Week 9: Businesses are to Individuals as Apples are to Oranges
(Post 1 of 2 for the week – they are fairly unrelated)
I don’t own a business, but sometimes I like to pretend I own the company I work for because it helps me learn more about running a business and therefore, makes me a better employee and expands my knowledge base. What I’ve learned while pursuing this pseudo-goal is that companies have different considerations than individuals have. Individuals have a lot on the line, but businesses have more on the line, because bad decisions can have a negative impact on the lives of many people. My opinion is that businesses are the “laggards,” as Moore says in his white paper, for good reason.
First of all, if business is good, why rush to take chances on new marketing and technological endeavors? An established company has a lot to protect – its existing customer base, trade information, employees, reputation. If the company is to begin openly and freely giving information to everyone, they are really giving that information to everyone, including the competition. Of course, the extent to which this is a concern is highly dependent upon the industry involved. Think of the companies that pride themselves on being thought of as stable, or the standard in their business – insurance or investment companies, for example. Jumping into new arenas is a big deal. My head is spinning thinking of all of the guidelines that might need to be put in place for employees entrusted with an organization’s virtual identity. Virtual identities aren’t that virtual anymore. The general population is going to form an impression of the company from its website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, and likely assume all of the information presented through those sources is representative of that company. There would need to be at least a second set of eyes on everything in order to mitigate the issuance of misinformation and faux pas. Why not wait and see how the competition goes about it, and analyze the response they receive? I firmly believe in letting someone else make the costly mistakes and learning from others’ experiences for free. This may make the company seem like they are behind, but once they are up and running, I don’t think people care.