Why Wall Street didn’t believe Steve Ballmer (and what he can do about it)

You might have missed that Microsoft's stock has been in a freefall lately.

My friends have been asking me "why doesn't Wall Street believe Steve Ballmer?"

That's an easy one. Cause he didn't convince the grass roots influence networks first. Why have Google and Apple done so well in the last three years? Cause the grassroots loves them. That's the powerroot of the industry. Ideas here don't come from the big influencers and move down. No, they start on the street and move up. Anyone miss how Google got big? Not by throwing a press conference.

Ballmer should not listen to his PR team and instead should live the blogging way.

Huh?

Did you miss that I turned into an international news story that has gotten more attention than everything Microsoft announced at its big TechED conference this week?

How did I do that?

I talked with the grassroots FIRST. Against the advice, by the way, of a lot of PR people (they wanted me to break the news to Walt Mossberg or someone "important" first — they thought that's how I was going to get the biggest story going).

They all are wrong. I almost bought into it too. In fact, I did. On Saturday I talked with maybe 20 people and said "can you wait until Tuesday to talk about it?" I wanted to give the story to the Wall Street Journal too. Not to mention I wanted to tell my coworkers before the story hit. I didn't get that chance and I'm lucky, in hindsight, that I didn't. Because the story started on the grassroots first it got far far bigger than if I broke it on a big newspaper.

It's a lesson I'll never forget again.

Journalists need sources for stories and they need to convince editors that stories are important to pay attention to.

What was going on this weekend? Journalists were emailing TechMeme around to their editors and saying "something important is going on here." How do I know that? Cause when the journalists were calling that's what they told me. They saw a blog mob and that helped them sell the story.

Analysts, on the other hand, also watch what grass roots are saying. The wisdom of crowds. It drives a lot of buying decisions. Why is Google's stock higher than Yahoo's? (Yahoo does pretty much the same thing as Google and has more users, after all). Because the influential users all use Google. When I ask my audiences which email or search system they use they predominantly answer Google. That turns into hype. Hype sells advertising (advertisers want to reach the influential users, not the clueless ones). That turns into profits and profits turns into stock price.

So, why is Microsoft stock price in freefall? Cause Steve Ballmer didn't come to the grassroots and convince him that Microsoft's business strategy makes sense. We still haven't explained, for instance, to the grassroots why Windows Vista matters. Or why spending $2 billion on server farms will make any sense to them. Or why the Xbox is going to be profitable.
What would I do? I would show up unannounced at three conferences. BloggerCon, Gnomedex, and BlogHer. No PR team there to spin. No lawyers. No video crew. And focus on answering those three things. Windows Vista. Investments in server farms. Xbox profitability.

Just show up and let people on the grassroots get to know you and answer those questions over and over and over again (on Sunday I did about 40 interviews with everyone who was at VLoggerCon, no matter how small the audience they had). Answer their questions. Even the harshest stupidest Slashdot style questions.

Do that and you'll see the stock price go back up.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not selling my Microsoft stock. Why? Cause I already know the answers to those three questions and I'm quite confident in the future of Microsoft. It's just that I'm not the CEO of Microsoft.

Show up at Gnomedex, answer those three questions to anyone who'll ask, and you'll see the power of the Grassroots.

I learned the power on Sunday. Thanks to VLoggerCon for teaching me that. Oh, and I'm being talked about on GeekBrief.TV today (Cali was launching a campaign to replace Ballmer with me — hey, Steve, I'd give her your first interview!)

Comments

  1. It’s co-creation. The platform you tapped into allowed individuals to be part of process. These 20 people were the “first to knows.” They became empowered to collaborate with their own personal networks. That’s what I did when we launch our study on word-of-mouth marketing. We went to the grassroots and reach out to share our views and observations which resulted in 10,000+ downloads of the study in the first two weeks.

    Congratulations on your new journey!

    Todd Tweedy
    BoldMouth.com

  2. It’s co-creation. The platform you tapped into allowed individuals to be part of process. These 20 people were the “first to knows.” They became empowered to collaborate with their own personal networks. That’s what I did when we launch our study on word-of-mouth marketing. We went to the grassroots and reach out to share our views and observations which resulted in 10,000+ downloads of the study in the first two weeks.

    Congratulations on your new journey!

    Todd Tweedy
    BoldMouth.com

  3. Robert, very true. I have used this once in the past. I wanted a small change in my community. Talking to the people with power did not work. I requested an influential blogger just like you to let me have a guest post. It worked. I put my suggestion on his blog and with in a short time the change was accepted by my community.

  4. Robert, very true. I have used this once in the past. I wanted a small change in my community. Talking to the people with power did not work. I requested an influential blogger just like you to let me have a guest post. It worked. I put my suggestion on his blog and with in a short time the change was accepted by my community.

  5. Best post ever. Insightful about present day media. I’ll be watching closely to see if Ballmer acts on this advice.

  6. Best post ever. Insightful about present day media. I’ll be watching closely to see if Ballmer acts on this advice.

  7. [...] I just read a post by Robert Scoble, where he talk about why wall street doesn’t trust Steve Ballmer, in his opinion it is because Ballmer does not use the grassroots approach: That’s an easy one. Cause he didn’t convince the grass roots influence networks first. Why have Google and Apple done so well in the last three years? Cause the grassroots loves them. That’s the powerroot of the industry. Ideas here don’t come from the big influencers and move down. No, they start on the street and move up. Anyone miss how Google got big? Not by throwing a press conference. [...]

  8. [...] I’ve decided that I need to do some blogging here as well as the podcast. It’s needed so that I can share further thoughts and insights into what is going on around me. The world moves to fast for a weekly podcast and right now no one has offered me enough to produce content 7 days a week so text is where it is at.You MUST read this post by Robert Scoble. I mean it. Stop reading this and get over there now. [...]

  9. You’re on crack. This is the post where you claim that bloggers and small fry can change the course of an economy in the space of a few months? No way. You’re right the Street doesn’t believe Ballmer and absolutely he needs to GOOO and fast. But honestly, it’s the big houses, funds and institutionals that are dumping MSFT stock regardless of what the analyst ratings of hold or better currently are. It’s not your grandmother basement dwelling blogger that is going to fix this thing. It’s Ballmer leaving and Rick Sherlund telling the street that all is well and then CalPERS jumping back into MSFT that will lift the stock. NOT a blogger. Stop being so self congratulatory and hoist yourself off your own petard.

  10. You’re on crack. This is the post where you claim that bloggers and small fry can change the course of an economy in the space of a few months? No way. You’re right the Street doesn’t believe Ballmer and absolutely he needs to GOOO and fast. But honestly, it’s the big houses, funds and institutionals that are dumping MSFT stock regardless of what the analyst ratings of hold or better currently are. It’s not your grandmother basement dwelling blogger that is going to fix this thing. It’s Ballmer leaving and Rick Sherlund telling the street that all is well and then CalPERS jumping back into MSFT that will lift the stock. NOT a blogger. Stop being so self congratulatory and hoist yourself off your own petard.

  11. Great post Robert. Yes, the grassroot is far bigger than even you can imagine. I am a blogger from Bangladesh- I wonder even if you heard the name of my country but here I am writing a comment in your blog. I know that most people who are commenting in your blog are from the west and very few are from Asia like me. However, the number of bloggers from Asia are increasing and the size of ‘grassroot’ people are increasing too. This is one area that Microsoft can explore as Asia is still an uncharterd territory.
    The idea of PR Spin was Web 1.0. Now, we live in Web 2.0 and you Robert is a prime example of Web 2.0. I am sure Steve Ballmer will learn very fast and Microsoft will try to amend its way. If you remember, nearly 10 years ago, Microsoft failed totally to realize the value of Internet in the first place and then Bill Gates was forced to change his game plan about the course of the company.
    The same thing is going to happen now. What is so interesting to me is that Microsoft failed to realize the potential of Web 1.0 in 1996 (failed to understand the potential of Internet) and in 2006 Microsoft is still to realize the potential of Web 2.0.

