Look Ma, I’m on TV! (no, not the YouTube TV, I mean the real one)

CNBC video

Go figure (sorry for just a link… CNBC’s embed is having trouble with WordPress)

Now, I do have to say a few things about this. First, I was really disappointed that CNBC’s Power Lunch doesn’t offer lunch (kidding, kidding). Seriously though, I haven’t yet and probably won’t ever actually watch this clip because I feel completely squeamish watching myself on TV. All of my annoying quirks are far too exposed. So apologies if it stinks – I’m going solely on memory of how it went. Anyhow, the one thing I do remember is that I didn’t get to nearly any of the things I was hoping to talk about.

So to capture some of that mental prep I’d done, below I’ve crafted what my dream CNBC interview would have been:

How is IBM taking advantage of social networking?

A great question… (wink, wink) IBM has the largest community anywhere on earth of employees engaged in social networking! (can’t speak for extraplanetary entities) That translates into almost 200,000 on LinkedIn, well over 50,000 on Facebook, thousands of external bloggers, thousands on Twitter, 17,000 internal blogs, etc., etc. By virtue of our size and technically savvy employee base, there’s no other organization out there with the scale, size and potential influence. We still have work to do to make our efforts more connected and intentional, but the value is there now and the future opportunities are immense.

What are you all doing on these sites?

Work!!! We are doing our jobs – the same jobs we were doing before social media. But hopefully now with better access to colleagues, peers and expertise than we had before. These platforms remove all of the artificial and geographical boundaries you find in organizations that lock up knowledge and information. Instead of relying on your office neighbors or reporting line as the sole source of information, you can reach anywhere into the organization – or out of the organization – to collaborate, learn, listen and influence.In other words, we are on these platforms because we can do our jobs better using them. Sure, we like t0 share pictures of our kids on Facebook too, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Connections, or whatever to learn from the brightest minds out there.

Won’t employees just waste time if we give them access to these sites? [My favorite question, btw]

Not at all. Blocking access to these sites is a self defeating policy for two reasons:

  1. This is a reflection of poor performance measurement practices. If you want to restrict access to Facebook in an attempt to push employees toward productivity, then you aren’t focused on results; you are focused on process. And we all know that process doesn’t mean anything. If an employee is spending 50 percent of his/her time on LinkedIn and Twitter, but performs better than peers who don’t, perhaps that’s a lesson in itself? And if they are wasting their time, that too will come out when it’s time to measure results and performance.
  2. Think of the message this sends employees. “WE DON’T TRUST YOU.” I can’t think of many things that undermines any sense of trust between the institution and the employee than micromanaging how they spend their time. This has particular consequences when it comes to morale and recruitment.

Any parting advice for other companies looking to dip their toes in this water?

Another great question… First, I’d say be pragmatic about how you approach this. Don’t be afraid of the blurring lines between professional and private conversations of employees. That blurring already happens with phones and email. That it happens in social networks doesn’t really change much. Instead, focus on getting great guidelines in place and make sure everyone understands them. Based on our experience at IBM, the guidelines can’t be a top-down mandate. Employees should be part of the process in creating them. Our employees actually wrote the Social Computing Guidelines, resulting in self-regulating, very large, very well behaved community of active participants.

Do you have any advice for where to get a great taco?

Why yes, in fact, I do

So that’s my dream CNBC Q&A. To quote someone far more interesting than myself, “At the end of the day… I think the questions went… wonderfully well.

19 Comments on “Look Ma, I’m on TV! (no, not the YouTube TV, I mean the real one)”

  1. Joe Hanley says:

    Caught the clip — good work fella.

  2. Nice Interview (both real and imagined) Thanks for being the champoion, face and voice for the thousands of us out here.

  3. Todd Watson says:

    Adam, let me echo’s Kathy sentiment. Because I’m a practicing socially mediated IBMer, I already sent you a private kudos via Twitter DM, but thought I would pile on here on your blog. And thx for posting the imagined interview…nice to read what you *really* wanted to say. LOL P.S. Don’t wallow too much in today’s Yankees’ loss….a minor setback.

  4. Fernando Souza says:

    I’m happy to work for a company that respects my rights to blog and tweet! Btw, great interview! oh.. I work for IBM Brazil. Abraços!

  5. I think the interview was good and you did very well. Maybe the part that stinks is the normal way in which TV guys move the questions in the way they intend to go and don’t let the people who really know finish what they have to say.

    With this complementary blog post I think everything ended in a perfect tone 🙂

  6. adamclyde says:

    Todd. ugh. Don’t remind me about baseball right now… 🙂

    Thanks for the nice comments folks.

  7. kellys says:

    Nice job, Adam! You rock!

  8. Dan H says:

    Nice work! And great choice of cable networks…

  9. Ray O. says:

    Nice tie and no taco stains! Great job 🙂

  10. Luis Benitez says:


    Just catching up on my feeds now!!! Great job.. !!!

    This should be posted on the ibm.com site for Lotus Connections.

  11. Adam, I’m an ex-IBMer and also worked for Cisco in the late 1990s, just as the internet boom was starting. Many companies at the time shut off employee access to email sites such as Hotmail. Cisco did no such thing – Cisco had a policy that simply said, “we trust our employees”.

    Also, when the telephone was invented, many companies feared that employees would waste their time on the phone, and hence shut off access to phones – something that would be considered crazy today.

    Of course, as an internetworking company, it was in Cisco’s self-interest that people use the internet more and more. But Cisco was also walking its talk with tremendous results – productivity was extremely high.

    Moreover, in technology companies, it’s critical that employees use these social networking sites – and anything new that comes along. Employees need to be clued into what’s going on in the outside world, both from a technology and social standpoint.

    Chetan Dhruve
    Author, “Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator”

  12. JackSchmoe says:

    Wow, what a job you must have. It sounds like you really don’t do anything and make big bucks! What a load of garbage that social networking is some big opportunity. Again, I am just flabbergasted that a company has an actual position like yours.

  13. adamclyde says:

    J-Schmoe, whew, but thank goodness there are brilliant people like you in the world to keep it running while the rest of us waste all of your hard earned money.

  14. jkings says:

    Adam – a good example of social media at work: the ability to expand on the subject of the interview and get all your thoughts on the table.

    Good stuff and congrats on making Power Lunch.

    Joseph Kingsbury, Text 100

  15. Laura says:


    I’m working on an internal branding capstone project for my Master’s in Communication Management and the subject of social media seems to be a hot topic that most organizations are tip-toeing around. IBM is clearly far ahead of everyone on this and that really changes my perception of the company. Kudos to you!

    Laura Gardner


  16. Great review,

    Its time for you to bring the wife up to New Haven for a food tour or we could skip all that and we could just go to http://www.Bentara.com.

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