Why do we love our email?

Good question. Although it’s one of the most imperfect tool, all efforts to surpass it with smart groupware and better designed tools fell flat. A recent statistic estimated between 32 and 62 billion emails are sent around the world EACH DAY. (Link)

So what’s about email other apps can’t seem to beat? The Central Desktop Blog tries to answer this question.

The Good In Email

• Email is Easy To Understand […]
Maybe it was daunting at first, but in the end, email is easy to understand. “It’s like sending a letter through the postal service, except its electronic.” People get it. […]

• Email is Universal, accessible from Anywhere, searchable.

• Email is In Your Face
Like Instant Messaging, email is highly disruptive. […]

• Email Just Works
Let’s make this really simple. Email just works. It’s chaotic and overwhelming, but it works most of the time and there is no learning curve. A new employee can sit down at their new desk and they can immediately start sending and receiving messages, participating in email thread conversations, stay apprised of events and even delegate tasks; all without having to learn, navigate or configure a new interface.

Interesting view on a tool that can’t seem to go away despite all its shortcomings.

More moves in the music industry

EMI Music Publishing, the song rights company, yesterday announced a deal with Skype, the internet telephony business, to sell music on Skype’s new retail website. Under the deal, Skype will be licensed to use song copyrights from EMI’s catalogue to sell music as downloads and ring tones

Link (via the excellent Guardian Blog)

The music industry of tomorrow is still in formation. What an intriguing move. Is Skype planning on using its space on our desktops to sell us things? Is it the beginning of a mid term merger with ebay services and knwo-how?

It’s a people’s problem (and we have the tools to make things better)

David Galipeau: Knowledge vs Wisdom vs The Enterprise

the root cause of business problems is not financial, not product-related and not structure-related. Businesses live and die by its executives’ and employees’ talents, levels of empathy and ability to play well with others… and by their willingness to listen and acknowledge that customers (also people) just may have some valuable input. […]

The solution is not a new business model: or organizational model: it’s a new people model.

We don’t need a new ad campaign or a new org chart. There are no quick fixes. The skill sets needed in today’s times are not management consultants or marketing specialists. If we’re all really honest with ourselves, what we really need are psychologists and coaches and relationship experts. We’re talking about real people connections, not a personalized direct mail piece.

And this is why blogging and other social technologies have exploded onto the scene.

Link

Robert Scoble

For LIFT we thought we would write a small intro on every single speaker, explaining why we invited this particular person and who should attend her/his talk. When I explained why Robert Scoble was among our guests, I wrote:

[…] by mixing tech-savvy comments, smart analysis and objective self-critics he has managed to not only change people’s view, but also mentalities inside the company. Did you realize that a single person’s attitude, when relayed by a blog, can spread that much?

Link

Having seen my share of large companies I always felt a huge frustration of being a third wave guy living in a second wave system. I never found a method to establish my way of working, nor did I have the patience to have a constructive approach. That’s why I am fascinated by the work Robert does at Microsoft – lately exemplified by this inspiring post – where he basically breaks all the rules of the old world (when was the last time you lessoned your boss?), endangers himself to some extent, just to try to make something happen.

I don’t want to get into the debate about the substance of his post – yes it can be discussed over and over – but I am really impressed by the form, and I see the future of the employer/employee relationship in his work.

I’ll work for you if you let me blog

A few years back – on my way to a job at Andersen Business Consulting – I remember asking one of the guys interviewing me what their internet access policy was. I couldn’t imagine working for this company if they would not let me surf the web. When I told the story to my friends, they started looking at me as if I was trying to commit professional suicide.

Seems like a pretty fair question these days right?

In the next decade, that question won’t be about internet access – something everybody will have on portable devices anyway – but about the blogging policy. From Shel Israel’s interview with Forrester’s Charlene Li.

“Blogging is in their [the young people] DNA. They clutch to their self expression and will be unwilling to give it back” as they move forward through life, Charlene observed. What does this mean to business? A great deal. It forebodes a future where companies that do not allow employee blogging will lose some recruits. It means that as this generation emerges, there will be a trust gap in companies whose employees do not blog.

Link

There is imho the usual confusion between the real revolution that is here to stay (two way communication, transparency, altruism), and it’s currently most visible application (i.e. blogs, increasingly becoming only ONE of the ways to exercise these revolutionary values). That’s why I wouldn’t say “blogs is in their DNA”.

But the need to express themselves, to be respected whatever their level in the hierarchy is, to be able to interact with the market freely, that is the DNA of the next generation. Well beyond the specific format of blogs that the immense majority of people (30 million blogs, 1 billion connected human beings) don’t embrace.

It’s important to focus on the substance, not the form.

Link to full interview

The darker sides of online games

1up runs an article about “sweatshops” where Chinese guys “play” massive multiplayer online (MMO) games for hours to accumulate virtual goods they resell for real money. A completely underground economy based on poverty and new technologies.

“Sack” is the only name I’m given for the person I’m supposed to contact. He lives in the Fujian province of China, but his place of business is online—he plays Lineage II. He’s paid about 56 cents an hour to work in a videogame “sweatshop.” […]

Sack is the low man in these operations. “I work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the U.S. Lineage II server,” he says. He works long, boring hours for low pay and gets no holidays. Carefully constructed macros do most of the work; Sack is just there to fend off the occasional player itching for.

Link

MySpace.$$$

The NYT has a long article on the story of mySpace, and touches on the different challenges the most famous online community has to face to become profitable. Making Friends Was Easy, Big Profit Is Tougher.
A very useful resource for those visiting VCs these days 😉

In buying MySpace, Mr. Murdoch also bought a tantalizing problem: how to tame a vast sea of fickle and unruly teenagers and college students just enough to notice advertising or to buy things, yet not make the site so commercial that he scares off his audience. At the same time, he must address the real and growing concerns of parents and teachers who see MySpace as a den of youthful excess and, potentially, as a lure for sexual predators.

Link (thx John)

La revanche des knowledge workers

Libération évoque les conséquences sur le monde du travail de ces technologies qui “brouillent de plus en plus la frontière entre vie privée et vie au travail” (sujet que j’avais évoqué dans les colonnes du Temps lors d’une interview du sociologue anglais Cary Cooper).

Au bureau des petits profits

Lire ses e-mails, réserver ses billets de train, se servir dans le pot à crayons ou gérer sa propre boîte sur ses heures de boulot… Revue de détail de ces moments ou objets dérobés à l’entreprise.

(thx nico)