Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Saturday, March 20, 2004

Oh, geez, the Seattle PI is reporting that some women just want a Microsoft man. And I see the recruiting bloggers are pointing to that. Ahh, I can just see that recruiting pitch now: "here's the salary you'll make, here's the benefits, yeah, we let you weblog, and you'll find a ready population of women who will want you cause you have a blue badge."

This behavior isn't limited to Microsoft, though. When I was at Fawcette my office was on top of the Spago restaurant. Every Thursday night it was exceptionally busy in the bar there. One of my co-workers let me in on the secret: it was a Silicon Valley meet market.

I just asked my wife if Microsoft Men are really worth the trouble. She said "I don't love you because you work at Microsoft. I love you cause you're a good goof." Oh.

One other thing: there are lots of women who work at Microsoft too. I wonder if there are men out there who'll only date Microsoft women? By the way, isn't the premise of this article a bit sexist? It sure plays into the worst stereotypes of women who only date for security, money, and status (and men who only date women for their looks or their availability). But, don't ask me, Maryam and I met in the workplace. So, I guess we could say we just wanted to date people who worked for Fawcette.

7:07:27 PM    comment 

Funny, on the plane down to California yesterday, who was sitting right next to me? Royal Farros, the CEO I had met with earlier in the day.

We both thought it was funny that we were sitting next to each other. Some sort of cosmic plan in action. "We could have just met on the plane" he said. So, we just continued our discussion about how alerts might work. He's also a real interesting guy who has tons of stories about the technology industry. He told me about how Microsoft Office on the Macintosh beat his company's product (Ready-Set-Go). He was co-founder of T/Maker (they made software for the Mac in the 1980s).

Anyway, we talked more about what if it were possible to trigger an alert with RSS automatically? (Without spamming weblog readers?) How about if weblog tools could add an alert capability right into their User Experience? For instance, I'm typing to you right now in Radio UserLand. What if there were a little button there that said "send your users an alert?"

Wouldn't that be cool? Think about that. Dave Winer could send my phone an alert if he wanted to. Let's say there was a big news story that was just breaking. Webloggers could send out alerts to their readers.

We also talked about how bad email is. He told me how he's unsubscribed from email mailing lists before and he continued to get email from them. He also told me that's why he loves RSS so much. Unsubscribe from a feed and it's gone. No questions asked.

We're gonna talk about this on Monday morning in my speech about why RSS is important to businesses. The email marketing channel is broken. What's left? RSS.

Oh, someone asked in my comments how my alerts work. I sign into a Web page, fill in a form with what I want sent out through the Alerts system, and schedule the alert to go out (I can send it immediately, or at a time I choose). Pretty interesting, but needs a bit of training. Royal's team is working on making it easier for webloggers and is listening to feedback here (he's participating in my comments).

6:34:55 PM    comment 

Julia Lerman blames me for ruining her weekend. :-)

6:13:25 PM    comment 

What a beautiful day in California. Took the wife and kid to San Francisco (he likes the game store in the Metreon shopping center). While Patrick was checking it out, I ducked into the sushi place there. And, who was there? None other than Bob Wolf, vice president of sales and marketing of Infragistics. He's a big player in the component market. He was CEO of Sheridan Software, which during the 1990s was VBPJ's biggest advertiser (other than Microsoft).

You probably never heard of them unless you're a developer who buys components for using in your apps, but Infragistics builds some of the most popular components around for Visual Studio.

They also were one of the first ones to build a component specifically for Longhorn (their grid control was handed out at the PDC).

Anyway, talking with him, I realized just how important relationships are to business. In our five-minute conversation we caught up on a variety of topics. And, I let him know what I was doing, and conversely, the kinds of things I could help him with in the future. But, then, I launched into a story about meeting Kam on Thursday.

Remember, Kam and his team is designing the next "look" of Windows. Kam gave me a tour of Aero. He forbid me to take pictures of it, though. So, what do I have in my evangelist's toolbox? Stories!

So, in a minute I took Bob into the $250,000 Maybach that I sat in. I don't think I told you about that one. It was parked outside of the hotel I was staying at at the PDC and Mercedes let me sit in it (Maybach is Mercedes new super luxury car line). Mercedes was having an event there and was showing off their new expensive toys. Remember the pictures of the $700,000 SLR that I took (they didn't let me sit in that one)?

On Thursday Kam told me his team had studied expensive German cars. Maybe he had even sat in the Maybach.

Here, slide into that car. Feel the rich leather seats soak your body up. Now, start playing. Notice the moon roof. It isn't your typical moonroof. First, its glass has an electrically-controllable opacity element inside. You flip a switch and you can't see through the glass. Flip it back, and you can see the sky. Note that Longhorn's window borders evoke the emotion you feel when looking through that moon roof's window.

And the switch isn't the type you find in my Ford Focus (which are darn good for a $15,000 car, but they aren't the same quality or feel as those that are found in a $250,000 one). It's the most expensive and best designed switch around. It evokes emotion when you play with this switch. I dare you to sit in the car and not play with the switch for 15 minutes (the car salesman even encouraged me to do that -- he told me he still plays with it even though he gets to sit in the car everyday).

Kam told me in one of the expensive cars he sat in he played with the sunglass drawer. He was fascinated by how its slide action made him feel. And he's been chasing that emotional feeling ever since and is trying to deliver that to us in Longhorn. I bet there'll be some things in Longhorn that feel as good as that finely-designed drawer Kam told me about.

In the Maybach all around you are fine materials. All designed by the top designers in the world (in fact, three separate teams of the world's top car designers worked on it).

So, once I took Bob into that car, then I started explaining Longhorn. First, Aero makes you think of that car's moonroof. Finely designed. Best technology. And responsive. Sensual, even.

One thing Kam showed me in Longhorn's Aero (that's what they call the new user experience) was a folder icon. This isn't an icon like in Windows 95 or XP. No. First he showed me how he could zoom the icon up and down. No pixelization. So, now you understand how the entire user interface will scale from low-end low-resolution screens, to that $8,500 200DPI IBM screen that Kam has sitting in his office.

Second thing I told Bob was that the UI makes you think you're in the middle of a finely-crafted world, not a bitmap-limited one. Back to the folder icon. It looks like a photograph of a real manila folder. And inside, rather than just showing that some generic files were stuffed inside, were real document thumbnails. Oh, and there was a light source which threw a shadow from the front of the folder across all the documents and onto the back of the folder. Like I said, this isn't any UI you've ever seen.

Oh, and don't try to tell me that the Mac is as good. I'm using a Mac right now (I'm staying at my brother-in-law's house right now and he works at Apple). If XP makes you think you're sitting in my Ford Focus (which ain't bad, I really like that car) and the Macintosh makes you think your sitting in a $40,000 Mercedes, well, Longhorn's UI takes me back to the time I got to sit in the $250,000 Maybach.

Of course, by this time Bob was salivating and said "when we gonna get it?" I didn't even have to answer. We both know it's a couple of years away at least. Man, it's a long wait, but then fine things do take time. Even if you had the $700,000 to spend on a car, for instance, the SLR is sold out for a couple of years. Oh, and Longhorn will cost a very small fraction of the price of a new super luxury car.

6:10:25 PM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
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Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:48:34 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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