“Can we create a step change in the adoption rate of SNA (social network analysis) by business?”
SNA pull-thru needs far more practical approaches. It is good practice to follow and adopt the principles creating uplift for the new social network business concepts here in Silicon Valley.
An entrepreneurial approach to SNA is the best way to create the tipping point. For diffusion and adoption of SNA it is very important to firewall the authentic network science scholarship. Next, to achieve growth, network analysis needs to back away from the malignant narcissism masquerading as network ‘thought leadership.’ Also essential is to quarantine the pseudo-science of the network dilettantes. Rather, to create the step change, simply behave as a SNA entrepreneur.
The prevailing method is Lean Startup.
The simple startup foundation for broad adoption of SNA is radical customer interaction. (Gasp!).
The first rule is to get-out-of-the-building and in-front of customers. Forget about talks, big conferences, papers, pontifications and all the trappings of lofty consulting. In Lean Startup logic these activities are ‘waste’ and must be eliminated. Focus on conducting perpetual, face-2-face conversations w/customers. That’s the heart of the technique. Ta-da!
Another component is the minimally viable product. Let’s face, the reason network analysis doesn’t get traction is 90% of what is offered by lofty boutique charlatans is useless. It is overweight, pedantic hubris. It produces no customer benefit. Thus, it is why these network snake-oil companies fail – no customers. See some some recent carrion - End of Value Networks.
Special Note: your humble Network Singularity blogger was the founding force that brought Value Networks together.
Dogfooding was not and is not in the Value Networks vernacular. Value Networks is a ‘Do as I say, not as I do” model. Nothing ever works that way. Thus, a painful and predictable demise was assured. Ouch!
Lesson learned? “Doctor, heal thyself.”
Bottom line is only two things matter to a “SNA startup” mindset: business talent and customers.
Meanwhile, here is the Lean Startup global Meetup network.
Basically, they have gone from zero to 21,000 members in the last 18 months. BTW, Interesting to see how network diffusion of a legitimate concept community really works. You may like the ‘Timeline Animation’ above.
In short, SNA practitioners must become Leanist.
Also, here are some germane mandates from a colleague and Silicon Valley’s most respected social graph entrepreneur.
Here are Reid Hoffman's top mandates for (SNA) entrepreneurs:
1. Be disruptive. Ask yourself: "Is this massive and different? It's got to be ten-times different. It's got to be something that changes an industry." Hoffman uses Skype as an example, calling it a disruptive company because, "it removes these very expensive cross barrier phone charges."
2. Aim big. You'll probably wind up plowing the same amount of time into a small business as you will a big one. So, don't be intimidated by your own big ideas, as there are multiple ways of realizing them.
3. Grow your network. Your network includes investors, advisers, employees and customers. With a broad network, you have the ability to make important, global-sized changes.
4. Plan for better or worse. Part of planning is that you might come across something you weren't expecting and you pivot. And if something doesn't work, you must ask yourself: "What is my Plan B?"
5. Maintain flexible persistence. On one hand, the goal is to have a vision and be persistent. On the other hand, flexibility and being able to change based on what your customers want is paramount. "The art is knowing when to be persistent and when to be flexible and how to blend them."
6. Launch early. "Unless you're Steve Jobs, you're most likely partially wrong about what your theory was." So launch early and often. Launching early attracts customer engagement, and it's the customer who's going to tell you what's wrong so you can correct it.
7. Seek honesty. You need friends who will tell you that you have an ugly baby. Keep your aspirations high, but don't drink your own Kool-Aid -- all the while leveraging the advice of your friends.
8. Be everywhere. It's important to have a great idea for a product, but it's downright vital to have a wide distribution of it. "You can have a kickass product, but if it doesn't get to millions of people, it's irrelevant."
9. Culture is key. You must get hiring right the first time. While experience is impressive, you'll need people who can adapt and thrive amid volatility -- especially in the beginning.
10. Break these rules. The rules of entrepreneurship are not laws of nature. You can break them. What's more, don't listen to all of the rules all of the time.
Customer frustration with network didacticism and turgid network theory is our own SNA ‘ugly baby syndrome.’
The message here is to approach SNA like a business, notably a startup business. Focus on business talent (not loopy theories) and customers. This is the only way to get a “step change in the adoption rate of SNA by business.”