RonAmok!

The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Mar 23, 2009

My good friend Arthur Nelson is a serial entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded over 20 organizations in his career. Some, like AIRINC are businesses, while others, like TERC are nonprofits. But independent of the company or its mission, he’s identified a common thread that binds them all.

“I’ve never started an organization that ended up doing what it was originally intended to do,” he once told me.

Arthur explains that most entrepreneurs begin work on a problem without having the all of the information necessary to build a successful business–information that can only be acquired through immersion in research. Before this immersion, entrepreneurs can only see symptoms. Yet after speaking with clients who are dealing with those problems, the root causes reveal a better focus for entrepreneurs to build their products and services around.

I’ve found that Arthur’s lesson is applicable to corporate adoption of New/Social Media. The only way to get a true understanding of it is through full immersion. If you’ve never maintained a blog, produced a podcast, or participated in an online community, you can’t have the intimate knowledge required to make accurate decisions about its applicability within your company. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many companies do, chasing symptoms as opposed to causes.

Understanding New Media is like stepping into the fog. At first, you can only see the hazy outlines of objects in the distance. Yet by walking forward, additional details emerge. The deeper you walk, new outlines and additional details reveal a scene that you couldn’t have anticipated before your journey.

Take Arthur’s advice. Make a plan and then step into the fog. Head for the muffled voices. Participate with the people you encounter. Soon you’ll have a better feel for the role of New/Social Media within your organization.

Then, make the appropriate adjustments and execute your revised plan.

Photo Credit: ferronj

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Filed under: Social Media

Comments

Well said. I have a feeling that when that scribe in Mesopotamia came up with the scratches on clay that some executive said, “if the oral tradition was good enough for my father, it’s good enough for me.”

But we also have to remember that engineers, who make up most of the decision-making process of startups were never trained in communications.

Lou Covey
March 23, 2009

Well said. I have a feeling that when that scribe in Mesopotamia came up with the scratches on clay that some executive said, “if the oral tradition was good enough for my father, it’s good enough for me.”

But we also have to remember that engineers, who make up most of the decision-making process of startups were never trained in communications.

Lou Covey
March 23, 2009

“At first, you can only see the hazy outlines of objects in the distance. Yet by walking forward, additional details emerge.”

Reminds me of the Sixth Sense movie – I see social media people!

Mike Kilroy
March 23, 2009

“At first, you can only see the hazy outlines of objects in the distance. Yet by walking forward, additional details emerge.”

Reminds me of the Sixth Sense movie – I see social media people!

Mike Kilroy
March 23, 2009

Hollywood scared alot of people away from the ‘The Fog’ (kinda like they scared them out of the water). How do you lead the doubters in with you?

Bob Williams
April 15, 2009

Hollywood scared alot of people away from the ‘The Fog’ (kinda like they scared them out of the water). How do you lead the doubters in with you?

Bob Williams
April 14, 2009

Ah, yes, the $50,000 question. Leading doubters isn’t easy, but leading in general never is. Leaders just do.

ronploof
April 15, 2009

Ah, yes, the $50,000 question. Leading doubters isn’t easy, but leading in general never is. Leaders just do.

Ron
April 14, 2009

[…] of the most influential people in my life. I’ve actually mentioned him in previous posts such as The Fog of Social Media or 50+ Years Later: Buglabs Arrives. He’s a very successful entrepreneur who has played the great […]

RonAmok! » My Mentor: Arthur Nelson
May 10, 2010

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