The Jellied CortexThinking on A Cool London Night

Every now and then, I like to consolidate a number of the smaller things that are floating around in my what seems to be feel like a gelatinous cerebral cortex and throw them out there for all to see – and to play with.  So here we go.  Your thoughts on these snippets would be more than welcome.

Thoughts on an Almost Sleepless Fall Night in London

  • I found out that friends of mine from Microsoft were going to be in London at the same time I was via a tweet from one of those friends – who had noticed that I was going to be in London via some digital channel.  I didn’t know exactly why Microsoft was i London though. I then found out via a Google alert that they are doing their Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 launch in London today – the day that I’m leaving. Then I thought I wish they had let me know, I would have stayed the extra day, should they have wanted me to attend, and gone to the launch since I’m here already.  Then I thought “well, how would they know I was going to be here?” If this were 2004 or 2005, that would have been the final thought. But because it was 2010, I then thought “TripIt.” or could have thought Plancast, if I used it as much as I do Tripit.</pWhat’s amazing in that sequence is the set of tools that are available to me as a social customer and available to the company that allow us to monitor what each of us is doing. Now to be fair, do most consumers use TripIt or Plancast? Nope. But the analysts and influencers do and routine checks on those folks companies are trying to influence should be <em>de rigueur</em> by those companies or their PR/AR people. I’m not blaming Microsoft here. That would be ridiculous and I’d be over-inflating my own value to them by a hefty amount. But its a thought for companies that need to be in touch with specific influencers. The tools are there and they are being used so the vendors/enterprises should use them in an organized way to track those they need to track. Free advice. If you need to reach me to talk more on this, feel free to consult Tripit to see where I’ll be
  • There was an article in Wired Magazine about two months ago called “The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet.” The premise was that classic “capitalist” principles were asserting themselves on the web and that they were principles that tended to assert themselves during new phases of business as they matured. Simply put, most of the institutions controlling the web traffic were attempted to become mega businesses.  Facebook (that would be the real Facebook, not Aaron Sorkin’s) seems to be the poster child for this. There were two interesting points to be made about this trend.  First, it was a trend that was asserting itself.  Back in 2001, the top ten websites at the time controlled 31% of all Internet traffic. In 2010, the top ten websites controlled 75% of all Internet traffic. In other words, the web was no longer this vast open canvas that Google was out to tame. It was becoming a series of megalopolises that resided on Internet land that they felt entitled to. This made me think about several things.  First, Facebook’s success could be attributed to the day they opened their API to the development community and apps became king for them.  But equally as important to their dreams of empire was the day they closed their domain to Google search – meaning that to find something in Facebook, you had to be in Facebook or figure out a way to breach their protection, which then, ironically, given Facebook’s track record, was a violation of privacy of the individual’s social profile.  That differs a great deal from, say LinkedIn, where your public profile is out there for all that Google to see  Try it. When you Google someone (my name needs CRM as a filter to find out about the Paul Greenberg who is me since it seems to be a name that all kinds of people are using out there) you’ll quickly find their LinkedIn profile but never find their Facebook profile.But there was another concept which the article put forth that I wholeheartedly agreed with. That, generally, people don’t give a crap about open and closed systems – which Apple is, Facebook is, is.  What they care about is having the tools that work for them – in this case – there’s an app for that and what platform its developed on is something that most customers just don’t care about as long as it meets CRM principle #2 of mine – “Each of us is self-interested.”  We cannot underestimate how much this means. That puts an interesting twist on the value of open source as such to customers.  There is no question that the culture of open source has value to business partners in a channel; or development groups who are smaller and need to do things, or producers of podcasts like me who use creative commons licensed music – thus as a licensing function or environment, there is some value. But as a differentiator in this day and age, not so much anymore. So the value for example of SugarCRM is not that its open source, but that its a good platform that can produce good apps that have good value to customers.  The customers, for the most part, at the B2B level or the B2C level don’t care whether the system is proprietary or open – its just got to work for them. Seems simple but will freak out a fair amount of people I would guess. That goes for operating systems too. If Windows 7 works for companies, they will use it, if Linux does, they will use it, if Mac OSX does, they will use it. Do they care, only to the extent it matters. That might seem to be a stupid statement but it isn’t. Companies are interested in what the products and services they need, do and how well they work alone and with other systems. That’s all. Purists and fanboys can now lay down their arms.
  • Social CRM, ah Social CRM.  We’re hearing lots of declarations again, some on the life and death of social CRM, some on the definition, little on the real crux of where its at – the execution.  So here’s my head on the always popular subject.  If I got to a company and ask them what kind of ROI are they getting from their holistic SCRM strategy, here’s what I’m likely to hear. “We don’t have a holistic SCRM strategy.” OR “What’s social CRM?” OR “What’s holistic?”  (just kidding on the last one).  It is a valid domain now – validated by a. my book. b. Ray Wang and Jeremiah Owyang’s Use Cases and the additions that are being made everywhere; c. Gartner’s June 2010 Social CRM Magic Quadrant d. The Gartner forecast of a $1 billion submarket of CRM in 2011 – probably a bit too optimistic; e. Consulting and SIs like Cap Gemini and Cognizant forming Social CRM practices because they’ve ascertained a need and enough interest to invest in it. f. The level of discussion going on about it is white hot still. That said, when it comes to SCRM strategies by that name being implemented – not so much.  However, what you can ask a company is the return they are getting on the creation of a customer service community or a Twitter service channel. Or a collaborative environment and use of structured and unstructured information in optimizing sales successes; or the ROI for an interactive marketing strategy or campaign – all of which are components of that evolutionary extension of CRM known as Social CRM.  So for me, right now, when I use SCRM I use it in two ways – as a strategy and program for customer engagement or as an umbrella term for these new social approaches to customers – one component at a time. Meaning, customer service community, collaboration on sales knowledge for sales optimization, interactive marketing and multiple other existing and new social inputs and outputs for business. So, strategy/program or umbrella term. Procter and Gamble, who have if you look at it the most comprehensive SCRM strategy which does everything right when it comes down to it, probably wouldn’t know that they are doing SCRM.  And you know what? if they are achieving its purpose – successful customer engagement, providing mutually beneficial value to the company and the customer alike, do you really care whether they do or not?

