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How business Can Manufacture Serendipity

Excuse me, but I have slipped-up in my bloggy etiquette and updated this post. I read a post on Seth's blog, What would Jerry do? that gave me a couple of ideas to make a point on taking a small risk to achieve big rewards. Seth is talking about Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, and the unconventional approaches that they used to interact with their fans.

Lately, I've been yakking a lot about open source, Why Can't Business Learn From Open Source And Blogging?, Diversity, Marketing, Open Source, VS Organizational Development, and in my other posts.


...the idea of conversations and open source, the idea of souvenirs and emotion and live events and of remarkability. The Dead sells through permission marketing, spread their music through an ideavirus and yes, as long as we're slinging buzzwords, profits from the long tail.

The most important takeaway is this: They repeatedly did things that felt like huge risks, that challenged the status quo and that seemed, on their face, to give too much power to their audience. And in those moments, the Grateful Dead were at their most successful.

I love it, ..."too much power to their audience."

...Frightening as hell for any business. No need to answer, what is keeping you up at night? Get over it. We have the tools today where any non-techy can create content. Generation 'C' - C is for Content. Sure, some of the stuff is crap, but in some cases such as in Flickr aggregating the best images in their Interestingness / Last 24 hours section. Pulitzer worthy stuff by amateur photogs. Or try the bookmarks on delicious.

How do we find/discover this stuff? Jon Udell's Weblog, Blog biology

Increasingly I think about this stuff in biological terms. I'm a cell; the blog is my cell membrane; the items I post here extrude that membrane out into the intercellular environment, forming a complex surface area with which other cells interact [the blogosphere] . The other day, a piece of Brenda's extruded surface touched a piece of mine. I know that because my surface is instrumented with a variety of sensors: my referral log,, Feedster, PubSub, Technorati. So when this pseudopod of Brenda's touched this pseodopod of mine, I noticed.

But the initial discovery is the most amazing thing. It looks like serendipity, and in a way it is, but it's manufactured serendipity.

An Internal Blogosphere For The Business

Of course, Jon is talking about the public blogosphere. What about your internal organization, where email runs the show?

How do you manufacture serendipity out of email? What we do for existing email is import it into an social network applications to automatically generate posts and comments. Nothing is lost and opportunities are gained.

But, But, BUt, what about all the cool stuff in the external blogosphere that could possibly affect my biz?

Social Media Tools Open Source CMS enterprise mashups social web applications xml privacy gated social networks open api's serendipity social information management