The world of work undergoing huge changes

Adobe tonight announced an Office Suite largely focused around a new version of Acrobat. TechCrunch has a good post on the new stuff that just shipped.

Look at what Eric Rice just told us: “I just went to Acrobat.com and played with Adobe’s online office suite. Holy crap. That ConnectNow is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Or, look at what Jim Stanger just said “Yep! Folks at the office are gonna like this, no doubt. I love it when these services help me be the Big Damn Hero!”

This is an important announcement, but don’t miss the bigger thing that’s going on.

The way we all work together is seeing HUGE changes and the changes are coming from all over, not from one place or once company the way that the changes did in the 1980s where stuff designed at Xerox PARC became the Macintosh and Microsoft Word (that was designed at Xerox, go back and look it up). In the 1990s the world of work was controlled largely by Microsoft after its Office Suite became THE WAY we all worked together (and still largely is).

But the changes that are going on now?

Well, for that, you have to try some of the stuff on the Office 2.0 database or you have to see how the workplace itself is changing thanks to movements like coworking. Not to mention that mobile devices are making work much different. Everytime a plane I’m on lands I see that revolution up front and close as people switch on iPhones and Blackberries to get back in touch with their coworkers. Real-time web services like Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, Pownce, Jaiku, and LinkedIn are having even other changes on how we work.

My email is showing me that, for many of you, these changes have already happened. But when I look at what people are doing in airports I see that most business people have no clue about any of these changes. For them we’re living in the future and they don’t even know it yet.

Soon people just won’t put up with a Word Processor that costs hundreds of dollars and isn’t collaborative. They won’t put up with a presentation program that can’t deal with photos from Flickr. They won’t handle a sales database that doesn’t run in the Web browser.

So, congratulations Adobe for pushing us further into this new world of work. What a week this will be.

More on this topic on Thursday when we start a new show on the future of work on FastCompany.tv. Who is the first guest? The guy who runs the PARC lab today for Xerox. Who is the second guest? The guy who does the Office 2.0 database linked to above. And you.

84 thoughts on “The world of work undergoing huge changes

  1. I was a cell phone tech back when cell phones first started hitting the market. Its amazing how much technology has changed in the last 20 years.

  2. I was a cell phone tech back when cell phones first started hitting the market. Its amazing how much technology has changed in the last 20 years.

  3. I was a cell phone tech back when cell phones first started hitting the market. Its amazing how much technology has changed in the last 20 years.

  4. A new office? I am still learning the old 2007, we all need a down time from so many releases, we are releasing so fast that everything breaks with the usage, see http://twitter.com, add a few people and goes down faster than your think.
    Its more difficult to go down that try to bring it up, while people is hitting the website, caching and queuing did not work for them, as everybody blaims rails, I’ll say, the design is not as good, and I am guessing for their post about the database, that the DBA should start also blogging and asking for help. Great idea many times copied.

    I also tried to copy twitter providing location. http://geotwitter.net, however I would never have as many users are twitter had the first month.

    Al

  5. A new office? I am still learning the old 2007, we all need a down time from so many releases, we are releasing so fast that everything breaks with the usage, see http://twitter.com, add a few people and goes down faster than your think.
    Its more difficult to go down that try to bring it up, while people is hitting the website, caching and queuing did not work for them, as everybody blaims rails, I’ll say, the design is not as good, and I am guessing for their post about the database, that the DBA should start also blogging and asking for help. Great idea many times copied.

    I also tried to copy twitter providing location. http://geotwitter.net, however I would never have as many users are twitter had the first month.

    Al

  6. Our organization tried similar tools to this Adobe suite, but decided against them. It was just too hard to make the jump from what we were used to. However, we are adopting blogs and wikis and seeing a big productivity improvement from them.

    I think that most people overestimate their own importance and bloggers / Web 2.0 nuts are no different. I knew a doctor once who would tell me how terribly important doctors were. I told him I thought the migrant workers working in the Central Valley were more useful because I wanted a salad more often than a check up.
    ;-)

  7. Our organization tried similar tools to this Adobe suite, but decided against them. It was just too hard to make the jump from what we were used to. However, we are adopting blogs and wikis and seeing a big productivity improvement from them.