  12. Great post Robert. Yes, the grassroot is far bigger than even you can imagine. I am a blogger from Bangladesh- I wonder even if you heard the name of my country but here I am writing a comment in your blog. I know that most people who are commenting in your blog are from the west and very few are from Asia like me. However, the number of bloggers from Asia are increasing and the size of ‘grassroot’ people are increasing too. This is one area that Microsoft can explore as Asia is still an uncharterd territory.
    The idea of PR Spin was Web 1.0. Now, we live in Web 2.0 and you Robert is a prime example of Web 2.0. I am sure Steve Ballmer will learn very fast and Microsoft will try to amend its way. If you remember, nearly 10 years ago, Microsoft failed totally to realize the value of Internet in the first place and then Bill Gates was forced to change his game plan about the course of the company.
    The same thing is going to happen now. What is so interesting to me is that Microsoft failed to realize the potential of Web 1.0 in 1996 (failed to understand the potential of Internet) and in 2006 Microsoft is still to realize the potential of Web 2.0.

  13. Is the stock really in a “freefall” or would it be more accurate to say a smart company is currently caught in a 50% off sale? The fundamental revenue streams behind the Microsoft juggernaut aren’t broken yet, no matter how many lousy Web-based office apps Google puts online. The people who aren’t talking about Microsoft’s current stock price are the ones who are quietly buying up shares as the price goes down because they see opportunity.

  14. Is the stock really in a “freefall” or would it be more accurate to say a smart company is currently caught in a 50% off sale? The fundamental revenue streams behind the Microsoft juggernaut aren’t broken yet, no matter how many lousy Web-based office apps Google puts online. The people who aren’t talking about Microsoft’s current stock price are the ones who are quietly buying up shares as the price goes down because they see opportunity.

  15. Jake: it is in a freefall if you look at the trend line.

    I know a few smart people who are buying Microsoft stock too. Including one who sold at the very top of its price curve back in 2000.

    What did he say to me? “My dad taught me to buy low and sell high.”

    He’s an executive at Microsoft so don’t want to share his name. His dad was a successful stock broker.

  16. Jake: it is in a freefall if you look at the trend line.

    I know a few smart people who are buying Microsoft stock too. Including one who sold at the very top of its price curve back in 2000.

    What did he say to me? “My dad taught me to buy low and sell high.”

    He’s an executive at Microsoft so don’t want to share his name. His dad was a successful stock broker.

  17. Bullcrap.

    Self-important navel gazers with too much time on their hands, um, I mean, “grass roots influence networks” (gods just typing it makes me want to puke) don’t amount to jack in the world of big business.

    MS stock is in trouble because MS hasn’t performed well recently and until the Vista debacle and the other fun stuff is out of the way it will continue to take a beating. Plus I get the feeling nobody really minds taking the old monopolist down a peg or two.

  18. Bullcrap.

    Self-important navel gazers with too much time on their hands, um, I mean, “grass roots influence networks” (gods just typing it makes me want to puke) don’t amount to jack in the world of big business.

    MS stock is in trouble because MS hasn’t performed well recently and until the Vista debacle and the other fun stuff is out of the way it will continue to take a beating. Plus I get the feeling nobody really minds taking the old monopolist down a peg or two.

  19. Steve Ballmer pitching at Gnomedex? If he ever takes that advice he really will have lost it. At his level of wealth and power he has FAR more important things to do .. like, taking a dump, or chatting with his family.

    Robert, you had God knows how many years to explain to the grassroots why Longhorn/Vista matters and even you – despite being more press-worthy than TechEd – failed and bailed.

    And btw, as long as you’re still a MSFT employee, it’s *Mr* Ballmer to you.

  20. Steve Ballmer pitching at Gnomedex? If he ever takes that advice he really will have lost it. At his level of wealth and power he has FAR more important things to do .. like, taking a dump, or chatting with his family.

    Robert, you had God knows how many years to explain to the grassroots why Longhorn/Vista matters and even you – despite being more press-worthy than TechEd – failed and bailed.

    And btw, as long as you’re still a MSFT employee, it’s *Mr* Ballmer to you.

  21. Scoble should leave the securities analysis to the pros……

    I guess it’s kind of hypocritical to rail against Scoble playing in my sandbox (investor) when, in fact, I’m blogging (which is more his sandbox than mine, at least in terms of popularity). But for as much as I usually…

  22. Robert,

    While I loved your post awhile back on suggestions for getting Microsoft out of its slump, and generally find what you have to say intriguing, today you’ve really missed the mark.

    As a blogger I don’t think I underestimate the significance of social media or grassroots marketing. But in terms of that having ANYTHING to do with Microsoft’s stock languishing while Apple and Google have excelled, you’re respectfully way off the mark.

  23. Robert,

    While I loved your post awhile back on suggestions for getting Microsoft out of its slump, and generally find what you have to say intriguing, today you’ve really missed the mark.

    As a blogger I don’t think I underestimate the significance of social media or grassroots marketing. But in terms of that having ANYTHING to do with Microsoft’s stock languishing while Apple and Google have excelled, you’re respectfully way off the mark.

  24. So, why is Microsoft stock price in freefall? Cause Steve Ballmer didn’t come to the grassroots and convince him that Microsoft’s business strategy makes sense.

    That applies to companies that have products coming down the pike that people are going to buy, and not just “Office 200x super duper edition” People have long since cottened up to MSFT putting out vaporware that will never arrive, like their supposed PDF killer.

    MSFT’s stock represents what people think their growth potential is. And people don’t see it in this stock. I think Steve is doing the right thing in investing in R&D as that could develop some needed new products, but I would short MSFT for the next couple of years.

  25. So, why is Microsoft stock price in freefall? Cause Steve Ballmer didn’t come to the grassroots and convince him that Microsoft’s business strategy makes sense.

    That applies to companies that have products coming down the pike that people are going to buy, and not just “Office 200x super duper edition” People have long since cottened up to MSFT putting out vaporware that will never arrive, like their supposed PDF killer.

    MSFT’s stock represents what people think their growth potential is. And people don’t see it in this stock. I think Steve is doing the right thing in investing in R&D as that could develop some needed new products, but I would short MSFT for the next couple of years.

  26. Jerry and Jason: it doesn’t sound like we disagree too much. The thing is that what Microsoft is trying to do, businesswise, isn’t convincing everyday people.

    I guess we all disagree what community will see the changes first. To me it’s the grassroots everyday geek.

    To you you think it’s more important to talk with the investment community directly.

    Google started in the geek influencer networks first. Then it moved everywhere else.

    I notice that at VLoggerCon there were more Macs than Windows machines. We’re losing the influentials. The real ones, not the ones with big titles and influential jobs.

  27. Jerry and Jason: it doesn’t sound like we disagree too much. The thing is that what Microsoft is trying to do, businesswise, isn’t convincing everyday people.

    I guess we all disagree what community will see the changes first. To me it’s the grassroots everyday geek.

    To you you think it’s more important to talk with the investment community directly.

    Google started in the geek influencer networks first. Then it moved everywhere else.

    I notice that at VLoggerCon there were more Macs than Windows machines. We’re losing the influentials. The real ones, not the ones with big titles and influential jobs.

  28. Robert,

    First things first. Welcome to the Silicon Valley!

    I couldn’t agree more with you on your most recent post. Even from a marketing perspective, I think Peter Drucker would agree with you.

    I quote: “For centuries, we have attempted communication ‘downward’. There can be no communication if it is conceived as going from ‘I’ to ‘thou.’ Communication works only from one member of ‘us’ to ‘another.’”

    Kinda sums up your thoughts.

    -Mario Sundar
    Marketing Nirvāna

  29. Robert,

    First things first. Welcome to the Silicon Valley!

    I couldn’t agree more with you on your most recent post. Even from a marketing perspective, I think Peter Drucker would agree with you.

