Misreading Scoble on Microsoft cry

I agree with Ethan Eismann that TechCrunch took my post a little too far in an incorrect direction. It’s my fault for getting everyone worked up. In hindsight, I probably should have kept my mouth shut until I was released from an embargo.

It’s interesting where people are going with this. TechCrunch even followed up its earlier post (but took my post into a new, also incorrect, direction). The problem is that Microsoft brings so much baggage to any conversation about it. When you say “Microsoft is doing something cool” then people’s imaginations run too wild to things like operating systems, productivity apps, data centers or databases, video game consoles, or other things that you’ve seen Microsoft do in the past. Some over on TechCrunch are even talking about Photosynth or the Touch table-top device. The thing I’m talking about is NOT anything you’ve seen Microsoft do before. I also shouldn’t have associated it with things like the World Wide Web. It +might+ be that significant, but if we all met in 1994 and met with Tim Berners-Lee, very few of us could have guessed that the Web would have the impact that it ended up having. Heck, even Tim didn’t know the real impact. If he had, wouldn’t he have started something like Google or Netscape? It’s too premature to put that kind of baggage on a team that’s built something cool and inspiring, but is only two people big and hasn’t yet shown very many people their work. That’s unfair of me and I’m sorry about that. That said, I think it will stand up to the kind of hype I unleashed yesterday. It is still inspiring me and I still want to get my hands on it as soon as possible.

Instead of letting your expectations run wild, let’s stay calm. This is just a service that inspired me and made me react emotionally, in a way that few things I see make me react.

A few other things.

1. Sometimes, er, often, I get it wrong. I thought Tablet PC and Origami (and Vista) would be far more significant than they turned out to be (several people pointed that out, and they were right to do so).
2. Remember that I’m talking about a two person team, along with a few others. That limits the scope as to what can be done. Remember, Facebook is about 500 people now. Google? More than 10,000. Etc. Etc. So, what I saw is something small. Like I said, if I told you what it was a lot of you would say “Scoble, that really is lame.”
3. I believe that attendees at TED will get a quick look at this, but I’m not sure. Employees (and possibly others, including the press/bloggers) at Microsoft will see it at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest on March 4th. I won’t say anything else about it until March 3rd, when our video show starts up at FastCompany.tv. Last year Microsoft invited a few bloggers and journalists to come up and tour the TechFest, I’m not sure if they are doing that this year, sorry.
4. Valleywag told me off and said I should keep my mouth shut because this kind of hype can kill a product. That’s true. But, remember what Steve Jobs said about hype about the iPhone? He said that if the product delivers on the hype no one will care. On the other hand, see #1. That said my friends tell me that this service is deserving of the hype that I gave it.
5. Sometimes I just get so excited about things I see that I have to tell you and damn the consequences. This is one of those times.
6. I don’t believe this service will ship or be usable anytime soon. Remember that this is a Microsoft Research project and that they build things that aren’t meant to be production quality. We’ll talk more about what it is and when you’ll get to get your own hands on it on March 3rd. When I first saw Photosynth it was quite a few months before it was out in people’s hands.
7. Some have pointed out that the Segway didn’t live up to the same kind of hype that I gave this service. Good point. Let’s get together on March 3rd and talk more.

Anyway, back to regular postings…

UPDATE: Kevin Schofield, after I posted, wrote that I did cause his team some trouble yesterday.

96 thoughts on “Misreading Scoble on Microsoft cry

  1. Dave: no one asked me to backpedal. I just am seeing people take it into weird areas and see that I might have done some serious harm to something pretty darn cool.

  2. Dave: no one asked me to backpedal. I just am seeing people take it into weird areas and see that I might have done some serious harm to something pretty darn cool.

  3. Jeff: I agree with you, sort of. Is CERN going to change your life? Absolutely. But will it be usable anytime soon? No. Even after the findings come out, the data shared there won’t really be useful to normal people for quite some time. Of course that lab also spun out a small thing called the World Wide Web. Totally unexpected and totally huge.

    Let’s talk again on March 3.

  4. Jeff: I agree with you, sort of. Is CERN going to change your life? Absolutely. But will it be usable anytime soon? No. Even after the findings come out, the data shared there won’t really be useful to normal people for quite some time. Of course that lab also spun out a small thing called the World Wide Web. Totally unexpected and totally huge.

