evolving from Transaction Company to Community Company
When you study the journey Google have embarked upon you can see Google are evolving from a transaction company based on search and advertising to a community company based on contribution and engagement. The Google-Motorola hardware is designed to make it easier to engage in that emerging community company.
This evolution Google call Plus (+) as in +Google+
launched June 28th 2011.
Google 1.0 or pre-Plus was 1998-2011. That’s thirteen years. Six years to build an internet business model and a further seven years to optimize it.
In the 1.0 period I am excluding the Orkut, GoogleSocial and Buzz experiments. All of these were attempts by Google over seven years 2004-2011 to appreciate and respect the concept of a community company. Even great companies of our age like Google may find it difficult to build a community company.
Those seven years 2004-2011 were critical to Google’s own development. I suspect most organizations may have to go through a similar experimental period as transaction people bump into and sometimes conflict with community people. We all know conflict (while painful) leads to growth. We also know some people inside Google love Plus while others remain unsure, sitting on the fence. The fence sitters are likely the transaction people (show me the money). Community is by no means obvious behavior. Community behaviour is the inverse of transaction behavior.
Google the community company thus begun in 2011. Google 2.0 or Plus.
I really like the concept of plus (+) and in time I think other companies will call their own evolution from transaction company to community company “plus” also.
All companies, governments, educational establishments and municipals will evolve communities as extensions to their brand and wider reach of their intention and purpose.
Community company’s do not replace transaction company’s.
Community company’s enhance and extend transaction company’s.
There might be a perception in the market that a community company is somehow non-financial or flakey or not real and only real transaction company’s make money. This is not the case. A community company is a complementary extension to a transaction company. A community company may in time be worth more in the marketplace than the transaction company that birthed it. I think we may even see community company’s acquiring their transaction company parents. That in itself is a weird sentence to write but I know it is a coming. It is a sense I have.
Transaction companies have a product that you pay for before consuming.
Community companies have a product that you consume first and pay for later (in ways various).
Transaction company’s are closed selective controlling (CSC).
Community company’s are open random supportive (ORS).
You can talk more on ORS in the leadors community:https://plus.google.com/communities/102351823564702266781
The transaction company is task driven.
The community company is relationship driven.
Community companies provide a free service and somehow figure out how to make money from your attention and engagement. Monetization might be through the (big) data you give to them through your engagement and content contribution. Monetization might be through the attention you give as an audience.
The transaction company is a product company.
The community company is an attention company.
In this new connected world “Attention is The Product”.
“Attention is The Product” was first said to me in 2004 by +Ronald Wopereis
. Attention has fascinated me ever since.http://www.sunzu.com/articles/the-value-of-attention-37427/
Ronald believes that in the future post 2020 we will trade in attention. Attention itself will be a marketplace traded like a commodity. Again I sense Ronald is right yet I do not quite understand and am keen to see what you folks post below on this thread.
The transaction company is typically focused on its profit and loss account.
The community company is typically focused on its balance sheet and the value of its intellectual property and more deeply its intellectual product.
The transaction company is focused on scaling through distribution.
The community company is focused on scaling through licensing.
The transaction company seeks salespeople and dealmakers.
The community company seeks changemakers and content producers.
Neither is right, neither wrong, they are simply different.
The transaction company is an institution.
The transaction company requires institutional thinking.
The community company is a network.
The community company requires network thinking.
I suspect right now 90% of companies are transaction companies and 9% of companies are experimenting and transitioning the birth of their community company’s. The birth of a community company requires a skilled team of community people.
1% of companies I suspect are already community companies.
Who are these companies?
Do you think you know one or two of them already?
How do you think they have been funded?
Can you name them?
If so please add them below so I can study them, their intention, their process and their journey.
The question in directors’ minds is whether they can transform their transaction company into a community company or whether they need to start a separate new community company.
Transaction companies are buying (internal) social software in an attempt to become community companies.
Examples of social software might be:http://www.salesforce.comhttp://www.yammer.comhttp://www.jive.comhttp://www.webex.com/social/http://www.lithium.comhttp://www.bazaarvoice.com/http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/us/en/ibmconnsuit/http://www.moxiesoft.com/solutions/socialknowledgebase.aspxhttp://www.drupal.orghttp://www.joomla.org
and of course the currently donation free and advertising freehttp://plus.google.com
which for some transaction companies may make the perfect intranet.
