General Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in an interview had an interesting response to a question about military bloggers, in other words, active duty soldiers who are posting to their blogs from wherever they are stationed.
Hewitt: General Myers, I have very narrow question. A lot of us who use the internet for a living and blog for a living are interested in this. There are a lot of military bloggers out there. Individual active duty servicemen and women who put their thoughts, their impressions of their duty stations and the world around them on the internet on MilBlogs. What’s your opinion of that? I love them. I hope you keep them, but what’s the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff think about those?
General Myers: You know, I don’t see that many of them, but based on this conversation Hugh, I will see more of them (laugh). I think, you know, when you get to the four-star level, you fight to get information from the troops and you don’t want to be a victim of just getting fed what the staff brings you every day. The way you work that is through the internet as you just mentioned or you visit places. You go to Iraq, you go to Afghanistan and you try and get down to the individual soldier, airmen, sailor, Marine level, coastguardsmen duty, civilian and look them in the eye and say, “How’s it going?” and establish enough rapport that they’ll tell you, and at my level it’s a constant fight to make sure that you get the straight skinny. I think it’s a good idea that I plug into some of those too in my spare time.
It seems to me that what the General is suggesting is that the antidote for chief executive insulation is to use the Internet as, well an information force multiplier.
In the private sector it's only a matter of time before CEO's, at least the better ones, start figuring out that the best way to get the straight scoop on a topic is to drill down to the field by reading the blogs that exist within the company. Of course, this isn't an entirely efficient process for an executive who probably already has too much on his/her plate, so the opportunity that exists from a tech standpoint is to aggregate blogs and apply BI techniques to sort, categorize, and apply qualitative filters to. I suppose you could make the case that this is what Technorati or Feedster are doing, but I'm not sure that's what I am envisioning.... I'm going to need to put some more thought into this and report back at a later time.