Impact on business and society

Photo by IBM Quantum Computer

I just saw an interesting video on YouTube that helped me understand quantum computing – at least it is now easier to pretend I know :). Talia Gershorn from IBM explained Quantum Computing in a new and very powerful way. This post is actually a comment for Talia but I thought it might be interesting to see what other quantum computing physicists have to say. Failure Tolerance and Imperfection is something I got really caught up with and am fascinated to get opinion from others.

@Talia: You are looking for having fault tolerance. I fully understand because this is how we always looked at computing. The perfect 100% accurate result – any time. And I’m sure one day somebody will find the solution. In the meantime you may want to look at applications where this is not so relevant. Imperfection is a form of quality that we all see in nature and in the universe. It is indeed a quality. Only imperfection allows evolution, mutation, and variation. Without imperfection – funny isn’t it – we would simply NOT EXIST.

Here is how it goes: Think about a structure for an airplane wing that is ultra light, still strong enough that it holds the body of a plane, yet flexible enough that it does not break. Your brain comes up with a few ideas, you let it run through a computer, optimize the structure based on let’s say a heat map of issues and then build it. If it’s working safely, you produce it and we are all flying with it – actually for centuries. Guess what – the structure that was picked in the first place is absolutely imperfect, still too heavy but it just works. Let an AI system design it and go through a million iterations, It would come up with a perfect solution (see a video from @Maurice Conti in my recent post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/autonomous-machines-where-we-today-who-may-advance-most-schultze/ . IMPERFECTION however saved us time so we could have airplanes long before we even knew about the existence of AI.

Another example: Your own company (IBM) provided the computer to beat Kasparov in 1997 in chess. The software however was imperfect because it could not go through each and every possible move but used the ones with the highest probability to win. AlphaGO did the same with GO because here the possible moves where simply too many.

IMPERFECTION as a strategy.

How about letting the good old silicon based computers do their job and you focus on apps that doesn’t need that kind of perfection but an overall performance increase unreachable for today’s silicon based machines. Instead of computing a three dimensional image and simulating it to move, using silicon, take a quantum computer and ignore that few pixels that are lost or even whole frames that do not get perfectly represented. As we progress in AI with its more and more complex algorithms and neural networks, we may need to get used to imperfection in an even grander scale. Matching too humans has a great chance of being imperfect. But the meeting everybody from the opposite gender would and keeping the protocol for meeting each other would take approximately 5.5 million years if we allow one day for each person and assuming 25% of half the population is ‘available’.

Just a thought.

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My LinkedIn account states: Member since: June 12, 2003
My LinkedIn ID is 8573

2003 – In My 2003 Konstantin Guerke, one of the LinkedIn co-founders asked me to join the network and give some feedback. His primary interest: Get some executives into the network, which so far was primarily consisting of engineers. To be honest, back then I had absolutely no idea what value it provided and where this could go.

2004 -I was searching for a VP Marketing and looking for candidates. Konstantin asked me to try LinkedIn to find what I’m looking for. I did. After some tips and modeling I got a pretty good search model and found the perfect candidate. Kathrine Hayes was VP Marketing, not looking and in most of the recruiters databases listed as VP Sales, her previous position. I would have never found here and  neither would our recruiters. We agreed to work together and not only I saved $30,000 recruiting cost, I got a perfect match. That was one of the key events when I realized that social networking would change everything. Not only the way we look for candidates but the way we sell, market, engage, service, promote, learn – simply every aspect of our business world.

2005 – I started my own blog and was considered one of the first executives blogging. I remember it was a bit of a debate in one of the board meetings as nobody could imagine what a blog is and why one would do that. I didn’t care. More so I tried to incorporate social media and social technology into our products. It was pretty clear to me that social technologies are the future life blood of any business application. Little did I know that it will still take years to get there.

2006 – Social networking was growing very fast within those early adopters and it proved helpful once one kind of understood how to use it to maintain existing contacts, develop new connections, get business introductions and even generate new leads. We all developed different techniques and had different opinion. And we all knew, that this is going to make a huge difference to sales and marketing. Yet we realized that most executives are still far away from recognizing the potential and the impact that social media already has on their businesses.

2007 – I heard about Twitter and the opinion that this is dumb and a total wast of time. In early 2007 I tried it out and agreed. This was really stupid. There was no way to form a meaningful sentence with 140 characters, let a lone a message for the public. But when I read in Wired Magazine that being forced to cram your thoughts into 140 characters and as a result we all will be less wordy, I looked at it again and signed up with a new account in June. I was surprised that the network has grown from roughly 50,000 just a few month ago to some hundred thousand users. I made new friends and began to really like it.

