Ha, fooled you. You thought this was going to be a post about the (emerging) trend of gamification and what it will look like when designing your next part is as much fun as fraggin’ your buddies in modern warfare. I’ll leave that to Oleg (he did a better job than I would anyway). Instead this is a quick mash-up on some of the things I heard about today on the live stream of the F8 conference, a recent post from proto-blogger Robert Scoble (Where the title of this post comes from – he talks about the verbs and identity ecosystem as being the ‘game of games’) and some lingering thoughts from the Eric Schmidt / Marc Benioff closing keynote from Dreamforce a few weeks ago.
I missed being able to see the live closing keynote, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology I was able to watch part of it on my iPhone in the van on the way to the airport and the rest of it on my Roku at home on my TV. The thing that stuck with me is about midway through when Eric Schmidt starts talking about how they can aggregate Android phone data (“with a users permission, of course”) in order to know if there is a traffic jam somewhere. But Mr. Schmidt took it one step further by bridging to business and asking the question: what can you predict in business based what your customers, supplier and employees are doing.
Next, up I read this post from Scoble earlier this week (a little behind on my feeds…I know this has been out for weeks where he clearly articulates something I have been thinking about and experiencing in public social networks for a while now: it seems we have moved on from the creation of the social network and apps that live on that network and are rapidly coming to a time where all of the interesting apps will be built on the signals that those networks contain. The fact that John is a friend with Sara is interesting – you can build an app that lets them share messages, tell each other what they are up to, share pictures and so on (sounds alot like facebook, right). But the fact that John “likes” a page or comments on Sara’s post lets you build much more interesting applications that can actually add more than just communications value to both John and Sara’s world. As Socble points out though, “likes” and “comments” (and shares and posts) are the only verbs we have access to on most social platforms today and the race is on between Google, Facebook and Salesforce.com to grab as much of the new verb landscape as possible.
The last piece fell into place today when I was watching some of the Zuckerberg keynote (not sure if this will work to get you directly to the keynote – if not, then just click the ‘previous segments’ button and then navigate to the ‘F8 2011 keynote’) today in between calls and meetings at work. I’ll have to watch the all of it (maybe tonight on my Roku), but the one part that I did hear about was the Open Graph. The simple version of Open Graph is its the next logical step in Facebook becoming the identity system of the internet. They are extending their APIs to let anyone else jump on top of not only their authentication system (login using your Facebook account) but then access and share information (over the Facebook network of course) back to the network. What sort of information? Well it has got to be a lot more than “likes”. What are you eating? What are you watching? What are you listening to? Where are you going? A lot of that data is already shared on Facebook, but not in a structured way like a “like” is – with Open Graph I think Facebook intends to change that (and that may be why Google does have a leg up in this race since they seem to have the corner on the market of deciphering someones intent without making them put it into a structure).
The table is set. Now for the main course: what verbs are their in PLM today? I create a part. I check-in an assembly. I analyze performance. I release manufacturing. There are literally thousands more. But what do we do with those verbs? Not much. What could we do…a lot. Imagine a PLM system that looks at the trend of check-ins and check-outs associated with a particular project and can predict based on the volume, frequency, duration and the job roles of the people doing the checking-in and checking-out whether the project is on track, ahead of schedule or falling behind? What if you had an agent that monitored the activity of your workgroup and would tell you when something was up that needed your attention?
I often feel that enterprise software, and specifically enterprise software focused at the manufacturing industry, is far behind the rest of the IT sector. We don’t do much with the cloud. We’re still playing around with social. Apps are toys at best, rather than “serious” business tools. But in this emerging verb landscape, we may already be ahead of the consumer market. We’ve been capturing verbs for years. Now we just need to figure out what they mean.