What business books I’m buying and reading


I just received my latest book shipment from Amazon.com – it’s a tasty pile and I thought I’d share the list in case people are interested. Friendfeed is a nice way to share my various activities, but doesn’t include book purchases, which I’d probably prefer to share on an ad-hoc basis anyway.

Below are the books, together with brief comments. In most cases I haven’t read them cover to cover yet, but I’ll offer my thoughts either through reputation or having had a browse.

The predominant themes of Enterprise 2.0 and influencer marketing are obvious. We are writing our own Implementing Enterprise 2.0 report, as well as running our Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum soon, and it’s good to see what else has been written on the topic. As any regular readers of this blog will soon discover, influence will be a major theme for my companies in 2009.

Enterprise 2.0

By: Niall Cook

A succinct report-style overview of Enterprise 2.0 from an executive perspective, written by Niall Cook of PR firm Hill & Knowlton.


By: Aaron Newman, Jeremy Thomas

An extensive examination of Enterprise 2.0 implementation. It is written primarily for technical people, including some code examples, though is certainly accessible to non-technical people.

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

By: Yochai Benkler

I’ve been long overdue to get this on my bookshelf. Already a classic, it covers the political and economic implications of a networked world.

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Our trend map for 2009: The vital Trends, Risks, and Red Herrings you must know


Following our extremely popular Trend Blend 2007 and Trend Blend 2008 trend maps comes…. Trend Blend 2009!

Created by Future Exploration Network’s Chief Futurist Richard Watson, also of NowandNext.com, the 2009 trend map moves on from the subway map theme of the last years to show the multi-tentacled hydra that is the year ahead.


Click on the map to download the pdf (810KB)

To pick out just a few noteworthy elements of the trend map:

CORE THEMES include:



Global Connectivity


Power Shift Eastwards


SOCIETY: Search for control, enoughism

TECHNOLOGY: Simplicity, Telepresence, Gesture based computing

ECONOMY: De-leveraging, 2-speed economies, Shorter product lifecycles

ENVIRONMENT: Bio fuel backlash, Negawatts, Nuclear power

POLITICS: Virtual protests, Globalisation in retreat, Immigration backlash

BUSINESS: Networked risk, Transparency, Asset price uncertainty

FAMILY: Debt stress, Allowable luxuries, Middle class unrest

MEDIA: Flight to quality, Facebook fatigue, Skimming, Micro boredom


Climate change crisis

Fall of US Empire

Nuclear power

Device convergence


Major Internet failure

Influenza pandemic

Major earthquake in economic centre


Electricity shortages

People taking trend maps too seriously

As usual, this is released on a Creative Commons license, so feel free to play with it, adapt it, and improve it!

Wishing everyone a fabulous 2009 – be sure to take advantage of these upcoming trends!

Keynote at Direct Selling Association conference in March


I’m giving the keynote, titled Embracing the Future, at the Defining our Future conference in the Gold Coast 22-24 March, run by the Direct Selling Association. Below is an introductory video on the event, briefly reviewing the event and main speakers.

DSAA 2009 from Tom Walter on Vimeo.

I’ve never spoken to the direct selling industry before, but certainly the themes I often cover of the evolving network economy and media landscape is highly relevant to the audience. I’ll go into more detail later on what I’ll be covering in my keynote.

Discount for early registration at Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum ends 24 December!


Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum is shaping up to once again be the premier event in Australia on how Web 2.0, mobile, and emerging technologies are being applied to create value in organizations.

An early registration special of $110 off applies until 24 December, so don’t forget to include it in your pre-Christmas shopping! And remember, there are significant additional discounts for members of AIMIA, Innovation Bay, NSW KM Forum, and PRIA.

A quick reminder of some of the highlights of the event:

* Top Australian and global speakers, including JP Rangaswami of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein fame, and case studies including Westpac, Corporate Express, Janssen-Cilag etc.

* Deep content in a workshop format from most of the top experts and consultants in the field in Australia, including Kate Carruthers, Stephen Collins, James Robertson and many others.

* Implementing Enterprise 2.0 Report providing a clear roadmap for implementation included in the price of registration – valued at US$195.

* Detailed coverage of highly practical issues including governance processes, implementing policies, establishing mobile workflow, implementing social networks, and far more.

Hope to see you there!

Interviews: Six important forces that will shape 2009


I’ve done two radio interviews this morning, asking me for forecasts for the year ahead.

The broader issue I am emphasizing in my current interviews and speaking is that 2009 will bring more change than any other year this decade.

Perversely, a slowing economy will accelerate the pace of change. Many companies will take advantage of the downturn to use technology in innovative ways. Technology ranging from mobile applications to online gaming will become an everyday part of our work lives.

Social change tends to be faster in a downturn. Our attitudes to what is acceptable behavior by the government and companies will rapidly evolve. Technology is shaping society, but society is also shaping technology, particularly in how it allows us to express forcible opinions.

