Scobleizer Weblog

Today's Stuff Saturday, October 25, 2003

One other quick thing. I'm starting to plan my schedule. You all know I'm an evangelist on the Longhorn team. The problem with this week is we have three major platforms coming out, not just Longhorn (the other two are SQL Server and Visual Studio). I hear the ASP.NET team, for instance, has a killer demo planned and that they are bringing out some amazing Web technology. I'm definitely gonna see that.

I also hear that the Tablet PC team will have something new to show in the exhibit hall. Gotta check that out.

The SPOT watch team is gonna be showing stuff off. The Smartphone team is gonna be showing stuff off. And I'm still getting announcements from various teams about new things coming (I'm the "information minister" at the PDC -- everything that gets on the attendee website goes through my hands).

My "how to hate Microsoft" piece has generated a high number of interesting comments (translation: there's a whole lot of hating going on there). It's interesting, now teams are sending me email explaining how they are going to respond to the complaints. I doubt I'll be able to respond to all the comments (there's about 200 now) this week, but make no mistake that we're reading them all and learning from them -- I've had executives tell me they are reading them and learning a lot.

That piece sure hit a nerve. It shows we have a lot to do to rebuild trust. One thing I've learned since joining Microsoft is that Microsoft is 55,000 people. We're all human. We all make mistakes. I'm definitely not perfect (just ask my wife). It's just our mistakes are magnified on a world stage and because my coworkers write the software that we all use for 14 hours a day we get infuriated when something doesn't work right.

I think it's one reason Microsoft is encouraging us to weblog. By starting a conversation, we can focus on customer and market needs -- they can't be hidden in some email bin somewhere. Those complaints will stare us in the face until we do something about them. Doc Searls and the Cluetrain Manifesto's authors were right. Markets are conversations. It's a bit messy in the market. We're working on fixing our mistakes and that comes down from the very top of the company -- which is exactly why so many things have changed at Microsoft in the past two years. Executives are now compensated based on customer satisfaction (and, as you can openly read the customers aren't happy). We now have an ethics/morals statement. We now have a more sane employee compensation plan that motivates me to take a more long-term approach rather than a short term "get the stock price up cause that's the only way we're gonna make money and cash out." We have management now that believes in having a conversation with our customers and seeing how we can respond to their needs, rather than a "push the product out the door" mentality. We're moving toward more transparency across the organization, starting with the PDC. And more.

It's going to be an interesting conversation to watch this week. It's going to be chaotic. You'll hear tens of thousands of voices in the weblogs and newsgroups. Talking about half a dozen new products (Longhorn, Whidbey, Yukon aren't the only new things that are going to be announced this week).

Anyway, I'm off to my first meeting. If you're at the PDC this week, I hope to meet you. I'll definitely be at the Weblogger BOF on Monday night at 10 p.m.

Well, I've arrived safely in Los Angeles. I was telling my coworkers last night that it's amazing this day has arrived. The past six months have just flown by.

I have a ton of blogs to do, but that'll have to wait. I have a ton of meetings today. I'll try to get to it later.

I do see that the top computer experts are very interested in seeing what we're gonna do in Longhorn. For instance, Eric Meyer, who is one of the world's formost Web standards authorities, expects us to do the wrong thing. He expects that on Monday we're going to try to kill the Web.

I think that's the wrong way to look at Longhorn, although I certainly can understand why he might think that.

So, how would I look at Longhorn then? It's a rethink of the entire platform. Look at what Windows 95 did for the world. It caused a huge wave of new and innovative applications. The Longhorn wave is going to do the same thing.

But, let's talk more on Monday night.