Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Saturday, May 01, 2004

I was just IM'ing with someone who will go unnamed here, but this developer won't watch the Channel9 videos, the VB at the movies, and won't listen to Carl Franklin's .NET show. Why? Can't see using the computer for audio/video content.

Won't even connect a pair of speakers to the development machine.

Man, I can't imagine not using the computer for multimedia.

Anyone willing to go on the record and admit that they won't watch multimedia content on their PC?

6:25:46 PM    comment 

Visual Basic at the movies. Cool, watch a movie and learn something about Visual Basic.

6:16:58 PM    comment 

The Code Project turned on blogs for its million members today. The Datagrid Girl, Marcie, has a blog here.

They have RSS feeds too, and will start pinging and soon too.

Speaking of which, if you are writing a weblog tool, make sure you build into it the capability to ping technorati and That's real important because it makes your blogs part of the system and makes it easier to discover them.

6:11:49 PM    comment 

Layne Heiny has another good rant: the importance of paperless science classrooms.

His brother, Loren, takes on Tablet PC's losing out on back to school sales because of the delay of the next version of Tablet PC software.

11:31:33 AM    comment 

Anonymous Adam, in my comment thread on this post, tries to shame me into not meeting with certain people who don't support Microsoft the way he'd like to see Microsoft supported.

I hear this quite often. "Why you hanging out with THAT person, he/she hates us?" And not just at Microsoft, either. I've heard that before in other contexts as well. Just try being a 49er fan at an Oakland Raiders game and see what happens.

Ahh, this gets into what evangelism is all about. Am I going to get any Linux developers to switch to Windows by only hanging out with people who think Microsoft is good and nice?

It's not my job to deal with press people, but I know many from before I got to Microsoft. Dan Gillmor, of the San Jose Mercury News, for instance, has been a friend of mine for a few years. He's not been friendly to Microsoft over the years. Should I stop being his friend because of that? No way! I honor his friendship because he gives me a point of view I might not have considered. Having people around you who are willing to tell you when you're wrong will save your behind. It's something that politicians and executives learn only after they get thrown out of office or put in jail. Martha Stewart and Richard Nixon, are you out there?

Not to mention that I've seen some of our worst enemies become our best friends in the past year. How did Steve Ballmer and Scott McNealy work out that deal? They played golf together. Scott has been probably Microsoft's most public detractor over the years.

Plus, life is more interesting when you're around people who disagree with you, or don't see the world the same way you do.

Adam, I suggest you go and read Microsoft's Mission and Values again. For instance, one of our values is being self critical. Adam, are you self critical? Really? You think hanging out with "non supportive people" is wrong. On its face that shows you aren't self critical.

Adam, are you working to increase trust of Microsoft? Another of Microsoft's top values. Read your note again. How do you increase trust of Microsoft? By only hanging out with the fanboys? Or by hanging out with people who mistrust us and trying to answer their concerns?

Adam, are you working for broad customer connection? Another of Microsoft's missions. Mary Jo Foley and other journalists like Dan Gillmor have tons of readers and people trust them. If you win them over, you increase your customer connection.

Adam, if you work at Microsoft (I'm not sure you do) I hope you really look at what the leadership of this company is trying to do. Yeah, I want you to walk into Steve Ballmer's office and ask him why he plays golf with a competitor of ours who hasn't been nice to us in the public stage. Please do that, cause I don't think your attitude has any place at Microsoft.

11:17:24 AM    comment 

Layne Heiny, who teaches 10th grade biology: do Mars and Venus collide in your classroom?

Another look at how men and women approach technology.

Layne reminds me of my favorite teacher: Mike Mister at Hyde Jr. High in Cupertino. Anyone else know him? He's been teaching at Hyde since the 1970s.

10:30:31 AM    comment 

Blogger Best Practices? I, and other bloggers here, are working with our PR team, execs, lawyers to come up with a "blogging best practices" document.

If you were writing guidelines for your employees, what would you put on such a document? How would you allay their fears? Give them guideance for what is good behavior online (or bad so they can avoid trouble)?

