It's showtime,folks. The following is a draft of ourbook proposal. It is part of a publisher's package that will take Robert and I several weeks to complete. We'd like your comments on how it can be improved.Pleasebe candid. We want to write a great book in a more transparent manner than has previously been done. Oh yes. If you happen to be a book publisher, or link to one, we are ready to talk.
Most revolutions are not televised—at least not until their outcome becomes obvious. Insurrections usually begin far from the spotlight where incumbents continue right along, doing whatever it is incumbents do. Those in power dismiss early disruptions as scattered and insignificant. They point out that the rebels are ragtag and their leaders mere peasants. While most revolutions do fizzle, some gather unstoppable momentum and when that occurs, the status quo defenders wake up one morning to discover they’ve already lost. Sometimes, the battle is for a country or a human right—sometimes it’s world-changing technology. The dynamic is no different. Just look at the disruptions fomented by the PC, Internet, wireless and peer-to-peer file sharing all brought about by ad hoc and scattered squadrons. Now it’s blogging’s turn to change the world.
Back in 1998, a tech industry iconoclast named Dave Winer wanted to make his internet newsletter more interactive so his fans share could enter comments on his published newsletter, rather than jam everyone’s email inboxes. So he invented web logging, or “blogging,” which allowed anyone with a computer to publish and anyone with internet connection, to link. It was grassroots, non-commercial and —like the PC before it— bottom up, meaning that underlings brought blogging into organizations and began changing them before the management hierarchy even knew it was there. Blogging has become the most rapidly adopted technology in history. It is the most inexpensive publishing system ever known and the most interactive. Blogging has already changed businesses and large institutions, and it has only just begun. There are now millions of professionals who blog. They range from home office consultants to Fortune 50 boardroom executives.
“The Red Couch (TRC)” argues blogging is changing everything and businesses choosing to ignore it, face the same fate as the blacksmith who ignored the automobile a century ago. It will explain why this is a good thing, for both business and its customers, prospects, partners—even their own employees and investors, offering numerous examples of how blogging brings them closer together. It will examine how blogging improves trust relationships, word-of-mouth networks, employee collaborations, distribution and response to company announcements, job search and recruiting and so much more.
The Red Couch looks at the fears expressed by executives—fear of a loss of centralized control, fear that antagonist will post unsavory comments and most-of-all fear of the transparency that is required to be credible in the Blogosphere, where the de facto rules are that you do things more out in the open than the SEC or GRAH governance would ever require. In the Blogosphere, you share ideas early and customers tell you, with remarkable candor, whether your concepts are considered brilliant or bone-headed. You allow critical comments to remain posted and will be wise to praise competitors when they deserve it. The result, the authors argue, will give practitioners a healthier, wealthier company with the kind of credibility you gain in simple conversations but can rarely attain via expensive advertising and PR campaigns.
“The Red Couch” is based on the concept that people respond better to lowered voices spoken in credible tones than they do to the aggressive in-your-face marketing speak that has become so regrettably prevalent. It demonstrates that speaking candidly and respectfully is likely to facilitate candid respectful response. It argues that the collective wisdom of the business blogger’s audience is greater than that of the executive team and the team will be wise to adapt their course, based on what their audiences tell them.
“The Red Couch” is in fact part of the story the book tells. Following a lead taken by several successful authors, the thinking, writing and research for this book will be conducted almost entirely in the spotlight of the Blogosphere. Thousands of visitors to our blogsite(s) will be encouraged to comment on our work as it progresses, contributing fresh ideas and improving the content served up by the authors. With the possible exception of the Oxford International Dictionary, it will be history’s largest authoring collaboration. Our intent in doing this is twofold: (1) to demonstrate that community collaboration helps a project infinitely more than it hurts it; and, (2) to demonstrate the power of the Blogosphere’s word-of-mouth marketing power.
The Red Couch will have two parts: It begins with a brief history of blogging, including an interview with Winer, and chapters on authoring tools and linking. It gives a general orientation to the why and how to’s of business blogging.
But the majority of the work will dig into and analyze companies on the rise or in the wane because of the new communications medium. They plan to make a strong point at the beginning of each chapter of the second and larger portion of the book, then take an indepth look into a company who reinforces the point with excellence and a company that doesn’t. It will then cite scores of additional examples in terser form. The Red Coach’s Walkaway is that business has entered a new Conversational Era, and business needs to be embrace it to prevail, because they ignore it at their peril.
This book will appeal to anyone interested in blogging, communications, marketing, business and innovation culture.
There are numerous books on various aspects of blogging in process. None use TRC’s innovative approach. Scoble and Israel are generally better known. None, as far as the authors know, are focusing along the lines described here. We are not concerned. Currently Amazon.com offers 13,503 titles on the Internet. A search for the Web produces 8192 responses and the subject of “Internet Business” produces a mere 3328.
Robert Scoble is among the most recognized members of the blogging community, with over 3.5 million visitors to his blog sites annually. He is Microsoft’s most prominent blogger and works there as a technology evangelist. Fast Company wrote: "Robert Scoble may well be one of the most powerful people in Redmond right now." He is noted for candid praise and open criticisms of Microsoft and is said to be helping restore the company’s damaged image. Before studying journalism at San Jose State University, he learned about customer relationships from behind the counter of a Silicon Valley retail camera store. He was invited to start blogging by Dave Winer, who would go on to create the RSS code that is the spine of blogging today, and Dori Smith, a popular Web designer (Scoble was helping plan the CNET Builder.com Live conference back then). He is a frequent public speaker and is often quoted in national business and technology publications.
Shel Israel has been consulting innovative technology companies for more than 20 years. He is editor-in-chief of Conferenza Premium Reports, the leading newsletter covering technology conferences, an experience which makes him expert in technology trends and their development. In the span of his career, he has played a key role in introducing some of technology’s most enduring products including: SoundBlaster, PowerPoint, Filemaker, the first family of Sun Microsystems workstations and more. He played pioneering roles in the introduction of such technology categories as Desktop Presentation, Desktop Mapping, PC Sound, PC Databases and e-tailing. There are few personal computers today that do not contain at least one product Israel helped to introduce.