I just did a speaking gig at Microsoft. Spoke to Nestle executives from around the world. Nice group of folks. Asked some interesting questions. Couldn’t believe that they could actually watch what everyone around the world would say about Nestle. Yes, I introduced them to Technorati!
It was the last of my Microsoft responsibilities. A freebee for Mr. Gates! Heheh.
Then off to dinner where I met the technical staff from Quixtar. Again, wonderful people. Smart, interesting, not anything like what the stereotype of a multi-level marketing company employee is. At least in my mind (a friend got me into Quixtar about 15 years ago and I just couldn’t take to it).
Now, what is the Web these companies are gearing up for? Yes, you’d be right if you guessed a bloggy Web. A Web with real people talking about real stuff on it. Not a manufactured site that has no life. No soul.
Why? Cause they are seeing that what they are doing now isn’t working. People aren’t engaging with their company the way they want. They aren’t getting the Google page rank they want (or the MSN or the Yahoo rank either).
They see that their advertising dollars are bringing them less and less and they are seeing that a new word-of-mouth network has been built that’ll get stories from 15 small conversations to around-the-world newspaper, TV, and magazine coverage in 36 hours and they are scared!
Quick, do a little project with me. Visit the home pages of Nestle and Quixtar.
Without clicking anywhere find me a real human being. Not one made out of a stock photo agency.
You don’t need to look. There aren’t any. Not to mention that you can’t talk to a real human being. And I don’t see anything on those two pages that I’d like to link to. Which means they won’t get high search engine rankings no matter how many SEO firms they pay.
Which is like throwing money down the toilet. If you met THE PEOPLE behind these companies I think you’d be far more likely to listen to what they have to say. Or sell. And they ARE experts on their business. It’s a damn shame that they aren’t allowed to talk with us on their Web sites.
When I speak I’m just telling audiences about what Dave Winer and Dori Smith showed me six years ago — really blogs haven’t changed a whole lot since then. There’s no reason to bring up OPML or Second Life or AJAX, or Trackbacks or the latest thing that WordPress or Six Apart are showing off. They are still discovering that there’s value in simply encouraging their people to talk with their customers.
Until all the big companies get to the place where they understand the power in that then I guess there’s no reason to talk about anything else. Which, Dave, probably explains why I get invited to speak at Next Web conferences. I’m willing to talk about what you did in 2001.
Translation: we’re not ready for the next Web. The world is still catching up to the last Web. The 2001 Web.
But, I’m ready to learn something new. The audiences are catching up. Next year 2001 will really seem like 2001.
Hopefully in 2007 I can sit in the audience again and let the real gurus take the stage.
Oh, one other thing. Where are the freaking women? They are doing the most interesting blogging. One of the Nestle members said “no one in my country is doing blogging.” I said “bull.” And told them about Global Voices Online where there are bloggers from nearly every country around the world. Get Rebecca McKinnon to speak (she was one of those behind the Global Voices blog). She’s doing more important stuff than I am.
Or, at least get Mena Trott to speak. Six Apart is about to launch a new blogging initiative that at least deserves a speech or two.
I guess this is why BlogHer is doing so well. They are doing the next Web over there. Why aren’t any of their speakers at the Next Web conference?