    I quote: “For centuries, we have attempted communication ‘downward’. There can be no communication if it is conceived as going from ‘I’ to ‘thou.’ Communication works only from one member of ‘us’ to ‘another.’”

    Kinda sums up your thoughts.

    -Mario Sundar
    Marketing Nirvāna

  30. Jason, oh, and what I was directly referring to was that Ballmer just did a tour of analysts. Ever since he did that the stock price has been going down.

    So, I’m not talking about overall, I’m talking about specifically this tour of analysts. They don’t believe him because of two reasons: 1) He hasn’t been delivering influentials the past few years cause our products haven’t been breaking out. 2) Because he hasn’t been talking to influentials and the people I talk with don’t know him and don’t believe what he says on TV.

    It’s harder to solve #1, although I think that will be solved over the next few years.

    Solving #2 is much easier, though. He needs to show up at small, non-important conferences where there are hundreds of influentials and let them get to know him.

    That way when the analysts start to notice the company is kicking out good stuff (Office 2007 and Vista ARE good, but will only get recognized after they ship) they’ll start quoting the influential networks (er, bloggers) who’ll back up that theory.

    But, it all starts with showing off your stuff to bloggers.

    Oh, and to the claim that I didn’t convince influentials that Vista was great. I think you totally missed Northern Voice where Chris Pirillo and I showed off Vista. It got a very warm reception there and suprised a lot of people.

    The problem is that it needs to ship before any influential will be able to say it’s cool with a straight face.

  31. Jason, oh, and what I was directly referring to was that Ballmer just did a tour of analysts. Ever since he did that the stock price has been going down.

    So, I’m not talking about overall, I’m talking about specifically this tour of analysts. They don’t believe him because of two reasons: 1) He hasn’t been delivering influentials the past few years cause our products haven’t been breaking out. 2) Because he hasn’t been talking to influentials and the people I talk with don’t know him and don’t believe what he says on TV.

    It’s harder to solve #1, although I think that will be solved over the next few years.

    Solving #2 is much easier, though. He needs to show up at small, non-important conferences where there are hundreds of influentials and let them get to know him.

    That way when the analysts start to notice the company is kicking out good stuff (Office 2007 and Vista ARE good, but will only get recognized after they ship) they’ll start quoting the influential networks (er, bloggers) who’ll back up that theory.

    But, it all starts with showing off your stuff to bloggers.

    Oh, and to the claim that I didn’t convince influentials that Vista was great. I think you totally missed Northern Voice where Chris Pirillo and I showed off Vista. It got a very warm reception there and suprised a lot of people.

    The problem is that it needs to ship before any influential will be able to say it’s cool with a straight face.

  32. Wall Street doesn’t believe Ballmer because the Vista development team has made a liar out of him on more than one occasion. MSFT’s core business is the OS and Office. Everything else is secondary.

    From a longer perspective, the freefall you reference is more of a flatline — and it pretty much starts and continues for the life of Vista’s development cycle.

    So when your core product goes off the rails — if GM stops producing cars — it’s no wonder the stock gets into trouble.

    I’m not sure how much of a “grassroots” effort would help that.

  33. Wall Street doesn’t believe Ballmer because the Vista development team has made a liar out of him on more than one occasion. MSFT’s core business is the OS and Office. Everything else is secondary.

    From a longer perspective, the freefall you reference is more of a flatline — and it pretty much starts and continues for the life of Vista’s development cycle.

    So when your core product goes off the rails — if GM stops producing cars — it’s no wonder the stock gets into trouble.

    I’m not sure how much of a “grassroots” effort would help that.

  34. I think new heights have been reached in cluelessness with this post. You can’t be serious. I hope you aren’t getting paid for this type of insight.

    Why would Ballmer want to show up a a confernce full of circle-jerking navel gazers that likely don’t have any money to make much of an impact on Microsoft, and likely don’t have any invfluence over any CIO’s to convince them to make a bet on Microsoft? What a wasted of time that would be for Ballmer. Do you have ANY idea how Microsoft makes money and where that money comes from?

    I’m sure Rick Sherlund feels like a idiot now given that apparently the answer to Microsoft’s ills is so simple. It’s amazing it’s been right there in front of them for lo these many years and they’ve chosen to ignore it.

    As for comparing your situation to Ballmer’s? That’s laughable Again, your leaving is not a story, except amongst the echo-chamber blogger world. The only reason the MSM picked up on it is the same reason they pick up on some random celebrity getting a divorce or having a baby. It drives eyeballs to their site or to watch their news show. It’s no better than local TV news. Again, it goes to show how we are a long way from bloggers being credible journalists and also shows how far real journalism has fallen.

  35. I think new heights have been reached in cluelessness with this post. You can’t be serious. I hope you aren’t getting paid for this type of insight.

    Why would Ballmer want to show up a a confernce full of circle-jerking navel gazers that likely don’t have any money to make much of an impact on Microsoft, and likely don’t have any invfluence over any CIO’s to convince them to make a bet on Microsoft? What a wasted of time that would be for Ballmer. Do you have ANY idea how Microsoft makes money and where that money comes from?

    I’m sure Rick Sherlund feels like a idiot now given that apparently the answer to Microsoft’s ills is so simple. It’s amazing it’s been right there in front of them for lo these many years and they’ve chosen to ignore it.

    As for comparing your situation to Ballmer’s? That’s laughable Again, your leaving is not a story, except amongst the echo-chamber blogger world. The only reason the MSM picked up on it is the same reason they pick up on some random celebrity getting a divorce or having a baby. It drives eyeballs to their site or to watch their news show. It’s no better than local TV news. Again, it goes to show how we are a long way from bloggers being credible journalists and also shows how far real journalism has fallen.

  36. the analysis of the change in PR strategy rings very true.

    the conclusions regarding bloggers/grassroot affect on the stock price is very simplistic and naive in my opinion.

    buzz, blogging love, PR are only one (small) component that affects the market, bigger influences are the financials fundamentals and many other technical elements of the way institutionals buyers are looking at the stock.

    hype comes and goes.

  37. the analysis of the change in PR strategy rings very true.

    the conclusions regarding bloggers/grassroot affect on the stock price is very simplistic and naive in my opinion.

    buzz, blogging love, PR are only one (small) component that affects the market, bigger influences are the financials fundamentals and many other technical elements of the way institutionals buyers are looking at the stock.

    hype comes and goes.

  38. Excellent post! I would love to see Balmer show up to a few conferences and answer any question tossed at him. But Balmer is a guy that wants to put his head in the sand and act like the iPod doesn’t exist. He won’t allow his kids to own one which is incredibly stupid and tells you a lot of about him. I’ll be shocked if he listens to your suggestion because he’s not desperate. Now if MSFT stock were at Sun levels maybe he’d try something like you suggest. Balmer is old school Microsoft and he won’t change. His ‘in your face’ act was tired years ago.

  39. Excellent post! I would love to see Balmer show up to a few conferences and answer any question tossed at him. But Balmer is a guy that wants to put his head in the sand and act like the iPod doesn’t exist. He won’t allow his kids to own one which is incredibly stupid and tells you a lot of about him. I’ll be shocked if he listens to your suggestion because he’s not desperate. Now if MSFT stock were at Sun levels maybe he’d try something like you suggest. Balmer is old school Microsoft and he won’t change. His ‘in your face’ act was tired years ago.

  40. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m somewhat new to the more technical aspect of the industry, but a close friend of mine is an MSDN subscriber and now even I count down the days until a new beta of one of their software is delivered out through the system, and as far as I can tell, this is one of the few huge launches they’ve publically beta-d out to the public. I’m more than in love with this idea, it allows the general public to actually test out the software the news sources have always “first hands-on review” right along with them. To me, Microsoft has done a lot better this year not only with producing enriching software, but showing off their marketing side with a lot more of the XP commercials airing, allowing the public see videos of beta software and then try it themselves and on top of everything else, giving their employees a network of blogging software to blog their finds and inclusions of future MSFT products.

