News.com has more details on the Origami. I’m getting a good look on Monday morning. Right before the team hops on a plane to go to the CeBit conference in Germany.
I’m writing to you from a bus heading toward Manhattan. I love my Verizon card. It’s like having wifi EVERYWHERE!
Anyway, I’m up for a midnight snack tonight. Anyone game? Call my cell phone at 425-205-1921. I’m staying at the Sheraton Towers.
Update: well, that didn’t take long. Someone just called and we’re meeting in the lobby. I love having readers around the world.
Update 2: it got even better. The guy who called was Jackson Fox of lulu.com. I took him to Times Square where we hit Roxy’s and had dinner. As we were finishing our cheesecakes the phone rang again. “Hello, this is Matt Cutts.” (He works at Google and is probably Google’s best known
blogger SEO expert). We quickly figure out he’s at the Hilton, head over there and meet up in the lobby. He quickly drags us through the bar where a bunch of SEO types ran us through a gauntlet. Matt checks over the crowd and sees if he’ll get any more spam tricks out of the increasingly drunk geeks who try to figure out how to improve their Google ranking for their day jobs.
Did you know that there are about 5,000 attendees at this conference? Are search engines a big deal? Damn, who knew?
Anyway, Matt and Jackson and I settle in for a non-alcoholic talk (not by choice, mind you, but the bar was closed). We start comparing notes (we’re on a panel discussion at 9 a.m. in the morning).
Now, the conversation was going pretty good at about that time. Comparing notes and having fun and sharing information. But then Danny Sullivan walks in (for those who don’t know, this is his conference — he is the guy who started Search Engine Watch years ago and built a multi-million industry around it).
He could do anything, but what does he do?
He walks up to us and gives me s**t about his SPOT watch that he just bought. Turns out the RSS aggregator that the SPOT system has isn’t all that great (he wants me to get on the team about the RSS features, or the lack thereof). I tell him I’ll make sure the team hears about his feature request. Danny then launches into a sales pitch for the SPOT watch to Matt. Turns out Danny’s into Swatch watches and showed us off all the features of his new watch.
Hey, BillG, you should have Danny on stage with you at next year’s CES. But I digress.
He pulls up the stock quote feature on his SPOT watch. Looks up GOOG (the stock quote for Google). Looks at Matt and says “you had a good day.” Then pulls up MSFT. Looks at me and says “you had a good day too.”
Dude, you have no idea. Hint: it had nothing to do with the stock price.
Then he asked me to spill the beans on the Origami. Heheh. Very funny Danny!
Just saw this on Channel 9′s forums: what if Microsoft designed the iPod box. It’s a video. It hurts. Ouch.
How do you improve yourself? 1) Be honest with yourself about what you do. 2) Repeat.
Honesty hurts. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
I’m off to New York. Behave yourselves!
What’s the danger of not letting your internal bloggers know about your product release plans? They might not be able to help keep your announcements in proper perspective. But, that’s OK. Todd Bishop, of the Seattle PI did more work over the weekend to dig into the details behind the Origami project. He learned that there isn’t going to be a product release on March 2, but that we’ll learn more details. John Markoff of the New York Times has more details too. And Memeorandum is tracking a bunch of comments.
Kent Newsome asks “will it walk the walk?”
Whenever hype gets ahead of an announcement, the answer has to be: no.
But, then, you gotta realize that I totally agree with Joe Wilcox who says that the best companies underpromise and overdeliver.
Maybe I should have posted that no one will want an Origami and that it sucks raw potatoes.
Seriously, let’s keep our hype in check, OK? Where’s the snarks when we need them? Calling Christopher Coulter, calling Christopher Coulter!
Oh, and marketing teams, I know you don’t want to let bloggers in on the secret, but when you don’t tell us what’s up we can’t help you keep expectations under control. Now everyone expects Origami to be bigger than the Xbox. I’d much rather expectations were dialed down a bit.
To bloggers outside Microsoft: it’s not healthy when things get hyped up so much. Whenever a company does this (whether it’s the one I work for, or another company), ask some tough questions. I have a ton. What is this? Who will want it? When will it be purchasable? When will there be decent quantities on the shelf? What are its limitations? Who’ll think it sucks? Who’ll think it rocks? Are any real customers using it yet? What will the price be? What will the real price be (after you deck it out to work properly?) When will we be able to get our hands on one? Does it have a chance in the marketplace? Why? Will Patrick Scoble want one of these instead of a video iPod? Why? (And, yes, as soon as I have one in my hands I’m gonna show it to Patrick and see if we have a clue).
Anyway, it’s gonna be a fun week. And not just because of Origami stuff. See ya in New York!
I like Adobe’s John Nack’s blog. He finds some real gems. Today he found a mind-blowing design portfolio from Dave Werner.
You know the world has gotten a little nutty when a Microsoft guy complains about a patent, but when Matt May last night at the Podcast Hotel told me a company is trying to patent AJAX, among other things, I was amazed when Matt said this patent looks like it tried to patent AJAX. I haven’t looked at the patent (the patent lawyers ask employees to refrain from looking at patents) Then he passed me a Slashdot article on them today.
We call some of this kind of behavior “patent trolling.” (I haven’t looked at the patent in question, so don’t know if it’s legitimate or not, I’m not a lawyer and all that). What’s a patent troll? A company gets a patent that it itself isn’t willing to commercialize in a product, but goes around to every company threatening that it’ll take everyone to court. Demands a licensing fee. Usually something like $20,000 to $150,000. And repeats, often stopping short of the big guys with the deep pockets (although in this case it looks like they are pitching it to the big guys).
Why does this work? Well, I interviewed one of our lawyers recently and he said that a patent case, if it goes to trial, will cost millions of dollars to defend. So, of course everyone settles out of court if the fees are far less than a potential loss in court.
The commenters over on Slashdot are unusually lucid on this topic. Makes for fun reading.
As usual, my disclaimer particularly applies here. This is my personal opinion and may or may not agree with anyone else’s opinions, in particular my employer’s. I haven’t checked with anyone else at Microsoft before writing this post.
What do you think? What should the responsibility of big companies be here?
Here’s an article in InformationWeek about this patent and the breadth of what it covers.