Thoughts about Salesforce’s Chatter Cloud

People have been using Facebook and Twitter to assist in business dealings for quite a while now. Companies like Yammer have attempted to take the idea of the feed that Facebook and Twitter popularized and translate it to organizations for internal conversations. In my humble opinion, no one has gotten it right until now.

Salesforce has just released their 4th cloud which they have dubbed ‘Chatter.’ Chatter is basically a collaboration cloud that takes the best parts of Facebook (News Feed) and the best parts of Twitter (One-way following) to create a social network for the organization. Not only can I follow a person within my company and have their updates display on my Feed, but I can follow an Opportunity as well. This becomes extremely powerful when multiple individuals are working on one deal and need to collaborate without the clumsiness of email threads.

The power with this concept lies with the passiveness of it all. If I recieve an email, I feel the need to respond to it right away or leave it to die as an unread message in my ever expanding inbox. With Chatter, I can simply view an individual or deal that i’m working on at my convenience and get a bird’s eye view of all happeninings without missing a beat.


Overcoming the Learning Curve

Something I’ve learned recently in business is no matter what product or service you may be selling, people will have their own perception of what it does and how it works.

I recently saw a girl try to work an iPod that has never owned one. It was amazing to watch her try and figure out this seemingly alien piece of technology. After chuckling to myself for a minute, I showed her how the click wheel worked and she immediately understood. It took all but 10 seconds for her to grasp the concept, but she still needed to be shown.

I’m trying to translate this experience to my work by not assuming everyone should just ‘get’ our software. Of course I know how it works, i’ve been exposed to it for over two years. I need to take that expertise and translate it to each potential customer and help them overcome the learning curve so they get the most value from our product.

This video is another great example of this concept…

The first-to-market myth – (37signals)

Fear: “I’m going to lose because someone else is going to beat me to market (or is already there).”

Truth: In business, there can be lots of winners in any niche. Look at how many shoe makers, Italian restaurants, and furniture manufacturers succeed. You can do well in a crowded field as long as you’re doing something that sets you apart from the pack. It can be price, style, substance, personality, positioning, or storytelling. There are tons of ways to establish your company as unique.

Don’t obsess over being first-to-market either. Successful businesses show up to the party late all the time. Google wasn’t the first search engine. VHS toppled Betamax even though it was later to market. There are plenty of things that are more important than being first.

This is a great point that also reminds me of those countless hopeful entrepreneurs out there that keep their ideas close to their chest or try and make you sign an NDA to discuss an idea. I don’t care about your idea, your idea sucks if the execution isn’t right.