Archives for January 2007


The Wikipedia Enterprise 2.0 Debate – Epilogue to the Epilogue

Harvard Prof’s Andrew McAfee and Karim Lakhani have just completed the first ever Harvard Business School case on Wikipedia, which largely focuses on the infamous Enterprise 2.0 debate. Enterprise 2.0 has undeniably become mainstream since the original debate – just check out the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston.

There is some irony in this situation though: The deletionist argument was that “Enterprise 2.0” is not original and there are not enough independent references. Well, what better reference and validation that a Harvard Case Study? (Of course hard-core deletionists could still argue that the Study is not about Enterprise 2.0 as such but the debate itself, and as such self-referential and unacceptable as an independent source…)

Why Epilogue to the Epilogue? Because I’ve already written an epilogue to the debate.

(Photo: Prof. Andy McAfee moderating a panel on Enterprise 2.0 with fellow Enterprise Irregulars Jeff Nolan, Ismael Ghalimi, Rod Boothby and yours truly).

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Wikinomics Playbook: Collaborative Book Editing

Ross Mayfield points to another interesting wiki-experiment: the authors of Wikinomics, a fast-selling new business book opened up Chapter 11 (no, this is not *that* Chapter 11) to collective editing, leaving it to the public to “finish” the book.

The Wikinomics Playbook is a Socialtext-based wiki with minimum initial content that anyone can contribute to. It will likely never be “finished” as such. Unlike the recent Wired Wiki experiment, this project is open-ended, without a firm deadline. It will be interesting to observe how the absence of any incentive to wait for last minute edits (a’la eBay auction sniping) leads to different behaviors.

For now, I sense the experiment is going somewhat sideways: page content is not growing as much as comments are. I guess it’s easier to talk about it than actually doing it (hm… that’s what I am doing, toosmile_embaressed ), but that carries the risk of the Playbook becoming just another discussion forum. Perhaps we should all heed the advice under Be Bold:

“Being bold is necessary advice in wikis: most people aren’t accustomed to editing each other’s sentences. In a wiki participants must be bold because it is only by many iterative edits that mass intelligence can occur and wisdom can triumph over verbosity. If we are bold the content will evolve.”

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Vista Ultimate Plus Extra Limited Gold Platinum

The Windows Vista Ultimate Element


And if Ultimate is not enough, go for MWVULNSE: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Limited Numbered Signature Edition.

And if you’re still wondering what you pay for, don’t miss this Value Analysis.




Morning Shocker

Headlines from my Drudge feed:

Emergency Shutdown at Russian Nuke Plant…


ALL-STAR GROUP: 10 years to save the planet…

Otherwise … have a nice day, everyone.



Zoho Announces Multimedia Notebook at DEMO


The Zoho folks will be announcing yet another product at DEMO – this time it’s a multimedia NoteBook. Since whenever they release a product, the Microsoft / Office analogy is quite unavoidable, let’s just get it out of the way: this is Zoho’s “OneNote” – and a lot more. (Bias alert: I am an Advisor to Zoho).

Notebook is an online application to create, aggregate, share, collaborate on just about any type of content easily – all in one place, without having to switch applications. You can create multiple books and within that multiple pages. There are a number of page-types to begin with, including Sheet, Writer, Calendar, Contacts, Planner, Task – these correspond to Zoho applications – or simply start with a blank page.

You can easily create any type of content within a page: text, image, drawings, audio, video – these could be embedded youtube videos or record from your own camera / microphone directly into Notebook. Place your content anywhere in the page by freely dragging it around, resizing, reshaping it. Aggregate content from multiple sources: embed Show, Sheet data, web pages, RSS feeds, file attachments. IE and FireFox plugins allow easy clipping of web-content.

If it’s Zoho, it has to be collaborative; but this time NoteBook brings real-time online collaboration to a new level: you can share book-level, page-level or individual object-level information. This means you can selectively collaborate with certain users on your text, while sharing the chart with yet another group, and hiding the rest. Updates to any of these objects are reflected in the NoteBook real-time. Integration with Skype allows Skype presence indicators in the individual shared object as well as direct IM-ing over Skype. Needless to say, version-control is taken care of at the object-level, too.

