Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Gourmet Geek: Why I like Linux.

"Every day I use Linux I improve the system. Because I have the freedome to tweak and change things, I do so."

Hmm, I know a few people who can change the Windows kernel code. Why don't they? Because everytime they do they need to run hundreds of thousands of automated tests on it in labs like this one. And then they need to wake Raymond Chen up and let him know that he'll need to test his suite of apps to make sure they don't break (and he's not the only one). Then they need to do user testing to make sure that non-geek users can still use the system after the change was made. Then they'll need to "dogfood it" to more than 50,000 Microsoft employees (before Windows XP Service Pack 2 came out all employees were forced to install it to test it). Then they'll need to send out beta CDs to hundreds of thousands of beta testers and MSDN subscribers.

So, yeah, when people say they are happy they can write their own code into Linux's kernel, I wonder if they really do that. When the geek says he tweaks and changes things, what does he really mean?

2:59:48 AM    comment 

Barry Dorrans just wrote me and said the Hush PC is the Media Center he wants, except he says it won't work well with his UK satellite system.

That does look pretty sweet.

2:37:28 AM    comment 

Personal note to Diego Doval, co-founder of CleverCactus: I know what it's like running out of funding for your software company. Not fun at all. But, you say you haven't found funding for some reason. I know a few VCs. Why don't you give me a pitch on your blog about why your company/product is worth funding. I'll send it around.

It sounds like you've burned yourself out too, and if the Clever Cactus thing doesn't work out, would you like me to give you a reference and/or introduce you to people?

2:25:24 AM    comment 

Tim Bray, at Sun Microsystems: "The existence of the Sun and Microsoft blogs is, every day, making our competitors’ lives a little harder."

Interesting view of corporate blogging. I don't think that it's making our competitor's lives tougher yet, though. In fact, I think my blog has actually helped our competitors. I've written about Firefox, Google, and Apple a lot in glowing terms here. And, what do you know, they have had very successful years.

But, that's the arrogant point of view again. Really it's not about me -- my measly little blog doesn't have six million readers, so something else happened at Firefox. Nor did anything I write have much impact on Apple's stock price, which has doubled this year. Nor did Google have hugely successful IPO because of anything I wrote. No, it's about the millions of conversations that are happening in the real world every day. That's what drove these events. The blog is just the tip of the iceberg and can give you a fuzzy look into what people are talking about (sorta the same fuzzy look that exit polling gives you into how people are voting).

Apple, Firefox, and Google have, this year, proven to be the best at getting people to talk about them. How? I believe they've been the best at listening to what customers want and giving it to them.

So, what's the challenge for Microsoft and Sun over the next year? Ship great products. Over and over and over. Hints on how to do that are here on the blogs.

This is where blogs will really prove their worth. I'm already seeing it. Teams are now planning on how they'll take feedback on their blogs to improve their products quickly.

I interviewed a team who'll announce a product later this week. They already have a plan so that users can talk back and tell them what needs to be improved. And they have a plan for how they'll take that feedback and put it into action.

Already you've seen the IE team has a blog. The MSN Search Team has a blog. Those are two teams that are under the gun to improve their offerings. And quickly. They will be judged by how quickly they can listen to feedback and get updates out.

That's really where blogs will turn into a competitive weapon over the next 18 months. It's the companies (and groups) who can react to customers that'll really succeed (and be profitable).

I agree, by the way, with Tim's insights. The way to learn how to blog is to read 50 blogs in your field for at least two weeks. If that doesn't incite you to blog, nothing will.

I never asked permission to start blogging. Not at Fawcette. Not at UserLand. Not at NEC. Not at Microsoft.

It takes some risk-taking behavior on part of executives and employees alike.

Start by listening.

2:17:13 AM    comment 

While the rest of you are all trying to figure out how to get the top link for "hate Scoble," Erwin van Hunen went and bought himself a "Scoble phone." Oh, I'm sure the SmartPhone team is not gonna like that meme.

