Australian business broadband penetration

While poking around the stats as part of my scrag-fight with Laurel Papworth, I found these figures for how many Australian businesses are using broadband.

% of internet-connected businesses with broadband

2003-04 41.5 %
2004-05 62.7 %
2005-06 82.5 %

Mind you…

Broadband… is defined by the ABS as an ‘always on’ Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256kbps.

Nothing to be proud of.

Web 2.0? “Hey, wait for us!”

Photograph of Bell Aviation Rocket Pack, 1964

Statistics on how businesses use the Internet demonstrate how the Web 2.0 digerati are rocketing so far ahead of reality into their self-obsessed digital fantasy-land that they might as well be on Mars.

ABS figures show that fewer than a third of Australian businesses have a “web presence”.

This week the redoubtable Laurel Papworth complained about that:

Well, that sucks… Not much hope for Web 2.0 if 70% of us can’t get our heads around Web 1.0, is there?

Stephen Collins, who I’ve read for a while and chatted with recently, agrees.

I am disappointed. It indicates just how far behind the 8-ball most business in Australia is…

Laurel associates this lack of penetration with the widespread lack of understanding of the power of the Web, and specifically Web 2.0 technologies, amongst Australian business. I’d have to say I agree.

Really? Disappointed? I see steady growth in those “web presence” figures. I’ll show you in a moment. First, though, I need to tell you why I reckon you’re wrong.

“Disappointment” shows a misunderstanding of what constitutes “business”, even in the 21st Century. And there’s still a lot of work to help businesses lay the digital foundations before we start building so many crystal castles.

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Social Media: It’s about the people, not the tools

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when thinking about social media is that it’s all about the tools — that if only they choose the right software they’ll be a success. That’s about as sensible as thinking your retail business will be successful if only you buy the right bookkeeping software.

Yesterday a client asked:

My friends at [some business] wish to create a social networking section as part of their site, with home pages or profiles for each user. Do you recommend any third party apps for this or a currently operating system?

No, I don’t recommend the tools until I know what the job is.

That question is like being asked, “I want a motor vehicle, can you recommend one?” Before you could answer you’d need to know the requirements. How many passengers? An answer of “6” means a people-mover, not a sports car. An answer of “40” means you need a bus.

Does it have to go off-road? Land Rover time! Does it have to carry 3 tons of bricks? Well, you need a truck, not a car. Do you need to make a social statement with your vehicle? Then maybe you need a Rolls-Royce. Or a Porsche. Or a Ferrari.

Or a packet of Viagra.

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Distinctly personal reflections on 2007

Photograph of sunset over Enmore, 31 December 2007

As the sun sets on 2007 — literally, as I took the photo just before I sat down to write — it’s time to reflect on an astounding year. The Snarky Platypus will join ’Pong and me later, and (perhaps) help us put together some predictions for 2008.

This was a watershed year for me, for my household and business, and for Australia. Many of the changes happened late in the year, so we haven’t noticed the effects yet. But as 2008 unfolds I think we’ll look back and see that, yes, 2007 marked a change of direction.

Personally, my understanding of how I fit into my world (and yours) became much clearer.

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