IT should make a Netflix push, developing and delivering systems that disavow the “more with less” soul-suck mentality and instead increase the quality of the organization’s results. Providing end-users with features geared toward convenience -- especially those that integrate functionality with fun -- will make them more productive.
More knowledge management, more interactive BI and BPM, better online education, better solutions to deliver more timely service and support. It’s not hard to do. Just stop thinking like a big-box strip miner and start thinking like Netflix.
-- Jeff Angus
But Flickr’s biggest lesson for enterprise IT is how it took an existing mainstream app -- photo sharing -- and changed the paradigm altogether. Rather than copy existing “album” and “slide show” models to the Web, as early online photo sites such as Ofoto and Shutterfly did, Flickr started with a blank slate, treating all photos as part of one universal photo album that could be categorized, shared, and presented in infinite ways. It also lowered the bar for accessing content (fewer password hassles) and set the photos against an uncluttered, noncommercial, white background, increasing their impact.
Although not part of Flickr’s initial launch in 2004, tagging has proved central to Flickr’s ability to scale and add value to an otherwise unsearchable universe of photos. Users can add keyword description tags when uploading photos, thereby creating a taxonomy that would have been impossible or cost-prohibitive to create centrally. Flickr also allows users to navigate via “tag clouds” -- visual representations of photo-subject popularity.
Enterprises looking to expose end-users to troves of content should take a tip from Flickr and consider leveraging user-created taxonomies to aggregate and share that content. Not only does the approach facilitate collaboration, but as the taxonomy grows, much can be revealed about the company’s collective interests and expertise. Besides, the more organic your method of categorizing knowledge, the fewer limits you place on how that knowledge evolves.
-- David L. Margulius
MySpace and Social Networking
Poster child and 900-pound gorilla of the social-networking category, MySpace is a study in explosive growth and the difficulty of managing that boom.
From its start in 2003, MySpace spread quickly, adding upward of 200,000 users per day, driven by the popularity among teenagers of its raw mix of self-expression, sexually suggestive content, and garage-band music clips. The service allows users to build highly personalized yet unstructured blog pages, using a variety of widgets and modules, and then link them to friends’ pages.