Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ross Mayfield's talk at PARC available as video stream

The PARC Forum Speaker Series called 'Going Beyond Web2.0' that ASC organized will continue to release video recordings of the talks at:
The first talk by Ross Mayfield was an entertaining talk about how Web2.0 is changing the way people think about enterprise software:
Social Software is made of people, and it is often about how the software needs to get of the way. Ross makes the point that much of Web2.0 is about bottom-up processes, and about the augmentation of the groups rather than automation of workflows. Indeed, he says that the average knowledge worker isn't to spend time to perform workflows, but actually dealing with exceptions in the workflow. More importantly, workers add their value by dealing with these exceptions.

View Ross' talk here.

Ross' talk plucked some patterns out of the current movement in Enterprise2.0 software. He said that one way to look at the current Web2.0 and Enterprise2.0 movement is to notice that these systems are all made of people, and it is important for the software to enable users to connect with each other and just get out of the way. The point here is to augment the people, not to automate them.

Indeed, one of the intriguing point he made is that "the average knowledge worker doesn't spend time to perform workflows, but actually to deal with exceptions." Indeed, much of new communication software and infrastructure enable a kind of emerging culture to occur. For example, when email was introduced to enterprises, it enabled a new kind of private small group communication and gradually developed its own culture---the appropriateness of topics and the amount of formality and pitfalls.

Another pattern he noted was that there is "abundant desire to share information", and that "Social goods are created when the means of production and/or distribution is broadly available". Ross mentioned the example of Craig's List, which was a community that was build bottom-up that eventually became a disruptive force in classified ad market. What's interesting about Craig's List is that it did this by sharing the control of what to publish with the end-user.

An interesting pattern here is that "to get the benefits of sharing control and being open, you have to move towards transparency". This obviously connects with our research on WikiDashboard, which enables a kind of social transparency in Wikis.

If you want to watch Ross' talk, I recently also uploaded Ross' talk to Google video:

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