Disruptive Technology

Asymetrical Sales Acceleration & Strategic Marketing

Sales Automation & Strategic Marketing. Take a look at this image contrasting convetional and irregular warfare strategies.

If you swap 'Users' for Population and 'Management' for Military, it's a pretty good analogy of the way companies sell.

Traditionally, companies have sold into management structures who have then pushed downstream into their users. Installed software companies are a great example of this. If you buy installed software you're making a big investment and taking some risk. The sales focus is on getting the management to buy or adopt. End users usually have no say in what they end up with.

Increasingly, and espectially with SaaS models, the emphasis has changed from selling to management, to selling (through adoption) to end users. The parallels to asymetirical or irregular warfare are striking.

Gmail's 5 second Undo Send. (yawn)

If you're a gmail user you've now got some new functionality. Undo Send (when enabled) gives you a popup for 5 seconds before it sends the email, theoretically giving you time to prevent your email from being sent with a typo or missing attachement.


CNN is so smitten with this feature and other gmail trivia like "Mail Goggles" (to help users stop sending "mail you later regret) that it's featured at the top of the technology section:

"Undo Send" is also just the latest example of the dozens of creative -- and sometimes downright wacky -- online features developed at Gmail Labs to address common e-mail problems.

The number of lab features has more than tripled, to more than 36, as Gmail celebrates its fifth birthday next week.

Of course, that other shoe dropping you hear is that this doesn't actually 'Undo' anything. It simply inserts a 5 second timer after you click send before Gmail actually sends your email. That's it. Not to much going on behind the curtain and you won't need a team of crack engineers to develop functionality like that. It's like trying to build a spaceship with paddle-wheel boat technology.

Now call me prejudiced but I'm going to draw a few comparisons between Gmail's 'Undo Send' and Sendsides' feature, 'Recall' that's enabled with every account.

First, Gmail's Undo Send; Inserts a popup window for 5 seconds before your email is actually sent.

Next up; Recall. Sendside's Recall feature allows you to retract any message or file at any time after it's been sent... or delivered, or read, or forwarded.

Sent it yesterday? Fine. The recipient's allready read it? No problem. It's been forwarded? Yep. In fact, you can see who it's been forwarded to and if they've opened it, when, and every time they've looked at or downloaded your attachment.

Sendside's functionality is so far beyond what gmail is developing it's unreal. Of course, Google's at a severe disadvantage since Gmail is built on the same SMTP protocols that were implemented in 1982 and haven't changed since then. It won't always be that way of course. Individuals and businesses want to be able to really recall and control their content, see when they're message is read, and stop hassling with email workarounds.

Email won't be dislodged easily. It has 100% market penetration and works perfectly well for telling your wife you'll be home late for dinner.

Of course, the horse and buggy had 100% market penetration at one time too.

Googles fear of Facebook's social garden.

I head that during Phil Windley's CTO Breakfast last month some discussion of Sendside came up and was generally blasted as being untenable for the simple fact that it's a walled garden...

facebook(Fortune Magazine) -- Facebook's got Google running scared

Google is the elephant in nearly every corner of the Internet, from search and advertising to web-based e-mail, online mapping, and home-brewed video. With its share price setting new highs this fall, its market cap ($188 billion) is now large enough to buy the New York Times, the Washington Post, Gannett, and Time Warner - twice. Or Facebook many, many times over.

The problem is, Facebook's not for sale. And that's got Google running scared. It's an open secret in Silicon Valley that the company has been shopping around a nondisclosure agreement outlining its plan to create its own massive social network - and asking anyone with a pulse to sign it.

Google (Charts, Fortune 500) has to do something fast, because some of its best talent is starting to head for the exits. In July, Gideon Yu, finance chief at Google's YouTube, left for Facebook. Now other Google guys, stuck in the Googleplex and smelling a Facebook IPO that could turn early employees into early retirees, are also jumping ship...

...Now the social networks are trying to do the opposite - to build what I call the Innernet. It's the place you occupy with family and friends and where you exercise almost absolute control, showing the world only as much of your true self as you care to while protecting you and yours from the evil that lurks on the wider web, from spam artists to identity thieves. Whoever builds that walled garden stands to make the next great Internet fortune.

Welcome to the Sendside, your own private walled garden

Leaderless: The asymmetrical bootstrapping starfish and the chronically arthritic spider.

As a companion philosophy to The Wisdom of Crowds we now have The Starfish And The Spider; the unstoppable power of leaderless organizations.

