Last week, while presenting a live webinar “The Near and Far Future of Recruiting” I had an epiphany.  I was talking about the eventual decline (or morphing) of Facebook.  The theory is this: Mobile computing power in 10 years will be server-capable.  Add in violation of trust and general mistrust of social networks.  The result is peer-peer social networking.  No Facebook needed.  Everything sits on your mobile device.  More private, more secure, total user control and no ads.  Facebook may lead the way, but it will be hard to do as they would cannibalize their own ad-driven revenue model.

This was last year’s Epiphany.

What led to the new epiphany was my pontificating on CRM systems.  This was a recruiter-centric talk about the future of recruiting.  Many recruiter CRMs have connections to LinkedIn profiles.   Every one of these, that I have seen, has been implemented incorrectly, not due to any fault of the vendors.  In an optimal situation, the data inside the Profile should be mashed up with current CRM data.  Instead, LinkedIn requires usage of their API which brings back a canned LinkedIn profile. This is what I call “social linkage”.

The optimal situation would be a pair of  “social agents”.  While a company may have 1000 company prospects  in their CRM, they may only contact 50 in a given day. One “social agent” would automatically refresh the entire CRM on a longer cycle such as once per quarter.  Another just-in-time social agent would update the CRM just before the outreach process.  Why is this important?  LinkedIn is not a definitive data-source; nothing is.  What happens when you combine Facebook, Google+, Jigsaw (now data.com), Foursquare, twitter and whatever social network Microsoft comes up with?  Are you going to clutter your Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics interface with 6-8 little snippets, much with redundant information?   This gets ugly fast.  The optimal implementation is to have a social agent retrieve LinkedIn, Data.com, Google+, Facebook, Twitter information.  Next, mash, score, apply analytics to present the information in a way that optimally fits your selling model.

What about Apps?

Enough setup.  First, I’m a huge iOS (iPhone/iPad) fan are there are some simply amazing apps out there.  Same thing for Android.  The iOS & Android AppStore model has really opened up a world of possibilities.  However, there is a problem.  While these Apps do great singular things, they do not communicate with each other.

That is a problem.

I’ll take FourSquare, the social check-in service, as an example.  Right now I’m at the SanFran airport.  When I got here, I had to open FourSquare on my iPhone, search for San Francisco International and check in.

This is why people get check-in burn out.  A check-in service is fun; keep track of your network of friends, compete for points, etc.  It should not be work.  Here is how it should work.

Build a special class of Apps called Agents.  Right now, there are Apps that can “push” notifications and work in the background, but that is limited.  An Agent would be able to interact with other Apps.  Example:  A Foursquare Agent could track my location and push check-ins to me for approval.  Now I don’t want to be checking into every gas station I drive by, so I would need an Agent to control my privacy/whereabouts.  The privacy Agent would screen the check-ins coming from the Foursquare agent.  Check-ins would then be automatic, or prompted for my to confirm, or anything I wanted it to be.

Newsflash: I just pulled up my Foursquare App to get a screenshot of it for this blog.  While I had it open, I saw that a friend of mine, Jenny D. also checked in to SFO.  Since I got sick on notifications popping up from Foursquare, I had notifications turned off (essentially, every app controls this individually, which is poor architecture). Luckily, I saw the notification and I would have the option to say hello if time permitted.  If I had a notifications App, that controlled all notifications from all Apps, I could set it up so when I was traveling, I would get all notifications from people in close proximity.

Setting these types of permissions on every individual App, would be (and is) a nightmare.  The only way to control it is with a master-permissions Agent.  A master permissions agent is called a “Clewd”.  I derived it from the word “include”.   The Clewd will be the agent that forces the world to work on your terms. You choose what to be included into.  Apps will not have the ability to push information in any direction, unless the Clewd agent allows it.

Your own Clewd should be stored on you mobile device.  When Facebook adds another feature, they would not be able to opt you in without asking you saying hello to your Clewd agent on your mobile device.

The Clewd is inevitable.  If you don’t see it yet, you are not overly connected. You have not experience “App-Overload”.  You have not joined the 4th social network, download the iPhone App and then turned off notifications.

The Clewd will control more than just the interactions between Apps.  If you have a business email address, you probably get a mass amounts of newsletters, webinar invites, and product announcements.  The marketing automation system that sends you these emails is the same as an App; *it* controls the permission options. You have no control over options;it forces you into it’s choices.  Example: Opt-in or Opt-out?  I say screw them!  I want to be in total control of how the world interacts with me.

Here are examples of a Clewd and a set of Agents working together with emails.

1. For every incoming invitation to an event, webinar, etc, an agent parses of the date and time as well as the vendor information. Check the Clewd if you have explicitly blocked this vendor, if not, Agent #2 compares to your current Calendar, if you are not open at that time, deletes the email or adds it to your Calendar (as an option), based on your Clewd preferences.

2. For each incoming email, have one agent extract the contact information, agent #2 checks your CRM for *outgoing* emails from you.  The Agent provides the Clewd with credentials  “This email is from someone you have in-turn emailed before” says the Agent.  The Clewd likes that, as you have set it up that way.  Since Agents are very-flexible, you don’t have to be limited to a simple “exact email match”, it can look for anyone at the same company.

3.  Expanding on the previous example:  For all non-recognized emails, don’t show them as they come in. That can be distracting.  Show all non-recognized emails once every two hours in a group; don’t mix them with high-priority ones. Let me delete them as a group. Sorry Google: “Priority Inbox” was poorly implemented.  Take this idea: please.

There are 1000’s of potential uses of a Clewd.  What happens when the RFID label on the bottle of water you just bought communicates with your Ford Focus computer, which then tells the Billboard you are approaching on the hi-way that you have driven 200 miles and 4 hours since your last bottle of water.  It then shows you a ice-cold-water ad, just turn into the oncoming exit.  This is the world we are headed for unless the permissions rest with the individual.   Watch the movie Minority Report. With Mobile outselling PC’s, the majority of future interactions with technology will happen on your mobile device.  Apple and Google can be leaders here.  Agents that interact between Apps will be a prerequisite.

Where is the Clewd to be stored?  This all-important set of rules that defines how the technology world will interact with you?  Ask yourself: Do you want Facebook or LinkedIn to control it?  They would love that.  My ultimate prediction is one of two places.  My first preference is stored, securely on my mobile device. Secondly is a 3rd party service, secure, where you pay $20 a year to have them manage your world-rules, your Clewd. This service provider cannot have a conflict of interest; it cannot generate revenue via ads.  No Facebook, Google, etc.  It may be a new business model.

The future must be permission-based and we each must control our own permissions. If we don’t it will be a world where conversations stop and everything is pushing and yelling trying to out-do each other.

Will the AppStore turn into the AgentStore?  Probably not, but in the future, it will be the Agents, not that Apps that have unique value.  What would you pay for an Agent that made all email communication obey your rules?  I would drop $100 in a heartbeat.  What is an email App worth… $1.00?

I’ll continue thoughts on this topic as I have them.  The question next is how to force those pushing content to obey the rules of the Clewd.

Note:  At this point I am not sure if a Clewd is singular or Plural, meaning one Clewd contains all your rules or each rule is a Clewd…I’m leaning towards one-contains-all.