Interdependent + Interconnected

Economic turmoil over the months of August and September have awoken many to the present day realities of how interdependent and interconnected we have all become. The recent collapse of Sigma Finance draws the curtain on a once $400bn Special Investment Vehicle (SIV) industry which over the last 25 years sowed the seeds of our current credit crisis. While commentators move from debating the wisdom of using the term bailout instead of rescue package to the shortcomings of central bank regulators our financial markets have forever changed. Masters of the Universe are a thing of the past and that is not a bad thing.

Technology has been a key enabler of our interdependent and interconnected world over the last decade. In September Google and Skype celebrated their 10th and 5th birthdays respectively. Both have played foundational roles in paving the way towards our coming Meta Age. The question many organisational leaders are starting to raise is how do they improve communications in preparation for a Meta Age. Social Computing holds many of the answers. Forward looking companies such as SocialText have been quietly getting on with developing enterprise ready platforms to meet the needs of organisations of all shapes, spaces and sizes. And that is a very good thing. Interesting times indeed.

User Centric to User Driven

July was an active month within the social computing space. Microsoft kicked things off by acquiring Powerset for $100m. Founded in October 2006 and having raised $12.5m in venture funding the San Francisco based search and natural language company are early semantic web practictioners. Apple launched its much awaited iPhone 3G with 1m units sold over its opening weekend. If you have yet to get hands on with the device we recommend watching its 30 minute guided tour video.

Google went public with Lively, one of its virtual world projects. The browser based offering joins Meez Nation and a number of other browser based virtual world offerings currently within the marketplace. IBM and Linden Lab announced the launch of their Open Grid Public Beta project. Interoperability within virtual worlds is something both companies have been working on in partnership for sometime.

Each of the above were discussed with analysts looking to understand how the third wave is taking shape. While public listed companies were mere observers of the second wave they are now positioning themselves to be active participants within the third wave. Making this transition from user centric to user driven is one of the great challenges many organisations face as we enter the Meta Age. Interesting times indeed.