Of course guerrilla armies have been using asymmetrical warfare since Moses unleashed boils and other nasty ailments on Pharaoh.  All organizations have a problem when dealing with something that operates as effectively as a virus if you ever seen John Carpenters "The Thing". Of course if it really is 'unstoppable power' that leaderless organizations have, it's not going to be stopped.  (See Distributed Intelligence & Collective Intelligence)

1591841437.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgEvidently, the U.S. military is studying small companies to unearth ideas that will help the war on terror.

It may seem a stretch that within the chaos of capitalism are the secrets to fighting al-Qaeda. But the military and business have long borrowed leadership lessons and competitive tactics from each other...

...How large, traditional companies fare in this fight may prove invaluable in developing a strategy against al-Qaeda. That's why the military is going to school. A book making the rounds at the Pentagon is The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. It was written for a business audience, but military strategists are saying, "This is the best thing I've read that applies to counterterrorism," says Lt. Col. Rudolph Atallah, a Defense Department director in international affairs.
Via Catrina.net: Leaderless Startups, The Starfish and the Spider.

 Linda recommended The Starfish and the Spider, subtitled "The unstoppable power of leaderless organizations." This idea will be familiar to many of us who've been watching open source, wikipedia, and other decentralized online phenomena, but I found that the most interesting parts of this book were about the offline world, and how leaderless organizations have succeeded there.

From the Starfish and the Spider Wiki

The Starfish and the Spider explores what happens when starfish take on spiders (such as the music industry vs. Napster, Kazaa, and the P2P services that followed). It reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the US government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success.


And it's not just a entrepreneurs and terrorists who are latching on to this distributed network stuff:

The Earth Intelligence Network

Earth Intelligence Network (EIN), a non-profit with 501c3 status pending exists to provide social intelligence capital by harnessing the distributed intelligence of the Whole Earth and creating a new integrated global mesh that enables life-long education, decision-support, focused research, and consensus-building.

The Earth Intelligence Network has three driving priorities:

1) To create, structure, and share public intelligence in the public interest with respect to the ten high-level threats, the twelve integrated policies to address all threats, and the eight major players whom we must help avoid the horrendous mistakes associated with immoral capitalism and unilateral militarism.

2) To support, at no cost to them, all developers of serious games and games for change that address any or all of the ten threats, twelve policies, and eight major players.

3) To support, at no cost to them, all developers of online budget simulations that can foster citizen understanding of the near and long-term benefits of reality-based budgeting, and the terrible consequences of special interest budgeting.HmmmHmmm

Hmmm. Distributed network of decision makers that operate on their own but towards a communal interest? Seems just like  Patrick Byrne of Overstock.com.com.com is talking about with strategic failure to deliver. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

It's no real stretch of the imagination to see why distributed, unorganized networks of a like mind are so difficult to defeat. Napster was able to be targeted only because they controlled the linchpin of having the network traffic go through their servers. Everyone is wanting to do the 'user generated content' thing.

Business 2.0 disruptor round table: Inquire within.

Uncle Web 2.0 want's you! Erick Schoenfeld over at Business 2.0 is asking for input. 

disruptors_cover.jpg For the past couple of weeks I've been putting together an impromptu roundtable tied to our current Disruptors cover story.  And the response has been amazing, considering the last-minute notification I gave the attendees.   A coupel of them are even flying in from Europe.  The roundtable will be this Thursday in San Francisco, and about 40 entrepreneurs, CEOs, VCs, researchers, and bloggers will all come to talk about how to build a disruptive business, and the pros and cons of doing so.

The guest list includes CEOs, founders, and VCs from nearly all the companies profiled in the story (Zopa, Jajah, Netvibes, Coghead, Salesforce.com, NextMedium, Applied Location, Blue Lithium, Nanolife Sciences).  It also includes other disruptive entrepreneurs like Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Digg CEO Jay Adelson, Prosper CEO Chris Larsen, Rebtel co-founder Greg Spector, GigaOm Malik, TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington, del.icio.us founder (now Yahoo employee) Joshua Schachter, Writely founder (now Google employee) Sam Schillace, as well as VCs David Cowan, David Hornik, and Christine Herron.  These folks are all practioners of the fine art of shaking up established industries. 

But here's where I need your help.  How can I shake up these folks?  What questions should I ask them?  What do you want to know about the ins and outs of taking on industry giants?  What can I do to make the event as constructively disruptive as possible? (Please give me your suggestions in comments).