Web in general

A CEO's guide to Social Media in Commercial Property

The RICS has published a great paper on Social Media in Commercial Property. It's written by my friends Andrew Waller (top) and Bob Thompson at REMIT Consulting. (RICS is 'Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors')

Benefits of reading

The primary reason to read this paper is not to start using Social Media, but to better understand it. A big step since the word 'Social Media" has been described as “I have rarely come across a word that has more negative connotations to managers in enterprise organizations”, read more.

Whats great with this report is that it doesn't advise everyone to start a fan page at Facebook or start using Twitter. On the other hand, it shows examples of where social media is (and can be) used in the industry.

Andrew and Bob writes "This report seeks to steer a middle path between these two extremes, recognising the intense individuality of social media while keeping an open mind about the opportunities it presents for the company, pointing out the threats that it may pose and suggesting strategies for dealing with both".

The outline of the report

The report of 26 pages consist of chapters like:

  • What is social media?
  • Real estate opportunities
  • Why must real estate engage with social media
  • Where next? - First steps

The authors go through the different aspect for agency, professional services, development, property management and marketing.

Social media at work

There are many aspects of social media and one is how to handle the use of social media within an organisation. A not uncommon solution is to make it impossible to use sites like Facebook or Twitter.

My opinion in this is ok if you also remove coffee breaks, lunches with your colleagues, make it forbidden to use the phone and email for private use! Those are also ways of communicating. (Not saying that it is ok to spent 2 hours a day on Facebook, but you don't ban all mobile phones just because someone is calling way to many private calls...)

Or as the Andrew and Bob puts it "In much of the world of property, status is measured by the ability to attract work and successful projects from a network of contacts. We, as an industry, encourage graduates to “get out into the market” to make contacts because we know that improving their personal brand will enhance the chances of them earning revenue for the firm. We then set up our computer systems to stop them accessing Facebook, mySpace and Twitter – the methods they have been using at college to network."

My thoughts

The use and possibilities of social media is interesting. But it's a challenging area to move into, especially if you're in the area of B2B.

I believe companies should focus on:

  1. Understand what is Social Media (read this report)
  2. Reflect over the internal use among employees and set guidelines (not ban!). Thing about LinkedIN, CREOpoint, Facebook and so on.
  3. Could we use the techniques in social media internal? To improve the Intranet, make it easier to connect within the firm, an internal wiki...
  4. Could it improve the way we communicate with the outside world? Could a blog be used to position us as thought leader? 

Please, do not start a blog or fan page on Facebook just because your PR/advertising/web firm thinks that is a great idea... That will never work!



"Everything is amazing, nobody is happy..."

Sitting on a SJ X2000 train down to my home town Karlskrona happy surfing the clouds. 

Got me thinking about the fact that it is quite popular in Sweden to complain about the Internet connection that is provided on board the trains. Which remembered me about this video...

Absolute hilarious!

Quickly get used to something
It often amazes me that people are complaining about the speed to something on the web when the alternative takes days.

By the way, the customer is always right, and I'm doing my out most to meet their demands. And yes, I admire Google for the ability to create light speed services.

But sometimes it wouldn't hurt to lean back and be amazed.


A giant SaaS solution is rolling out in Sweden

Don't believe in the SaaS (Software as a Service) model?
Check this out... Microsoft is rolling out their hosted version in Sweden starting on the 19th March.

The solution includes:

  • Exchange Online (read Outlook)
  • Sharepoint Online
  • Live Meeting
  • Office communication

Read more at Microsoft (Swedish, English).
One of their first clients in Sweden is one of the largest hotel chains in the Nordic countries, Scandic (IDG article in Swedish).

My thoughts
I believe that the majority of small and medium sized business will use hosted versions of tools for mail, communication suites, wikis and so on. The fact that Microsoft is moving in here will make this transition faster than ever.

Still don't believe in the SaaS model?


I'm soo Spotified...

I've got my own Spotify account!

It's in Private Beta and is for sure the most wanted service to sign up for in Sweden.

I've previously got a demo of the service and got directly hooked.
It's like 'iTunes on crack!'. (This may seams like a post out of topic but for me is this a great example of the use of Internet.)

The service
Spotify is a music service that on demand steams the songs to your computer. You do need to download a software in order to use it. However, you are able to log on to your own Spotify account on any computer with the software downloaded.

Read about the founders, a video, the office, and description (in Swedish) another one (also in Swedish).

The beauty
The easiest way to explain the beauty is to imagine an iTunes account where you save your songs in 'the cloud' and you can easily play them from any computer (after the small download).

The cost
When going live it is said rumoured to be in two versions;

  • ad based (both visual and audio)
  • subscription based costing 300 SEK/month   (~50 USD)

The ultimate service for me would be to pay for this service and having the free distributed to the musicians based on the songs I play.

The looks
The service is brilliant in it's simplicity. You pretty much search, play and create play lists (which could be shared). All is extremely straight forward and amazing fast.

One more thing
Be aware if you have the possibility to try it.
It's seriously addictive...

"It's the user experience, stupid"

Does software needs to look ugly?
Relevant question, because most of them actually do!
However, this may change faster then expected according to the article below.

'It's the user experience, stupid'    ZDnet, 8th of May 2006
'A friendly face of business software'    BusinessWeek, 3rd of May 2006

"Good design is becoming more than a nice-to-have feature. Thanks to slick Web sites like Amazon.com, people are coming to expect software that takes no or little training to use."

There is a never ending list of Property Management Software, but have you ever seen a well designed one?

Get Real wtih 37 signals

37signals is a much hyped company in Chicago (read about their passionate user rating here) . But keep an eye on them if you're into product development and Internet.

For a background of the firm read the Salon.com article "The next web revolution".

However, it's not the company or even their products that caught my interest.
It's their philosophy, which includes;

  • less is more
  • design first (then code)
  • find people who are enthusiastic
  • don’t try to find “tricky” ways to get more cash. Earn it.

To find out more about the hilosophy, read their blog 'Signal vs Noise' or even better, download their book (no hardcopy) for 19 USD. Excellent and straightforward reading. Like their products.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

I have never really felt to happy with calling a webbased service for ASP (application service provider) since that is for me what it was in 2000, a client/server software distribuated using, for example, Citrix to a webbrowser.

SaaS (Service as a Software) is better name for the services of the future. Something that is build from scratch for the web.

Where I found the acronym;
'Software as a service: The next big thing?'   (An article in InfoWorld 20th march 2006)

The power of mobile working

The last week I've been working from the island Bequia in the Caribbeans.
Sure beats the Stockholm office!














Brought my laptop, conntected it to a WiFi network and I'm able to reach all the digtal material, technical environments, emails and everything else. Add to that the Skype services and it easy to be effecient on the road.     

Talking about telecommuting, here is the reason why it is not taking off;
''In an era when so much of our communication is electronic, the value of a face-to-face meeting has actually intensified, since the phone and e-mail have become routine while a meeting reflects the importance of the person or topic.''
According to a study presented in the Pikenet Dispatch (17th januari 2006) found here.
More pictures from the stay in Bequia?
See me and my wife's site (in Swedish).