After Wednesday's posting about Lotus in SMB, I had a number of pings from customers and partners asking why I set myself up for a beat-down.  Similar questions were asked in the comments, where some wondered if anything had changed or will changed from prior conversations on the subject.

So why did I do it?  Because a few other bloggers were talking about the subject in recent days.  Yes, it had been talked about before, here and elsewhere.  But there are always fresh voices or new thoughts or changes in what IBM is doing that can impact the conversation.  And there are always new readers, even (or especially) IBMers who may be new to their jobs or working on new offerings/products or otherwise just alerted to a conversation like that.

I've been staring at the most recent issue of Wired in the last few days, and the cover story is about "radical transparency".  Putting aside the clever hot chick visual on the cover, the article makes sense in the context of corporate blogging.  Yes, I admitted a weakness, and I'm sure my competitors loved reading every minute of it.  But as anti-Sun-Tzu as it is to admit weakness, some very plain perspectives come through in the (sometimes overheated, mostly rational) responses.

The Wired article explains:

Radical forms of transparency are now the norm at startups - and even some Fortune 500 companies. It is a strange and abrupt reversal of corporate values. Not long ago, the only public statements a company ever made were professionally written press releases and the rare, stage-managed speech by the CEO. Now firms spill information in torrents, posting internal memos and strategy goals, letting everyone from the top dog to shop-floor workers blog publicly about what their firm is doing right - and wrong. ... The very process of developing ideas, products, and messages is changing - from musing about it in a room with your top people to throwing it out on the Web and asking the global smartmob for a little help.
IBM has been leveraging this in many ways.  Prominent blogs are one tool, but things like last year's InnovationJam have contributed, too.  And IBM executives are listening.

While I don't think we're going to get everything right right away, the kinds of conversations and attention being paid to the Notes/Domino space, the desktop value proposition, and where things go in the future are at a real heightened state of awareness and interest.  There are holes which will take time and holes that may never be filled, but we're identifying them and tackling as they come up.  Innovation is happening faster, too, so both sides of the equation get addressed.  As I'm coming up on 13 years at Lotus in the next few weeks, I'm feeling lucky.  And excited in a calm-before-the-storm kind of way.  So I'll take a little thunder clap like 165 comments on a problem area.  It just echoes where our lightning needs to strike.

Link: Wired: The See-Through CEO >

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