting to you spur you on, you become known…if you speak crap no-one subscribes, links or comments to you).
The deal here is do you work for your boss, or for the organisation at large. My boss wants me to spend time on deliverables he is responsible for, not helping others. By participating I become more adaptable, grow my skills, learn, which I can bring back to my tasks, so my boss ought to be happy I’m more effective.
I think this mindset from industrial time-tracking to networked age will take time to slowly change. But it does help with some top-down help of things like 10% of time can be spent conversing with the business at large. This helps the even out the the issue of senior managers saying share share share (you work for me), but you don’t have the time as your middle manager is saying results results results (you work for me).
+1 to everything Venkat is saying here. Absolutely correct — for extremely large, established enterprises. As long as one includes that constraint, frankly, any other conclusion is specious.
One of my favourite anecdotes from last year’s E2.0 conference is this: at the end of the conference, there was a “town hall” meeting to gather feedback. I was attending the conference with some half dozen people from my company, which specialises (almost to the point of exclusivity) on serving the needs of Really, Really Gigantic Enterprises ™. Just prior to the town hall meeting, we had shared a coffee, and been grumbling amongst ourselves that the overall conference had too much of a small to mid-sized business focus — not enough material relevant to our about Really, Really Gigantic Enterprises ™. I went into the town hall meeting, therefore, armed with this feedback. Before I could open my mouth, however, a young lady stood up and said, “The conference has been focused too much on stuff for large enterprises. There hasn’t been enough for small to mid-sized businesses”. I confess I burst out laughing (not too loudly, I hope).
The punch line here is: the meaning of “enterprise” in this buzzword is fuzzy. Without some precision with regard to it, we often talk past one another.
When one of you wild-eyed hippies, therefore, begins telling me about your latest success story — how you effected cultural change, fought the good fight, and changed hearts and minds — the first question I will typically ask you is “How big? How large was the organisation? How much money does it make?” And when you answer me, more often than not, I will struggle (out of a sense of etiquette) not to laugh at you. This is a simple exercise in mathematics — the odds of successfully doing what you assert must be done is a function of scale.
In Really, Really Gigantic Enterprises ™ — a place, in my experience, where the majority of you wild-eyed hippies have rarely been — everything Venkat says here is spot on. And you need to acknowledge that, if you want us to listen to anything you have to say, frankly.
Here’s a scenario: let’s take a gigantic IT services firm, one with three letters as its corporate name (that matches at least 3 different companies I can think of off the top of my head). You come in, take a look around, and say, “Dude! This is awful! Your corporation is a collection of dysfunctional fiefdoms, completely incapable of communicating with one another. Nobody knows about anyone else — certainly not anyone outside of their silo / fiefdom — so they also don’t know about anyone else’s work. Wheels are getting re-invented at an alarming rate. Processes assume Tayloristic approaches and are not only dehumanising, they aren’t working! Everywhere I look, I see inefficiency, waste, and the brutal Unterdrueckung of the worker! This company is completely fucked — you are doomed!” And the CFO turns to you and says, “Doomed? My share price is stable, and has thus far weathered the worst economic downturn in close to a century fairly well. I’m still turning a profit, revenues are up, and the order pipeline is jammed to overflowing. WTF are you talking about, you wild-eyed hippie?”
That you are both correct is irrelevant. What *is* relevant is that you are examining the same situation through different lenses — different perspectives, based on different value systems. So the question then becomes: which value system, in this scenario, has the greater weight? That’s the one that needs to serve as the basis for any further discussion, and it’s the only one that can affect real change (if any).
I have had this conversation any number of times. At this point in it, my wild-eyed hippie conversational partner then often says, “Well, that may be true, but then the company really is doomed. Some more nimble, smaller organisation *will* assign more weight to my value system, that will prove an overwhelming competitive advantage, and they will replace the Really, Really Gigantic Enterprise ™, which will die.” To which I then can now shrug, and say, “Ah, I see. IOW, natural selection, rather than ‘culture change’. IOW, you have just made Venkat’s point. Excellent.”
Yes, I was talking about large enterprises. I guess I never really thought the term ‘small enterprise’ mapped to anything, and this IS the e2.0 blog :)
Thanks for the additional points you’ve brought into the discussion Mark.
I don’t know about Really Really Gigantic, but I’d say the tipping point into the sort of situation I had in mind probably happens with some combination of >10,000 employees and/or >1 Billion revenue and/or more than 20 years old.
Did Marky Mark just use the F word? Wow. We are passionate about this aren’t we? And next time, no laughing at e2.0. :-)
I think I need to pick this convo/thread up on RWW.