    So sure, the MSFT stock is dropping, and I’m sure it has to do with the Vista setback along with all these trendy Mac commercials being shown, but at the end of the day, MSFT still has a gigantic portion of the consumer and developer market, and from the software I’ve already beta-d this year, I see that progression furthering!

  41. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m somewhat new to the more technical aspect of the industry, but a close friend of mine is an MSDN subscriber and now even I count down the days until a new beta of one of their software is delivered out through the system, and as far as I can tell, this is one of the few huge launches they’ve publically beta-d out to the public. I’m more than in love with this idea, it allows the general public to actually test out the software the news sources have always “first hands-on review” right along with them. To me, Microsoft has done a lot better this year not only with producing enriching software, but showing off their marketing side with a lot more of the XP commercials airing, allowing the public see videos of beta software and then try it themselves and on top of everything else, giving their employees a network of blogging software to blog their finds and inclusions of future MSFT products.

    So sure, the MSFT stock is dropping, and I’m sure it has to do with the Vista setback along with all these trendy Mac commercials being shown, but at the end of the day, MSFT still has a gigantic portion of the consumer and developer market, and from the software I’ve already beta-d this year, I see that progression furthering!

  42. @27. Again, you are missing my point. I realize you want to think you matter. but, well, in the grand scheme of things related to Microsoft, you don’t. The MSM picked it up because some tech geek focused on blogging at some newspaper looked at the traffic and said “ooo, I think this might be a story because bloggers are talking about it”. Then no to be left out, every other tech arm of a newspaper picked it up. I thought you studied journalism?

  43. @27. Again, you are missing my point. I realize you want to think you matter. but, well, in the grand scheme of things related to Microsoft, you don’t. The MSM picked it up because some tech geek focused on blogging at some newspaper looked at the traffic and said “ooo, I think this might be a story because bloggers are talking about it”. Then no to be left out, every other tech arm of a newspaper picked it up. I thought you studied journalism?

  44. DMAD: and you’re missing mine, which you just made for me.

    The journalist’s editors were convinced because there was some heat in the street.

    Same goes for analysts and stock purchasers. If they call their geek friends and they all say “Microsoft is dead” then that’s what they’ll believe.

    I’ve been watching this behavior for quite some time.

    It’s amazing to me that corporate PR departments and corporate investor relation departments aren’t.

    In fact, even better. A lot of financial analysts read blogs (and, even write them). Heck, look at how fast this financial analyst got a blog post up about my crazy rantings: http://woodrow.typepad.com/the_ponderings_of_woodrow/2006/06/scoble_should_l.html

  45. DMAD: and you’re missing mine, which you just made for me.

    The journalist’s editors were convinced because there was some heat in the street.

    Same goes for analysts and stock purchasers. If they call their geek friends and they all say “Microsoft is dead” then that’s what they’ll believe.

    I’ve been watching this behavior for quite some time.

    It’s amazing to me that corporate PR departments and corporate investor relation departments aren’t.

    In fact, even better. A lot of financial analysts read blogs (and, even write them). Heck, look at how fast this financial analyst got a blog post up about my crazy rantings: http://woodrow.typepad.com/the_ponderings_of_woodrow/2006/06/scoble_should_l.html

  46. Robert, Communication was the problem for sure, although I am not convinced that starting with the grassroots would have helped in this particular case.

    I wrote a blog about this issue a few weeks ago. here is an excerpt;

    Microsoft management did a poor job of communicating to Wall Street, during the April 06 earnings conference call, that next year we plan to spend about $2B more than analysts expected. The stock price dropped more than 20% wiping out $55B in market value. Microsoft management was incredulous. How could Wall Street react in such an immature way? How could a couple billion in additional spending wipe out $55B of market value? It is all about communication…and how you clean up your messes.

    Microsoft should have communicated a clear plan, ahead of the earnings call, for how we planned to “invest” the money in new business opportunities, and the expected time frame to see results. Instead, it was suggested to analysts during the conference call that they should add $1.5B to $2B to their spending estimates for next year. It was only later, after the severe stock market reaction, that Microsoft “scrubbed the numbers” and clarified that it would be more like $1B, and gave clearer guidance on where the money would be invested. Too late. The market has already decided that given all the delays with “Longhorn/Vista” that the payoff for this $1B investment could be much longer than expected.

    How could $1B in investment cause a $55B reaction? It is actually a rational response. The initial claim was additional spending of $1.5B to $2B. Wall Street applies a P/E multiple to earnings. Well it works both ways, that P/E also gets applied to spending which results in lower earnings. The P/E was around 21 at the time, so 21 times $2B is $42B of market value. The remaining $13B of lost market value is probably over reaction that may disappear over time.

    If you are interested in the whole post you can find it here. http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/05/there_will_be_m.html

  47. Robert, Communication was the problem for sure, although I am not convinced that starting with the grassroots would have helped in this particular case.

    I wrote a blog about this issue a few weeks ago. here is an excerpt;

    Microsoft management did a poor job of communicating to Wall Street, during the April 06 earnings conference call, that next year we plan to spend about $2B more than analysts expected. The stock price dropped more than 20% wiping out $55B in market value. Microsoft management was incredulous. How could Wall Street react in such an immature way? How could a couple billion in additional spending wipe out $55B of market value? It is all about communication…and how you clean up your messes.

    Microsoft should have communicated a clear plan, ahead of the earnings call, for how we planned to “invest” the money in new business opportunities, and the expected time frame to see results. Instead, it was suggested to analysts during the conference call that they should add $1.5B to $2B to their spending estimates for next year. It was only later, after the severe stock market reaction, that Microsoft “scrubbed the numbers” and clarified that it would be more like $1B, and gave clearer guidance on where the money would be invested. Too late. The market has already decided that given all the delays with “Longhorn/Vista” that the payoff for this $1B investment could be much longer than expected.

    How could $1B in investment cause a $55B reaction? It is actually a rational response. The initial claim was additional spending of $1.5B to $2B. Wall Street applies a P/E multiple to earnings. Well it works both ways, that P/E also gets applied to spending which results in lower earnings. The P/E was around 21 at the time, so 21 times $2B is $42B of market value. The remaining $13B of lost market value is probably over reaction that may disappear over time.

    If you are interested in the whole post you can find it here. http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/05/there_will_be_m.html

  48. Scoble explains Why Wall Street didn’t believe Steve Ballmer…

    Robert Scoble wrote a story today Why Wall Street didn’t believe Steve Ballmer. Robert believes Ballmer should communicate with the masses at conferences and other venues to explain the Microsoft story. Then the masses would influence, or validate, th…

  49. [...] If you ever think that stock’s price depend on the value of the company, its products, its growth perspective and many more factor like these, you were wrong. It is actually very simple, and Scoble – the famous EX-PR of Microsoft will tell you the secret : That’s an easy one. Cause he didn’t convince the grass roots influence networks first. Why have Google and Apple done so well in the last three years? Cause the grassroots loves them. That’s the powerroot of the industry. Ideas here don’t come from the big influencers and move down. No, they start on the street and move up. Anyone miss how Google got big? Not by throwing a press conference. This is really redicolous. however Scoble than surprise me with a good advice: Ballmer should not listen to his PR team and instead should live the blogging way.I wish he would conclude this advice in the first half…  PR, Stock Price, Stock Trading, Wall Street [...]

  50. So…why is Vista important? I’ve tried the beta and it looks like OS X…shouldn’t I be buying a Mac instead?

  51. So…why is Vista important? I’ve tried the beta and it looks like OS X…shouldn’t I be buying a Mac instead?

  52. Robert, I agree that communication was the problem, but not necessarily with the grassroots.

    I wrote a blog about this communications blunder a few weeks ago. Here is an excerpt;

    Microsoft management did a poor job of communicating to Wall Street, during the April 06 earnings conference call, that next year we plan to spend about $2 Billion more than analysts expected. The stock price dropped more than 20% wiping out $55 Billion in market value. Microsoft management was incredulous. How could Wall Street react in such an immature way? How could a couple billion in additional spending wipe out $55B of market value? It is all about communication…and how you clean up your messes.