1:52:18 AM    comment 

On the arrogance theme, Trevor Cook links to Bill O'Reilly's comments about bloggers. ""All famous and successful Americans are now targets. Unscrupulous people know that any accusation can be dumped on the Internet and within hours the mainstream media will pick it up. It will be printed in the papers, discussed on radio and TV and become part of the unfortunate person's résumé whether he or she is guilty or not. A click of the Internet mouse can wipe out a lifetime of honor and hard work. Just the accusation or allegation can be ruinous."

He's right too. The anonymity of the Internet combined with millions of people who don't have editors and who are just passing along stuff they hear in the hallways can make for really nasty stuff being passed along.

This isn't anything new, though. It's just a more efficient system for passing along rumors. I remember interviewing a famous technologist once and he was complaining how his divorce was covered in the local newspaper. This was back in the 1980s. He said it was all lies and unfair. He told me "never believe stuff you read about famous people."

So, what's changed? Well, famous people now can defend themselves via their own blogs. How do you do that? Link to the worst of the worst and explain calmly your point of view. Make yourself open to other journalists for review.

Yes, the world has changed. Look at the kind of news that got reported about Bill Clinton. That reporting didn't happen in previous generations, even in cases when presidents had affairs and such.

If I ever got famous, I think I'd deal with it the way Mark Purdy, sportswriter in the San Jose Mercury News, dealt with it. He writes a column every once in a while called "better mail than jail." The whole column is letters from his readers. The first 9/10ths of the column are people saying the worst things about him. The last one is a complimentary letter.

I loved those columns. It influenced me to start my own "hate Scoble" campaign. Only 98 Scoble haters? Come on, there must be more!

1:44:59 AM    comment 

K. Scott Allen writes about blogger arrogance.

"If bloggers want to ram blogging and podcasting down everyone’s throats as the solution to all political, marketing, and business problems, then I don’t think they will get very far."

Yes, my hands are stinging from the slapping. But, he's right. I have started to believe in my own PR. That's dangerous.

How do you avoid believing your own hype? Well, that's why I read a variety of opinions, including those who think I'm just a crazy nutjob.

1:27:43 AM    comment 

Scot Finnie has the pros and cons of Firefox. I'm sure this will be interesting reading on the IE team.

1:12:32 AM    comment 

The Christian Science Monitor just gave Flickr a really nice review. I agree, Flickr is the leading photo sharing tool out there right now. I'm going to switch my photo blog to it.

12:28:56 AM    comment 

I keep hearing people complaining about developer jobs going overseas. But, not only is Microsoft hiring in a whole raft of groups, but so are our competitors. My friends at Google and Yahoo say they can't find enough world-class developers either.

And recently I've seen a raft of "help wanted" ads on blogs, like this one on Greg Reinacker's blog. He's the founder of NewsGator, the company that makes the RSS Aggregator I use.

Anyway, if you are a great developer and you are looking to change the world, let me know. I know of some teams who are making products that hundreds of millions of people use who are actively seeking world-class developers.

12:27:06 AM    comment 

Allen Hutchison is posting pictures of Waikiki Sunsets. Oh, you know how to torture a Seattlelite on a rainy day, don't you?

12:22:12 AM    comment 

My wife Maryam, runs Webcasts for MSDN. I've been watching some of those. These free Webcasts are great ways for teams to share information with large numbers of people in an interactive way. They are usually an hour. The speaker can show PowerPoints or demonstrate applications through app sharing.

Maryam says they are looking for speakers on a variety of topics. Speakers can be experts from the community, or can be Microsoft employees.

Topics they are specifically looking for speakers on? Interoperability, scripting, or the next version of Visual Studio.

For more information, check out the MSDN Webcast blog.

12:19:28 AM    comment 

November 2004
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        
Oct   Dec

(On Bloglines)
(From NewsGator)
(On TextAmerica)
Naked Conversations
(Book blog)
Main Feed
Link Blog
Microsoft's Channel9
Comment Feed
Referer Page

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:59:48 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.

Be the first to comment! Free real-time blog alerts via MSN Messenger, mobile, or email.
Technorati search