Dr. Pehong Chen – Dealing with information overload

So originally, let’s put everything on the web. So the couple of strategies to deal with that problem, one is the reach on the end which is co-personalization meaning it’s not everything about what I do or who I am. I cannot also tailor all that, whether it’s a competent product towards you. You can set your own likes and dislikes, and preferences. I can then dynamically reorient what I offer to you. So Generation One’s about all about me, me being the company. This next generation, call that one-five if you will, tries to do a better job in championing that which is to say, yeah so that I can…not just about me, I can do something about you. So that’s one strategy.

The other strategy was the Google strategy which is to say “give me a few keywords and I’ll find those things for you and bring them out.” Of course that’s become really, really useful and successful but it has its drawbacks also because it’s not very precise. You always get pages and pages of things back so it’s making it better but not really totally solving the problem per se.

The next generation which is all we’re talking about now with the accompanying consumer social media on Enterprise social networking like what we were talking about, sort of turned the whole table around, instead of about the company or about the company but also about you in one percentage, here we’re talking about truly a system by the users. So it’s a truly people system, it’s truly people-centric even though that’s a concept we’ve been talking about forever but I think the key enabler here is if you can figure out a way for people to be willing to participate, to be engaged and to share, you can really leverage this network effect to a so-called N-squared effect. You have N participants who becomes a geometric, no productivity already thought of that, whether it’s about problem-solving, or exception-handling, or idea-generation, innovation, all the things that any traditional business process does not capture, you now have a way of kind of harness that, both inside your company and outside your company and generally speaking you can refer to that as crowdsourcing essentially.

So now back to your original question which is then how do we deal with this information overload? Because whether you are in the Gen One and we try to use search or personalization to address that. Here, you also have the potential of having too many followings so even though in the social environment you are following everyone you face this issue also about. So number one, the way you deal with that instead of being Spend as in the Generation One, you tend to always get Spend by email and so on. One sort of very natural gating factor is that you only subscribe to things you are interested in or involved with or have some knowledge about so in all the social tools we have this concept called stream or feed, it’s kind of like a big river that runs through that but of course when too much stuff is running through that it becomes a torrent…

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