In my lifetime, I've personally witnessed a large number of technology disruptions in business. I think we're in the middle of a new one.
My First Memory of Software Disruption
I can still remember the day my dad brought home his WordPerfect floppy disks to install on our home PC. My father was born during the great depression, when almost no one had a car, when telephones were shared by entire blocks of people in downtown Chicago. This man, the first in his family to pass 8th grade in education, was introducing me to the first of many software revolutions I would see. Personal business productivity software changed how business was done. It was clear to my dad how word processing on a PC was a huge efficiency boost for his work as a scientific researcher, but he wasn't the first or the last to adopt to the change from typewriters. That was almost 30 years ago and my dad didn't live to see the next revolution of email use become mainstream, but I have no doubt he would have embraced that new medium, as well.
From Static Public Web Sites to Dynamic Web Communities
For most of the past 20 years, I've had a single minded focus on helping businesses improve through the use of web software. For the last seven, my work has been almost exclusively SharePoint consulting. The public web was a revolution in business software supported by hardware and networking innovations. Web sites inside businesses took off with document management. SharePoint lead this revolution and represented the strongest of a breed of self-service web site creation and document sharing software to emerge in it's generation.
Today, I'm seeing a new revolution in software that is enabling community building in businesses. At some point in time for each revolution, it became clear to me that PCs, Word processing software, email, the public web sites and document management were having big impacts. I've come to that point now for social business, socbiz And just so it's clear, you can call it Social Media, Social Business, Social Collaboration or anything else you want, it's about communities and people. I think this software revolution looks a lot like Jive - whether it's the vehicle of delivery for most or just the proof the concept that social business works, it's a model that's broken into the mainstream in the last 12 months.
People ask me occasionally why I choose to work at Jive, so I posted Why Jive on my personal blog. As I wrote there:
Jive is the most compelling web software I’ve come across.
Maybe writing those words helped my software revolution vision. I think we're in the middle of another one. What about you?