Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Sunday, December 19, 2004

Mike Elgan linked me to a cool video showing the Honda Asimo robot running. It's amazing what the Japanese are doing with robotics lately.

11:33:56 PM    comment 
11:30:26 PM    comment 

Dang, Loic Le Meur says that a blogger just got a $275,000 advance for her next book. Whew, I wonder what that means for our meager little book project?

11:26:12 PM    comment 

Arcterex says I'm definitely the winner for making the most idiotic statement of the year.

Heh, 57,000 people work here and one post gives him insight into how we all think. How about the other several thousand posts I've made in the past four years? But, no, this one post defines me and an entire company. Heh. I didn't realize I had that much power with just one little post.

Oh, and it'd be nice if Arcterex would do some critical reading and quoting. You got several things wrong. I never said Microsoft is a leader in open source. I said we're a leader in open source marketing. But, too bad you didn't see the difference. I don't see many other marketing sites where the customers are on the home page. Where they participate in product launches. Where they even take our mascot to places around the world and send in photos.

Heh, my wife and son were just reading all today's links and Maryam said "don't worry what they say -- at least we love you."


11:22:38 PM    comment 

Trevor Cook notes that the BBC is saying we won't be talking about blogs in a year.

No, we'll be talking about Longhorn. ;-)

Update: Alan pointed out that I totally missed the point here. I did. the post Trevor is quoting is more than a year old. Heh!

11:11:24 PM    comment 

Lockergnome: new Trillian ships.

11:09:24 PM    comment 

Steve Cellini, the guy who runs the team that puts on the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conferences (PDCs), is blogging.

Last year the PDC was the first that had a lot of blogging activity. This year it'll be interesting to see what Steve reveals and how he works with the community.

Just don't make me do resource cards again this year, Steve. :-)

Oh, Steve's in charge of more than the PDC too. He runs the Longhorn Evangelism team. Among other things.

10:34:09 PM    comment 

Tim Bray just posted new browser stats for his blog. Since I linked to him last week I thought it'd be interesting to see whether the browser pattern changed at all. Interesting Firefox/IE trendline there.

6:58:20 PM    comment 

Ed Kaim nominates me for "most insulting blog entry of the year."

It gets worse. Simon, in a comment there, writes: "Scoble is living in a very closed world, he's not open to thinking about what others feel or experience, he's not open to ideas after he's looked once and decided."

5:57:07 PM    comment 

Time's person of the year? George Bush (link goes to Memeorandum).

5:53:53 PM    comment 

Patrick and I just got back from Fry's in San Jose on Hamilton Ave. (the store down the street from eBay's headquarters). While there, we met Steve, a Creative sales associate. He was helping out at a table of Creative Technologies' stuff. Seemed pretty busy.

While there, I overheard a customer ask for the Zen Micro. "Sorry, we're sold out of that," Steve answered.

When I got my turn I asked him the hard question: "why should I buy a Zen Micro instead of an iPod?"

He pulled one off of his belt. "You can replace the battery, you can't do that on our competitors." (He never used the iPod name again, just positioned it as "our competitor"). He continued: "Ours comes with an FM radio receiver so you can listen to radio as well as play music files from your computer."

"Our entire face lights up, which makes it easier to use than our competitors." I asked him what the price is "it's the same as our competitors, but you get all of this and it's a little smaller too."

But then he asked me "are you an Apple guy?"


"Because if you're an Apple guy you'd be better off with an iPod, the Zen Micro is designed for Windows users."

I asked him where I could get one. He said to call around, but they are selling out at stores across the nation, he said (he said all the Creative Labs sales associates check in every evening via email and he said more and more stores are reporting being sold out).

5:23:30 PM    comment 

Whew, got back from the movies and a trip to Fry's and I see that I got everyone all upset. Let's see:

Ralph Scheuer said I was "whining."
Barry Dorrans asked "are you insane?"
J said "I stopped reading..."
Anona said "as desperate as it's idiotic."
John Tyler said "get over it."
JCAR said "To me your comments are exactly why people have disdain for Microsoft."
Dominic Hopton said "Scoble you're on crack."
Meh said "Scoble you are an arrogant tool. Unsubscribed."
Phillip Story: "It seems to me that with a couple of your recent entries, you're not making any friends today with your attitudes towards software from outside of Microsoft."
Goebbels said: "Absolutely PATHETIC and SAD."

Hey, this is a lot like a version of the Apprentice TV show. Maybe we should film it and make a few million bucks?

5:10:43 PM    comment 

Another letter to Bill Gates:

Hi Bill. I've been thinking about how to make Windows Media cool. You know, cooler than wearing white headphone cords.

Open source the product development.

Yeah, you're gonna be hearing a lot about "open source this" and "open source that" in 2005. Open source has become a metaphor for things done in public view with public input. Actually, you're a leader here. Check out Channel 9. It's the first step along the road to open source marketing. But back to the point.

