Binary thinking

A couple months ago after Snow Leopard was released, I was speaking with a friend about base 2, base 10, and base n numbers in general. Over the past month, I’ve been thinking about the definition of Social Business Design and considering the range of reactions from supporters and detractors.

All business discussions can be reduced to a single binary argument focusing on the bottom line. Does it improve profitability, yes or no? In practice, the range of decisions a manager must make consists of a multitude of choices better described by real options theory and system dynamics.

To make a difference in social business, activity must be measured and managed, whether loosely or tightly. There’s value in focusing on the 0’s and 1’s while understanding how they roll up to create bigger, more elegant numbers. Let’s start simple, because we’re still only at the beginnings of social business.

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  1. Peter, please don’t have second thoughts or slow down, this is important work. Back in the 90s when Bell Labs engineers needed help solving tech problems they reached out to their friends at PARC and to engineers at HP. There was an underground railroad of ideas and IP swapping that crossed corporate boundaries. Shhh. Social Business Design or Social Computing or Enterprise 2.0 – whatever – will foster similar collaborations, but this time using smart software. Inside or outside the corporate walls, the result will be whooshes in productivity and problem solving. You know it, your readers know it. Get after it.

  2. Hi Peter,

    I couldn’t agree more. I made a very serious attempt to bridge the perspectives by proposing a framework for this discussion in my blog post entitled “Is Enterprise 2.0 a Savior or a Charlatan? How Strategy-Driven Execution can pave the path to proving legitimate business performance” located here: .

    Best Regards,


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