Enterprise Relevance of Web 2.0 (in six parts)

Back in November of 2007 I gave a one-hour talk in Tyson’s Corner, VA entitled “The Enterprise Relevance of Web 2.0.” There were probably about thirty people in attendance. Since then, I’ve had several people tell me that they were sorry they missed the talk, etc. If you were one of those people, these next six posts are for you.

Why I am delivering this content in a six-part series?

I don’t have a video streaming server set up nor do I care to put one up and pay for the bandwidth. So, YouTube is an obvious solution to the hosting and bandwidth problem. Unfortunately, YouTube has a ten-minute limit on the length of uploaded videos. So, I needed to edit my talk into six, ten-minute clips.

Therein lies the problem.

What I’m learning in the process is that HD video editing is hard, even on a Mac. The first problem is space: I’ve got about five gigs of raw footage. My conversion program, Voltaic, was choking near the end of each 2 Gb conversion, so I switched to a PC (for shame!) and used the software that came with the camera (a Sony HDR-SR5) to convert from MTS (raw AVCHD format) to MPEG-2. Then I needed to buy a program from Apple for $19.99 (thanks for nickel-n-dime’n me, Steve) to convert from MPEG-2 to MOV (QuickTime format). Now I’m importing into iMovieHD. Each one of these conversions takes about two hours and has an output between 2x and 12x the size of the original MTS file! That means, just to be safe, you need like 15Gb of scratch space to edit a 1Gb movie! On top of the space issue, I’ve hit Google already dozens of times to figure out how to deal with things like frame rates, aspect ratios, sound compression, format conversion, and so on, ad infinitum.

And this is supposed to be easy! I’m on a Mac for goodness’s sake!

So, why am I ranting about my video editing woes in a post that’s purportedly about the enterprise relevance of Web 2.0? Because I think there’s a lesson to be learned from all this.

If personal computing is this challenging, that does not bode well for the enterprise, where everything is 10-100 times more expensive and 10-100 times more complicated.

Is this a good thing? For me and my company, maybe, because we’re making a living trying to make sense of the complexities of the enterprise and building user interfaces that help abstract people away from all the complexity so that they can do their jobs effectively.

But to truly bring Web 2.0 to the enterprise, we need to take these concepts — abstracting, simplifying, beautifying and “social-ifying” — enterprise applications down to the point at which they’re simple, beautiful and fun to use, all the while maintaining their power and utility. The experience people have using corporate software should mirror the experience they have using well designed, functional sites like Netflix, Facebook, Wishlistr, Dopplr and Kayak.

Most people writing corporate/enterprise software these days — with a few notable exceptions like 37 Signals (the makers of Campfire, Basecamp and Highrise) — are stuck in a function-over-form rut that’s really hindering the process of bringing Web 2.0 to the enterprise. Those of you who have had the pleasure of using AquaLogic Pages know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Software can be both fun and functional at the same time.

So that’s an awfully long-winded and angst-ridden introduction to my six-part series on bringing Web 2.0 to the enterprise. If any of the above struck a chord with you and resonated even a little bit, then I highly recommend that you check out the forthcoming videos.

That is, assuming that I actually succeed in producing them!

While you’re waiting for the videos, you can check out the slide deck.

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Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • Chris, enjoyed your post. I’ve got a little one on the way so I imagine I’ll have to understand all of the video nuances of encodings/converstions soon for youtubing for the grandparents. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be as easy as I thought! James

    Posted by: jbayer on January 23, 2008 at 7:44 AM

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