When my wife & I were expecting our first child back in late 2003/early 2004, we were anxious to solicit advice and useful information from friends, relatives & work colleagues. We wanted to know what it was like to be a parent, what types of clothing & baby gear to buy in order to be prepared, which shopping sites had the best deals, what's the best way to deal with a crying newborn at 3am when you've been averaging 3-4 hours of sleep per night, how quickly we should introduce bottle feeding, etc. If only the I Have Kids Community had been around back then! In many ways, building a new application for your business is similar to expecting a new baby. You debate the merits of various names, being careful to select something that's distinguishable but won't be the object of ridicule. You rely on advice from people you respect and admire in order to become the best possible caregiver for this new thing you're going to bring into the world. You do everything in your power to ensure it will be healthy and have the best chance of thriving once it's "born". In the event this is the second or third time you've brought an application to market, you spend time reflecting on what's gone right (and wrong!) in the past, hoping to avoid making the same mistakes twice. And once your application arrives on the market, chances are your sleep schedule will most definitely suffer.

The CoreBlox team is excited about a new application that we have in the early planning stages. Like expectant parents, we've been reaching out to some knowledgeable and influential industry folks to solicit  feedback on our concept and hopefully give us some hints on ways we can best position ourselves for success. So far the response has been excellent, and I'd like to take a moment to recognize two people who have contributed valuable feedback to our efforts:

  • @LenDevanna, Director of Web Strategy, EMC Corporation. You can read Len's candid commentary on social media and the enterprise here on his blog (I particularly enjoyed this entry on the drama surrounding EMC's internal community platform). In exchange for some great feedback, all Len asked for in return was a t-shirt when our app becomes a hit!

  • @ScottMonty, Social Media Guru at Ford Motor Company. You can read Scott's perspective on social media here on his blog. During the recent debate over the auto industry bailout, one might have expected someone in Scott's position to duck the criticisms being leveled at his company. Scott did quite the opposite, standing front and center and happily engaging anyone who would dare lump Ford's performance in with its competitors:

Both Len & Scott would have had every reason in the world to ignore my request for advice, but they took the time to respond and donate some of their valuable time. We look forward to including them on our announcement list once the new CoreBlox creation arrives!