Dan Farber asks why I didn't just go to Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates, or Steve Ballmer directly. Hmmm, I did (and a few others too). Ray answered my email immediately.
I'm not the only one Ray answers fast, by the way. If you have an idea for how to improve the world I find that he's always interested.
I like that guy! He got me on his side, that's for sure (although he had me when he showed up at a small non-Microsoft geek meeting in California).
How do you change a corporate culture? One email at a time. One post at a time. One appearance at a time.
By the way, already my post has caused some creative thinking both inside and outside Microsoft. That's half the battle right there.
Oh, why not go through email exclusively? You gotta get how big a deal RSS is inside Microsoft to understand that. I bet a lot of people who I wanted to reach get the message via RSS before they get it via email.
Oh, and Farber asks "Will Scoble get taken out behind the woodshed, despite his good intentions?" Heheh! That'd make an interesting blog post, that's for sure! But the "Scoble dead pool" (yes, there was one when I first joined Microsoft) has gone bankrupt waiting for such an event long ago.
I say, let's have a little fun working at Microsoft. And, yes, I am trying to improve our company's position and make sure we're doing our best to fill real customer need (and there are several covered in my acquisition idea). Not to mention we'd get some damn awesome developers to join our team too! Not to mention I see a very real business opportunity here that I don't think many people see. Hey, isn't it about developers, developers, developers? Nothing like a little acquisition to do that. Just ask Yahoo or Oracle or eBay about why they spent billions in M&A lately.
Now, there are risks of doing this in public. The company I want to work with us might get bigger egos and raise their price. Our competition might figure out who I'm talking about (they will anyway come this week). Or, other artifacts might show up. Personally the negotiations on the pricing probably won't be driven by me anyway (and probably, even, aren't driven by the company I'm thinking of).
Yes, there are risks in my doing this. On the other hand, there are lots of benefits:
1) The company I'm thinking of could also see that I'm being up front with them, transparent, and LOVE what they do. That makes the change of an acquisition that goes successfully much, much better. And, they'll know that we really do believe in transparency here.
2) Interested co-workers will know what's up. Maybe there's someone with a good reason to kill a deal. Maybe there's someone who'd want to work on the deal and might have some knowledge that would help. How did Channel 9 happen? I blogged it. That worked out. This might too.
3) Maybe Bill or Steve will just hand me a check on Monday and say "it better be good." Hey, a geek can dream, can't he? ;-)
4) Folks on the outside can watch and can give us advice (as has already happened). It's very probable that an even better company is out there being formed. If we do everything in secret no one would know to speak up.
Anyway, it will indeed be interesting to see how it works out.
Ian Landsman likes reading me, but not when I talk about the company I work for. So, he created a unique filtering technique. I like it! Actually, when I switch over to WordPress, I'm going to start tagging/categorizing my feeds too so this kind of thing will be even easier.
Marc Miller compares Google to MSN.
He's biased, though, works on the Windows team.
Oh, the Office 12 team just announced native PDF support. That's big.
The MVPs say that video is the first thing you should visit when trying to learn about Office 12. By the way, if you click on "download" the file is almost a gigabyte. I wanted to make sure you could see the UI in all of its glory (the streaming link is only 300kbps so quite a bit lower quality).
Even if I add "video" to the query it doesn't appear on MSN. It looks like forums are penalized on MSN Search. That makes sense cause forums can often add a lot of noise, but this shows that trying to remove noise can really remove something important too.
Eytan over on MSN said they were doing some work this weekend on the engine, which is why the results were coming back without forums and such.
John Walkenbach is excited about Microsoft Excel 12. I had BBQ today with a bunch of MVPs and they are much more excited about what we're doing today than they were four days ago. Tommy Williams notes that John has been down on Microsoft for several years (something I remember too) which makes his post even sweeter.
In about a month I'll be speaking at the Blog Business Summit's Seminar Series. Hope to see you there. Hey, bring your CEO!
Seth Dillingham is currently holding an auction of thousands of dollars worth of various software packages to benefit a cancer institute. Seth is a developer that I've known for years. It's great to see people do great work like this.
Rafat says "buy 37 Signals."
Oh, that's a great idea!
That'll get you ready for the Web 2.0 week.