    Microsoft should have communicated a clear plan, ahead of the earnings call, for how we planned to “invest” the money in new business opportunities, and the expected time frame to see results. Instead, it was suggested to analysts during the conference call that they should add $1.5B to $2B to their spending estimates for next year. It was only later, after the severe stock market reaction, that Microsoft “scrubbed the numbers” and clarified that it would be more like $1B, and gave clearer guidance on where the money would be invested. Too late. The market has already decided that given all the delays with “Longhorn/Vista” that the payoff for this $1B investment could be much longer than expected.

    How could $1B in investment cause a $55B reaction? It is actually a rational response. The initial claim was additional spending of $1.5B to $2B. Wall Street applies a P/E multiple to earnings. Well it works both ways, that P/E also gets applied to spending which results in lower earnings. The P/E was around 21 at the time, so 21 times $2B is $42B of market value. The remaining $13B of lost market value is probably over reaction that may disappear over time.

    If interested you can read the whole post here http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/05/there_will_be_m.html

  53. Robert, I agree that communication was the problem, but not necessarily with the grassroots.

    I wrote a blog about this communications blunder a few weeks ago. Here is an excerpt;

    Microsoft management did a poor job of communicating to Wall Street, during the April 06 earnings conference call, that next year we plan to spend about $2 Billion more than analysts expected. The stock price dropped more than 20% wiping out $55 Billion in market value. Microsoft management was incredulous. How could Wall Street react in such an immature way? How could a couple billion in additional spending wipe out $55B of market value? It is all about communication…and how you clean up your messes.

    Microsoft should have communicated a clear plan, ahead of the earnings call, for how we planned to “invest” the money in new business opportunities, and the expected time frame to see results. Instead, it was suggested to analysts during the conference call that they should add $1.5B to $2B to their spending estimates for next year. It was only later, after the severe stock market reaction, that Microsoft “scrubbed the numbers” and clarified that it would be more like $1B, and gave clearer guidance on where the money would be invested. Too late. The market has already decided that given all the delays with “Longhorn/Vista” that the payoff for this $1B investment could be much longer than expected.

    How could $1B in investment cause a $55B reaction? It is actually a rational response. The initial claim was additional spending of $1.5B to $2B. Wall Street applies a P/E multiple to earnings. Well it works both ways, that P/E also gets applied to spending which results in lower earnings. The P/E was around 21 at the time, so 21 times $2B is $42B of market value. The remaining $13B of lost market value is probably over reaction that may disappear over time.

    If interested you can read the whole post here http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/05/there_will_be_m.html

  54. @32. I’m not really arguing that. I think we both agree that there was “heat”. I’m arguing the lack of analysis on the part of the professional journalists. It was no more a story than (insert movie star’s name here) having a baby or getting a divorce. Interesting, but not really a story with any substance. To sum it, it was: “Low-level MS employee that chose to blog about Microsoft and became a cult hero in the blogging community is leaving Microsoft for obscure podcasting start up”. Not really something moves the MS market. And outside of geeky bloggers I’ve not come across anyone that’s even heard of this “story”.

  55. @32. I’m not really arguing that. I think we both agree that there was “heat”. I’m arguing the lack of analysis on the part of the professional journalists. It was no more a story than (insert movie star’s name here) having a baby or getting a divorce. Interesting, but not really a story with any substance. To sum it, it was: “Low-level MS employee that chose to blog about Microsoft and became a cult hero in the blogging community is leaving Microsoft for obscure podcasting start up”. Not really something moves the MS market. And outside of geeky bloggers I’ve not come across anyone that’s even heard of this “story”.

  56. Self-important: you’re right. But, see, you keep thinking I care that my 15 minutes are coming to an end.

    CC: if you think Vista is just an Apple copy you aren’t looking hard enough. I’ll tell you, though, I’m gonna probably buy an Apple machine to run Vista on. But, most people won’t. Why not? Cause their machines are way more expensive than those that run only the Windows operating system. I am looking at buying a Dual-Core laptop and there’s dozens of choices on the Windows side, but only two on the Mac side and the Macs are more expensive and have less powerful choices available.

    But, why is Vista important? For the same reasons I went to PodTech.net: audio and video are dramatically better on it.

  57. Self-important: you’re right. But, see, you keep thinking I care that my 15 minutes are coming to an end.

    CC: if you think Vista is just an Apple copy you aren’t looking hard enough. I’ll tell you, though, I’m gonna probably buy an Apple machine to run Vista on. But, most people won’t. Why not? Cause their machines are way more expensive than those that run only the Windows operating system. I am looking at buying a Dual-Core laptop and there’s dozens of choices on the Windows side, but only two on the Mac side and the Macs are more expensive and have less powerful choices available.

    But, why is Vista important? For the same reasons I went to PodTech.net: audio and video are dramatically better on it.

  58. Dmad: the art critic on NPR knew who I was, so there. Heheh.

    Anyway, let’s just say we disagree. You sound a lot like a Microsoft marketer, though. I wish you well with that kind of strategy of paying attention only to the big media and the “really important” people.

    That’s what Microsoft does and look where our stock is headed. Maybe going in a new direction would be a good thing?

  59. Dmad: the art critic on NPR knew who I was, so there. Heheh.

    Anyway, let’s just say we disagree. You sound a lot like a Microsoft marketer, though. I wish you well with that kind of strategy of paying attention only to the big media and the “really important” people.

    That’s what Microsoft does and look where our stock is headed. Maybe going in a new direction would be a good thing?

  60. Robert,

    I must admit that I didn’t initially get that you were referring to the stock’s movement post the analyst visit. I think we WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that Ballmer’s “answers” clearly didn’t resonate in his trips to Boston and New York. I just think we disagree on the remedy.

    Personally I don’t think Ballmer is the guy that should be showing up at blogging, tech and other social media events. I think a host of Microsoft’s 3,000+ bloggers should be…I think Ray Ozzie should be…I think GASP Bill Gates should be (he is more a visionary than an operations guy now, right?). Ballmer is an operator, he’s a bulldog, and he doesn’t seem to adjust to his audience well…that’s a real problem when you’re THE conduit to a great many of your constituencies.

  61. Robert,

    I must admit that I didn’t initially get that you were referring to the stock’s movement post the analyst visit. I think we WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that Ballmer’s “answers” clearly didn’t resonate in his trips to Boston and New York. I just think we disagree on the remedy.

    Personally I don’t think Ballmer is the guy that should be showing up at blogging, tech and other social media events. I think a host of Microsoft’s 3,000+ bloggers should be…I think Ray Ozzie should be…I think GASP Bill Gates should be (he is more a visionary than an operations guy now, right?). Ballmer is an operator, he’s a bulldog, and he doesn’t seem to adjust to his audience well…that’s a real problem when you’re THE conduit to a great many of your constituencies.

  62. Hah! I looked David Madison up in the corporate system here and HE IS a marketer at Microsoft!

    Wild.

    Well, DMAD, the company is in your hands now. I hope you make the stock go up cause I still own some.

  63. Hah! I looked David Madison up in the corporate system here and HE IS a marketer at Microsoft!

    Wild.

    Well, DMAD, the company is in your hands now. I hope you make the stock go up cause I still own some.

  64. Wow, awesome post. And yes, I have been asking myself why I want Vista and Office 2007. I saw two live webcasts on Exchange 2007 and I get it, love it and want THAT.

    I wasn’t able to get to Boston and have been scouring the news for the reports out of Boston and seriously, I can’t seem to get much. I would rather meet Bill Gates or Ozzie though than Steve Ballmer. I want to talk to technical gurus at conferences, not another executive. Both Bill and Ozzie seem far more approachable than Steve any day.

    And you know what? I appreciate that you DO take the time to get to know those people that don’t seem interesting at first glance and then blog about them. That is why I WON’T be unsubscribing any time first. You might even convince me that I need to hear a podcast (haven’t heard one yet, hey, haven’t even purchased an IPOD).