    I think that most people overestimate their own importance and bloggers / Web 2.0 nuts are no different. I knew a doctor once who would tell me how terribly important doctors were. I told him I thought the migrant workers working in the Central Valley were more useful because I wanted a salad more often than a check up.
    ;-)

  8. It is great to see all of this technology come out as it usually makes the work environment more efficient. Kudos to Adobe.

    I just wonder how good the package will look in the end. Cause it better be pretty much amazing to have an inkling of a chance to compete with Office. I mean come on we are talking about Microsoft here.

  9. It is great to see all of this technology come out as it usually makes the work environment more efficient. Kudos to Adobe.

    I just wonder how good the package will look in the end. Cause it better be pretty much amazing to have an inkling of a chance to compete with Office. I mean come on we are talking about Microsoft here.

  10. and NO – the way we work is NOT changing.

    Given the extreme myopic-dreamy view most tech bloggers have, it can seem like such, well, minus any hard evidence or actual case studies notwithstanding. And anecdotal feel-good snippets is the fuel that beach-ball media techies run on, as by the time they are asked to pony up evidence, the story is already yesterday’s news, onto the next new new thing.

    Before passing judgement, look around – there is a lot going on that you may not understand.

    Hopeless case, I’ve given up. ;) But he’s still a great nice guy in person, being that I disagree with 110% of everything he says. But it’s half theater too, myself included.

  11. and NO – the way we work is NOT changing.

    Given the extreme myopic-dreamy view most tech bloggers have, it can seem like such, well, minus any hard evidence or actual case studies notwithstanding. And anecdotal feel-good snippets is the fuel that beach-ball media techies run on, as by the time they are asked to pony up evidence, the story is already yesterday’s news, onto the next new new thing.

    Before passing judgement, look around – there is a lot going on that you may not understand.

    Hopeless case, I’ve given up. ;) But he’s still a great nice guy in person, being that I disagree with 110% of everything he says. But it’s half theater too, myself included.

  12. Scoble,
    Thanks for the post. The new suite is pretty sweet. I used the meeting function today and loved it. Techmeme’s write up hinted at Adobe trying to out do Google Docs, etc.
    I have a problem and maybe you or someone else here can help. Im an analyst for a huge hospital system in Cleveland Ohio and pull data from an enormous database and use a great visual analysis tool: Tableau(www.tableausoftware.com), and I have data sets that have way more than 65,000 lines, which is all that Excel 2003 and Google Docs allow. Do you or anyone know of some other outlet I can use so I dont have to use Access(i hate access).
    By the way, my IT dept wont let us get Excel 2007….bummer.

    Thanks

  13. “there is a lot going on that you may not understand.”

    Boy! is that the understatement of the year so far.

    What do you mean “may”?
    Vivek, you are spot on. The people that actually PAY money for solutions are not interested in any Web 2.0 offering.

  14. Scoble,
    Thanks for the post. The new suite is pretty sweet. I used the meeting function today and loved it. Techmeme’s write up hinted at Adobe trying to out do Google Docs, etc.
    I have a problem and maybe you or someone else here can help. Im an analyst for a huge hospital system in Cleveland Ohio and pull data from an enormous database and use a great visual analysis tool: Tableau(www.tableausoftware.com), and I have data sets that have way more than 65,000 lines, which is all that Excel 2003 and Google Docs allow. Do you or anyone know of some other outlet I can use so I dont have to use Access(i hate access).
    By the way, my IT dept wont let us get Excel 2007….bummer.

    Thanks

  15. “there is a lot going on that you may not understand.”

    Boy! is that the understatement of the year so far.

    What do you mean “may”?
    Vivek, you are spot on. The people that actually PAY money for solutions are not interested in any Web 2.0 offering.

  16. Scoble – I sell software to large enterprises and NO – the way we work is NOT changing. Not a single enterprise I speak to wants to put up their data on an external web site; not a single customer wants to provide complete access to their employees to access corporate data without some form of 2 factor auth – forget public web sites, they are very uncomfortable exposing their own services through the extranet.

