A lesson to corporate types: it’s good to catalyze conversations by sending out free stuff, but only if you’re pretty sure you’re already best of breed. For an example read Joel Spolsky’s report on a Sprint Phone he got to try out cause he’s a blogger.
Now, if Sprint listens to Joel and improves its next product? This will turn into a win. But, for now, I don’t see how this helps Sprint out in any way. Do you?
Free samples are good when it’s a new concept you’re trying to introduce to the marketplace. Sonos, for instance, has gotten great mileage by sending sample units out to bloggers and other influentials. That’s a totally new idea for an audio system and can’t be easily explained through a video — it’s something you need to experience to understand.
Now, if I had a sucky product (or was the #3 search engine like Microsoft) I’d keep bringing influentials in to LISTEN to them and improve the product so that they stop bitching.
Oh, wait, that’s what Microsoft was doing with its MSN Search Champs. They are getting better. Will they ever pass Google? Well “ever” is a long time and Microsoft has a lot of money they can spend on that problem.
Anyway, if all this corporate talk bores you, hey, the Ruby programming language site has a nice spiffy new design! I found out about that over on the Ruby on Rails blog. (Ruby on Rails is the framework that powers a lot of Web 2.0 sites).