  65. Wow, awesome post. And yes, I have been asking myself why I want Vista and Office 2007. I saw two live webcasts on Exchange 2007 and I get it, love it and want THAT.

    I wasn’t able to get to Boston and have been scouring the news for the reports out of Boston and seriously, I can’t seem to get much. I would rather meet Bill Gates or Ozzie though than Steve Ballmer. I want to talk to technical gurus at conferences, not another executive. Both Bill and Ozzie seem far more approachable than Steve any day.

    And you know what? I appreciate that you DO take the time to get to know those people that don’t seem interesting at first glance and then blog about them. That is why I WON’T be unsubscribing any time first. You might even convince me that I need to hear a podcast (haven’t heard one yet, hey, haven’t even purchased an IPOD).

  66. >Both Bill and Ozzie seem far more approachable than Steve any day.

    And why is that? Methinks cause Steve doesn’t come out to the “little guy” conferences and press the flesh. What do we do to people like that? We tend to try to tear them down to our level. Not good.

    Thanks for not unsubscribing, you should start your own blog, though, so I can subscribe to you!

  67. >Both Bill and Ozzie seem far more approachable than Steve any day.

    And why is that? Methinks cause Steve doesn’t come out to the “little guy” conferences and press the flesh. What do we do to people like that? We tend to try to tear them down to our level. Not good.

    Thanks for not unsubscribing, you should start your own blog, though, so I can subscribe to you!

  68. By the way Robert,

    I have been stoked and impressed with the blogging efforts at TechEd. Seems like every time I refresh my feed reader it’s got another 15-20 blog entries covering all facets of the week.

    Jason

  69. By the way Robert,

    I have been stoked and impressed with the blogging efforts at TechEd. Seems like every time I refresh my feed reader it’s got another 15-20 blog entries covering all facets of the week.

    Jason

  70. Wall Street doesn’t believe in Ballmer because he doesn’t deliver….. we give you 1 inch to hang yourself …. and most do…… delay , delay , delay …. and the joe-joe the monkey boy jumping around routine is funny , but doesn’t help the company make any more $$$$

  71. Wall Street doesn’t believe in Ballmer because he doesn’t deliver….. we give you 1 inch to hang yourself …. and most do…… delay , delay , delay …. and the joe-joe the monkey boy jumping around routine is funny , but doesn’t help the company make any more $$$$

  72. Robert,
    Why your premise may sound nice, it isn’t really that accurrate. First off, the stock market as a whole hasn’t been performing all that well for the past few years (blaim it on the War, high oil prices, the Hurricane, high deficits, etc.). MS has become a mature stock that reflects more the overall market movement instead of the up-and-comer. You can’t compare a mature stock’s performance to Google. Google is still on its up-curve. The real question will be if Google will have anywhere near as long of run as MS had.

    The second reason for poor performance is it is a lot harder to show performance when you are so big and hold a monopoly (not necessarily in a bad sense) in the OS and Office Suite markets. These markets are stable and the main income stream is tied to computer sales (i.e., most upgrade/buy new when they replace their computers).

    Until MS builds more stable, new revenue streams they will not be the “darling” stock they were 5-10/15 years ago. In other words, they are at a different point of history than a Google.

    As far as Apple, they are more rebounding than becoming a new growing stock. Once they finish their Intel conversions, released another version of OSX that will have features that Vista only dreams about, and finish the flash conversion of iPods, their revenue streams growth will flatten out and even possibly decline. Apple’s problem is they are production capacity limited. As long as they don’t release OSX to other manufacterurs (like Dell), they will limit their own growth potentional. They have to get more production or they will never grow as much as the PC business is growing.

  73. Robert,
    Why your premise may sound nice, it isn’t really that accurrate. First off, the stock market as a whole hasn’t been performing all that well for the past few years (blaim it on the War, high oil prices, the Hurricane, high deficits, etc.). MS has become a mature stock that reflects more the overall market movement instead of the up-and-comer. You can’t compare a mature stock’s performance to Google. Google is still on its up-curve. The real question will be if Google will have anywhere near as long of run as MS had.

    The second reason for poor performance is it is a lot harder to show performance when you are so big and hold a monopoly (not necessarily in a bad sense) in the OS and Office Suite markets. These markets are stable and the main income stream is tied to computer sales (i.e., most upgrade/buy new when they replace their computers).

    Until MS builds more stable, new revenue streams they will not be the “darling” stock they were 5-10/15 years ago. In other words, they are at a different point of history than a Google.

    As far as Apple, they are more rebounding than becoming a new growing stock. Once they finish their Intel conversions, released another version of OSX that will have features that Vista only dreams about, and finish the flash conversion of iPods, their revenue streams growth will flatten out and even possibly decline. Apple’s problem is they are production capacity limited. As long as they don’t release OSX to other manufacterurs (like Dell), they will limit their own growth potentional. They have to get more production or they will never grow as much as the PC business is growing.

  74. While ‘influentials’ are good for general goodwill, good press and a few deployment wins here and there, the stock price is much much more complex, as institutional and indiviual investor confidence in future directions, current management, deliverable road maps, coupled with internal morale and the basic financial fundamentals all play a big part, as well as clear communication with the Street itself. Which is always a Microsoft problem, as recently Ballmer flat-footed in April (one of the worst performances in his career) just waltzing in without a clear plan yelling “spend, spend, spend”…I mean predictable reaction, and predictable Microsoft post-whine fest with the usual Microsoft ‘post-adjustments’. Always gives you the feel they are never straight up the first round, as always a new story. But I sorta saw this all coming back in the frenzied Longhorn hype era, and no longer have a position, shifted my Microsofts back to CAT.

    Now as far as you leaving, and the MSM play, such just gives an impression of rats leaving the sinking ship (and that’s straight from the horses mouth from 4 MSM’ers). Falling stock, bolting employees…same plot, same storyline.

    But even taking into account that ‘very simplistic and naive’ grassroots view, if such be the case, Microsoft will never win, as they COMMAND and CONTROL the grassroots, forcing them into MVP and other entitlement fan-boyish programs, blacklisting them if they ever go out to pasture, and not ever seeing or rewarding the hidden grassroots that have real impact, just all huddling by the ‘Early Adopter’ and Fan Site Webmaster campfire.

  75. While ‘influentials’ are good for general goodwill, good press and a few deployment wins here and there, the stock price is much much more complex, as institutional and indiviual investor confidence in future directions, current management, deliverable road maps, coupled with internal morale and the basic financial fundamentals all play a big part, as well as clear communication with the Street itself. Which is always a Microsoft problem, as recently Ballmer flat-footed in April (one of the worst performances in his career) just waltzing in without a clear plan yelling “spend, spend, spend”…I mean predictable reaction, and predictable Microsoft post-whine fest with the usual Microsoft ‘post-adjustments’. Always gives you the feel they are never straight up the first round, as always a new story. But I sorta saw this all coming back in the frenzied Longhorn hype era, and no longer have a position, shifted my Microsofts back to CAT.

    Now as far as you leaving, and the MSM play, such just gives an impression of rats leaving the sinking ship (and that’s straight from the horses mouth from 4 MSM’ers). Falling stock, bolting employees…same plot, same storyline.

    But even taking into account that ‘very simplistic and naive’ grassroots view, if such be the case, Microsoft will never win, as they COMMAND and CONTROL the grassroots, forcing them into MVP and other entitlement fan-boyish programs, blacklisting them if they ever go out to pasture, and not ever seeing or rewarding the hidden grassroots that have real impact, just all huddling by the ‘Early Adopter’ and Fan Site Webmaster campfire.

  76. Robert: “I’ll tell you, though, I’m gonna probably buy an Apple machine to run Vista on. But, most people won’t. Why not? Cause their machines are way more expensive than those that run only the Windows operating system.”