Now, for the bad part: NoteBook is currently in limited Alpha mode … so hang on for a while ..

fingerscrossed and in the meantime, enjoy this demo video:

NoteBook is unquestionably the sleekest of all Zoho apps, and a technological marvel. There are clearly specific target demographics, like students, where an All-In-One notetaker is the killer app. In a more typical business environment one might wonder where it fits in the range of products available, and what application to use when. Update (1/31): Dennis lists much better use-cases:

“I can see huge potential for this among those professionals who need to assemble audit and M&A resources for example. It makes the creation of a multi-disciplinary team very easy with the ongoing ability to collaborate as projects evolve while remaining in an organised, controllable environment.

I can see other use cases arising in forensic work, planning, budget management, time and expense management – the list goes on. In this sense, Zoho Notebook could become the de facto desktop for knowledge workers because you don’t need to leave the service to do pretty much all the tasks you’d expect a knowledge worker to undertake. I can also envisage some interesting mashups using accounting data from a saas player that gets pulled into Notebook on and ad hoc basis. Does this mean Notebook is a ’silver bullet’ application.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say a qualified ‘yes.”

About a month ago, while reviewing then new Zoho Wiki I expressed my hope to see tighter integration to the Zoho Suite – specifically Writer, Sheet and Show. Well, now it’s here, albeit in a separate application. Ideally I’d like to see the wiki equipped with Notebook’s powerful editing /collaboration options – or is it the other way around? If you take NoteBook, and allow linking between pages/books … well, that’s quite close to a wiki.

smile_wink. Update (1/31): In the same post I’ve just referred to, Dennis says: “Zoli Erdos has an interesting take on whether the collaboration features put Notebook in the same class as a wiki.”

Let me clarify my point: I’m not comparing NoteBook to Wiki as it stands now. What I do believe is that the feature sets of the two should be merged somehow. Combine the “digital dumping ground” as Dennis says, i.e. the absolute flexibility of creating/aggregating any type of info with the linking, back-linking, navigation, search in the wiki, and you have a truly killer business app.

Zoho has a tradition of initially developing products individually, but share the code-base early, and integrate them later. What do you think? Should Wiki and NoteBook be merged to create the super-product, or is there a need/ market for them to be independent in the long run?

Update (1/30): See related posts on TechCrunch, Read/Write Web , Zoho Blog , Scobleizer, /Message, CMS Wire, InformationWeek, PC World.

Update (2/1) : Robert Scoble’s summary: ““cool” has different meanings: 1) That it’ll change how you work. Zoho’s Notebook wins here.

Update (2/2): The video of Zoho Notebook’s launch at DEMO is now up here.

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Koral – Collaborative Content Management without the Hassle of "Management"

My regular readers know I’m a big fan of wikis. There is just no better way for collaborative group work. If I started a company today, we’d have a wiki from Day 1. Gartner predicts 50% penetration to business by the end of 2009 – that’s Gartner, that’s only 50% and that’s 3 years away. That leaves a large number of businesses unserved, and a huge opportunity to enable them to collaborate without changing the way they work.

Today the #1 productivity platform in business is still Microsoft Office. A typical “knowledge worker” creates documents, spreadsheets, presentations on her/his desktop, tries to maintain order by diligently filing them under an ever-growing directory-structure and shares the information by emailing the files around. When several co-workers need to contribute to a document, version chaos ensues. Document management systems are supposed to ease the pain, but they are big, expensive, and surprisingly (?) only 5% of office workers actually use them.

Koral, a content collaboration startup debuted a few months ago has a strong change to change it all. It pursues a very simple idea: allow users to share information, give them access to the most recent version of all documents, whether the latest update is on their desktop or someone elses, and guide them with several popularity/ usage indicators, i.e. most accessed documents, most active contributors, best rated experts ..etc – do it all without forcing users to change how they work today.

They can continue individually working on their desktops, and all they have to do is drag the documents to be stored into Koral’s drop-box on their desktop. The document is instantly uploaded, fully indexed, auto-tagged based on content, and for certain document types (for now PPT) flash previews are generated. The user does not have to be logged on to the web-based system, although doing so allows for additional categorization, tagging, permissioning:

All this information becomes the foundation of easy document retrieval. Gone is the directory jungle where files are replicated and lost: it’s all about tagging and powerful search. Search, which can based on simple keywords, boolean expressions, or multi-step, clustered search where a friendly interface helps the user create further filters based on content, file formats, tags, categories, author ..etc until the number of matching documents comes down to a handful – at which point the online previews come handy.

