Just finished an awesome BBQ where a few bottles of good wine were consumed. I took Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, and Steve Broback, founder of the Blog Business Summit (coming next week), out on my back porch and recorded a conversation where we cover what's happening in blogging and podcasting. Sorta a "set the tone for next week" kind of conversation.
We talk about all sorts of things from Adam Curry to Donald Trump. How customers are getting power in blogs that they hadn't had before. Do blogs have credibility? And more. Hope you enjoy it.
The RSS feed for my podcasts are here. No promises.
Length: 40 minutes. Sorry for the audio levels. Buzz is a bit quiet compared to Steve. I was just using my Tablet PC's microphones, not the ultimate setup.
Jeff Barr, of Amazon, has a guide to being successful on Channel 9. One thing I'd correct, though, is when he talks about whether or not to look at the camera. I usually recommend forgetting the camera is there and just looking at the person talking to you. When the interviewee looks at the camera it looks like he or she is pitching, which isn't Channel 9's style.
Also, some people can pull off unscripted demos. Chris Jones, for instance, wasn't planning on giving me a demo. I like both kinds of demos for different reasons. The unscripted/unplanned ones are a bit more real, while the planned ones give better information and are usually sexier.
One of the software entrepreneurs that I really like is 37 Signals. They are doing everything right that I can see and it's nice to see they are getting the credit for that.
These guys are outmarketing companies many times bigger than they are.
I didn't do a blog for Fast Company's BlogJam. I'm gonna do one tonight. Steve Broback and his wife are coming over for BBQ. So is Buzz Bruggeman (he's been staying here all week). Maybe I'll have Patrick record another podcast. That could be fun.
I was just reading over the BlogJam's entries, though. Interesting stuff. This one, by Jennifer Warwick caught my eye: Sorry, my mom and dad won't let me program.
Note to Evan Williams: congrats on getting the funding for Odeo. For the rest of you, he's building a podcasting tool to start with. But with that kind of investment, I wonder what else he has up his sleeve?
Ahh, many of my friends are making fortunes. It sure is starting to get tempting out there.
Speaking of fortunes: watch for several acquisitions in the next few months of blog services. The money is starting to flow. The consolidations are starting to happen.
Hey, Bill, where's Microsoft? The window of opportunity to really get involved in the blog world is only going to be open for a little while.
If I had my hands on Microsoft's cash, I'd be buying blog search, blogging and podcasting networks, a ping server or two, and Memeorandum. I would have bought Flickr too. I think that Yahoo's purchase of Flickr will turn out to be one of the business deals of the decade. I heard that was purchased for less than $20 million. Amazing since the market for digitial photography is much larger than the market for podcasting.
But, maybe they don't let me touch the cash for a reason. Heh.
Anyway, this is becoming a very interesting space. Watch for more business deals and from places you wouldn't expect them. I'm hearing from several of my friends, for instance, that AOL is looking for
media properties blogging networks.
MSN Filter sure is getting some people upset (hi Ross Mayfield).
Personally I wanted to give MSN Filter a few weeks before giving my opinion, but Ross goaded me into it.
Boring. Boring. Boring.
First, what is it? MSN hired five people to do a blog each. There's one on sports. Another on tech. Music. TV. Lifestyle.
Second, a disclaimer. I spent a bit of time on Monday with the team and I'm planning on spending some more time with them later today. They are listening to the blogosphere and working to make them more interesting, more credible, and more useful.
Another disclaimer: last time I said that something at MSN sucked (remember, I said that about MSN Spaces) it turned out that the market didn't listen to me. MSN Spaces, since launching last December, has opened more than 18 million spaces. Whew. Ever since then I've had teams call me up and say "can you say on your blog that we suck too?"
So, take this all with a grain of salt.
It's just five people blogging while being paid. It's not the first time Microsoft has done that, by the way. Hmmm?
But, back to Ross' point. I don't get it. What, MSN isn't allowed to hire bloggers and try to build an audience? Really this isn't a serious effort yet.
What does a serious effort look like? Study Jason Calacanis' blog and podcast network (he also responds to MSN Filter here). He has something like 80 to 100 bloggers. That's serious. Five is not.
But, don't miss this. MSN now is paying attention to blogs and podcasts. This is the metaphorical equivilent of sticking their toe in the water to see if the water is warm.