    Really? Have you done price comnparisons lately? I think Apple has closed the gap quite a lot with the MacBook. Have a look: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000591.html

    Of course you’ll have to pay for your copy of Windows, since it won’t come with the MacBook. :)

  77. Robert: “I’ll tell you, though, I’m gonna probably buy an Apple machine to run Vista on. But, most people won’t. Why not? Cause their machines are way more expensive than those that run only the Windows operating system.”

    Really? Have you done price comnparisons lately? I think Apple has closed the gap quite a lot with the MacBook. Have a look: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000591.html

    Of course you’ll have to pay for your copy of Windows, since it won’t come with the MacBook. :)

  78. Then again, why run Windows on the MacBook? It’s like taking a gorgeous supermodel and putting the face of one’s grandmother on her. :)

  79. Then again, why run Windows on the MacBook? It’s like taking a gorgeous supermodel and putting the face of one’s grandmother on her. :)

  80. @42. And not many “normal people” know or care about the NPR art critic. I say take a random poll walking down Broadway in Times Square to get a true picture.

    Anyway, you are completely off base regarding my “thninking”. I don’t pay attention to MSM, for the very reason how your “non-story” played out there. My point is MSM is swayed more by ratings and page hits than they are with doing any actual news. Same with a lot of tech bloggers–they seem only to care about hits and where they rank.

    If we relied completely on MSM for our stories Dan Rather would still have a job. Thankfully it was some actual intelligent bloggers that cared more about a story than they did about getting linked to that allowed them to get to the bottom of Dan Rather’s “story”. So, I’m not saying bloggers can’t add value and can’t fill a void. It just seems the political bloggers are more insightful than the “a list” tech bloggers. And the tech reporters at on-line MSM outlets. I guess I should have qualified that. It’s not that ALL bloggers wouldn’t know a news story if it bit them in the ass, just a considerable amount of tech bloggers.

  81. @42. And not many “normal people” know or care about the NPR art critic. I say take a random poll walking down Broadway in Times Square to get a true picture.

    Anyway, you are completely off base regarding my “thninking”. I don’t pay attention to MSM, for the very reason how your “non-story” played out there. My point is MSM is swayed more by ratings and page hits than they are with doing any actual news. Same with a lot of tech bloggers–they seem only to care about hits and where they rank.

    If we relied completely on MSM for our stories Dan Rather would still have a job. Thankfully it was some actual intelligent bloggers that cared more about a story than they did about getting linked to that allowed them to get to the bottom of Dan Rather’s “story”. So, I’m not saying bloggers can’t add value and can’t fill a void. It just seems the political bloggers are more insightful than the “a list” tech bloggers. And the tech reporters at on-line MSM outlets. I guess I should have qualified that. It’s not that ALL bloggers wouldn’t know a news story if it bit them in the ass, just a considerable amount of tech bloggers.

  82. @44. Nice try. But believe it or not that’s not me. But, no matter what I would say, I’m sure I couldn’t convince you.

  83. @44. Nice try. But believe it or not that’s not me. But, no matter what I would say, I’m sure I couldn’t convince you.

  84. Robert,

    I’ve been thinking of starting a “Microsoft Preservation Society” to preserve all that we know and so dearly love about Microsoft – in particular the chair that Steve Ballmer was alleged to have thrown across the room, together with a recording of his threat to kill Google – if such a recording can be found. Together with a robot Ballmer specially designed for the strenuous task of throwing chairs, that can be activated by pressing the nose.

    Would you be up for the position of President of such a Microsoft Preservation Society? Or should I ask Bill Gates? ;)

  85. Robert,

    I’ve been thinking of starting a “Microsoft Preservation Society” to preserve all that we know and so dearly love about Microsoft – in particular the chair that Steve Ballmer was alleged to have thrown across the room, together with a recording of his threat to kill Google – if such a recording can be found. Together with a robot Ballmer specially designed for the strenuous task of throwing chairs, that can be activated by pressing the nose.

    Would you be up for the position of President of such a Microsoft Preservation Society? Or should I ask Bill Gates? ;)

  86. Robert,

    The comments on Google and Apple working best with grassroots (as opposed to Microsoft) are well understood. Apple certainly still has much to learn about working with the blogger and news community, and its secrecy is beyond that of any other tech company, with few exceptions.

    I don’t know if Microsoft can turn it around, given how well people love to despise the front-runner. Even Google is getting a lot more scrutiny nowadays given their position and their entry into new non-search markets.

  87. Robert,

    The comments on Google and Apple working best with grassroots (as opposed to Microsoft) are well understood. Apple certainly still has much to learn about working with the blogger and news community, and its secrecy is beyond that of any other tech company, with few exceptions.

    I don’t know if Microsoft can turn it around, given how well people love to despise the front-runner. Even Google is getting a lot more scrutiny nowadays given their position and their entry into new non-search markets.

  88. [...] Menarik menyimak nasehat Scoble, seorang blogger selebritis yang nampaknya cukup sukses mengkomunikasikan Microsoft melalui blognya dan ‘hengkangnya’ ke Podtech pekan lalu cukup membuat heboh jagad perblogan, buat Steve Ballmer terkait ketidak percayaan Wall Street pada dirinya. Berikut adalah sedikit kutipannya: That’s an easy one. Cause he didn’t convince the grass roots influence networks first. Why have Google and Apple done so well in the last three years? Cause the grassroots loves them. That’s the powerroot of the industry. Ideas here don’t come from the big influencers and move down. No, they start on the street and move up. Anyone miss how Google got big? Not by throwing a press conference. [...]

  89. Hmm

    I think that’s a bit naive

    When the City or Wall street takes against a company they don’t give a fuck about grass roots influence its what’s “trendy” or what’s hot in the markets.

    For example back in the day the City hated BT’s Finance director co’s he wouldn’t print stock to fund a buying spree like Voda did.

  90. Hmm

    I think that’s a bit naive

    When the City or Wall street takes against a company they don’t give a fuck about grass roots influence its what’s “trendy” or what’s hot in the markets.

    For example back in the day the City hated BT’s Finance director co’s he wouldn’t print stock to fund a buying spree like Voda did.

  91. hi robert – i agree very much. you wrote an important piece on how pr and communications have to be adjusted. top-down is easier, it’s what we all are used to and it takes a lot less time. bottom-up grassroots alone won’t do it alone, either. it is getting more and more attention, expertise, momentum. it’s about combining both. what a big thing to do! you know it – well after our conversation i know how much time you invest into building up that grassroot community and reputation for yourself.
    and in the end it’s about the flow: you cannot steer/control things neither bottom up nor top down. you have to try to, have a clear intention, then go for it.
    hope your stock goes up and all the best for the move to sf.

  92. hi robert – i agree very much. you wrote an important piece on how pr and communications have to be adjusted. top-down is easier, it’s what we all are used to and it takes a lot less time. bottom-up grassroots alone won’t do it alone, either. it is getting more and more attention, expertise, momentum. it’s about combining both. what a big thing to do! you know it – well after our conversation i know how much time you invest into building up that grassroot community and reputation for yourself.
    and in the end it’s about the flow: you cannot steer/control things neither bottom up nor top down. you have to try to, have a clear intention, then go for it.
    hope your stock goes up and all the best for the move to sf.

  93. “Did you miss that I turned into an international news story that has gotten more attention than everything Microsoft announced at its big TechED conference this week?
    How did I do that?
    I talked with the grassroots FIRST. ”

    Robert — I really think you’re creating a point out of thin air, here. You would have been an “international news story” no matter what you did. Blogging is big deal, Microsoft is huge. Enjoy it, btw. It’ll never happen again. Your fame is directly related to the fact that you’re doing something against the grain at a huge international company, and your departure is inevitably a news story.

    It frankly didn’t matter *who* you talked to about it. The result would have been exactly the same.

    If this is the premise for the rest of your argument, then I’m really not sure the rest of the story holds together.

