Here's an example of some of the negative feedback I'm seeing on blogs today: Greg Dean isn't happy with MSN Search (toolbar team) and gives a few good suggestions to that team. He wants a longer text field to type in.
It also demonstrates a reality of software development. We can't do everything in a version 1.0 product.
Maryam and I are going to Cork, Ireland, in late November to speak at an IT conference there.
Rick Segal, Venture Capitalist who used to work at Microsoft: Robert Scoble has a hard job.
He tells about days of Microsoft evangelism now long past (nice shirts!)
But, we have something he didn't: cheap camcorders.
Evangelism is so much easier now that I can actually videotape new technology and demonstrate that to everyone.
Good morning, I'm off to catch an airplane. But Mike Hall is asking "what do you think of MSFT's blogs?" And is getting some interesting answers.
Rick Segal, venture capitalist who used to work at Microsoft, gives his two cents here.
Happy Birthday America! Here's Wikipedia's page for July 4.
I'm off to bed. Maryam and I are staying with her brother (the one who works for Apple). His new apartment, ironically enough, is in the Avalon Community about 200 yards from AMD's headquarters.
I should take a picture for the Avalon team back home.
Slashdot posts an article by Chris Pirillo in CPU magazine that says "Windows software uninspiring."
Dang, Chris, you need to get out more. Here's some of what's inspiring me on Windows:
ActiveWords. (Why? Because it has a UI that's invisible, which shows there's no rules on Windows and that ISVs can serve users' needs, not the platform vendor's rules. And wait until you see the Tablet PC version!)
One last thing. Chris, if you're bored by current user interfaces then you should become a massive evangelist for our Avalon technologies. Have you watched this video yet? How about this one? Or this one? Have you started playing around with Avalon yet?
What's inspiring you?
Larry Larsen tells me he's inspired by the Voice Command in Tablet PCs.
Claire is inspired by the Windows-run signage at the Oakland International Airport. I agree, Oakland has the best signage of any airport that I've been to (and I've been to quite a few lately).
Jason Calacanis dares Steve Jobs to sue him and posts what Engadget says are unauthorized pictures of the new iPod phone.
Om Malik gives his reaction: "if these photos are really of the model likely to be sold, it is a mega-disappointment."
My reaction? I'm not gonna react at all. Just gonna say that on Channel 9 soon we'll have some video of a few phones that suprised me, including a couple of models with hard drives built in.
The New York Times writes about bloggers who are writing books. What about us? We're (Silicon Valleyite Shel Israel and I), unlike many of the bloggers mentioned, are actually posting our book chapters as we write them over on our book blog.
So, Maryam and I had a wonderful time in Monterey. Took her brother's family to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Absolutely wonderful place. It was built by David and Lucile Packard. You know, of Hewlett Packard. That's a wonderful legacy that family left behind.
Today we visited the 17-mile drive. You know you're in a special place when they charge $8.50 simply to drive in.
But, onto the
fun arrogant stories. Tonight Maryam and friends had her birthday dinner in Saratoga at La Fondue. We ate way too much. But, while waiting to get a table a guy I didn't recognize comes up to me and asked "are you Robert Scoble?"
"Oh, I recognized you from your blog. Thank you so much. I love that."
OK, now my ego was getting fed. It does feel nice, but it's very strange to be recognized in the street. My brother and Maryam's family gave me some good ribbing over that after we sat down.
The guy turned out to be Max Skibinsky, founder of Hive Mind Inc.. It's a stealth-mode startup. Couldn't get him to tell me what he was working on. But, he said "we're using .NET."
He also said that Silicon Valley's venture capitalists are giving him heck for using Microsoft stuff. He told me "thanks for making it OK to use Microsoft stuff again." I wondered to myself "are these the same venture capitalists who get rich everytime they sell a company to Microsoft?"
I might be arrogant, but I can't take credit for making Microsoft good for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley again, sorry. I give all that credit to the folks over on the .NET team who've been pulling late nights lately to ship the next version. If there's a reason that it's OK to use .NET to start companies it's because the VC'ers are seeing that the next version of .NET rocks. Is that arrogant for me to say? Well, ask guys like Max who are betting their futures on it.
The ego gratification only lasted a few hours, though, cause tonight I got back and see Ed Bott called me arrogant for suggesting that Dell should have paid attention to blogs.
Aside: Ed is an A-lister (there's a reason I subscribe to his blog) and whenever he complains about something Microsoft does I see his blogs get forwarded all around Microsoft. But, I'll leave that argument for another time.
What I'll pick on him for is not really understanding my point.
Here, I'll try another way. When I got him tonight, how did I find Ed Bott's blog? Two ways. One, the secret service I'm using that watches what bloggers are linking to. 2) My Microsoft folders. I have three of them. One done by Pubsub.com. One done by Technorati.com. Another done by Feedster.com. I'm adding another one by Bloglines.com/citations too.
They sift millions of blogs looking for anytime someone writes the word Microsoft on their blogs.
Whenever I find someone having troubles with Microsoft stuff I try to get them help. I'm successful a large percentage of the time. One person. Watching four RSS feeds.
Every company should have someone doing that (Microsoft has lots -- just the other day I got email from an executive who was searching for the words "Microsoft Outlook." It's just good business.
In other words: all bloggers are important, not just some "A-list'er." By the way, there soon won't be such a thing as an "A-list" blogger. Why? Cause of search engines. They are flattening the blogosphere out. Someone who starts a blog today is going to get just as much attention as I will. As long as he or she writes about stuff that interests people. And, as my aggregator is showing me today, you all are VERY interested in when companies screw up.
It's why I search blogs for "Microsoft sucks" and "Microsoft is evil" and "I hate Microsoft" and "Microsoft problem" on top of "Microsoft." Makes it a little easier to find the people who are having troubles that way.
Note: I didn't say to ignore all the other ways of taking care of customers. The folks who work at PSS (you know, the folks you get if you call our customer support lines) are most excellent. I have an interview with them coming up. I hear they are gonna try to get me to answer some phone calls again. That's very tough and thankless work. I think every company employee should have to answer the phones once in a while just to see what average customers are going through.
A good company finds out how to listen to customers no matter where they are. Microsoft opened hundreds of newsgroups and CompuServe forums in the 1990s just to be able to listen to customers better. It's part of our culture to listen to customers and try to fix their problems. As much as the Slashdot crowd loves to kick us in the behind, XP is a TON better product than Windows 95 was -- much of it due to listening to product feedback and working with customers.
Dwight Silverman picks this issue up and runs further with it.
Anyway, tomorrow we're picking Patrick (my son up). He's traveling with us back up to Seattle (he's staying for six weeks). So, gonna try to post less often this week than normal cause I haven't seen him for a while. Seeya soon.