If they find it's warm I'm sure more serious efforts will be coming.
Speaking of more serious efforts, read Jason's blog to see some sizeable investments have been coming into the podcast space as well as there's a new blog survey out that shows that blog audiences are affluent and educated.
Back to MSN Filter. I'll admit I subscribed to a couple. I want to see if they get some attitude (study Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money. That guy is entertaining! Having someone like that on the blogosphere will be how to build an audience. Speaking of which, did you see that Donald Trump is now blogging?)
Sorry for the blog slowdown. I just sent Shel my changes on the last chapter on our book. The process of writing a book with Shel was much better than I expected it to be, but it did occassionally take my attention away from my blog -- particularly this week when we're under deadline to get it done.
It's weird, I sense my own blogging is about to change quite a bit for a whole lot of reasons (the blogosphere is getting too big for even me to track, for one, and there are tool and service changes coming that made me give up my linkblog (that is obsolete and as soon as one company I'm working with gets their stuff out you'll see why). I spent the day today editing videos (some of which I shot two months ago) and cleaning out my office. I realized I was in a rut. Cleaning out my office was my way of saying "enough."
One thing I'm getting ready for? Windows Vista (I setup a computer specifically to play around with it). Look at what Mary Jo Foley is writing: Microsoft Needs to Come Clean About Vista.
Oh, I agree there wholeheartedly. You know, I'm afraid of writing about Windows Vista. Why? Because we went out so early and created so many lofty expectations last time (big mistake) that I just wanted to crawl in a hole and say nothing. Which is pretty much what I've done now for about a year. Plus, Windows is such a big product, with so many people involved (thousands), with such high expectations on it, that saying anything without really understanding all the pieces is just asking for trouble. There are only a few people who understand all the pieces, and they are just hard to get face time with.
I wanted to just let you get the product and see it for yourself and let you come to your own conclusions about whether it was good or not without my input. I also just didn't want to get into the "is this feature in or out" guessing game. Again, that's real dangerous if you don't know all the pieces. I go back to when I interviewed Bill Gates in 1994 and he promised me that Visual Basic would ship on the Macintosh. It never did. So, in my mind it's better to be quiet and let the market discover the product after we ship. I know I'll forget that lesson about 40 times over the next year, but it's a good one to remember.
She asks: "What is Microsoft gaining from hiding the fact that some of the features originally slated for Vista and Longhorn Server have been pulled from the products?"
The problem, Mary Jo, is that features are still sliding around a bit. So, we're afraid of coming out and muddying the waters even further. This is going to be a messy period. There will be rumors and false reports. These will happen no matter what we do. I've decided to just stay quiet until the PDC.
The PDC will be a pivotal event for Windows Vista. That means another four weeks of muddy water on our behalf. Sorry about that.
I'll apologize on behalf of Microsoft. We haven't done a good job of coming clean on Windows Vista. Mary Jo is right. Last year was a painful one on this team. Does it really matter anyway? The word-of-mouth networks now are so efficient that if it sucks you'll know it within an hour or two of its release. And, accordingly, if it rocks you'll know that too. Nothing we do will change that (the only thing we really can do is guide you to look at various nooks and crannies in the product so you can discover more about what makes it useful. Which is just what we'll be doing at the PDC, next month.
Speaking of the PDC, I hear we're very very close to selling out (within days is what the marketing folks told me). If you don't have your tickets yet, I would do that first thing in the morning or else you probably won't be going.
Oh, regarding hardware: it's too early to know that. Nearly every team I am visiting is doing performance work right now. Until they are done with that work (which probably won't happen until close to the release candidates which will come next year) there's really no way to accurately tell you what kind of hardware you'll need. Based on what I'm seeing, though, if you want the best experience you'll want a fairly beefy machine with a great video card (128MB video card is needed to see the full Aero experience). But even all that might change (obviously that isn't great for a lot of laptop and Tablet PC users, so the teams are working to make everything more performant. We really won't know just how successful those teams will be until next year sometime.
A few other things, too. 1) If there's something you want to know about Windows Vista, leave it here in my comments or over on the Coffeehouse in Channel 9 and I'll try to get you an accurate answer. 2) If you are on a Windows Vista team and you'd like to come on Channel 9 to explain the features your team is working on, please send me email at email@example.com.