How Will Salesforce Adapt to the Next Platform Shift: Mobile Computing?

I posted an article on TechCrunch last Friday. The title of the article was “How Will Salesforce Adapt to the Next Platform Shift: Mobile Computing?”

The purpose of the article was to point out that every decade or so a new computing platform emerges. Market leading incumbents typically have the most to lose when these shifts occur and typically have the most difficult time making the transition due to legacy architectures and revenue streams dependent upon preserving the status quo.

Face(book) It – Your Social Media Strategy isn’t Paying Off

According to eMarketer, last year, U.S. companies spent more than $3 billion on Facebook brand pages and social media advertisements and the return has been universally abysmal. GM went on record in May of this year in the Wall Street Journal saying that FB ads don’t pay off and that GM was ending all investment in FB advertising.

That said, The CMO completed a survey in February 2012 and found “…that marketers continue to increase spend on social media. In the next 5 years, marketers expect to spend 19.5% of their budgets on social media, almost three times more than the current level! Within a year, marketers expect to spend 10.8% of their budgets on social media.”

Unless the results change, however, marketers are going to lose interest in this “shiny new toy” and eventually drop or at least significantly reduce their investments in social media.

That would be a mistake.

The problem doesn’t lie with FB et al per se. The underlying problem, in my opinion, and what has recently been corroborated by research is that your social media strategy needs to include authentic customer engagement and not be viewed and used as yet another one-way digital advertising channel.

To help make this case, one of my portfolio investments, Get Satisfaction!, will hold an event on Thursday, July 26th to unveil recently completed research in this area.

Who Are You Building Your Business Applications For?

I have had the privilege of meeting with many early stage business software CEOs and teams over the past 5 years since moving from an operational role to an investing role.

Each of these teams is passionate about the products they are creating. However, many, in my personal opinion, share something in common that may prevent them from growing their companies as fast as they might otherwise.

Most are so intent on building their products for and then marketing/selling to daily practitioners they forget about creating a version of the product or a set of features in the product for the people who aren’t likely to use the product very often, or at all; the people who must approve the expenditure.

Are Physical Sales Seminars Still Relevant?

I recently attended a Marketo seminar held at the Sofitel in Redwood City. The title of the seminar was “Silicon Valley Revenue Rockstars” and was replicated in a number of cities. The focus of the seminar was on how the role of Marketing is being transformed from primarily brand creation and management to a function that is held accountable for  revenue production.

Back To The Future….

I recently had the opportunity and pleasure to speak on a panel held at Oracle HQ in Redwood City, CA. It was a small conference – sponsored by Oracle – and attended by current Oracle ISVs to discuss the issues of converting and/or building a SaaS business. The panel was moderated by Kevin Dobbs with Montclair Advisors .

Joining me on the panel were Byron Deeter, a GP at Bessemer Ventures and Joel York, CMO at Xignite. I really enjoyed the panel members and the audience interaction and was reminded again just how bright the people are throughout Silicon Valley and how fortunate I have been to work in an industry where the US still continues to lead the rest of the world.