MBAs got top billing in my latest Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-Up - and there have been some interesting follow-ups. In the comments to yesterday's post, Bud Gibson pointed to "The High Octane Blogging Bootcamp" that his company is doing for MBA students at the University of Michigan, starting this Saturday. More details here. Interestingly, they're using products of ThePortNetwork, who sponsor my Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-Up. I hadn't known about that - it's a small world!
In regards to how MBA students are grokking Web 2.0, Bud made this observation:
"My experience with MBA students is that about 1-5% are really in it to get deeply into the underlying technology or theory. The rest you have to sell on business benefits."
That doesn't surprise me and I think you'll find the same ratio of Techies are deeply interested in business administration! :-) But it's all about bringing Web techies and business folk together, so that each has an appreciation of the other - and we can build partnerships. For MBA and business people, there are opportunities to launch businesses in the Web 2.0 'space'. Likewise for Web techies, we need people with business nous to get our ideas and products off the ground.
So I think Bud's program is a fantastic way to introduce business people to Web 2.0 technologies and I'll be watching with interest to see how it turns out.
Poweryogi (real name please?) also replied to my post - he's the MBA student who is thinking about launching a Web 2.0 venture. In a post today, he said he's a bit pessimistic about how MBAs can "make an impact" on Web 2.0. He wrote about a conversation he had with two other MBA students - "one a McKinsey-bound consultant, and the other a UBS-bound banker." When poweryogi steered the conversation towards Web2.0 and blogs, he noted that the banker "seemed disinterested" and the consultant wanted to know how blogs differed from IM.
I thought poweryogi's last comment was the most revealing: he noted that MBA students have "little time to experiment". That's entirely justified and actually I see no reason why MBA students should experiment. There has to be a business reason behind most things they do, so it's our job as technologists and Web people to show them where the business value is.
Bud Gibson posted a similar comment on poweryogi's blog: "...when you are on the cutting edge, you have a lot of selling to do". Exactly and in fact that's part of my job(s). Just recently I was complimented by someone in my day job on my "translation skills" - meaning from Geek to Business and vice versa! That's kind of what I do here on Read/Write Web too.
Poweryogi is one of those 1-5% MBA people I think, so hopefully he continues to explore Web 2.0 and helps explain the business value to his classmates. And who knows, maybe one day I'll be approaching him to lend me some venture capital ;-)
If had to use one word to explain how I see the relationship between Technologists and Businesspeople, it's symbiosis. We're two different species and each group has its own specialities. But together we can develop a relationship of mutual benefit.
ahhhh, what a nice way to end a post - with a biological metaphor!