Fred’s top albums of 2005

I love Fred, who keeps the “A VC” blog, because of his musical taste. Watch his blog over time and you’ll find some real jems. Anyway, he’s counting down his favorite albums of 2005 (love how he calls them “records” — so 1970s! Heheh).

His #6 is one of my faves too.

Rafe has gone soft

Rafe Colburn says he’s gone soft on Microsoft. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. What good are blogs to Microsoft? Well, OK, we’ve put a human face on the borg. Wonderful. But what’s next?

To me I think something deeper happened in 2005. You can now talk to Microsoft’s employees directly. Here, go to Google. I use Google cause that’s what most of you are using. It works just as well on MSN or Yahoo, though.

Pick a product of ours. Add the word “blog” and you’ll probably find an employee who is blogging from that team and look at the top link. Here, let’s try a few.

Update: I decided to see how MSN and Google compared on these results. Interesting that Google values individual webloggers higher, but MSN puts team blogs higher.

Office 12 blog (same search on MSN). Google pulls up Jensen Harris. Google and MSN are same.
Flight Simulator blog (same search on MSN). Here Google doesn’t do as well (MSN Search does slightly better). I was hoping it’d pull up Steve Lacey, developer on the Flight Simulator team. Or one of the 12 Flight Simulator blogs that Steve links to.
OneNote blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up Chris Pratley. Google and MSN are same here.
Xbox blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up John Porcaro. MSN is better here.
BizTalk blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up Scott Woodgate. Google is better here for top result, but MSN is better for other results.
Windows Vista blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up the IE team’s blog and John Montgomery. Google is better here.
Sharepoint blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up John West and Ryan Rogers. Google is better here.
Infopath blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up the InfoPath team blog. Google and MSN are same.
IE blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up the IE team’s blog. Google and MSN are same.
FrontPage blog (same search on MSN) pulls up an MVP’s blog in top position, but Rob Mauceri’s FrontPage blog is close to the top. MSN is better here than Google.
Microsoft Live Blog (same search on MSN). Pulls up the Live team’s blog. Google’s better here than MSN.

That’s significant. There are very few companies in the world where you can search for the product name and find someone who works on that team and is communicating about it and listening to customers.

I used to be an MVP. I used to hate that there were intermediaries between me and the people who built the products. If I thought a product sucked, I wanted to tell that team directly AND I wanted to be sure that team saw my feedback. Back in the 1990s my only option was to go to a newsgroup or a CompuServe forum and leave my feedback there. I had no idea whether anyone saw my feedback that actually worked on the team. Yeah, once in a while I’d see a Microsoft employee show up, but I really had no idea who they were. Interns? Temps? Someone in product support?

Or, I could always try the email route. Send email feedback to What’s funny about that is I’ve worked at Microsoft for 2.5 years and I STILL don’t know who reads that email.

But, now, if I care enough to tell a team their products/services/technologies suck, I just go to a search engine and add the word “blog” onto the end of the product name and I have a pretty good chance of finding someone who actually cares about their product enough to write a blog.

So, in 2006, where is this going? Better products because now you know where to leave a comment and who is responsible.

Is there a team you’d like to see blog that isn’t yet? We’ll bug that team in public to start one.

Which, brings me to why this works. Social pressure. Nothing works better to get a company to change. Nothing. If there’s a company you don’t like, write about it. If they are listening, they’ll respond. If not, well, at least you’ve warned everyone else not to do business with them.