Quicken and Professional Networking

by 04g7F1nl02 on April 27, 2008 · 4 comments

in social media for lawyers,Web 2.0

One of the first programs I ever used on a computer was CalcStar, a companion program to that predecessor to WordPerfect called WordStar.  I used CalcStar to manage my checkbook. I remember migrating my data from CalcStar into what is now called Quicken. After I made that change, my wife finally started to use our computer to manage our checkbook.
What does this have to do with Professional Networking?
I think that social networking, similar to a spreadsheet, is a tool that can be used to solve business problems within the legal profession but doesn’t necessarily solve those problems yet for the average lawyer or law firm. It will take a next generation of social networking tools – those focused more granularly on real business problems – that will usher in an even wider, business use of this technology.
There are those lawyers and law firms who are clearly ahead of the curve. For example, Mark Beese has already set up a Facebook site for his firm, Holland & Hart. While there will be an increasing number of lawyers and law firms who use this type of generic social networking technology to help solve business problems, I also look forward to the day when a new generation of Professional Networking technology emerges from social networking.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Barry Solomon wrote onApril 28, 2008 at 11:38 am

Yes, this is one of many ways I could see professional networking technology evolving to provide more focused applications that solve business problems in the legal profession. But as Doug Cornelius points out below, this technology will continue to be “updated and improved at a rapid pace” so I’m sure there will be applications we can’t even imagine today.

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Peter Jenkins wrote onApril 27, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Barry, I’m not totally clear on what you envision by an enhanced “Professional Networking technology” that would help solve business problems. Let’s say as a law department leader you have an online social network in place that includes trusted legal and non-legal business colleagues and friends whose work spans a broad range of businesses and industries; and you want help you company make a smart business decision. For example, “Should our company build a plant in China?” How about if your networking facility allowed you to (a) set up a dedicated workspace to which you could give access to just a select number of your network members (those who you feel could best contribute to the decision; and (b) through a selection of choices you make in setting up this workspace, have the ability to display links to resources — databases and people that and who could facilitate making a smart decision. In essence, through a few clicks on your mouse you customize the networking environment to the decision you need to make. Is this what you have in mind?

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Barry Solomon wrote onApril 24, 2008 at 9:19 am

Good point Doug. There’s no question that Metcalfe’s law is at work and innovation is moving much more quickly than it ever has, particularly on the internet and with social networking in particular. But, again showing my age, I remember when we thought the “rapid” evolution from the phone to fax to email to the internet was considered break neck speed. I am not taking anything away from folks like Mark and you with your KM Space blog who have already embraced Web 2.0 technology. I do continue to think that as social networking evolves it will begin to become more focused on more granular business applications rather than “simply” connecting people and organizations to one another. But, as you accurately point out, we now need to look at our watches rather than our calendars to track when these changes happen.

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Doug Cornelius wrote onApril 23, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Barry – I think you are missing the picture. Over half of the AMLaw 100 have Facebook groups in Facebook. There are tens of thousands of lawyers using LinkedIn to connect with each other. Legal OnRamp is already tackling the social network for lawyers. Unlike Calcstar, these tools live on line so they are updated and improved at a rapid pace. It does not require an user to install the upgrade on their computer. Unlike software, the power of these tools are derived from the power of the network. (Take a look at Metcalfe’s law.) As a critical mass of of people use these tools they become mush more useful. We are at the point of that critical mass and of the functionality. That day you are waiting for is here.

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