On that note, I'm outta here for the day. Gonna go for a walk up in San Francisco (watch the photoblog for photos), drop Patrick off at his mom's, then fly back to Seattle. It's been quite a week.
More blithering coming tonight. :-)
Jwelch lays out a long litany of what he thinks is wrong with Microsoft.
"I can tell you that from the outside, Microsoft is still a damned pain in the ass."
OK, first of all, he took on FrontPage. Says it writes HTML that only is understood in IE 6. Maybe he thought I wasn't technical enough to call him on this. But, I've been using FrontPage since before it was a Microsoft product. This is TOTALLY untrue. And, even if it was, you could easily fix it by looking at the options a bit and then resaving a page. Feel free to call me on my cell phone if you don't know how to make it save regular old HTML that'll work in any browser. The new version, in particular, writes pretty darn nice HTML code.
Then he continues: "Unlike the amazingly open model of Windows Media 10, which only functions on Windows."
This, too, isn't true. Over at Fry's there's an entire aisle of devices that play WMA (Windows Media files with DRM). NONE OF WHICH run on Windows. For instance, check out the Dell Jukebox. It doesn't run on Windows but plays WMA/DRM files. And, the Windows Media team has a very easy-to-understand licensing agreement to boot. Even has a section where you can see how it compares to MP3.
It continues: "The head of Microsoft called everyone who uses an iPod a thief." Um, I've read the transcripts and talked to people who were there. Ballmer didn't say everyone was a thief. Personally, if you filled up a 20GB hard drive with legitimately purchased music it'd cost you several thousand dollars -- honestly, how many people are really paying for all the music on these portable music players? Many people wrote me afterward and said, yes, most of music on their portable media players was, in fact, not paid for music. You also missed a small fact. Steve Ballmer, I've learned, owns an iPod. So, if everyone who owns an iPod is a music thief, well, then, you can draw your own conclusions. :-)
He ends with "Clean up your house first Robert, then complain about ours."
Hey, the whole point of my post is that I'm working on just that. My cell phone is on my blog. Anyone can call me anytime with a complaint and I'll be happy to take care of them as best as I can (email is appreciated, though, cause it's a bit more efficient).
Oh, one last point. An evangelist is NOT a cheerleader. Go back and study Guy Kawasaki's thoughts on this. Or, ask. Most of the evangelists at Microsoft are working with software developers to help them build software for the next version of Windows or .NET or Office.
Most of the people who work around me are highly skilled developers who can figure out technical problems. What do they do?
1) They build prototypes to show other companies and developers what will be possible on new platforms.
2) They are relationship experts_a. They work with developers and need to be able to deal with stressful situations (ever have a software developer at a company with billions at stake yelling at you to figure out something?)
3) They are relationship experts_b. When a developer calls and needs some technical help, they need to know who to ask. In a company where thousands of people are working on the next version of Windows, that's a tricky proposition at times.
4) They need to be consultants. How do you persuade someone that your platform is great? You need to be an expert on all the other platforms out there. Within a few doors of my office you'll find some of the world's top experts on Linux and Macintosh stuff. Not to mention mainframes, mobile, and all sorts of development tools. I work with guys who used to work at IBM, Borland, Oracle, Apple, etc.
Go back and look at how to persuade people. Cheerleading isn't good at persuading. Evangelism is all about persuading people to build software for your platform. Imagine if, when Bill Gates launched Windows 95, that there wasn't a pile of software running on that platform? No one would have moved to it.
The folks over at Tablet PC Buzz are making plans to be at the Windows Anywhere conference that'll be in San Francisco in February.
I hear there'll be a few things announced at that conference, so it should be an interesting one. I've added that to my calendar.
The Geek Dinner was great tonight. Thirteen geeks showed up. Lots of interesting discussions. You can see the food you missed here.
Gabe Rivera told us he quit his job at a Silicon Valley semiconductor company (he was a compiler guy) to run his website, named memeorandum. He also posted three pictures to Flickr from the dinner. Memorandum presents an automated hourly synopsis of the latest online news and opinion, combining weblog commentary with traditional news reports.
It's looking pretty good! I think I'm gonna replace my favorite news page with this one.