Once you found what you’re looking for, you can download your document, or subscribe to it, giving you alerts any time the document is updated. The subscription mechanism goes beyond just notification: it’s the foundation of document synchronization. Koral places a tracker the local (desktop) document, so it will know who has what version at any time. When you access a local document – open it, or even attach it to an email – Koral will warn you if you don’t have the most recent version (i.e. someone else has updated it online) and of course offers to replace your old copy.

Sync goes a step further: how often do a few “core slides” get replicated in dozens of corporate presentations? Or a key spreadsheet embedded in various other documents and slides? Koral can refresh all these second-generation documents when the core slide/spreadsheet changes – i.e. your numbers are magically updated.

Stepping beyond traditional document management there are a number of social networking / bookmarking features: documents can be rated, commented on.

The document summary page above shows the average rating, number of users who rated the document, number of downloads and subscribers, and comments, on top of the standard document attributes like creation date, author, version number.

Koral is currently piloting a version with select customers where they can provide ranking statistics based on some of the above information: most frequently read, downloaded, subscribed document, most discussed document, most popular post or author, most popular tags ..etc. Needless to say you can subscribe to authors, tags, categories, not just individual documents. All this essentially supports better information discovery rather than just explicit search for information you already know exists.

Finally, some of the best applications are when you don’t even notice you’re working with Koral: users of can discover related documents and attach them to the lead / opportunity record without ever leaving the environment.

Talk about mashups …Koral itself is a “bridge” product, enhancing the productivity of largely offline users (working in MS Office) by offering an online service. I would love to see them move further on the offline/online continuum by offering online tools to not only preview but actually edit documents online – the recent Zoho-Omnidrive mashup is a good precedent to follow.

For additional information, check out the demo video by Tim Barker, VP Products, and Robert Scoble’s interview with CEO Mark Suster.

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More Poison for You – Buzz Donuts

As if donuts were not unhealthy enough (they are basically a big fat sugar-bomb), they might soon be laced with caffeine.  (hat tip: Christine Herron)

A scientist found the way to mask the normal bitterness of caffeine so that it can be used in food and pastry products such as bagels and donuts.  He’s in talks with Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts… watch out for Double Poison.

I just wonder if someone will be crazy enough to come up with “decaf buzz donuts”. smile_sick



SAP’s Zesty A1S(auce)

SAP held major internal announcements and demos of its A1S product, tailored for the mid-market, the future growth sector now that the top end of the ERP market is saturated.

The demos were top-secret, attendees had to sign an NDA – and since I am not one of them, I’m left wondering whether they’ve seen the original flavor or the Zesty one Evil Banana


Hooters VIPs: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet

Hooter’s hasn’t had a buffet so far.. now it does… a rather rich one, for that matter.smile_wink  Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were presented a Hooters VIP Card, which entitles them to free food at any of the chains 435 locations in 46 states and 20 countries.  Tip not included – I wonder if these guys carry around cash for tipping?

I don’t know about BillG, but Warren Buffet is a man of traditional values… smile_tongue

(hat tip: Digital Inspiration)



Not Your Average 12-year-old

Would you believe the man on this photo is 12 years old?  I certainly wouldn’t.  How he fooled a town, school teachers, principals into believing him is beyond me.  But that’s exactly what Neil Havens Rodreick II did.

The 29-year old “convicted sex offender attended at least two Arizona middle schools, sat through seventh-grade courses and turned in homework as he moved around the state pretending to be 12 years old, officials say.”

OK, so maybe it’s just me … I don’t see him “baby-faced” like school staff did.  But wait, it gets better weirder.

He lived with two man, ages 43 and 61, who regularly had sex with him, thinking he really was 12.  Now, hm … without getting into the very details, how can you not tell a man from a child while having sex with him?  

Surprised?  So are the two men who felt very “upset” that their live-in sex partner turned out to be an adult.  Now they are facing charges of attempted child molestation and attempted sexual contact with a minor – since they really thought Rodreick was a minor.

Lots of surprises in this town.  Perhaps not so surprisingly – after all, it’s in Surprise, Arizona.

Full story and  video on CNN.