Out of the Bud, into the Flower

Just out my window, red maple leaves are beginning to emerge. What were buds in my yard just a short time ago, now are becoming full-blown flowers and leaves and canopies of beautiful shade.

As it should be. The bud phase is meant to only last a brief moment, to be a quick transition to the real goal.

Musing this morning on Geoff Livingston‘s post explaining the end of his blogging tenure at the Buzz Bin, I saw the process at work. As Geoff put it so pointedly, “I have run out of things to say…I feel like I am repeating myself.” In other words, social media as a topic in and of itself has pretty much run its course. The bud phase is over. Time to move on.

While it is tempting to mourn the passing of anything that has been new and shiny and exciting, in reality, we’re on the threshold of the really good stuff. In the nascent days of computers, or of Web 1.0, the early adopters were (rightly) excited about the technology itself. But it was never about the microprocessor or HTML code, not really. It’s about what we can do with it.

Passion for new technology skyrockets, then wanes, in order to make room for the real passions that matter – how we can transform people and society and business using new tools and approaches. I have been (and still am) quite passionate about social networking. But I no longer much care about re-tweets, Ad Age rankings, or follower numbers. My genuine passion has emerged – building deeper, more purposeful Opportunity Networks that will help change how we do business for the long haul. The “corporation” as we now know it is an aging model. I’m gathering a core of like-minded folks who want to explore how to create the new “co-operation.”

Social networking and technology tools are a big part of this vision. But there’s enough information out there now about how to be part of the conversation, how to go viral, how to write blog headlines, how to build a wide audience. That’s the bud. What’s your flower? How are you going to use all these good tools and connect with smart people to make whole new movements and organizations and impacts?

It’s springtime, friends. Buds are great – but only because of what they promise. We’ve talked social media and made lots of connections and sought to introduce it to the rest of the world…all good and necessary. But now let’s transition from early adopters to long-term architects. Summer’s coming!


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

13 Responses to Out of the Bud, into the Flower

  1. Beautifully said! I agree…I have been struggling to readjust and find my niche. Thank you for the positive perspective. It is time we turn to execution and reap the benefits!

  2. Tom Martin says:

    Love this POV – never was about scale for scale sake. No, always felt scale was only valuable if it could be directed toward some larger goal….. look forward to being a part of your network and watching you and it grow.

  3. Deb Brown says:

    Yikes! You hit that nail right on the head. So now let’s get out there and create some magic with what we know. Let’s pay it forward. Let’s get people excited about building relationships and creating the magic we know is possible.

    I’m on board. Let’s build it, they will come.


  4. Aaron Strout says:

    Steve – great post. It’s funny because I was having a similar conversation the other day with Tim Walker. I’m a little conflicted because in my business (social media agency), we are still on the hook for teaching some our prospects and customers about social media. With that said, I’m trying to transition my blog and conversations away from “social media” as a meta topic and toward the “long-term architecture” goal.


  5. jmacofearth says:

    Steve, you nailed it here “how we can transform people and society and business using new tools and approaches.”

    And assembling the like-minded folks to build the co-operative network of the git-r-dun future is all about social, all about business, and mostly about TRUST. Brogan may have put the term squarely in the social media consciousness, but Pat Lincioni in his massive work The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team really nailed the problem/opportunity of working in teams.

    The core foundation of a team, any team (virtual or localized), is Trust. Without Trust we cannot argue effectively. Without Trust we don’t venture new ideas that might be shot down. Without Trust we might not get PAID.

    In the year since I left Dell to charge after all things social I continue to believe we need a “wuffie” scale, or some way of calculating someone’s Trust Karma. LinkedIn profiles and endorsements are good, and a person’s social media participation is better, but the BEST indicator of someone’s TEAM VALUE is a personal connection to someone who has worked with that person before.

    As we go more and more global and more virtual with teams we will never assemble in the same room, EVER, we have to work harder to become trustworthy. We have to deliver on our promises. Launch when we say we are going to launch. Show up for meetings on-time and prepared.

    When someone who has worked with you for 15 years recommends you for a new position at a company, or as part of a team, that is the highest endorsement you can get. Over the course of your relationship with this person, they have seen you challenged, most likely they have seen you fail, and more than anything they have seen you earn your Trust stripes.

    And when you have that connection, when you have that Trust with someone, the endorsements and opportunities to work with them and with people in their networks is exponential.

    So what can we do to build a better network of Trust Agents? What’s the platform for Trust?

    I’m working to find out, and hoping that all of us are successful at creating our own path to Trust and Success.

    Thanks for the spark.

    John McElhenney
    @jmacofearth | uber.la

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  7. Slamdunk says:

    Excellent post. I like the concept of opportunity networks versue just numbers.

  8. Jeanne Male says:

    Superb analogy and concepts, Steve.

    I’ve been thinking about:
    – what type of flowers my businesses should be engineering.
    – how they should germinate/where they should pollinate.

    So, thanks for the reinforcing nudge!
    Deb Brown’s comment also had me nodding in agreement.

  9. Joseph Ruiz says:

    I relate to a great deal of what has been said here. Always appreciate your perspective. I feel like I have been spinning my wheels so to speak and your thoughts provided a nudge.

    Reminds me that life is about rhythms.

    Nicely done.

  10. Karen Swim says:

    Steve, this line says it all “But now let’s transition from early adopters to long-term architects.” It’s easy to get addicted to new, shiny and continue to move from one hot tool to another but as you note the bud is only a transition, one phase of a life cycle. A bud that never opens has not realized its full potential and will soon die without every revealing it’s magnificence to the world. I’ve got my hard hat on and my blueprints spread out. I am ready.

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