We have learned that getting people to "know about each other" is a difficult and full time job, and this is most likely the most difficult product to deliver for any business, no matter what size. "Knowing" about each other involves many stakeholders - marketers, business people, sales people, and financial people and, of course, interested and qualified searchers that become buyers.

We have learned that not all businesses want to tell the truth - many want the sale, with no regard to the long term relationship to the buyer. Being connected will only serve those organizations who believe in the Triple Bottom Line: those who want to serve people with a business transaction based on an open - integrated understanding between buyers and sellers. Open communication is the key to long term success.

We have learned that not all businesses will make good business decisions, or are willing to follow a process, to stay in business. These have been the toughest lessons, because these businesses are looking for an EZ process, and have nearly always failed.We have learned that many people in the business world, inside many giant companies, have given up. . We have seen firms that have provided their staff Just Ordinary Boring Stuff to do. those people have been dissatisfied and so have lost all enthusiasm for their contribution. They are, needless to say, dis-connected in their work - perhaps only connected to a paycheck. We have learned that companies can grow their business - and outgrow their capital and capability to fund new opportunities. This is not a sustainable model. The challenge remains, how, when we are committed to innovation and change - and improving our revenue and business models to reach broader markets, can we evolve as entrepreneurs, rather than crush our dream under the weight of reality? The key is being Connected to the measures of success. We have learned in the toughest of times, when the world compromised the core mission of providing open information, innovation and connections with the best, most innovative business information technology in the world, our world failed. We saw relationships with businesses crumble; consumers stop consuming, jobs lost, banking systems broken, homes lost, countries bankrupt. When the world lost its connection its corporate soul, our culture, our way of doing business simply stopped. We are now learning how to pick up our tools and start again. As humans, in general, we are not afraid of change, in fact we embrace it. Today is our time more than ever. And that is sustainable - because change is always a renewable resource that can be relied upon - change is a mandate in the world.
Photo: Lee Nachtigal, Flickr