Friday, January 30, 2004

My Business Networking Predictions for 2004

Network Moves asked me to come up with a list of what 2004 will bring in the area of professional networking.

You can find my predictions on their website along with those of Scott Allen, Nick Corcodilos, Diane Darling, Debra Feldman, Craig Frank, Julie Jansen, and Andrea Nierenberg. I'm last since we "experts" are in last name alphabetical order so you have to scroll down to find my predictions. I'm going to asked them for a named link but until then either read it there, or I'll put it right here in my blog.

So far I think my predictions are holding up pretty well! Of course, it is only the start of the second month of the year...

1. Except in the areas of job/career, yellow pages, and small/local businesses, most online social networking is a dud. Do you really want to sell that crummy old couch to a friend of a friend? For more on this, see my recent blog entry, Social networking is mostly silly.

2. The move to member-owned professional guilds will accelerate as everyone realizes that he or she must be a business of one, taking full ownership of their career. Also, the definition of a career will change from successive promotions in corporations to participation in projects with various organizations and teams, structured around a core competency.

3. At the same time, professionals will demand full ownership of their career and professional data. They will say No to proprietary systems like and various social-networking start-ups.

4. Not having a professional Web presence will be like not having an e-mail address or a phone number.

5. Open-software and open-innovation concepts and implementation will become even more attractive. For more on this, see my list of articles and books on open innovation.

6. Recruiters and executive-search firms will play lesser roles in the acquisition of talent. Human resources and talent managers—those who can find the absolute best person for any project—will become more important and less subjective.

7. Outsourcing will become less of a threat. Non-U.S. companies will hire the best talent anywhere, be it in Boston, San Jose, Bangalore, Singapore, London, or Mexico City. Virtual teams will become the norm.

8. What you have accomplished will become much more important than who you know. Past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Recommendations are simply proxies for understanding a person's work experience. Professionals will use their online portfolios to demonstrate their talents (ResumeBlog is a start). With connections and validations, white-collar professionals will be hired much more for what they can do rather than what others say they can do. This will be welcome news for those who are not part of the "old boys network," especially in high tech.

9. Successful online social-networking business models will be based on membership fees, the ability to match talent with jobs, and a barter economy. (For more on this, see my recent blog entry.)

10. Online social networks will be offered as features of many products—rather than as stand-alone Web sites, services, or tools.