New Software Tracks Who Knows Whom

from the is-that-a-good-thing?? dept

I’ve made my opinions on things like Friendster well known before. I think they’re fads that won’t last (whatever happened to, anyway?). However, even while the Friendster hype continues, some people are starting to notice other, though more technically advanced companies, like Spoke Software and Visible Path, are trying to create a similar thing for businesses. The difference here (unlike something like LinkedIn, which does use the Friendster model) is that these other companies try to establish links automatically by watching what you do all day, and how quickly people respond to your emails and instant messages and such. On the face of it, these products sound useful – and I certainly know sales people who would find it very valuable to know that someone else at their company happens to play tennis every other Saturday with a big shot at an account he’s trying to close. However, there’s a big problem with these types of products: the people who have the really valuable information don’t want to let it out. People who have a valuable rolodex know it’s valuable. Giving it up is not something they’re inclined to do. Someone mentioned to me that these sorts of products are useful for a young sales person trying to get established, but very few senior execs are going to want to give up that kind of data – and without that kind of data, the system loses its value quickly. It’s the problem of any system that is trying to more evenly allocate data that previously was hoarded. There’s a reason people hoard that data, and others are so desperate to get it. The article even quotes someone who says that people may start keeping two sets of email accounts – one that can be watched, and the real one that is kept secret from prying eyes.

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Comments on “New Software Tracks Who Knows Whom”

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Agust Jackson (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Agreed and with similar experience.

Perhaps with a free market approach there would be some financial incentive for those with the information to share it. Likewise, there would need to be some associated cost with those who want to exploit the information. For those somewhere in the middle of their career hypothetically these two elements would balance out to $0.

Tom says:

Relationships are owned by individuals

A key design principal for Spoke if the control of relationships by the individuals who have them. Spoke was built after 100’s of interviews with sales people and business executive to understand how people leverage networks now..and how you could enable this same process by solving a discovery problem.

You are right, the idea of shared contacts has been tried 100’s of times in large enterprises. It does not work becuase it expects people to share outside the way they do it now. Relationship be definition can not be used by someone with the relationship owner providing assistance.

The research also shows that networking is not a zero sum game. In fact the most effective and powerful users of networks focus on getting people introduced to thier connections..becuase they know that build relationships. Spoke has found that the more “connected” a person the more comfortable they are with the system.

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