I wrote the Corporate Weblogger Manifesto more than a year ago, but it needs updating. What would you add to it? Anything on it bad advice?

Execs, I'd love to know what you think. Most of corporate America doesn't allow their employees to blog. Why not? What would make you comfortable getting into the new world?

12:19:13 AM    comment 

Mary Jo Foley is coming to WinHec. Anyone else? How about a geek dinner? Say Wednesday evening right before the attendee party (so around 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 5)? Say in downtown Seattle somewhere? Interested? Let me know.

I'm up for a BBQ or something on either Friday or Saturday night of WinHec week (May 7 or 8). Anyone interested in that?

Also, is anyone going to blog from WinHec?

12:12:57 AM    comment 

I had a question tossed my way that I didn't have a good answer for. Do you know of any "fake" or "marketing driven" weblogs or initiatives aimed at webloggers? For instance, the Dr. Pepper campaign that was aimed at bloggers.

I didn't remember even that one. Do you know of any others?

12:08:44 AM    comment 

Wired Magazine is worrying about the traffic caused by News Aggregators.

I think it's a mistake for aggregator authors to set the default to ping sites every hour. The default should be to ping only once per day. Let the user change the default. But, really, why pull more often unless you're going to read more often?

I only read my 1432 sites once per day. Why should my aggregator read the any more than that?

12:04:26 AM    comment 

Note to Dave Winer: please get over Howard Dean. He lost cause his TV ads sucked. Nothing else. Guess what? Most voters make up their minds based on what they see on TV. Dean's campaign was great because it raised a lot of money. Which is exactly what a campaign needs to do to buy TV ads. The problem was that the ads weren't good and the product wasn't good.

There's a hint for Microsoft there too. We need a new ad campaign. Normal people (read people who aren't Microsoft employees) have no clue about what a Windows Media Center is. Or what's cool about Xbox Live. Or what a SPOT watch is. Or what the best new feature in Office 2003 is. Or what is a feature in Windows XP.

Why is that? Well, name one TV advertisement where we've discussed ANY of this. I can't name one. Not a single one.

For a company with the resources of Microsoft, that's a huge mistake.

What would I do? I'd do a new advertising campaign named something like "the joy of software."

I'd come out with at least a half dozen different ads, each of which would show customers having fun with our products. I heard today at lunch about an entire family that's keeping in touch with Xbox Live. So, video them having a blast.

I know teachers who use Tablet PCs in their classrooms. There's another ad right there.

I know a Pistachio factory that's being run on Windows XP. Another ad.

I'm sure we can find someone to show how they are using the Windows Media Center at home.

And yet another person (Scott Hanselman, where are you?) to show off his SPOT watch. I thought of Scott cause he took pictures of his watch in front of a billboard for the same.

Add in a Flight Simulator ad, someone using search folders in Outlook 2003, another for showing off Visual Studio, another for SmartPhones, another for PocketPCs, another for OneNote, and we have more than enough for a major new campaign.

It's time for Microsoft to sell the products it has. It's a shame we haven't done it yet.

"But, Scoble, that's too expensive, and 30 second ads aren't long enough to get into features." First of all, we already spend a huge amount on ads, but we only are doing "image" advertising. Look at our "our passion, your potential" campaign. Or the Office Ads (which I hated, sorry). So clearly we have the money. And, I think 30 seconds is more than enough time to show off one or two cool features from each product. Demonstrating how Xbox Live works, for instance, can be done very quickly.

But, let's think outside the box. Many of our customers have Tivos (or, if they've heard of them, Windows Media Centers). Why not buy some late night infomercial time? Say an hour. Have Erica Weichers and Robert Hess show you stuff in depth. The shorter ads can point you to a Web site, or point out that infomercials are coming soon so set your Tivo.

There's a variety of ways that Microsoft could talk with average everyday users and show off their products. But, we're not.

It's the same mistake Howard Dean made. "Weblogs will do it all" they seemed to think. Well, sorry, that isn't true. If you don't have compelling TV advertising you'll lose in presidential politics, and you'll lose potential sales in the computer software business. After all, if people don't know about your cool stuff, why would they buy it?

12:01:09 AM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:51:16 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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