Congrats to Windows Live team (and the Atlas team)

Lots of new stuff came out today from Microsoft’s Windows Live team. Yes, they still are behind in lots of areas but it’s a marathon and where before today they used to be 20 minutes behind the leaders now they are two minutes behind. Will they catch the leaders and pull ahead? That is yet to be seen, but at least they are back in the race. How do I know that? Cause Yahoo’s Jeremy Zawdony is paying attention.

Microsoft has lots of news today. Scott Guthrie also has a roadmap post on Atlas, Microsoft’s AJAX toolset. Are there developers interested in Web 2.0 concepts? 250,000 downloads this year so far say “yes.”

The enterprise reeducation of Robert Scoble

I guess it’s pretty fitting that I totally butchered Shai Agassi’s name (he’s president of product and technology group at SAP and is one of seven people on its executive board). I’m so embarrassed. I was a bit nervous, which is a bit ironic because I didn’t even know who he was a few hours earlier, but the crowd that quickly formed to listen to Shai talk in the hallway at SAP’s big developer show going on now demonstrates that Shai commands the respect of everyday developers in SAP’s community.

Dennis Howlett nailed the real reason I hacked his name: I’m not astute in the enterprise world and I don’t have a good mental model of who the players and shakers are. He’s right that most of the time I think about more end-user stuff, but my whole career has been spent trying to figure out what drives developers and getting half a million developers to join a community in three years got my attention.

SAP is no Web 2.0 business. The cool kids like Mike Arrington don’t follow its every move like, say, the way we follow Google or Microsoft. On the other hand, name the business and it probably runs on SAP. Shai pointed out that they have had a developer community for a long time but that SAP only started paying attention to it three years ago.

Aside: one thing I notice about meeting intensely smart people like Shai (I’m in awe of his career track, he has shot to the top of SAP at age 34) is their focus. The ability to shut out everything else and focus intensely on what is in front of him is a skill I’m in awe of.

Of interest to me is that Ross Mayfield noted almost the same thing about SAP that I noticed, but he noticed it back in May. Over the next few months I’ll definitely be visiting SAP more often to continue my “reeducation” and I promise I won’t hack Shai’s name next time.

Also part of my enterprise reeducation was meeting with Dana Gardner (enterprise blogger and analyst) who spent most of the day yesterday with Maryam and me. His ZD blog is one of those that I look to first for information on enterprise players like SAP. Speaking of ZD blogs, sorry to hear that William Ziff (where Ziff Davis got its name) died today.

Anyway, thanks to the SAP community who invited me to come and listen. I wish I had spent the whole week. There’s a lot more I can learn from SAP’s developer community.

Oh, and thanks to Charlie Wood for making a photo of me interviewing Shai.

Hello from SAP’s unplanned, but cool, community conference

I thought this guy looked familiar, I met him at Foocamp a few years ago. His name is Mark Finnern and he works for SAP.

But check out those boards behind him. Yeah, SAP is using the unplanned model that Foocamp introduced. Put a grid on the wall and let people suggest their own sessions. It’s going over big time here in Las Vegas. Mark adopted the Foocamp model to SAP’s community event, meeting in Las Vegas today.

I was just there and they have 312 community members here today for SDN Day, which is SAP’s new developer network (more than 5,000 more come tomorrow for the full-blown SAP conference).

I learned from Mark Yolton, vice president of SAP’s developer network, that SAP is turning from a siloed app model into a platform model where developers can build all sorts of stuff on top of, and around, SAP.

Has this converstion been successful? They just celebrated having  more than half a million developers in its developer network. In just three years. This is stunning growth for a developer network, especially for a product that doesn’t have the consumer appeal of, say, something Google or Apple builds.

This team is getting quite adept at building huge communities. Another proof point? Tomorrow SAP will announce the Business Process Expert Community. It just opened and already it has 30,000 members.

Anyway, meeting lots of SAP’ers. Anything you want to know about SAP?

One other thing, SAP has a strong blogger relations program. When I got up to the registration booth they even had a separate area for bloggers to register. They even have blogger badges.

My 9/11 history was erased

UserLand erased my 9/11 posts. I was reminded of that by the Wired article on how 9/11 catalyzed blogging.

Back then I was blogging on UserLand’s Manilasites service, which was free. About a year ago UserLand turned that service off and my posts from 9/11 were lost forever. Even the Internet Archive doesn’t have them.

I remember waking up at around 8 a.m. to the radio, which was already carrying wall-to-wall news about that awful day. I immediately got up, turned on CNN just in time to see the first tower fall. I could not believe it. I remember talking with Dave Winer several times that day.

My son drew two pictures, one of a happy NY and one of a sad and destroyed NY. Those were linked to by Lycos, which sent probably hundreds of thousands of people over to my blog. I so wish I had those images to share with you today. I remember the frowning sun.

One other thing I remember was having tons of IM windows open. I believe I talked with people in more than 30 countries that day. Even back then the word-of-mouth network was getting to be hyper efficient. I can’t even imagine what TechMeme or Digg would do with such a story today. The next disaster will be dramatically different because of sites like those.

It’s too bad the first couple of years of my blogging are gone. 9/11 kicked off quite a tumultuous period in my life. In late October I had a car wreck where I totaled my car. Around that time my first marriage blew up, and I started going out with Maryam. Oh, and we shipped Radio UserLand. My grandma died. I laid myself off, then found a job at NEC. And a few other things happened there too. Oh, yeah, I proposed to Maryam in front of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas January 1, 2002. All this happened in a six-month period after 9/11.

Speaking of which, I’m staying in the same hotel I proposed to Maryam at (the SAP shindig starts in a few hours). I miss her. I miss the towers. I miss my old blogs. I miss the freedoms we’ve given up since (having my carryons checked for chemical explosives and not being able to carry in drinks at the airport is just a couple of the ways things have changed).

I have a good attitude toward losing my blogs, though. It doesn’t matter in the end.

I wonder if we come back in 100 years how much of any of our blogs will still be around and findable? 300 years? 1,000 years?

Funny enough, I wish I could erase my memories of that dreadful day … Sigh.