Smarter conversations

While reading through the comments on the recent cartoons Hugh has done as part of his Microsoft ‘gig’ I remembered an older post of Hugh (part of The Hughtrain) where he posts his thoughts on smarter conversations. Ok, it’s clear that this post will end in a record number of links to Gapingvoid – so no link here ;)

Part of the conversations are about Microsoft and what needs changing, part of the comments are related to Hugh’s reasons for doing this. First of all, I think so far the result is what Kris and Steve were hoping for, and you can see Steve is very engaged in the conversations as part of that. Karl Long asks why Microsoft needs to do this, if Hugh is a change agent, a conversation starter? I think that’s a very good question indeed, the conversation has long started, but Hugh sure is an enabler of some sort and a way to have different and maybe smarter conversations… and what was that again about smarter conversations?

I also believe that the beauty of this collaboration partially sits in the way it came about, because this happened a lot more naturally than many of you think of it (at least that’s what I make of reading the comments). The Blue Monster really kick-started this out of nowhere.

In one of the comments on Hugh’s thoughts I found this great quote:

“We have two ears and only one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” — Diogenes, c.412-323 B.C., Greek Cynic philosopher

It’s fun to see a quote that old pop up in a new conversation, but still very true. Anyway, I enjoy this experiment very much and it is great to have these conversations with Hugh and the community as well. It see all of it as part of Microsoft opening up and engaging more with it’s customers. It’s a big company and a lot of customers so all help is always welcome, but I do believe we’re on the right track.

Finally I wanted to bring up ‘the porous membrane, revisited‘ very briefly. Hugh points to a note from Mario Sundar, community evangelist for LinkedIn on that post:

“I’d like to think of the Community Evangelist as the one who connects the two entities A & B. They are the individuals entrusted with the task of pushing that membrane, aligning A and B and aiming for marketing Nirvana. And did I mention, they also help humanify the company.”

Carman comments that everyone in the organization should be a community evangelist and I couldn’t agree more. It’s also almost literally the theme of a presentation I’ve been giving internally to have more of my colleagues join the conversation. Let’s hope it works.

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