Also, Mr. Marky (with the mind-dumbing, amazing playlist on Last.fm), your employer’s culture has been an asset to the company in the past. If not for such a strong culture, you’d probably be working for CA right now (or maybe not for either). CSC’s culture was the primary deterrent that tipped investor confidence against a hostile takeover from CA in the 90s. http://bit.ly/8E3u
Also, don’t be raggin’ on the giant IT services firms. Many of them have an uncanny ability to make $ and it’s measured in billions vs. the thousands/millions in losses we see in venture-backed 2.0 startups. Like most of their enterprise customers, they place bets, but with more of an eye toward calculated risk vs. a gamble. They’ll get this. Just hang on to your ponytail.
And please come back next year, if even to rabble-rouse and giggle.
Ha! You and I not laughing is about as likely as George Thorogood being the next CEO of A.I.G., Madame Susan. ;)
But seriously, Venkat’s got it right. “Culture change”, in the sense you and Trib mean it, is only possible at a certain scale. Beyond that scale, what remains possible is changing sub-cultures — pockets of the larger organisation. Whether or not, and to what extent that has any effect at all on the larger organisation is entirely context dependent.
Worse than that, lots of people — either dumber or less honest than you or Trib — use the term in precisely the sense that Venakt starts off his post with. And those people piss me off, yes. That’s because they put the whole concept at risk — they’re selling snake oil, and their existence threatens to obscure the first serious alternative to the evils of Taylorism to emerge in my lifetime. You bet — that riles me up.
You know me — I’m the first to pick up a torch and a pitchfork and storm the bastions of E1.0. In the circles that I normally move in, *I* am the wild-eyed hippie. But increasingly, as the hype wave around the E2.0 buzzword accelerates, I find my efforts undermined by the snake oil sellers. Worse, as some of the early mover vendors get established, and begin to become addicted to the crack-cocaine of a steady revenue stream and rising share prices, *they* begin to mutate into snake oil sellers.
These are serious problems. They aren’t new (in nature), and old folk like me sigh in weary recognition of them. But by that same token, old folk like me also know what to do about them — and the tactics of counter-attack include calling a spade a spade.
“Culture change” is a meaningless, and counter-productive buzzword in the context of Really, Really Gigantic Enterprises ™.
And really, seriously — beyond a certain point, the debate is a waste of time, anyway. Those of us who really believe in this stuff have better things to do — we need keep building the infrastructure for the cloudworker economy, to take a page out of Venkat’s writings elsewhere. Something that is quite feasible by changing small pockets of Really, Really Gigantic Enterprises ™ — and exposing those changes to the cloud. But calling that “culture change” is an abuse of the English language — and ultimately, dishonest.
You’ve raised “Taylorism” a couple of times. Dunno if you’ve seen my piece about that: Allenism, Taylorism and the Day I rode the Thundercloud.
It is framed around GTD as the antithesis of Taylorism-inspired management philosophies.
Like this post, that one attracted quite a lot of commentary (though not as polarized). The same thing happened when I did my 2-part “social media vs. KM” posts on this site.
Somehow, on this topic, a lot of interesting debate seems to happen whenever I avoid the goody-two-shoes win-win framing, and go for the zero-sum jugular framing.Since I do try to avoid baiting-for-the-sake-of-traffic, this tells me there is genuinely some deadwood to be burned down here; a legitimate need for conflict and winner-take-all on some fronts, rather than compromise. “Culture change” most broadly, is a conflict-avoidance framing.
There are at least 5 things going on here: a) the periphery-victimhood/self-other discourse within the “management 2.0″ world b) the genuine structural issue of small scale vs. large scale operations (as well as s/w and non s/w industries) c) unwillingness to let pragmatism influence vision d) Difficulty of separating value debates (openness/collaboration/leaderlessness) from operational issues, since the two have the “medium is the message” connection and e) conflict avoidance, which is why it is “wild-eyed hippie” rather than “wild-eyed anarchist.”
Not that I am recommending anarchism and coup d’etats.
Definitely a whole lot to explore, and as a meta-comment, I agree partly with your idea that one part of that is design and synthesis (where my cloudworker series hopefully contributes). But the other part is more pitchfork-armed open debate where the niceties of consensus-seeking discourse don’t steer us away from asking tough questions.
One big provocative topic I’ve been dancing around is: can the financial mess be partly attributed to the failings of Taylorism? Is the “2.0 would have prevented this” counterfactual sound?
Now this gets really interesting. The number of conversations I had last year with Mark and others whose experience is in vast enterprises (and it’s interesting now, Venkat, that you’ve clarified the bounds of your argument with those numbers, because at that scale, what you’re saying starts to make more sense).
