In this session from Techonomy 2011, in Tuscon, Ariz., Daniel Debow, co-founder and co-CEO of Rypple, talks about how social software is revolutionizing business in the same way the telephone and email once did by allowing people to streamline and improve their communications. Also appearing in this video: Daniel Debow of Rypple, Citi’s Deborah Hopkins, and Techonomy’s Adam Ludwig.
Debow: And I think the thing about social software inside companies is that it’s saying something very powerful about what kind of company you want to be. I want us to be more open and transparent. I want us to do this. The software’s not magic. If you take a crappy company where people don’t share, won’t help each other, are just back-fighting and don’t talk to each other—
Collins: You’ll have one more place not to share.
Debow: Right, that’s not going to happen. But I think it goes to a really important point of the general theme of the topic, which is that this stuff is spreading around the world, not just because people are exhibitionists. It’s spreading around the world because it’s another mode of communication, another model for communication that’s very efficient. At the end of the day, companies exist because they’re efficient ways of bringing people together for productive means to create goods and services that other people want. And when groups of people—they’re just groups of people—when those certain groups of people figure out comparative advantage, like, it would be better if we used a telegraph to communicate supply and pricing for a wholesaler or a meatpacker and then, hey, it would be better if we used a telephone and that would give us an advantage over somebody else, and then, hey, email would be a great way for us to communicate, you can see changes in corporate structure as railways and telegraphs and phones came along. I think the advent of these social platforms is a next wave and it’s going to change the structure of corporations. But what will happen to the point where you definitely do see people who don’t want this to happen, because it’s directly attacking their power. Their power has existed by playing the game of controlling information, hoarding power, owning command and control and then all of a sudden, sort of like the emperor has no clothes, they don’t want this in their organization. But my thesis, my argument would be that those companies will die. Just like the companies who refused to adopt email got killed by those who moved faster, could compete quicker, could collaborate better. Everyone I’m sure heard that Larry Ellison kicked out Mark Benioff from Oracle OpenWorld and what’s amazing is how they responded. They responded in like 12 and 1/2 hours. I think it happened in the afternoon and by the next morning they had communicated with their people, they had gotten a facility book, all the media was there and they turned this negative thing, which probably would have been nothing, no one would have heard about it had they not kicked them out, and turned this amazing platform for, I’m sure, an enormous amount of inbound press and earned media for them. And I can almost guarantee they did it because they had this platform that allowed them to quickly collaborate.