2008 – With the presidential campaign here in the US being massively using social media, many business executives woke up and were looking to explore its potential for their respective companies. A few business friends of mine, mostly CEOs from other Silicon Valley companies asked me to share my thoughts and experience about social media or just hired my as a consultant helping them develop a social media strategy. I have never been a consultant and didn’t really want to become one – but that was a lot of fun. The biggest problem was that nobody within those companies actually understood what I’m talking about.  I decided to provide executive level training to help managers not only make sense of Social Media but being able to create a strategy, create initiatives, define resource and budget plans and everything a corporate executive needs to make a decision. And of 2008 we started the Social Media Academy.

2009 – I continued to consult a few large enterprises to develop their social media engagement. What we did however was very different from what most social media agencies suggested. We did not run any fancy Facebook campaigns or moved the old coupon business to the new media. Instead we developed customer engagement strategies where parts of the sales teams or parts of the service teams strategically engaged with customers or even with customers of the company’s competitors. We couldn’t hope for more success. By now some executives realized that social media was no longer “just another arrow in the marketing quiver” it was a business strategy that focused on “Customer Experience Improvement”, “Near Real Time Market Research”, or “Online Reference Selling” and other similar business topics with either an objective to cut cost, create a competitive advantage or expand on certain markets. But the number of businesses who understood to benefit from those advantages is microscopic small.

2010 – One of the challenges we were facing by engaging with a large number of contacts was the lack of capabilities to get quickly and proactively to those accounts. Keeping them in a spreadsheet was not an option. And so we built an application on top of XeeMe a tool that we created for internal use. To us and our clients, 2010 was the year where social selling made some major turns. We were engaging with clients using this new tool we called “Flights!”. While still in an infant stage, we came to realization that sales people are the most social  beings in any business and giving them tools to engage online in addition to phone, email and face to face will make a significant difference in the future. The downside of the new social selling possibilities is that sales teams will want to re-structure their sales strategy, become socially engaged in a much grander way, which in turn requires to restructure sales processes and eventually the commission structure. We knew this will be a long, long way to go. Rather than exhausting us with a decade long evangelizing battle we decided to help one company at a time – whenever they are ready to make a change.

2011 – This year the first partner channel organization thought about using social media to improve partner relationships, drive more partner engagement and help partners engage with their clients more than in the past. In particular in the tech space, VARs, Resellers, System Integrator are not exactly marketing machines. But they keep relationships with their existing clients. And the social web will not change this. But partner channels have a huge influence in the market and can be engaged perfectly to amplify a brand message. Also partners can leverage the social web to get grander exposure for their competencies and technical skills and capabilities. We are seeing the fist vendors including SAP to make a big step forward.

2012 – No question, businesses are moving fast now to leverage social media in their ongoing quest to create a competitive advantage and widen their gap to the competition. But the number of businesses doing so successfully remains to be small. Unlike any previous technology inception where a few leaders started and the followers came in with a year or two delay, the social media adoption is a slow process. Mainly because it is NOT a technology but a mind set and a way of doing business. Main topics remain to be “Customer Experience Improvements”, “”Widen Market Reach”, Improve Channel Partner Engagement” and so forth. Initiatives in those areas make the successful companies even more successful and the struggling companies remain struggling and focus on their business survival instead of customer happiness. In 2012 it was clearer than ever before: ignoring customer engagement opportunities will bring struggling businesses even further in trouble.

At the same time we were experimenting more and more with large scale social media buzz marketing. The largest initiative was for the annual tech conference of the European Commission, where we created a buzz campaign wit nearly 100 Million in reach.

2013 – We decided to focus our future business on the B2B space in here on three areas: High Impact Marketing, Customer Experience Management, Partner & Alliance Management. The launch of our Buzz product is a major milestone and goes hand in hand with the new Buzz Master Training.

Today the gap between online savvy and online illiteracy has widened to a frighting level. When I work with European customers I see the same behavior we saw her in the US in 2007 / 2008  – that means a six year gap between the US and Europe. Australia on the other hand is so close to the US it almost feels they are even a bit further developed in using the social web than in many regions in the US.

“It’s an age thing” – I hear this over and over again. Well – there is a correlation between age and online savvy but it isn’t the age – it is the inability to learn new things and evolve. We had people in its late 60’s in our classes delivering excellent results and others in their early 40’s just couldn’t let go what they learned and were almost incapable to adopt the new behavior.

