VentureBlog writes about “software that lets you connect to people and opportunities via your network of friends, colleagues, business relationships, etc.”, and briefly discusses Friendster (online dating), LinkedIn (professional networking), Tribe.Net (classifieds).
The opportunity: “The area I am most interested in is applying social networking software to enterprises. I like it for two reasons. First, there are a bunch of important enterprise applications that can be vastly improved with social networking software. Examples are sales force automation, customer relationship management, and human resources software. There are probably a bunch more. That sounds like a good market to me. And the second reason is that i think a tightly controlled social network may have more utility to its users. You can apply privacy, trust, rules, and controls on an enterprise network that you can’t apply to a public network. And that means that the participants in the network will be willing to share more of their knowledge and relationships without worrying about what bad stuff could happen. I think that leads to more utility and more usage.” Two companies in this space: Spoke Software and Visible Path.
Always On had an article by Paul Reddy of Spoke Software recently, who wrote about how it is building its software:
Software should provide compelling value to the user. If you enable users to do their jobs better, value will flow to the enterprise.
Software should generate value quickly. Sales people, in particular, have short attention spans. Amaze them in ten minutes, and theyll come back.
Dont ask the user to create more data. Ask the system to discover information for the user.
Give people control and choice. Privacy, in the end, is about control.
Make the user your friend. Use the Web to expose users to your products and help them bring it in under the radar, instead of by decree.