    My Upcoming Calendar

    Okay, for the rest of the year, here’s where I’m traveling and when, so if you want to hook up, let me know and we’ll try to make it happen.


    1. October 24-25, Portsmouth NH – Cognizant CRM Advisory Council – Just for the record, I’m not on the Advisory Council – I can’t be because I cover Cognizant and it would be a conflict of interest – but am going to run a session there. I’m excited about that.</li>
    2. November 3-6 – London, England, SCRM Training at Cap Gemini’s new HQ in Holborn.
    3. November 7-12 – Santa Clara, CA – I’m one of the keynote speakers at Enterprise 2.0 . Speaking on Convergence of E20 and SCRM and co-chairing an SCRM track there with the incredible Sameer Patel – a crossover thought leader in both spaces. I think we’re at the Hilton and the Santa Clara Convention Center.
    4. November 29-December 1 – Toronto, Ontario – We are launching the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management CRM Center of Excellence (CRMCE) with a class series. Esteban Kolsky, Ray Wang and Brent Leary are going to be there teaching too.
    5. December 6-9 – San Francisco, CA –’s Dreamforce 2010 – What can you say? Meet me at this very cool event. I’m there and will make time in the evening or whatever to hang out.  Unless the Dalai Lama wants to see me.

    Webinars/Virtual Summits etc.

    Busting a Couple of Myths

    Much as I appreciate all the accolades I get, and believe me I do, there are some things that are attributed to me that just aren’t the case, despite the incredible boost to the mythology that it builds. But they are just that – myths – and I thought in the interests of clarity and a bad conscience if I didn’t, I’d bust them now. I hope that you don’t think I’m being arrogant because I’m not trying to be. I’m just trying to set the record straight. Forgive me if this sounds egotistical in any way. Please.

  • Myth – Tom Siebel said that I validated the CRM space. Actual Story – I had a conversation with a Director for Oracle Public Sector a few years ago who used to work for Siebel. He told me that Siebel used to buy a lot of copies of CRM at the Speed of Light’s 1st and 2nd edition, two editions where I was decidedly not very friendly to Siebel as a company. I asked him why they did that given that I attacked Siebel in the book.  He said, “you validated the space with the book.”  Now is that true? Story is.  Did I validate the space? That would be lovely to think but I hardly think the space needed validation in 2001 or 2002. Weirdly, Siebel is probably the company that validated the space.  So – Tom Siebel did NOT say anything of the sort.  AND – I didn’t validate the space.
  • Myth – I was the one who coined Social CRM. Actual Story – This one is ludicrous on the face of it, but certainly a high compliment and thank you for all of those saying it.  First, Kintera, the software company acquired by Blackbaud in 2008, probably actually used the term first – they have a trademark on it (take a look at the About Blackbaud section). Second, I was pushing CRM 2.0, not Social CRM when guys like Brent Leary in particular were popularizing Social CRM.  In my post on “A Stake in the Ground on Social CRM” I gave up CRM 2.0 and said that Social CRM was a better name and thus I needed to put aside my terming it CRM 2.0 and start calling it Social CRM which I did. I changed every reference in my then in manuscript but nearly complete book including the title from CRM 2.0 to Social CRM. I changed the name of my ZDNet blog to Social CRM: The Conversation from what you probably guess it was called etc.  But I…did…not…coin…the…term.  I didn’t even make it popular. That honor I think goes to Brent Leary.  I just realized that he was right and I should back it up and I did. Glad I did too.

There are other tall tales but they escape me at the moment. As I remember them, I’ll set the record straight. I just feel that it would be dishonest for me to perpetuate what are well meaning but wrong stories about things attributed to me that weren’t me and were either just not true or someone else’s achievement.

All righty then. I’m done. Heading back from London and when you see this, I’ll already be home, getting ready for some other adventure.

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Founder, Managing Principal, The 56 Group, LLC, author of several best-selling books, including CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers, but most importantly known as the Grandfather of CRM.