Well – there is so much more to talk about but, I want to keep it at a Blog level – not a book :)

At this point I want to thank all the wonderful people who I met and made friends with in those extremely exciting 10 years. I’d love to list them all but since you will find them on my friends list on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – I think it is much easier. THANK YOU my friends.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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I love my yahoo mail account, which I use for spam and never have to worry it. Yahoo is so incredibly strict that most email doesn’t pass anyway. So I can actually find a response if I signup for a site I don’t know. Also I have set it up that all email older than 30 days gets automatically deleted. So I don’t have to sift through age old spam.

I use it primarily when I want to comment on a post from a traditional publisher such as magazines who are online now or the old news papers. Sure enough I get inundated with spam a few days after I registered. But who cares.

Nowadays approximately 96% of all email world wide is useless spam – up from 83% just a few years ago. On our corporate mail server we have strong spam filter, filtering roughly 90% of the companies inbound emails. My own spam setting filters an additional 75% and from the 30 email that finally make it each day, only 5 or 6 are actually really relevant. Out of – believe it or not 36,000 emails sent to my account every month. Plus the spam to my Yahoo account.

Now – if you are telling me email marketing makes sense, I just have a hard time to believe it. And the irony of all is that marketers trying to tell me email marketing is more popular than ever and the usage is constantly growing – ha ha ha – yes I absolutely believe it is.

If you pay $1 for an executive email address, and I get 36,000 emails a month, people paying over $700,000 a year just to send me their spam that I don’t even get into my inbox – let alone reading it. I’m sorry for the loss, so I thought at least I let you know.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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In the 80’s people discussed replacing Mainframes with PCs. It didn’t happen – now 30 years later the mainframe business is as vital as it was in the 80’s.

In the 2000 people talked about replacing on premise applications with SaaS. 10 years later it didn’t happen. While the ASP/MSP/SaaS/Cloud industry has nicely grown to a Billion $ industry, traditional IT is a Trillion $ industry (1,000x the size).

By looking at the evolution pattern you may recognize the future trends: Read more

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Facebook will become the next Google which is the next Microsoft.

Microsoft never innovated any product. Windows was innovated by Xerox PARC, and so was the mouse. Word was invented by Wordstar and Excel like PowerPoint was acquired. Google didn’t invent anything anything either but built the most robust business model of advertising distribution, displacing traditional media. By accident it happened around a search engine. Also Facebook didn’t invent anything but took whats out there to the next lever, very similar to Microsoft or Google.

The next non inventor is probably 12 – 16 years old today and will build something on a technology that is out already but in an infant stage.

Like most others, it’s probably a high school drop off, a crazy guy, a nerd, whatever.

By the time Facebook is celebrating it’s 1 Billion’th user – probably in 2 years or so – Facebook will be the single most active software application ever built. By then open graph will help to make the Facebook ID the ultimate person identifyer to login anywhere and replace email as username. In five years from now people who argue about security breaches and privacy issues will be retired and no longer discussing things that an openly connected world just doesn’t find that relevant.

Microsoft wanted to be on every desktop. Check – done.

Google wants to distribute every conceivable bit of advertising. Pretty close.

Facebook wants to be the utility for every networker on the planet. Getting there

???  will be the application every human being is using from birth to death

What will it be? I have no clue, so we will see. But the pattern is already there. When will we see it? 2020 isch – I guess.

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Please listen carefully to this menu as the menu has changed. Your call is important to us but please leave a voice message. If you need more information go to www – dot – whatever dot com…

Sound familiar?

The intentions were good – yet the results are telling us we made huge mistakes. Automation didn’t really bring any progress in our business processes but alienated our most important asset – our customer base. Read more

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This week we introduced our first Social CRM solution, Xeesm/Edge!. A powerful social relationship management system with a touch of sales process. Are you confused? I guess so. And to be honest I’m not sure where the market will take us. Xeesm is a crowd source based product. And as such I’m sure the crowd will come up with a definition that is right for the product and understandable for the user.

Now let’s look at Edge!. It has all aspects of a CRM system. There are customers, there is the concept of an account, sales process, forecasting, closing deals… But architecturally the system and the way it is used are VERY different.

Xeesm/Edge! is Social Relationship Management at its best. The system is architected around people – not accounts. It is structured in a way that an opportunity can easily be shared with partners outside the four walls – even with customers to truly collaborate. And while there are still processes a person or team may consider following. the engagement and the system is dominated by relationship strength. The relationship strength then goes into forecasting in form of a predictive model. And if somebody is saying sales is all about relationships – here is your system.

