Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Friday, September 09, 2005

Randy Holloway (who works at Microsoft): why Microsoft can best Google.

That was in response to a Tim O'Reilly post.

Personally, that's the wrong question.

What's the right question? "How do you thrill audiences?"

Here's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Google (and MSN and Yahoo) are in the audience aggregation business. Huh? That means that they need to do things to draw in large audiences (so they can sell advertising to those audiences).

This job is very similar to a music group. Say, like, U2. Now, U2, if they are good, will see their audiences continue to get better. Here's a hint. U2 is good and sells out huge stadiums. But, what if they do something that pisses off the audience? Well, then, the audience will get smaller as those customers try to find somewhere else to spend their money. U2's job is to thrill their audiences (and they spend a LOT of time and money doing that with everything from lights, to sound, to special effects).

But, does U2 really care about what the Black Eyed Peas are doing? Maybe a little, cause there's some sort of competition for ultimate audience there, but if the Black Eyed Peas just went around trying to copy U2's music and style and everything, what would eventually happen? The Black Eyed Peas would end up playing high school auditoriums in May instead of large-scale venues.

So, I don't believe stopping Google is the right goal.

The new goal is to thrill the audience.

Oh, and what's the opposite of "thrill?" Evil.

Think about it. When Sergey and Larry say "don't do evil" what do they mean? Don't piss off the audience.

Can we thrill audiences? We have several teams here that have done it before. Many of us still remember the lines around the block for Windows 95 (or last year's lines for Halo 2). Watch what the PDC attendees say next week. That'll be a good indication of whether we can thrill or not.

Oh, and think MSN can't thrill? Well, Dare is providing hints on his blog that they are learning quickly what it takes to thrill in the Web 2.0 world.

MSN: thrill us!

4:39:10 AM    Mudpit 

A few bloggers, from Dave Winer to Dan Farber at ZDNet to Greg Linden, founder of Findory, wanted me to ask Bill Gates tougher questions.

Fair enough.

There will be a next time. I do have to wonder, though, are you guys all the types who, when first invited up to see someone, you start asking the hardest questions you can right out the gate? Or do you try to build some kind of relationship with your subject first?

Me? I find it's best to build a friendship or an understanding first. Playing "gotcha" with people just isn't my style. I think a lot of people invite me in because they know I won't try to hurt them.

You might think about why I was so nervous. I work in a group with 300 people. Let's say I did something stupid. My actions reflect on those 300 people. So, when I do something of such high visibility, I have a responsibility to other people. It's not just about myself.

To be fair, I've picked three of the bloggers who criticized my interview. There are a ton of other blogs that said it was an excellent interview. I appreciate those comments too.

4:16:39 AM    Mudpit 

Adam Herscher: Damn you, Scoble!

Heheh. Sorry Adam!

3:56:55 AM    Mudpit 

Someone emailed me the PDC Underground site and said "only tell hard core cool geeks." Hmmm, where else would I do that?

3:49:37 AM    Mudpit 

Scott Mace has an idea for how Microsoft could stun the world: appoint a Chief Standards Officer.

Interesting idea. I know of some standards work being done, more could be done.

I know of tons of people at Microsoft who are doing standards work. I'll talk with them about this idea.

3:47:34 AM    Mudpit 

Daniel Berlind emailed me this. ZDNet has opened a blog all about Windows Vista.

3:44:58 AM    Mudpit 

APC Magazine reports on the hardware requirements that Windows Vista will need.

Sorry, Nigel (the guy they quoted) is wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I've been interviewing lots of teams about what Windows Vista will need and it's nowhere near what this article says.

I have a video coming up next week that'll answer a lot of these concerns.

"Well, Scoble, why don't you just tell us the minimum requirements then?" I can hear some of you saying that. Sorry, can't do that yet. The teams are still doing performance work. That work won't be done until next year. But Windows Vista works just fine on Tablet PCs (which aren't known for being very bleeding edge in hardware).