My work is mostly in small to medium (certainly less than 10K staff) organisations, where you arguably can address “culture” as something attributable to the entire group.
I’m now kicking myself even more that I can’t make the trip again this year. I had dinner or lunch with Mark almost every day and they were extremely stimulating times. Indeed, it was over our views on the failings of Taylorism that we came together. So, Venkat, yes, I look forward to your post on the markets and Taylorism. I think we’ll agree on that one!
Damn it all.
Dunno if I’ll be able to make it to E 2.0, but if I do, I’d certainly like to discuss this more (Hey, Steve Wylie, how about a panel on this?).
While I do bound my argument to the 10K plus in its specifics (HR, petty bureaucrats and other story details), even smaller organizations have similar dynamics mutatis mutandis. The banishment/exile of culturally-alien DNA just happens a lot quicker. There is an awesome worked example at the end of Gareth Morgan’s “Images of Organization” in which the “founder” culture of a hypothetical small ad agency gets displaced by a newbie culture, resulting in a split. In his example, both are on the ‘soft’ end of the spectrum, which should warn us NOT to just assume that there are 2. Arbitrary levels of splitting is possible. Apache license culture is different from GPL. Apple culture is different from Google.
Actually, Venkat, part of what motivated me to respond was that I don’t think that the core commenters here *are* all that polarised. Certainly, I felt I knew Trib and Susan well enough to suspect that they would understand and agree with your argument. All it needed was a wee bit more precision — the clarification / constraint about the size of the “culture” in play. We’ll have to wait for Susan to weigh in on her swanky new channel at RWW to see what she now thinks, I suppose, but certainly Trib’s evolving comments give me the feeling that I was right about that, at least.
Further: I agree with you completely about the need — on occasion — for some healthy conflict. Shying away from that is not something associated with my brand, in general. ;)
@Trib: agreed about both dinner and conversations. I dunno if I will make it to Boston this year either, but if I do, you (and Luis Suarez, Susan, Lee Bryant and a few others) will be a hard act to follow. :)
Off to read about Taylorism and thunderclouds…
Yeah, I figured you guys knew each other. Kinda odd, feeling like ‘new guy’ in the comments section to my own post :). I don’t read RWW very regularly, so nice to meet you guys.
Thanks for the stimulating post and follow-up conversation. You are right about the constraining nature of a blog post. Reading the conversation has clarified a lot for me that I did not understand in your initial post. Probably because I reside outside the E2.0 culture :)
My background involves conducting research in qualitative data analysis software (I’m married to an anthropologist). As a result, I still think that much of the debate here stems from an imprecise definition of culture. However, I now understand why (within your narrowly defined constraints) this particular theoretical lever is useful in addressing the issue of E2.0 adoption.
I look forward to reading your treatment of Geertz.
@Dan … I have had a lot of stimulating interactions with anthropologists and the like. I can speak po-mo fluently enough to join in those conversations, but one thing I notice is that these tend to be conceptual echo chambers. Academic definitions that stand up to rigorous deconstruction and reconstruction with some intent intact are one thing, but people tend to operate with very different rough ‘n ready and highly problematic operational mental models.
What makes it hard to drive popular discourses to more nuanced and rarefied places is only partly the time/patience required to effectively problematize something. The big reason is that popular definitions tend to be roughly right for a practically useful scope, and the marginal value of a refined set of concepts is low until you tease out very subtle examples.
Point being, I follow the advice of a friend of mine who said I was being too academic. Paraphrasing: “round off gray assertions to the nearest roughly true black or white one.” The reason this works in blogging is that the comments section is where you tease out the nuances if you need to.
Like we just did :)
Venkat – I must give you praise as a provocateur. After our dust-up on the “war” between KM and social media, I decided to set this one out. It pushed my buttons even more and had an even longer list of concepts (mis-concepts?) to respond to, but client work took precedence. Hats off to Stephen and Susan for joining in the rebuttal. (or was Susan right and this was just a April Fool’s joke? ;o)
Jeff: perhaps I am really not as much of an agent provocateur as you think, and more of a diplomat/centrist, reaching across the aisle?
Do you seriously believe something could appear to one group of people as an April Fool’s joke and another group resonates enthusiastically and concludes (to quote Mark), “any other conclusion is specious”? That there is nothing debate-worthy here? I am pretty egoistic, but even I don’t kid myself that I can pull a fast one on smart people that easily. So no, I am not merely pushing buttons or stupidly/perversely mis-framing things.
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