Steve Yost on ubiquitous collaboration tools
Steve Yost, inventor and proprietor of QuickTopic, disagrees with David Weinberger's assertion that collaborative software fails to thrive because companies are afraid to "hyperlink the hierarchy." The real problem is more mundane, Steve says:
Lots of organizations are extremely interested in collaborative tools now. The main reason they can't successfully adopt collaborative technology is because you can't get people to all go use new technology at once, yet in the face of simple email and browser use, that's what's necessary: the new technology usage has to be unanimous. If one person in a group can't or won't use the new tech, the forum reverts to the least common denominator -- ubiquitous email. The Boston Globe article David cites says just this:
But two big challenges face Boston's merchants of collaboration software. First is the need for the technology to show real business results real fast - rather than just ''greasing'' the way work gets done in an intangible way. Some people believe that e-mail will remain the dominant collaborative technology, and it will be hard for other, more complex software packages to supplant it.
Email's ubiquity remains its overwhelming virtue, and there is a bright future for systems like QuickTopic which recognize that fact.
There is a chance that blogging will also achieve ubiquity, and I hope that it does because it's a much richer platform for innovation than email will ever be. But we're not there yet.