— 21 October 2004 —

In the Chasm

A few years ago, when brick-and-mortar companies were bizarrely resisting (in hindsight for them) selling over the Web there were a couple of factors contributing to how Business viewed the channels to reach potential markets. One of course was the technology. Just like with the advent of credit cards so many years ago, consumers freaked about privacy and security. So did businesses. Now even McDonald’s accepts credit and debit cards, and most companies now have some level of ecommerce, too. It’s accepted now. Back in the late 90s, ecommerce was a novelty.

When we first talked about starting Business Logs, blogs were not used very widely in business. Just in the past 6 months there has been a rise in corporate blogging. And it continues to grow, from CEOs to the analyst level. And it will grow and grow and grow, until it just is. Then we will all start fidgeting while we go through the next online evolution.

Blogs are following a similar path of adoption as ecommerce did, only I think it is happening much faster. Companies have learned from their experience with opening channels to more markets through the web, and blogs function in much the same way. It is often more a communication channel than a commerce channel, but the similarity is there enough that the adoption rate will probably have it’s typical bell-shaped curve, but when compared to the timeline of ecommerce the hump will occur much sooner in the cycle.

What will we do with this information? We can look at ecommerce as a guide for promoting, integrating, and managing business logs. There are a lot of lessons learned from the ecommerce growing pains that we can look to, and avoid, in building business logs as just another way to manage a successful business. Blogs will have their own particular idioms of course. Intellectual property issues. Trade secrets unintentionally leaking out. Privacy and security (not idiomatic of course). An analyst has a bad day at work and complains about her companies business ethics.

These are all issues we will have to work through, but I think that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Yep, it depends, and noting that is the start. The next step is truly investigating to what level this medium will benefit your company. Find that balance between risk and opportunity that is particular to your case and build from there.

4 Responses to In the Chasm