So far so good. Now lets look at a B2B sales process: First of all it is more than ever before dominated by the buying process. In addition, not only sales people but project managers, engineers, experts and all kinds of people may be involved. This is where your traditional CRM system begins to rumble and steam and is just no longer good at it. A Social CRM or Social Relationship Management system is now firing on all cylinders. Xeesm/Flights! is a unique technology we developed that allows all involved people to work on a project, stick to objectives and ensure a great social connection.

In other words the line between SRM and sCRM will become very blurry. I guess only time will tell how this all will develop.

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

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Social CRM has two major and very different aspects:

1) The sCRM Product Solution Aspect

As CRM is under huge pressure from the open and collaborative social media space, CRM vendors (first was Oracle) decided to promote the idea of “Social CRM”. Even so there is no real product and no real product definition, it is the vendors interest to close the gap between the wide open social space and the very close enterprise software space. Other than integrating twitter streams and other social chatter, nothing has materialized, where an enterprise sales or marketing organization would fall in love with.

2) The Philosophical Aspect

Consultants in the sales and marketing field understood the need for a change. Not just an upgrade but a significant shift in the customer interaction model. sCRM sounded like the bridge between those tangential drifting continents. As such the definition is eroding more and more every day. To some it is a future product solution, to others it is Twitter, Groups and communities done right, yet to others it is just a “strategy” and again others see multiple facets of the above – and then there are groups who see it emerging without being able to exactly articulate what it may be in the future.

My personal opinion:

If $100 Billion in aggregate (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and about 20 other CRM vendors) now promote sCRM and do nothing but bolting the “s” in front of the CRM – the vision of the SCRM strategists will be overshadowed and no way of creating a more social business relationship with customers, prospects and partners will remain a dream.

If instead we work with a new vision, new business processes and as a result completely new products, we may see where the new world leads us to.

SRM – social relationship Management is an attempt to make that shift. As we define SRM and build SRM products, we also define new business processes. Not driven by efficiency or automation but driven by customer requests for a better business relationship with their respective vendors.

See the Definition of SRMAxel

http://xeesm.com/AxelS
(my social map)

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I just read a few articles about sCRM. One was a post on a blog where the blog doesn’t allow comments (very social). The other was talking about Ajax enabled technology that revolutionizes CRM (OMG) and yet another one described the advantage of getting Twitter streams and Facebook wall entrances all feed into the CRM system for better customer information (yes more data). Another system suggest that it takes everything a sales person ever needs so they never have to leave their CRM system (wow – how about leaving the company to actually deal with the customer?). The worst are the ones who still promote the “low touch sales model”. Automation is still the big word. Didn’t we automate already to death so that the customer doesn’t want to speak with us any longer?

NOW – CRM was always a hard nut to crack. Mostly beloved by executives to get data and hated by sales people who (in my personal opinion rightfully) prefer to deal with customers not with data administration and data analysis. I joined – really just for the fun of it – three sCRM and related presentations and was shocked what a sales or marketing person would have to do to “leverage” all the wonderful options of triggers, automated nurture programs, forecast granularity adjustments and a gazillion other options. Social CRM now feeds even more data to an already overwhelmed sales person. There is no word about the actual customer relationship – zero – nada – nothing. Is that how we bring the economy back?

A friend of my (a sales person): “Axel, that is today’s reality. We are customer data admins, not customer relationship managers. We manage the theoretic aspects of the relationship but I am about 10-20% of my business hours with a customer – at best.” What do you do all day long? “I try to reach customers based on a suggestion list, call and call and typically leave 10 voice mails – I know nobody will listen to, in many cases don’t even get to voice mail and one or two people I may be able to talk directly. If I’m on the road I prepare my trip, travel optimization, planning, arranging meetings which is a just an enormous task in itself and so forth. Weekly forecast review, weekly planning for the review meeting, again data into and out of the CRM system – the whole nine yard.” OK and 1 out of 8 hours a day with customers? – “As you can see now – AT BEST. Other activities are reviewing the lead process, the nurturing process, we have very sophisticated processes and it takes a lot to actually go through them every day”.

Bolting an “S” onto the CRM seem to make it harder not better. Of course in the days of Social Media companies need to do something. But sCRM seems to be the opposite direction. sCRM seems to be accelerating the disaster we have on the sales side. Not only because if the incremental information flow but also because of the farther automation instead of the social engagement. Living in a CRM system – that’s what CRM vendors like to see. But don’t you want to see the sales person be with the customer and spend only a fraction of the time with ANY system?

