The Angry VP And The Art Of Enterprise 2.0 - InformationWeek

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5/4/2011
11:29 AM
Venkatesh Rao
Venkatesh Rao
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The Angry VP And The Art Of Enterprise 2.0

A few Zen parables on the power and nuance of Web collaboration and engagement.

Then one of the new links caught his eye. It said: "Pave the Cowpaths" and seemed to have been added by a Ms. Miyagi. He frowned. There was nobody by that name in supply-chain operations, as far as he knew. He clicked the link. To his surprise, it simply reloaded the page.

Inspiration struck. Working through the night, Richards set up an open source social bookmarking server and moved all the links over. The next day, he took a deep breath, uninstalled the wiki, and redirected the domain to the new bookmarking server.

When Richards sent out his announcement about the change, the thank-you emails flooded in. Even the CEO chimed in: "Thanks for doing this, Richards; just what we wanted."

Over the next two weeks, to his shock, the new bookmarking server crashed three times, thanks to the traffic from all over the company. Several of the links sparked busy conversations.

On his last day, the retirement party turned into a standing room only free-for-all. People from all over the company showed up. There wasn't enough cake.

A young Japanese woman caught Richards' eye. A suspicion grew in his mind, and he went over and asked, "Are you Ms. Miyagi by any chance?"

"Why, yes!" she replied.

"I saw that link you added to the links page, 'Pave the Cowpaths.' Was it supposed to go somewhere else? It seemed to link to the same page."

"Oh, did it? I am so sorry. I am such a klutz sometimes. But I am sorry. I must be going now. My neighbor's kid promised to come over and paint my fence. Perhaps I'll see you around."

Ms. Miyagi And The CIO

Ms. Miyagi, the smart new hire in marketing, had cajoled and sweet-talked a few of her peers into helping start a content marketing blog. Word got around that a stream of highly qualified leads was flowing from the blog to the sales department. On that bookmarking thing Richards had set up before he left, somebody posted a link to a spreadsheet with the conversion rates. The CIO spotted it and was amazed at what he saw: The blog was driving sales far more strongly than the best advertising campaign he could recall from his many years in the business.

Intrigued, he called Ms. Miyagi in for a meeting and asked, "How can we take blogging to the rest of the company?"

For a moment, Ms. Miyagi looked at the CIO with a curious expression. Then she said, "You cannot take blogging to the rest of the company. The rest of the company must take to blogging."

At that moment, the CIO was enlightened.

Share your own short Enterprise 2.0 Zen parable with me at ribbonfarm.com/contact.I will choose up to three parables and write about them in a future column. For those entries I select, I will send the submitters autographed copies of my new book, "Tempo."

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