Jason Calacanis, why do you care about lists so much? They really don't matter. Instead, look at Memeorandum Politics/News and Memeorandum Tech News. Now THOSE matter! (I get more traffic from Memeorandum than all other "favorite blog" lists combined and Memeorandum is only two weeks old).
Because Memeorandum shows you the global conversation as it's going on. The "list" it makes is only minutes or hours old and is far more interesting than any of the other lists that are out there (except for the one on Digg, which is similarly interesting).
So, Jason, I'd worry that you aren't appearing very often on Memeorandum rather than worry about these lists that don't have many people looking at them.
Personal note to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates: can I have some money to get Microsoft a significant entry into the Web 2.0 market? A little more than it cost Yahoo to buy Flickr but far less than it cost eBay to buy Skype?
I have an acquisition I'd like to make.
If you give me your checkbook you'll get permanent invites to O'Reilly's Web 2.0 conferences for a very long time. Sorry, I can't identify what I'm thinking of here, but promise you, it's a big deal and will help solve some things we aren't going to solve in Windows Vista, either. Gotta move fast, things are gonna happen at the Web 2.0 conference, next week, that will make the deal harder to make happen (and will make you look less brilliant if you do the deal afterward than before).
Call me. My cell phone is 425-205-1921.
Stephen Baker at BusinessWeek writes The business blog backlash is nigh.
Well, that's cause many people got into blogging for the wrong reasons. They got in cause it was hot PR wise. Or they got in because they were goaded to by bloggers. Or they got in cause they were promised more traffic than showed up.
Those are the wrong reasons to blog your business.
What's the right reasons?
1) Have a scalable way to talk to your most passionate customers.
2) Build better Google rank for your business.
3) Find ways to make your business/product/team better. Customers, if they know you're listening, will send you all sorts of ideas and bug reports. Minutes ago Jeffrey Czerniak, for instance, blogged a bug with Microsoft Paint. I'll make sure the right team sees that and improves their product.
4) As a way to pull customers into your company which makes them feel more a part of it, and gives them stories that they can tell their friends. That's why Channel 9 works so well. I really don't care if millions of people visit. I care that folks like Mary Jo Foley or Joe Wilcox or Chris Pirillo or CreamHackered over on Neowin or Bob Stein over on ActiveWin (there are thousands of people like this, each of which have an influential audience) have a new way to learn about what we're doing.
See, lots of corporate types try to get a big audience. They think that big is important. It's not. To me, it's about scale. If I get the right 40 people I can launch another ICQ. That went out to just 40 people on November 1, 1996. In six weeks it had gotten to 65,000. Within a few years it had 100 million downloads. All through word-of-mouth.
So, CEOs, if you don't get blogging, that's OK. It gives guys like me who are seven levels down from the CEO something to do. :-)
Steve Lacey has a good point. If I switch to a new URL, what will happen to my Google Juice, my Technorati rank, and all that?
At the end of the day, I found I just didn't care. Yes, I'm breaking one of my rules by switching URLs and services and all that. But, it will be an interesting experiment.
One thing, though, that's gonna be harder to replace is that many of my readers have subscribed to me on a bunch of RSS News Aggregators. On NewsGator alone I have more than 12,000 subscribers, according to Greg Reinacker, and I have almost 9,000 more on Bloglines. I wonder how I can redirect those feeds to a new URL?
Michael Gartenberg let me know of a new Slingbox update and, wow, the picture is a lot better now. That made a great product even better!
OK, OK, I am gonna use WordPress, but I'm going to use DABU too. It's time to play with new stuff. I'll report what I like best about these engines (I also know TypePad pretty well since my book blog is over there).
Speaking of new stuff to play with, Virtual Earth team has a ton of new stuff. Check it out:
Vikram says Location + VirtualEarth = Rockin.
Steve Lombardi shares more in his post Shared Map Browsing in MSN Manager (he works on the VE team).
Chandu Thota caps it off with Peer-2-Peer Mapping Experience.
Update: This was written by Steve Gordon and Shree Madhavapeddi. Scott Swanson has a separate app that uses both VE and MSN Messenger as part of MSN Messenger's World's Best App Contest. Steve Gordon has more on his blog.