Enterprise 2.0 Day One

Actually the themes stayed fairly consistent to the below. I wish the show was a bit less vendor centric as a whole – the best panels (aside from keynotes by Weinberger, McAfee, and the NetAge folks) have been the smaller panels. Even the SuiteTwo panel, though packed with vendors, got into better issues because it wasn’t just a set of product demos but an actual discussion of issues.

What would a conference look like if we took seriously the fact that the answers to the most puzzling enterprise 2.0 questions are social, cultural, organization, rather than technical? Maybe it would be an unconference, à la BarCamp.

I’ve survived quite a bit of death-by-powerpoint already today.

A few themes are emerging – I will update this as the day goes on. (And please, feel free to share your own in the comments!):

Where are the millenials?

Changing workforce demographic is on everyone’s mind. But I see, frankly, few people here at the conference who likely are millenials. I didn’t go around asking people how old they are, of course, but my general impression is that the network savvy, collaboration-oriented twenty-somethings I keep hearing about in presentations aren’t in attendance.

It is/isn’t about technology
Everyone keeps saying it isn’t about the technology, but all the presentations are about technology. This is perhaps too easy a critique since most conferences are that way – vendor sponsorship and all. But if it is about people and culture, rather than technology, way too much of today was from a vendor point-of-view. Definitely get the feeling that there’s money in them there hills.

Enterprise 2.0 or Collaborative Technologies
There’s a kind of bifurcation between the “Enterprise 2.0” main title of the conference and the “Collaborative technologies” subtitle. The E2.0 meme is all about emergent social software – unstructured, freeform, experimental – where the “collaborative technologies” folks seem more focused on enabling people to collaborate within their hierarchical organization – make your project team more efficient, without changing anything about the organization itself. Rough distinction, obviously, but perhaps will become a more meaningful one.

Blurring of networks across work and social life
this is perhaps the most interesting one to me. What does it mean that employees are also consumers? That our social networks blur work and social life – my set of contacts is partially friends I came to know outside of work, but also friends I got to know through work, colleagues and former colleagues, clients and prospects – all these folks mix and mingle in sometimes unclear ways.