And, Nigel, please talk with the team that wrote the display engine in Windows Vista and find out more about what the real requirements will be.

3:43:36 AM    Mudpit 

Venture Capitalist Rick Segal has a Katrina housing effort going.

This is an awesome idea.

My coworker Charles Torre is taking some time off to go build homes for Habitat for Humanity.

Everyone who helps out in this effort inspires me.

3:33:56 AM    Mudpit 

Bill Gates goes to another reality TV show, will show up on the Apprentice. Hey, Bill, Donald definitely has a lot nicer office.

3:29:12 AM    Mudpit 

Anand Iyer tells us about PRC Compassion. It's a portal that can be used to make donations for the relief effort.

3:27:32 AM    Mudpit 

John Welch looks into why the iPod is dominant: iDevelopers! iDevelopers! iDevelopers!

I don't often agree with John, but this one is right on.

3:25:18 AM    Mudpit 

Hurricane survivors are being served by Pfizer. That's not really noteworthy here, but I appreciate that. What's interesting is that they are astutely using bloggers to get the word out (one emailed me about it).

3:19:20 AM    Mudpit 

My friend David Geller tells me that his company, WhatCounts (he's the CEO) released CRM Connect that join the blogging gesture and together.

3:16:03 AM    Mudpit 

NerdTV has Andy Hertzfield, the first Macintosh programmer. Looks a bit like Channel 9, but more professional! Heheh. I don't use lights or an expensive camera like NerdTV does. Oh, and Cringley doesn't have an annoying laugh like I have.

3:13:38 AM    Mudpit 

Ben Askins compares Google's personalized home page with MSN's

So far Google's winning, but I agree with Ben that it's an interesting competition. Who will win? Well, we're just at the Start. Heh.

3:08:58 AM    Mudpit 

I'm not the only Microsoft guy up late working. Chandu Thota just wrote me and said the Virtual Earth APIs are available for commercial use (and they are FREE he says).

Wait a second. Did we do something before that "cooler and smaller" company down in Mountain View? Steve Ballmer SIT DOWN! Just havin fun with you Steve. Wanna come on Channel 9 again? ;-)

3:04:25 AM    Mudpit 

I'm way behind on my blogging. Still at work at 2:40 a.m. I've been editing videos and doing a bunch of work. You know, even inside Microsoft people have no clue as to what's coming next week. I was just showing some people here the videos of what's coming next week and they said simply "wow."

Some have accused me of overhyping what's coming next week. Well, I don't want to ruin this chance to keep expectations low (the industry hasn't seen such an opportunity to take advantage of such low expectations to perform some shock and awe in years), but damn this is the most excited I've been about Microsoft since I joined. Yeah, we still have tons of problems to work through (yes, Mini Microsoft, I am reading you) and yes, we're a big company with our politics, our slow-moving groupthink, our bureacracies and fiefdoms. Yes, we have given everyone lots of reasons to throw insults our way. Treated our customers and partners horribly. Yes, it's been a while since we've shipped something significant. Yes, we have missed out on several new trends like the iPod and search. Yes, Steve Jobs' accusation that we're just copying his company has looked pretty true.

But now it's time to change the world. Again.

Go ahead, accuse me of hyperbole. Of FUD. Of mud throwing. Whatever. Let's get together for beers next week and you look me in the eye and tell me that I overhyped this PDC.

Personally, after looking at the 20+ videos that are coming up next week I think I've been underhyping Microsoft. I had lost my belief. I was almost ready to get Steve Ballmer to throw another chair and go work for a cooler or at least smaller company.

I'm glad I waited. See ya next week at the PDC!

Oh, since we're talking about the PDC. We have about 1,000 bloggers there in the audience. That's just freaking amazing. This will probably be the most blogged industry conference ever.

2:59:43 AM    Mudpit 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
10/1/2005; 12:42:32 AM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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