I love Brian Solis statement: “Take the C out of the sCRM”. As our networks grow exponentially, we also may need a good tool, but we need a tool that helps us with the actual relationship – not with the data we aggregate.

Social Relationship Management as it is is currently defined may be a solution to the problem as it focuses on the relationship – not at the data.

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

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How Teenagers Consume Media
the report that shook the City | Business | guardian.co.uk” ( This Link )

What is shocking to me: What pretty much everybody is talking about finally shook the British Guardian.

More shocking: There is no way to comment on this report. It is electronically “printed” with no way to interact. I have to admit I haven’t been on a news paper site for quite a long time and recognized that this seems still to be the standard.

At the New York Times you have to sign in to “recommend” an article. But also wait until all adds are loaded.

However on SF Chronicle you can provide a comment on pretty much everything. So why spend $200 Million on a new printing press?

Axel

Axel Schultze Axel Schultze MyXeeSM

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Cisco, IBM, Walmart, Wholefoods, Starbucks and others invest millions in their social web presence. The investment is more on the human resource side than on systems. They don’t advertise what they are doing but they are moving fast.

The Social Media Academy provides some insight in this week’s complimentary webinar http://www.socialmedia-academy.com/html/introwebinar.cfm

– The impact of social media on businesses across all industries

– Identifying the largest pool of business opportunities

– Assessment of a company’s social ecosystem http://xeeurl.com/A0848

– Developing a comprehensive social media strategy

– Creating a social media plan

– Reporting and analytics in social media – over 100 reporting tools

– ROI, resources and budget considerations

– Social media as a cross functional business accelerator

– Competing for mind, – and market share

– Building a successful social media practice

This Friday 4/24 – 9:00AM (PDT) Online conference (no charge)

http://www.socialmedia-academy.com/html/introwebinar.cfm

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As sad as it is, industrial media killed itself. It is NOT the Internet or technology for that matter that killed publishers it is the change of their business model from independent content circulation to advertising distribution.

A publisher used to make money by providing a given audience latest news, well researched and easy to consume. Readers paid for the news and publishers made a profit by balancing cost of news gathering and distribution with newspaper revenue. Rather simple model.

I explaind the shift in process here a few weeks ago:

http://www.customerthink.com/blog/what_publishers_killed_may_kill_blogger_too

@AxelS
About Newspapers
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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After focusing my blogging on Xeequa and lately on Social Media Academy I decided to to do some personal blogging once in a while. And as such I revitalize this blog here at Blogger.

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And of course – in the typical spirit of Silicon Valley – here are some more predictions:

YouTube will have much more users then MySpace
Web 2.0 will enter the business world
LinkedIn will go public
Investments in traditional software will be next to nothing end of 07
– The number of Internet users: 1 Billion
will become the “number of the year” for all marketers
– World of Warcraft may be another IPO candidate
but may be purchased by Sony and runs on the “cell”
Xeequa will have more customers by end of 2007 than SFDC
(just kidding – but you get the ambition)
Second Life will become the leading virtual business party spot
– TV and print adds will further plunge to total none importance
– Relevance as measured by Technorati, Alexa and others
will become the market cap index for private companies

Let me know what you predict :-)

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An interesting conference – somewhat competing with Saascon in San Francisco. While Saascon was directed to SaaS End Consumer and bringing SaaS closer to the broader public, “OnDemand” was a conference for industry leaders discussing the future of SaaS.

The first few presentations reflected the clear trends and expectations that SaaS is going mainstream and many speakers and panelists predicted that SaaS will replace many on premise applications in the next few years. However some on premise applications like global large scale ERP implementations will remain behind the firewall for quite some years. An analogy was drawn to the 80’s when PCs replaced terminals – yet today – 25 years later – mainframes and even terminals are still in business. The SaaS future seems to be in the hands of the new generation software companies who are built for SaaS from ground up. Discussions made obvious that companies who need to change from a license product business to an on-demand model will have a very hard time. While some predict that most license software companies will fail to make the move, others put the example of Concur up, who successfully made that transition in a two year effort.

An interestingly large portion of the conversation on the podium and on the floor was around indirect channels. While sales organizations are not large enough and marketing budgets are limited, SaaS vendors need to find ways to attract partners to spread the word and help implement their solutions. Some companies present their successes with channels.

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