Well it’s a kind of alternative build on my colleague Ron’s blog piece on what the CIO, or CTO, should try out on as a personal use before recommending wider adoption in their enterprise. Out there is a site that found the 100 best web applications based on votes from 489,467 people. This started with an initial exercise in open nomination providing a list with an incredible 5000 nominations, too big to be sensible, and it seemed possible that there might be some sad people nominating their own creations! So the site editors cut this back to their choice of 250 web apps, and invited a further round of voting to find the final list of the 100 Best Web Apps.
An excellent case of using the principles of Web 2.0, and even social computing, to create, and share experiences, but just pause for a minute to reflect on the scale of this. Firstly that there were slightly more than 5000 recognisable web apps that could be accessed as part of the nomination process, try that rate of progress in the creation of regular client server applications at a similar stage of their technology cycle as a comparison. The second point is that half a million people found this site, and decided to register, and vote.
Take a look at politics in your country, and the turnout for elections. Point made?

Is the argument that the process and technology allows more ready participation, or is it something else? Something like this exercise seems to the people voting to be more interesting, more immediate, and more important? I don’t know, but it would sure worry me if I was a politician as to whether I had really grasped the issues that interest people today.
This brings me to the real point; Ron is asking about the use of the new technology by informed people to do the tasks that they value, so they should have the knowledge to give a good opinion. However we have a whole generation of Business Managers who may not have the knowledge, some would argue the interest even, to make these types of evaluations, but currently business adoption depends on these people understanding business cases based on business value. It’s a huge gap, and ultimately I suspect is going to be the issue that separates the winners, and losers, in terms of enterprises competing in the markets.
The Winners will be the ones with the people in place to take a new generation of decisions based on entirely new factors, for the losers it will be a case of waiting till the situation warrants a change of management. That’s easy for me to suggest, more effective would be to ask the question how does an experienced, and otherwise effective, senior company manager get mentored into being able to play a role in these types of decisions? My answer is reverse mentoring; a younger competent employee spending time each week with the senior manager to walk them round these new capabilities so that they can see where, and how, they might ‘change the game’ for their businesses by using these new capabilities.
A site with the top 100 web apps all nicely identified is a great place for this to start!