Alan takes on the big company blogging issue

I love this quote from Alan Gutierrez’ blog: “If your employees are releasing confidential information, that’s not a blogging problem. It is a more general problem. It’s called incompetence.”

I like his five steps to launching corporate blogs. Actually, some things Microsoft did before blogging happened here was have awesome information-sharing systems. Are you sharing information with all your employees internally? Do you have good ways for employees to find out what’s going on? (This used to be an ‘open door’ policy). Let’s put it this way, one day I sent Bill Gates email. I wasn’t really expecting an answer. But he answered back within two hours. Freaking richest guy in the world. Cover of Time magazine. And he answered his email in 1.5 hours. And people wonder why I’m passionate about working here.

Oh, and Bill is slow. Ray Ozzie often answers within a few minutes. Not always, but amazingly often. And not just for me, either. I’ve seen both answer back average employees just as fast. Think that doesn’t make for better blogging? More loyal employees? An attitude of transparency? Oh, Steve Ballmer and Eric Rudder answer their emails too and I have a VP at Waggener Edstrom on my IM.

Another way to tell your company is ready for blogging? They have frequent presentations from both execs as well as regular employees and they share those presentations internally. How about the presentation that senior vice presidents gave last week about Windows Live? You’ll hear a lot more about what they showed us soon, but that presentation is available on our intranet for every employee to watch (that, and many other presentations are videoed and shared internally). So, now I know intimately what our execs are thinking about and working on and I can share that with you. I learned about things like http://favorites.live.com/ which I didn’t know about before (I’m using that now and am wondering if anyone has written up a review of that against del.icio.us?)

Another example? At Google every Friday the two guys who started the company have a company meeting. That’s a fantastic way to make sure that everyone in the company is on the same page.

Another way you can tell your company is ready for blogging? Does every employee have an intranet site? A place he/she can publish internally to other employees? Why is that important? Well, it builds a culture where people feel comfortable publishing. They can try their hand at publishing to a wider audience than email, but in a safer way cause it’s with coworkers.

I think it was those cultural things that let blogging happen at Microsoft. Well, that, and Joshua Allen took a lot of risk and just started blogging. At the end of the day, that’s what it’ll take to get your company blogging. Someone will need to take some risk. Here’s the deal. If you take risk and survive there are usually rewards. For me the reward is having a job that’s unbelieveable. I get to walk around Microsoft with a camcorder. And get paid for it. Unbelieveable. I pinch myself every morning. This morning Alex Williams asked me what’s next. I told him “another blog post.” Seemed to work pretty well so far!