Dennis Price
Originally uploaded by Truus, Bob & Jan too!

A couple of times a year I get a call from Dennis Price. Not the movie star shown here, but the blogger, retail guru and course director of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management’s MBA program. Each time I go along and talk about Web 2.0, social media and the Age of Conversation. I always aim to provide as much of an overview as possible — and then use the Age of Conversation as a case study for how the tools can allow conversations, communities, brands and consumers to come together. This can be challenging with only an hour or so available.

When I first went along, I spent quite some time explaining technology. The students in general were not participating in any form of social media. That meant that my focus would shift to explaining the applications and their use. This situation did not change much when I returned in the following semesters.

Today, however, I was pleasantly surprised that the students had a strong understanding of many of the social media tools available. Many were under heavy use.

In about a year and a half, the students who participate in this prestigious MBA program and who will move into leadership positions across the business spectrum in the coming years, are already demonstrating a sound understanding of social media. For these folks, it is not something foreign or indescribable. It is tangible and already a part of the fabric of their lives.

Not only that, the questions that were asked also got me thinking. There was some serious questions around the following topics (feel free to chime in with answers):

Business models
What is the business model for Web 2.0 businesses? Is it reliant only on advertising? Is valuation based on potential advertising revenue or is there something more to it? Do all business start-up to sell?

Personal relationships
Is the Internet or social media damaging our personal relationships? Is there something out of balance when families spend more time, individualised and participating with their "networks" and not with each other?

Group dynamics
Does group dynamics inhibit innovation or growth?

What is the future?
Where does all this technology, all this community etc go next? How is/will this change us?

How do individuals make money doing this?
While it seems that start-ups can make money, what about individuals? Is there a personal business model?

Now, I am looking forward to the next round … and wondering what the audience will have in store for me. And the best part about it, is that I learn something new each time.