    Coworking? What are you talking about? Which enterprise is using coworking? How many use it? What were their teething problems? How did they overcome those?

    Why dont you do interviews with REAL Enterprises who USE some of these things instead of giving us anecdotal snippets which cannot be verified anyway?

    Powerpoint cant use FLICKR? WTF? Try this – Save the image from FLICKR on your desktop and then include it in your presentation by using the INSERT->PICTURE menu option.

    Ever heard of Picture Libraries in sharepoint? It allows you to store and sync your images in a corporate sharepoint website and provide access from within any office tool. Takes care of your “web 2.0″ scenario and allows enterprises to manage copyrighted image content.

    Before passing judgement, look around – there is a lot going on that you may not understand.

  17. Scoble – I sell software to large enterprises and NO – the way we work is NOT changing. Not a single enterprise I speak to wants to put up their data on an external web site; not a single customer wants to provide complete access to their employees to access corporate data without some form of 2 factor auth – forget public web sites, they are very uncomfortable exposing their own services through the extranet.

    Coworking? What are you talking about? Which enterprise is using coworking? How many use it? What were their teething problems? How did they overcome those?

    Why dont you do interviews with REAL Enterprises who USE some of these things instead of giving us anecdotal snippets which cannot be verified anyway?

    Powerpoint cant use FLICKR? WTF? Try this – Save the image from FLICKR on your desktop and then include it in your presentation by using the INSERT->PICTURE menu option.

    Ever heard of Picture Libraries in sharepoint? It allows you to store and sync your images in a corporate sharepoint website and provide access from within any office tool. Takes care of your “web 2.0″ scenario and allows enterprises to manage copyrighted image content.

    Before passing judgement, look around – there is a lot going on that you may not understand.

  18. How long have these web 2.0 apps tried to go mainstream? And what has been their success rate?

    What is their revenue model for all these on-line apps. More to the point, what is the partner and ISV model around these apps. Someone name me one major SI that is offering services to migrate off of Office to Google Apps or Zoho? Where’s the money in it.

    I’m old enough to remember being told that CB radios would revolutionize communication. And that big satellite dishes installed in my back yard would free me from the reliance on cable. Why did they die. No money in it. There is a huge business built around adding value to IBM/Lotus and MS platforms. Until Google gets there no F500 company will bet their data on it

  19. How long have these web 2.0 apps tried to go mainstream? And what has been their success rate?

    What is their revenue model for all these on-line apps. More to the point, what is the partner and ISV model around these apps. Someone name me one major SI that is offering services to migrate off of Office to Google Apps or Zoho? Where’s the money in it.

    I’m old enough to remember being told that CB radios would revolutionize communication. And that big satellite dishes installed in my back yard would free me from the reliance on cable. Why did they die. No money in it. There is a huge business built around adding value to IBM/Lotus and MS platforms. Until Google gets there no F500 company will bet their data on it

  20. coworking? linkedin?
    just created a small coworking site in northern italy, we got requests almost everyweek.
    we also created a linkedin group of people interested, and the group is making a voluntary connection with people all over the world.
    the world of work, for what I am concerned IS changing.
    but only to the extent you want to change it (I’m also thinking of my advertising clients who give me job setting milestones on socialtext, and eventually showing – on occasions – more creativity than we do while we do the reviewing part of the job, totally changing the rules.
    it’s an option today, it’ll be the rule tomorrow.
    ciao
    massimo

  21. coworking? linkedin?
    just created a small coworking site in northern italy, we got requests almost everyweek.
    we also created a linkedin group of people interested, and the group is making a voluntary connection with people all over the world.
    the world of work, for what I am concerned IS changing.
    but only to the extent you want to change it (I’m also thinking of my advertising clients who give me job setting milestones on socialtext, and eventually showing – on occasions – more creativity than we do while we do the reviewing part of the job, totally changing the rules.
    it’s an option today, it’ll be the rule tomorrow.
    ciao
    massimo

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