Three Important Business Conversations in 2010 You May Have Missed

Every year, I meet people doing really good work. In some cases, ground breaking work.

And I like to bring those conversations here so you can share in the learning. Which is the idea part of this blog. Plus make new connections.


Docsearls First off, I was excited to have the opportunity for a follow up with Doc Searls: The Cluetrain Manifesto, 10 years later. During our conversation he offered some perspective. From the interview:

The Industrial Age is nearly two centuries old, and isn't ending. Over that time we have become very good at selling. The flywheels in the selling machine are huge. So far the Net has offered to sellers countless ways to improve what they're already doing. That's why "the automation people" appear to be more successful than "the conversation people." They've been at it longer, and the Net gives them more ways to get better at what they already do.

The "conversation people" also have two problems. One is that they work for the sell side. This subordinates their work to sell-side systems, imperatives and defaults. The other is that their tools are inadequate.

And from his writing Where Markets are Not Conversations. His word of advice? Persevere.


Donna Fenn Then, I was lucky to meet Donna Fenn in person after coming across her book on Gen Y Upstarts. She turns the myth about a detached and entitled Gen Y on its head and describes how they are starting companies at an unprecedented rate, and their approach to business is unlike anything you’ve seen.

A highlight from the interview:

I always say that collaboration is the most important theme in the book and yes, I do find it more pronounced among GenY entrepreneurs.

This is a very team-driven generation. They grew up with pee wee soccer, group projects at school, group activities after school, and then they spearheaded the social networking phenomenon so that even when they were alone, they weren’t alone!

So I think that while they are very driven, they are also extraordinarily comfortable in cooperative environments. They aren’t afraid to ask for help – they all seem to have mentors and they tend to seek out groups of other young entrepreneurs for networking.

They share their ideas fearlessly; they’ll run the risk of being copied because they feel that if they don’t tell people what they’re doing, they won’t get the advice and counsel they need to be successful.

And, by the way, if an idea is that easily copied, maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all! It’s a pretty mature attitude, I think.

They also had entrepreneurial role models. He word of advice? Sunscreen.


Kristina-halvorson More recently, we talked about content strategy with Kristina Halvorson. This post got a lot of attention and link love. And well deserved, because she does good work and her energy is infectious. The best advice from the interview:

before you take another step, do a serious reality check about your content products and people. If you don’t know where you are now, you can’t make a map to get to where you want to go. Having all this information provides context for making smarter, more informed decisions about what to prioritize. You’ll stop spinning your wheels or just trying out random tactics to “see what works.” That’s what it takes to create a real strategy.

Making a serious investment in planning pays off. I didn't ask her what her one word of advice is. Although I could guess it might be: start now.


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0 responses to “Three Important Business Conversations in 2010 You May Have Missed”

  1. Thanks for highlighting these conversations, Valeria.
    I heard David Weinberger speak at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010, where like Doc Searls he very memorably said,”Not All Conversations Are Markets.”
    In the keynote, he reminded us that conversation on the Net is messy, running the full gamut of human experience.
    At its best, I believe these conversations
    have the potential to harness not just the best in business, but also the best in the human spirit. And the inverse is true as well.
    It does amaze me a bit at the way so many folks accept the best parts of the Social Web, especially its immediacy & convenience, without questioning the not so positive automation parts, not least of all the intrusion on privacy & encroachment of rights which in any other setting would be unacceptable.
    It’s as if, as your post points out, we accept etiquette on the Web that would not be tolerated in any other “real life” situation. Why is that?
    I am encouraged that thought leaders like Doc Searls and yourself take the time to highlight and question these practices. I’m grateful for the “conversation” people, and what’s at stake, without them.

  2. My hunch and observation is laziness. Eagerness to partake of the advantages without being too informed — or concerned — with potential or real trade offs. I started doing an experiment myself. Spending less time on Twitter, where things move too fast, and people often are more into their own head than in the conversation — unless it’s about them.
    From a more detached place, the whining and calls for attention masked as lack of respect for the work of others, or lack of understanding that not everyone is at the same experiential and cognitive level, for example is tiresome.
    Which is one of the reasons I continue to choose the long form of blogging over any other life stream or real time or flavor of the day term tool to connect when face to face is not an option.
    I plan to uncover more hidden gems in 2011. We need to hear from more voices.

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