Ken Levy, at my BBQ this afternoon, in response to my blog earlier in the morning, said something like "you're doing PR Research." Hmm, no, I have no interest in taking over the jobs of the PR guys like Larry Cohen or Adam Sohn. They are far better at figuring out the strategy and how to communicate to the press and the world at large and all that than I am or ever will be.
I've gotta admit, though. I've been doing community stuff for a long time (since the BBS days in the 1980s) and nothing has been a stronger relationship building tool than blogs.
If anything, I feel like I'm in college again and have been handed something I barely understand and am being asked "do something with this."
I've been having that feeling a lot lately. I've been meeting so many people and been thrown into so many things that I never thought I'd be a part of.
Well, the other day the MS Build Team (Alex Kipman blogs about that team) invited me over for a bug triage meeting. What's a bug triage meeting? That's where they decide what features will go into the product and what bugs will get fixed. The MS Build team is building the technology that will build many future Microsoft products (and will be available to everyone to build their own products -- it'll be included with the next Visual Studio, for instance).
In a product's development cycle there is no more deep or secret meeting than this. The thing is, Visual Studio is opening these meetings up to the world (sorta) through MSDN Product Feedback Center.
You can tell the teams that work in the developer division here what you like and hate about the product through the MSDN Product Feedback Center (and if you find any bugs). Then teams meet every day to decide what to do.
Ken also mentioned that he's sick of hearing the word "transparency." It's the corporate buzzword du jour inside Microsoft's DevDiv team right now.
Just look at Alex Kipman's blog.
Anyway, what am I doing? I'm working on building strong relationships with geeks. That's what the geek dinners and the BBQ today are about.
Maybe I should form a "relationship research department." It's something that is changing very quickly due to blogs, instant messengers, email, videoconferencing, and even Xbox Live. Today you can have relationships with hundreds of people all over the world.
Some things from the BBQ. Dave Winer took a few photos.
Adam Field said "it was an excellent day."
One of our guests, Sarah Revi Sterling (who works at Microsoft Research in the University Relations Department) is quoted extensively in Monday's US News and World Report. Heh, I knew Revi before she was famous (she was on Channel 9 a few weeks back).
Here's one result from my relationship research: almost everyone I know can be found by searching on their name on the search engines. And they almost always are the first hit.
Think about that sometime. If you have a blog, you'll be easy to find on Google or MSN Search or Yahoo.
First job of relationships? Be easy to relate to. Er, find. Er, call. Er, email. Er, search for.
Well, you know where to find me. Trick is, can I find you?
Gotta start blogging again. It's been, what, six days away from the blog? The nice thing about that is my email flow slowed down so that I could clean out my inbox (my task list is still ridiculous, though). Lots of people stop me in the hall and wonder what I do. That's hard to explain (I network, find interesting people to interview, and then interview them with a video camera). The other day I ran into Eric Rudder in the cafeteria and he asked "how do you like your job?" Don't tell Rudder, but I still can't believe I get paid to do what I do.
Anyway, don't mean to complain, but it's hard to keep a blog going every day.
Lenn, my boss, yesterday asked what is working over on Channel 9 and what sucks about it and lots of people are praising the videos. That makes me feel good (since I've done about 80% of them), but now I have to figure out how to replicate myself. That's not so easy. There's a lot of pressure to do more videos, increase the quality, while adding more features (transcripts and downloads). Something had to give in my life, and the blog was it.
On the good side of having a blog, we had a geek dinner on Thursday that was interesting (the guy who decides what goes on the home page of MSNBC.com was there, among many other great people).
The BBQ this afternoon started out as something small and quickly grew out of control. I cut it off after 40 people RSVP'd (and more kept coming all week).
So, Maryam's been making me do a bunch of chores. Including doing the floors and cleaning the toilets. The unglamorous part of holding parties.
Oh, and Microsoft shipped XPSP2 yesterday. I went looking to download it today and found out that only MSDN Universal Subscribers can get it so far. The rest of us will have to wait for Windows Update. Bummer.
On Monday I'm getting a tour around the Microsoft Security Response Center. So, I'll get the skinny on XPSP2 and how the release is being rolled out to the world then.