Thursday, May 25, 2006

Closing Keynotes - Don Tapscott

Don Tapscott, author of this year's inspirational book, The Naked Corporation, gave an incredibly rousing and inspirational speach about the changing nature of business in today's world. One of the key take aways I got from his keynote was the fact that people growing up today (in the range of 4 to 28 in his estimatation - the "echo boomers") are a huge generation of people who are not just technically literate, but technology for them is just like air. These people, he finds, have great BS detectors -- you can't pull the wool over their eyes. As an employer or product or service provider to them, the only option is to be honest with them. They're hard to fool and they won't trust you if they find you to be dishonest. Hence, The Naked Corporation.

Being just barely outside his defined age range, I was ready to jump up and give him a standing ovation for his insight into my values. Transparency. Openness. Willingness to share insight and services. Collaboration. This are all things that I love and value in the companies that I see emerging on the net. I thought my only peers were other Open Source fanatics, but in his estimation, it's the entire generation right behind me.

His take on the situation is that the most successful companies in the current environment are going to be those that are willing to bare their all to the world. Those who are willing to admit their mistakes before someone else catches them. Those who are willing to share their services in such a was as to lower barriers to collaboration between their partners and drive the overall value across companies higher than any company could drive their value alone. Mutual openness benefiting everyone involved. Lowering the cost of transactions, which are the barrier to entry for collaboration and openness.

As you might expect, this ties in closely with the challenges of data integration and software/business process outsourcing. Moving data and processes outside of a corporation increases transaction costs, but also increases the potential value of that expertise to the company. The challenge is to lower that transaction cost so that the real value of BPO/SaaS arrangements can be achieved.

Yeah! Way to go Don! I can't wait to read my newly signed copy.


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