Sweettt.com – Episode 1 – Walk Like a Minister

Michael Hickson seems to have an enterprise complex. He doesn’t like the idea of IBM micro-blogging behind it’s firewall. In his blog, E-piphanies, he writes a rather harsh slur in gossip-column style stating that this is a bad idea.

Keep Silly Walking :-)
Keep Silly Walking :-)
In my own personal opinion… sometimes you have to wiggle your arms and legs around a little bit before you discover a new dance.

So, Michael, you are surprised to discover that IBM has been using micro-blogging behind the firewall? You want to couch this as a sensational critique? Common!

The world’s 14-year leader in number of patents didn’t get that way by NOT engaging in everything new. There are lots of things behind the firewall with which early adopters are having a blast: blogs, wikis, podcasts, broadcasts, micro-blogging, tagging, social photo sharing, social video sharing, social file sharing, IM for over a decade now, online communities, 3D internet / virtual reality, online friends & connections, rating & reputation systems… there are over 100 innovations available within our early adoption program. The list goes on. We don’t gate our innovations. We promote them!

Do you think that each of these innovations are perfect before we try them? Well, that’s not the way it goes. It’s survival of the fittest.

In Case You Forgot How
In Case You Forgot How

We have about 400,000 people inside our firewall to try this stuff out and give us feedback. Before we roll something into full production, and before we send it down the product development path, we tap into that feedback and learn as much as we can about the new creation. It makes the final solution stronger.

And guess what… We need these tools. The workforce has changed. The standard for the online social interaction experience is set across the internet. The corporation that doesn’t embrace this functionality will be the corporation that doesn’t stand the test of time. In case you haven’t noticed, IBM is Built to Last.

None of that would be possible if it weren’t for our willingness to embrace new things. Don’t damn IBM for that. Congratulate us. Applaud us. Follow our lead, because it’s very very successful. Over $90 billion a year is no accident.

photo by magandafille
and by faultier.at



  1. You know what Matt, this is a great piece.

    It’s funny, because I often think of you as the counterpoint to the enthusiasm of the 2 Michaels on Dogear Nation recordings, sounding a more cautious note or ready to ask the difficult question that helps us to really drill down into the business (or indeed societal) value of any new innovation and get underneath the gloss and excitement. This piece of writing really demonstrates the same thing.

    In terms of the original post, I was a little surprised by the harshness of tone. But some things do have to happen behind firewalls, and microblogging can have a place on both sides. In fact we’ve found it refreshing to interact with one another through a system as flexible as a microblogging platform as well as with regular blogs and IM.

  2. Andy, thanks so much. Coming from you, that’s a real compliment.

    There’s an interplay in what you are saying. On the one hand, there is unbridled enthusiasm for innovation. On the other hand there is harsh cynicism and blogosphere social slander. And I think I’m hearing you encourage us to spend time thinking about what we are being exposed to… not taking things at face value… considering the alternatives… striving to understand the meaning beneath the presentation… asking the difficult questions.

    You know, that kind of encouragement is really nice to hear. Thanks so much. I’ve been struggling to discover a way to engage with which I would be comfortable. When presented with this chumpitude, it gave me something solid to react to. It motivated a response. And it’s great to hear that it struck the right note.

    Now I’m doubly motivated to do more of the same. Thanks.

  3. […] working for some years ago. Quite the opposite! And, as an example, take a look into the superb blog post that one fellow IBMer, and very good friend, Matt Simpson, put together under this particular […]

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