Bebo White

Its interesting how people distinguished in a field only comment on that field, while many ordinary people like me talk of every subject under the sun like we were distinguished in each of them.

I had the opportunity recently to listen to two such distinguished gentlemen at the University. One was Mr. Bebo White. A techi such as myself, but unlike me, a man of few yet fascinating words.

He spoke on Web 2.0, the new web, not any different from the old, “Its more of an attitude” rather than technology he explained.

New web applications he said would be built to focus on the users, like blogs and wikis. They would also be more about functionality and ease of use and less about technology. Just as well that I am studying some finance.

Here is a list of some such applications :
– For talkative people.
Eventful – like a calendar.
SaveMeSite – For all you beggars.
Ohmynews – users act like reporters.

I waited eagerly for the Q&A session, there was something I had to ask. Wasn't user acceptance the most important factor determining the success of any new application? Recently a few of us at HKU launched Chuli-TextBook exchange and sale website. We got rave reviews from class-mates, they enthusiastically congratulated us on how useful the idea was, but almost a month into the project we have 4 users!! The importance of being accepted has never seemed more important.


Managing by making mistakes!

What inhibits most companies from being innovative is the fear their employees have of making a mistake. That fear kills innovation! What we need is management (read HR) to encourage a thought process that encourages risk taking.

"Dont be afraid to make mistakes" is what they should encourage, but the risk should have been taken while trying something innovative.

At GE Jack Welch did it by setting stretch targets, targets so high that if one did not think unconventionally they would not be able to achieve it. Managers were not given disincentives for not achieving stretch targets, but were given heavy bonuses for achieving the stretch targets.

An MBA should teach students to be like this, my Strategy Professor always says, I want you all to be "real" MBAs, and I know that he is trying to tell me, "Son, don’t be afraid to make mistakes ".

“One successful internal entrepreneur told me that the secret to making things happen is not to get hit in the face in the same spot when management slams the door. You have to continue to approach an idea from different angles“- Neal Thornberry, Tapping the Internal Entrepreneur, BW