I’m unsure whether these purchases will actually make those transaction companies become community companies. In reality the above social systems are often replacing email and make the transaction company more efficient and likely more automated with its engagement across multiple social platforms. The transaction company seeks the automation of all (social) processes ad workflow. This makes for a more efficient transaction company but it does not make it a community company. No.
When implementing social software the transaction company is typically focused on ROI like productivity gains, travel and entertainment savings and deeper employee engagement (happier staff). All three are internal measures. All three directly benefit the transaction company.
Q: How do they benefit the end user customer?
A: Most likely through reduced errors.
For a community company to emerge from within a transaction company the internal social system must be connected to an external social system where all stakeholders can engage. When I say all stakeholders I mean employees, future employees, shareholders, competitors, customers, suppliers, municipals, schools and colleges.
I think in many ways Google have already birthed this community company with Plus and yet despite this internally at Google many Googlers remain nervous about using Plus as I suggested earlier preferring only limited profiles or no posts (afterall they are at work). This is about confidence and trust in unfamiliar territory. Community is unfamiliar territory for most people because most people are transaction people. That’s how we’ve been brought up.
The GooglORS (Googlors) are still to emerge. By Googlors I mean those who think community in other words in an open random supportive way (ORS).
Perhaps an external team of open random supportive folk will evolve the internal Google to be even more “plus like” (not sure “plus like” is even a phrase).
Evolution from closed selective controlling (CSC) to open random supportive (ORS) needs to be gentle, non-intrusive and take time just like a garden cannot be forced to grow faster (even when you have the knowledge of what to do). Remember most people do not wish to change however tech savvy they are being short of time and comfortable with what they are already using.
The first part of the process in building a community company is to have the conversation internally about a community company.
Next it’s time to discuss a strategy for your community company. Is it to be evolved internally or is it to be done externally in a new company perhaps in a new building next door or down the road?
Then it’s time to discuss who would lead and form the team to build that community company.
What skills will be required?
What funding would be required?
Where will this capital come from?
Will capital come from the transaction company, new shareholders, sponsors, unknown stakeholders or donations from the community itself?
What kind of community will be built?
What will be the intention of this community?
How will this community gain attention?
How will this community retain attention?
What intellectual property is likely to emerge?
What intellectual product is hoped might emerge?
How can intellectual product be monetized in other ways?
How much time will the community be given to be born?
What software systems will be used?
Will the community company be connected to the transaction company?
How will these software systems be connected to the transaction company?
Who will be trained internally?
Who will be trained externally to be part of the community team?
Who will prepare the content?
Who will prepare the editorial calendar?
When will a pilot community begin?
How will we know a pilot community is working?
What measures will we use to define success, knowledge, insight, connections, users, contributors, license fees?
How will we scale up if (when) it works?
What’s the role of the transaction company in the community company, engaged or at a distance?
How will we support transaction people on their journey into the community?
Do the transaction people ever have the desire to be involved in the community company?
Who will we use to value our community and place a monetary (financial) value on its progress?
What’s our long term goal …for the community company to acquire the transaction company or vice versa?
Will we one day spin off the community company or will we one day combine these assets under one roof?
Questions, questions, questions.
This is the journey of evolving from transaction company to community company.
It is a journey Google are on which I admire them hugely for and it is a journey many companies have to follow so it makes sense to document and learn from Google’s experience. +Google+
is a living breathing case study with almost thirteen hundred people involved internally plus a team of external suppliers.
The best approach is to have a week by week, month by month, quarter by quarter plan of milestones you would like to achieve (ideally) so you can get a sense of what is possible and what is not. Remember there cannot be a right path there can only be the one you choose.
Where do you begin now?
The best play to begin is to begin by joining a community you are attracted to, find out if it works for you and see why it does or does not. There are plenty on Google+ and if I might recommend one to you it would be Conversation led by +John Kellden
Then ask your employees which community actually holds their attention and why? Study those communities and understand exactly how they capture and hold attention particularly those communities that have done so for many years.
Now it’s time to return to your transaction company Boardroom and commence the conversation:
"from transaction company to community company …"
...are you ready with your business case in one hand and your adoption strategy in the other?
Good luck. Tx