  94. “Did you miss that I turned into an international news story that has gotten more attention than everything Microsoft announced at its big TechED conference this week?
    How did I do that?
    I talked with the grassroots FIRST. ”

    Robert — I really think you’re creating a point out of thin air, here. You would have been an “international news story” no matter what you did. Blogging is big deal, Microsoft is huge. Enjoy it, btw. It’ll never happen again. Your fame is directly related to the fact that you’re doing something against the grain at a huge international company, and your departure is inevitably a news story.

    It frankly didn’t matter *who* you talked to about it. The result would have been exactly the same.

    If this is the premise for the rest of your argument, then I’m really not sure the rest of the story holds together.

  95. Robert, I’ve been trying to say the same thing to people working with me at the OpenRightsGroup.org.uk, but they aren’t having any of it. I just did a BBC TV interview outside of the Apple Store here in London talking about DRM, and you know what? They didn’t come to me because of a press release, they came because they want an alternative voice that will push back against the industry and they’ve read about me elsewhere.

    Personally, I think press releases are a waste of time and effort. I have better things to be doing with my time. But the lure of old school PR remains strong. Actually, less of a lure, more of a stranglehold.

  96. Robert, I’ve been trying to say the same thing to people working with me at the OpenRightsGroup.org.uk, but they aren’t having any of it. I just did a BBC TV interview outside of the Apple Store here in London talking about DRM, and you know what? They didn’t come to me because of a press release, they came because they want an alternative voice that will push back against the industry and they’ve read about me elsewhere.

    Personally, I think press releases are a waste of time and effort. I have better things to be doing with my time. But the lure of old school PR remains strong. Actually, less of a lure, more of a stranglehold.

  97. MS’s problem is the computing world is diversifying, expanding, diverging, not converging, and one company simply can’t be at the center of it all anymore. One size fits all doesn’t cut it anymore. When the PC was new, yes it did. One type of device (desktop PC) for work and home. Now apple is showing it makes more sense to use your PC at work (where it’s the best tool for that job) and buy a mac for home use. The net is even bigger, and it simply can’t be controlled by one company. MS can’t own the API to the net, much as it would like to.

    The stock is down because built into the old, higher price was the expectation that MS would be able to move into and control all these other sectors of computing. Increasingly, it looks like MS can’t succeed and it will be stuck with the monopoly profits on windows and office (not a bad thing to be stuck with, but the stock had to come down if that’s what’s looks to be left to MS, not something grander).

    MS can keep trying, but it’s a losing proposition. One company just can’t be at the center of computing anymore. It’s just not feasible, plus it’s politically impossible in the long term internationally to have one U.S. company so central.

  98. MS’s problem is the computing world is diversifying, expanding, diverging, not converging, and one company simply can’t be at the center of it all anymore. One size fits all doesn’t cut it anymore. When the PC was new, yes it did. One type of device (desktop PC) for work and home. Now apple is showing it makes more sense to use your PC at work (where it’s the best tool for that job) and buy a mac for home use. The net is even bigger, and it simply can’t be controlled by one company. MS can’t own the API to the net, much as it would like to.

    The stock is down because built into the old, higher price was the expectation that MS would be able to move into and control all these other sectors of computing. Increasingly, it looks like MS can’t succeed and it will be stuck with the monopoly profits on windows and office (not a bad thing to be stuck with, but the stock had to come down if that’s what’s looks to be left to MS, not something grander).

    MS can keep trying, but it’s a losing proposition. One company just can’t be at the center of computing anymore. It’s just not feasible, plus it’s politically impossible in the long term internationally to have one U.S. company so central.

  99. hi Robert!

    as one of those Mac folks in the vlogosphere, i’d have to say that Macs have always been the choice of content creators. it’s just that, currently, we are enjoying some press because media creation has become hot so the Mac is enjoying the ride.

    i also think that the buzz around online media such as podcasting and online video has added a lot of value to the story of you leaving Microsoft. Videobloggers and podcasters would definitely talk about that story because it is of interest to them. If you were leaving Microsoft to join an investment firm, i’m not sure that the buzz would’ve been great no matter how many grassroot investment conferences you attended (if such a thing exists).

    gonna get a Mac now? :)

  100. hi Robert!

    as one of those Mac folks in the vlogosphere, i’d have to say that Macs have always been the choice of content creators. it’s just that, currently, we are enjoying some press because media creation has become hot so the Mac is enjoying the ride.

    i also think that the buzz around online media such as podcasting and online video has added a lot of value to the story of you leaving Microsoft. Videobloggers and podcasters would definitely talk about that story because it is of interest to them. If you were leaving Microsoft to join an investment firm, i’m not sure that the buzz would’ve been great no matter how many grassroot investment conferences you attended (if such a thing exists).

    gonna get a Mac now? :)

  101. Apropos Scobleizer

    Er bringt mal wieder brilliant auf den Punkt, was Kommunikation 2.0 ausmacht: Did you miss that I turned into an international news story that has gotten more attention than everything Microsoft announced at its big TechED conference this week? How…

  102. [...] Scobles Blogger-Theorie über Microsoft anhaltend maue Perfomance an den Aktienmärkten: You might have missed that Microsoft’s stock has been in a freefall lately. My friends have been asking me “why doesn’t Wall Street believe Steve Ballmer?” That’s an easy one. Cause he didn’t convince the grass roots influence networks first. Why have Google and Apple done so well in the last three years? Cause the grassroots loves them. That’s the powerroot of the industry. Ideas here don’t come from the big influencers and move down. No, they start on the street and move up. Anyone miss how Google got big? Not by throwing a press conference. [...]

  103. [...] Scobleizer – Microsoft Geek Blogger » Why Wall Street didn’t believe Steve Ballmer (and what he can do about it): yeah, well… I was in 100+ newspapers and on a bunch of radio stations because I saved a TRAIN TRESTLE in 1999. What do you say to that Mr. Scoble? Honestly now, lets not get too self important. The nature of wire services means I can kill a duck and get in 100 papers if I have enough people willing to waste paper about it. [...]

  104. Wrong wrong wrong. If your so-called ‘grassroots’ finds an idea interesting, they’ll talk about it. It doesn’t matter if they get the story from a big media source, another blog, or they find it on their own. Microsoft has been faltering because, aside from the xbox360, they haven’t done anything worth talking about. Additionally, Ballmer is a poor PR point guy, the guy is not personable in any way.

  105. Wrong wrong wrong. If your so-called ‘grassroots’ finds an idea interesting, they’ll talk about it. It doesn’t matter if they get the story from a big media source, another blog, or they find it on their own. Microsoft has been faltering because, aside from the xbox360, they haven’t done anything worth talking about. Additionally, Ballmer is a poor PR point guy, the guy is not personable in any way.

  106. [...] They need a face. They don’t have one. They have nowhere to deflect their own criticism. This is the case with many large tech companies. In fact I’m still trying to figure out why I need a Microsoft product. Don’t get me wrong I use them. Only when I have to. But truly they seem to be more of a headache than a blessing. So now with its chief evangelist gone. Is their really a reason to hold my breath. Or should I just switch to linux? Or Help Me God, Apple. The lesson to be learned here is, your company needs more than one “face”, your company needs many voices. It’s needs to empower your customer to be your number one evangelist. This is the reason Microsoft’s Stock is in a FreeFall. And it will continue to freefall as long as they fail to deliver products, and fail to have a strong voice at the top, and interacting with their valued customers online. [...]

  107. Scoble gives wrong advice to Microsoft

    Scobleizer: My friends have been asking me "why doesn’t Wall Street believe Steve Ballmer?" That’s an easy one. Cause he didn’t convince the grass roots influence networks first. Why have Google and Apple done so well in the last three…

  108. [...] Scoble’s Eintrag ist lesenswert, mit interessanten Links. Und bereits 60 Kommentaren. Aus meiner Sicht hat er recht. Ich denke: – Bottom up Kommunikation wird immer wichtiger – sie ersetzt den Top down Ansatz nicht – sie ist viel aufwändiger als der Top down Ansatz, wenn man sie ehrlich und aufrichtig machen will – also einen echten Dialog anstrebt. [...]