By Dick Stark
Who is RightStar, anyway? The below Social Network Map tells the story. Thanks to the survey we all completed for the American University study conducted several months ago, RightStar is on the map, at least the social map, and the outcome is very positive.
The squares indicate employees (approximately 60), and the solid lines indicate lines of communication. The gist of the study was to determine if highly ethical companies like RightStar have healthy communication and transparency (lots of solid lines), which is what is expected for an Ethics Award winner. Despite the large number of employees that work autonomously out of their homes (“lone ranger” types), the lines of communication through email, chatter, boxnet, and telephone, indicate that most of us are well connected with each other.
The Social Network, and especially social media is becoming a very big deal. On Thursday, I attended a webinar sponsored by LinkedIn. One of the guest speakers was Clay Skirky, associate professor at NYU and Social Media expert. He told a story about DARPA’s red weather balloon project. In 2009, DAPRP sponsored a competition to locate ten red balloons placed around the United States and then report their findings. A cash prize was to be awarded to the team that discovered all ten locations in the least amount of time. DARPA anticipated that solving the contest would take up to a week. Instead, the winning team from MIT took less than nine hours to locate all ten balloons. MIT took advantage of multi-level marketing, and social media sites, to gather information or to recruit people that would look for balloons.
Another webinar speaker was Research Analyst Kim Celestre, from Forrester. She reiterated how important social media is to the IT buying process. According to Kim, buyers spend 70% of the decision making process gathering information before even talking to a buyer. Today’s buying funnel is complicated and social media plays a significant role.
Speakers from LinkedIn concluded by discussing why LinkedIn is the preferred choice for IT decision makers. LinkedIn provides a broad network of peers, experts, and opportunities to learn from experts. An impressive statistic: in the two months since LinkedIn released its new “endorsement” feature, more than 400 million endorsements have flown across the internet.