We have five months to come out with a great new set of music players and get a great marketing campaign going. Why is that? It's called back to school. If we don't get something going by June then we lose another generation to the iPod. Do you want to let that happen?

So, here's my idea:

1) Start a weblog. NOW. Get the person who runs the team to start a blog. NOW. Or fire him/her. I'm serious. Make it as cool as the King Kong blog. Put EVERYTHING up on that blog. Videotape every meeting. Every design session. Write something every day.

2) Get a couple of OEMs on board with this project. That's no easy feat, but do whatever it takes to get them on board by the end of January.

3) Pay whatever big money it'll take to get stars like Elton John, Ludacris, Eminem, Shania Twain to work on designing an entirely new player from the ground up. Get the OEM's to listen to the advice from this small set of folks -- or hire your own designers and make your own prototypes.

4) Get the blogosphere involved. Take advice from the leading podcasters. Adam Curry, Dave Winer, Dawn and Drew, Carl Franklin, Doug Kaye, etc. Make sure that at least five ideas from the online crew makes it into the product.

5) Finish the product's design by March 1. Why then? Cause it takes three months to build and stuff the channel. What will doing that take? Getting ALL EXECUTIVE RED TAPE OUT OF THE WAY NOW. This thing would need to be built even faster than MSN Toolbar Suite (which was built in six months). If you miss the back-to-school season (must be on the shelf by August 1) you'll really blow the whole thing.

6) While the product teams are developing this new player, develop a marketing campaign around the design and development of it. We got the Halo 2 teams on TV. Why not the music stars designing a new player? Heck, sit down with Donald Trump and figure out how to get the Apprentice involved. Goals for the marketing campaign? Build a cultural movement. Demonstrate that some geek in Redmond didn't design this thing, but Eminem did. Ludacris did. The podcasters did.

7) Get the first ones in the hands of the bloggers and podcasters. #1 on the list? Engadget and Gizmodo.

OK, to be fair, this probably would require some cash. It might require losing money for the first year. It might, gasp, never be profitable. But it would be a big bet. It would be bold. And it would make the race for the portable music market interesting again.

Today it is not. Even I want an iPod.

Give me something else to want.

What do you all think?

11:59:06 AM    comment 

iPod reactions:

Jeff: Scoble, I think you've oversimplified yet again. My answer? Of course I have. Yes, a good marketing campaign starts with great product. But even if you have the #2 product in the market you can play up your strengths and have a marketing campaign that's fun and sticks in your mind. Anyone remember Avis? I sure do. They try harder. How about if Creative said "we're ugly, but we're cheaper and do more?" Some people actually LIKE ugly. Believe it or not. Again, it's about creating a movement.

Brandon Paddock: For Pete’s Sake… Make a Pocket PC with a XXX XXXX hard drive in it.

Next, a note to Bill Gates...

11:37:28 AM    comment 

Chris Spencer: It's time for anyone running a Windows PC to switch to Linux.

OK, I'm off to switch. A few problems: does Outlook run on Linux? Reliably?

Does Linux have a ton of ink-enabled applications for my Tablet PC?

Does Photoshop run on it reliably? Does Microsoft Office? Sorry, I am so used to Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Access/OneNote that I'm not going to easily switch.

How about Halo? Can I run my favorite games on Linux? Does Onfolio run? How about my new backup system, Mirra? Does Visual Studio run on it reliably?

Shall I go on?

So, Chris, I won't change.

But, let's look further into his advice. He's a system administrator. This was his wife's computer. Why wasn't this computer setup without administrator rights? If he had done that one thing she wouldn't have gotten spyware because it would have been impossible to install new software on her PC.

Yes, this frustrates me too. It frustrates everyone around here. But everytime I clean off a machine I turn off their administrator rights. And, guess what, on all those machines I've never had to revisit their homes to clean them off.

The real answer for most people isn't to switch to something else where their software that they have already invested in may or may not run (ever buy a copy of Adobe Illustrator? I have and it cost me more than $500). The real answer is to spend an hour (I've done this dozens of times, and despite the rumors it really only takes an hour to put in place some very advanced security) and put in place 14 layers of security. If you do that, you won't need to spend five hours cleaning off your machine.

By the way, before I left, I backed up my entire machine using my new Mirra box.

A couple of other things: 1) If I were recommending to people switching from the Windows platform, I'd go to Apple Macintosh. It's far more complete and has a much better support system than Linux has. 2) Yes, Microsoft needs to do more, not arguing against that here. XP SP2 doesn't solve all the problems by itself. Apple's approach of running in non-administrator mode by default and then requiring a password everytime you try to install software is far better than the approach Windows takes. 3) You should never surf the Internet with scripting turned on. I switch it off unless I'm on a site that I've already visited and that requires scripting (my bank's site, for instance). That alone would have kept Chris' wife from getting spyware.

Anyway, what do you think? Lots of discussion on this one over on Slashdot.

11:10:24 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; 1:00:59 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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