In these interviews for non-professional audiences I briefly covered six important forces that will shape business and society in 2009:

1. Constant partial attention. 2009 will see more people consuming 20 hours or more of media a day. And no, it’s not just the insomniacs. It is due to a phenomenon called Constant Partial Attention, or CPA, in which our attention is constantly divided between a massive array of channels now including mobile Internet, video screens on buses, and more. Over two-thirds of people watch TV while reading. To be successful, we need to thrive on constant interruption.

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Upcoming Keynote at MegaTrends in Abu Dhabi: Four trends transforming society


[UPDATE:] The conference was rescheduled to 25 May – my keynote presentation is here.

In early February I am delivering a keynote at the MegaTrends conference in Abu Dhabi, one of three international keynote speakers together with John Naisbitt, who sold over 9 million copies of MegaTrends and created an industry, and Dr Lynda Grattan, author of Living Strategy and Professor at London Business School.

I recently did a press briefing by video for journalists in the UAE, touching on some of the themes I’ll cover in my keynote at the conference. I chose to speak briefly about four massive trends that will impact business globally and in the Gulf region in years to come. I’ll give more details on the speech content before and after the event.

1. The Rise of the Global Talent Economy

Talent – long recognized as the key driver of companies and economies – is becoming a highly dynamic global market. Top professionals are increasingly choosing to work independently, retired executives are making their skills available, and connectivity means we can access expertise from anywhere on the planet. Companies will as a matter of course engage and work with staff, professionals, and suppliers all over the planet. And those that do this better, beating their competitors to get the most from a world of available talent, will win.

For more, see writing about the global talent economy.

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9 practical steps to getting great outsourced design on 99designs


As I wrote last week, I decided to use the design exchange 99designs for our new logo for Advanced Human Technologies. We received over 140 logo submissions, including many very high quality designs, going through a highly iterative process to get an excellent outcome.

Click here to see the submissions and winner (however quite a few designers have withdrawn their designs so they are no longer visible – the full field was a lot more impressive). The winner of the competition is below, created by designer kn. Note that this is not yet our official logo (that will be when our website is relaunched early next year) and may be tweaked further before it becomes our final logo.


Here are nine lessons we learned on how to get great results on 99designs:

1. Know what you are looking for

The questions asked when you post your contest, in terms of what you do and don’t want, are important to think through. To a certain extent that becomes clearer when you can respond to specific ideas, however the more you know beforehand, the easier it is. In particular for logo designs, you need to be clear on what identity and connotations are associated with your company.

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Twitter friend inflation, the dynamics of influence, and why shifts in reciprocity are changing the social media landscape


Anyone who uses Twitter will be deeply familiar with the issue of who you follow and who you follow back. As Twitter continues to gather traction, popular Twitterers are gathering followers at an increasing pace. If you’re on Twitter, by default you get an email whenever someone follows you, giving you the option of looking at their profile and deciding whether you want to follow them back. If you know them, you’re likely to reciprocate, however if they are strangers, you go through a process of assessing whether you’d like to follow back.

There are seven basic strategies that Twitter users adopt:

1. Reciprocate any follows. This can be done manually, or automatically by using a service such as socialtoo.

2. Look at new followers and decide whether you want to follow them back. This is the most common strategy, which allows people to decide based on a range of factors whether to follow back.

3. Turn off follow notifications. High profile Twitterers simply follow people they know, and choose not to be notified who follows them (sometimes simply because their email inbox gets clogged by follow notifications).

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The relevance of Enterprise 2.0 in an economic downturn


Moving towards our Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum 2009, a key issue has to be how these themes are relevant to the most prominent concerns of senior executives. In short, how will applying Web 2.0 and mobile technologies in organizations save money, increase efficiency and productivity, increase market share, and build profitability?

A number of recent blog posts have squarely addressed this issue, and are important reading in framing why Enterprise 2.0 must be a top priority for executives.

Susan Scrupski, talks about Reality Check 2.0 in writing about what the members of the Advisory Board for the next Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston are saying.

Mike Gotta of Burton Group says:

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(Good) blog aggregators are the best source of news


As one of many deeply absorbed in the US Presidential elections, I spent a lot of time scouring the news to gain insights into the latest as the extraordinary story unfolded. I consistently found that blog aggregator Memeorandum provided the best view on what the most relevant and interesting news was. Often stories became prominent on Memeorandum before they hit the mainstream press.

This points to what I first wrote six years ago in Living Networks, and have often restated:

“Blogs are not necessarily important individually, but in aggregate they are massively powerful. The “blogosphere” pulls together what millions of talented people around the world are discovering and thinking. Collectively, blogs enable us to collaborate to filter and uncover the most worthwhile news.”

The Guardian is the latest to say Memeorandum runs rings around Google News.

“Memeorandum is embarrassingly better than Google News. Google reckons that the more coverage a story gets, the more important it is. Unfortunately, broad coverage takes a long time to develop, so Google News can run hours or even a day behind Memeorandum. This is fine for casual consumers, but if you’re a news junkie – or a journalist – it’s hopeless.”

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