I just read a fascinating post on SiliconValleyWatcher.com where Tom Foremski discusses his idea that Silicon Valley is becoming Media Valley. As he rightly points out, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc are all technology-enabled media companies, not pure-play technology companies. He posits that the media center of the US is shifting from NYC to SV.
But what really got my attention was his rather off-hand comment at the end, “Every company is now a media company to a greater degree than ever before. Even if a company makes steel, or napkins. Every company publishes to its customers, staff, partners, neighbors, to itself. It had better master the two-way media technologies that we now have or it will not survive.”
This point particularly hit home as I spend a big part of my day, every day, thinking about communicating with and fostering communication within the Sugar Community. And we use tools that didn’t event exist just a few years ago with forum, blog and Wiki software. Beyond that we are naturally also using the tried and true channels of email and websites to communicate with the community. We even have an advertising medium with SugarExchange where third-party ISV’s pay to list their wares.
The amount of media-like material that we generate as a software company is truly outstanding at times. And it’s not like what we are doing is way out there. Every modern company that wants to be successful has to figure out how to master these new tools and become more like a media company.
Now here is a truly interesting thought. As we look at Sugar 6.0, we are looking at folding in forum, blog and Wiki components into the Sugar application. After all, these are just new communication channels with the customer, right? You want to know what your customers posted in your forums just as much as you want to know what emails they sent you. Clearly sending out email marketing campaigns is a form of media management.
So as the Internet evolves and CRM software evolves with it, is CRM software and media software converging? Interesting thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.