(Editor's note: This could be part II of a "Why I love x" series. The original 'Why I love Dogear' became a presentation by Sacha Chua. Sacha, if you are out there, feel free to convert this blog post into a presentation as well)
I don't know what it is, but isn't it interesting when a topic doesn't come up for a while, and then comes up a LOT all of a sudden? On Monday, Laurisa Rodriguez and I were talking about how customers still don't see the value of Aggregators (aka feed reader, aka news reader, aka feed aggregator, etc...). In social software, I believe there's no way to keep up with everything without a feed reader. I mean you have Activities, Blogs, Dogear, Communities, Quickr places, etc. To the uninitiated, this can be overwhelming, and perhaps, a bit discouraging.
Yesterday, another co-worker and I were talking about this same thing. We were a bit concerned about all the great content that's out there. "People", however, may not be consuming this content since they don't have a feed reader. Today, I found out (using my Feed Reader) that yet another co-worker, Heath was running into a similar problem with customers.
In order to get you to start using a feed reader, let me tell you a quick story. (that's right, you don't have to install anything, since Notes 8 has a feed reader, and you already have Notes 8, right ?)
As you may know, you can pretty much subscribe to anything within Lotus Connections. I, particularly, subscribe to Gina Poole's bookmarks. Two weeks ago, she posted a bookmark to an article published by my alma mater, MIT. The article, Harnessing the Power of Social Applications, provides a great reference to the usefulness of social software! It tells several stories on how social software has made significant impact in companies like Dunkin' Donuts, AOL, Comcast etc.. However, this impact was caused by the customers of these companies, and not by their employees! I used this as an example with a customer last week. I was brought in to demo WebSphere Portal to this telco customer. At one point they brought up how they are not fond of social software and block it so that their employees don't waste time in places such as Facebook.
I took this opportunity to see if I could sell Lotus Connections. I suggested why they need to bring social software inside and make it available to their employees before they lose more revenue due to declining customer numbers! I cited some examples from the article above. The customer LOVED the examples and they went from not even considering Lotus Connections (or any other social software), to seriously start making plans and prepare an RFP for social software. Of course, I volunteered to help them create the RFP so that I can influence their requirements.
I fully expect that we'll win this account soon. And I had to admit, I was going through hell trying to get this customer to see the value of social software. But because I was watching Gina through my feed reader, I was able to consume her knowledge, put it in the back of my brain and use it when I really needed it! This stored away knowledge helped me create a very solid opportunity for Lotus Connections when all I was trying to do was sell Portal.
Now look for this icon and click it!! That's the easiest way to subscribe to all the feeds that are out there!
P.S. I thought a comment made by Laurisa on another blog was awesome (and so true): "With a feed reader, I'm as smart as the person that I subscribe to, 10 minutes later!!"