The Web 2.0 Water Cooler

Xerox Parc, Microsoft, Apple, Google - are not only tech pioneers but renowned incubators of talented business builders... Zillow's founders can trace their genetics back to Microsoft via Expedia. On a macro level, the "best and brightest" (an idiom I try to avoid using) have tended to congregate together in close proximity - creative film makers in LA, deal makers on Wall Street, VCs on Sand Hill Road.

On a micro level, congregation once happened exclusively on a physical level - inside office buildings, on golf courses and at tradeshows. Today's social networking tools add a third dimension... face to face remains important but the initiation of introduction can be made online in various ways. MySpace, Linkedin, Facebook, Active Rain, blogs - all disclose enough information about an individual and their networks to warrant a "warm, receptive" cold call or referral. I myself always feel honored to get a cold call... it should be a commonplace occurrence.

The new "virtual" networks aggregate talent similar to how the Microsoft water cooler spawned the many ideas that led to startups. The collective real estate blogosphere has become an open forum for the new ideas that chart the strategic course of the industry... its participants include CEOs, line management and entrepreneurs who were relatively inaccessible pre-social media.

The big surprise to new bloggers and Web 2.0 participants is entrance into this virtual society that they didn't realize existed (including me). The friendships and network built are as real as the office water cooler, and it's not a giant leap to understand that your next client/business partner/job will be facilitated in some way by this virtual society, particularly if your "physical" network of office and work/school - related buddies also joins up.

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  • 6/24/2007 4:47 PM Oliver Muoto wrote:
    Good post. I have stressed the importance of having good "corporate DNA"..the right DNA at the core helps the organization grow to resemble the "parents" traits. A similar concept is that of what I call "business tribes". In silicon valley (as well as in other places I am sure), people tend to move our in "business trips". I think virtual networks are great, will probably have started giving rise to a new breed of virtual companies. The one that best comes to mind is Pageflakes. I remember talking one of the founders when I was consulting at TagWorld. According to their site: Pageflakes Ltd. was founded in Germany in 2006 and is funded by Benchmark Capital. Pageflakes is headquartered in the United States in San Francisco, California, with operations in Bangladesh, Germany and Malaysia.

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