    Let’s talk again on March 3.

  5. Robert,

    Sometime in 2004, way before smartphones with live traffic on maps were even on the market, I had the privilege of watching a prominent MSR researcher demo live traffic on his cell phone while visiting our research lab at a University not in Seattle. The sad thing is that I don’t this technology ever made it to Windows Mobile phones before Google Maps had live traffic.

    When I broached this topic with a professor who has worked with MSR pretty much from the beginning I was told that this kind of thing is the norm. MSR has the coolest technology but for some reason it rarely ever makes it to products and certainly not in time.

    I hope this one works differently but I feel for the researchers who work hard to prototype things like these only to see competitors catch up and productize similar things before MSFT.

  6. Robert,

    Sometime in 2004, way before smartphones with live traffic on maps were even on the market, I had the privilege of watching a prominent MSR researcher demo live traffic on his cell phone while visiting our research lab at a University not in Seattle. The sad thing is that I don’t this technology ever made it to Windows Mobile phones before Google Maps had live traffic.

    When I broached this topic with a professor who has worked with MSR pretty much from the beginning I was told that this kind of thing is the norm. MSR has the coolest technology but for some reason it rarely ever makes it to products and certainly not in time.

    I hope this one works differently but I feel for the researchers who work hard to prototype things like these only to see competitors catch up and productize similar things before MSFT.

  7. I agree with Jeff above .. until the market (early adopters really) samples, tests and finds value in whatever it is .. it’s not really important to the man in the street ..

  8. I agree with Jeff above .. until the market (early adopters really) samples, tests and finds value in whatever it is .. it’s not really important to the man in the street ..

  9. I don’t care about anything that can’t be usable soon. Photosynth, Microsofts Big A$$ Table, whatever this thing is your talking about. It’s irrelevent until it launches and is useful.

  10. Hmm oh well,

    you have to admit that Photosynth was a pretty logical conclusion from the info that you gave us and it’s the only thing i’ve really been impressed about from Microsoft in a long time.

    If it’s as good as photosynth then great. If it’s as good as you’re saying, then excellent.

    And i’ve had to rename my (now wildly inaccurate, but very logical) post:

    http://peteremcc.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/scobles-mystery-solved/

    I await with interest…

  11. I don’t care about anything that can’t be usable soon. Photosynth, Microsofts Big A$$ Table, whatever this thing is your talking about. It’s irrelevent until it launches and is useful.

  12. Hmm oh well,

    you have to admit that Photosynth was a pretty logical conclusion from the info that you gave us and it’s the only thing i’ve really been impressed about from Microsoft in a long time.

    If it’s as good as photosynth then great. If it’s as good as you’re saying, then excellent.

    And i’ve had to rename my (now wildly inaccurate, but very logical) post:

    http://peteremcc.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/scobles-mystery-solved/

    I await with interest…

  13. Paul: good point. Zuckerberg told me three weeks ago that it was over 400. I figured that they’ve hired a few people in the last couple weeks. Everytime I’m at Facebook the lobby is full of people interviewing.

  14. Paul: good point. Zuckerberg told me three weeks ago that it was over 400. I figured that they’ve hired a few people in the last couple weeks. Everytime I’m at Facebook the lobby is full of people interviewing.

  15. OMG I saw that stuff at Microsoft and it made me more emotional than you Scoble. I cried and my arm fell off it was so inspirational!!!!11!!one!!!

    Please tell SlashTechDiggCrunchDot and the A listers, it is a slow news day and they may as well talk about my arm falling off (my left arm) because of all the shock (good shock) and emotion (a tear came out of my eye ball) and went down my face.

    monk.e.boy

    http://teethgrinder.co.uk/open-flash-chart/

  16. OMG I saw that stuff at Microsoft and it made me more emotional than you Scoble. I cried and my arm fell off it was so inspirational!!!!11!!one!!!

    Please tell SlashTechDiggCrunchDot and the A listers, it is a slow news day and they may as well talk about my arm falling off (my left arm) because of all the shock (good shock) and emotion (a tear came out of my eye ball) and went down my face.

    monk.e.boy

    http://teethgrinder.co.uk/open-flash-chart/

  17. No worries. I look forward to the video. But, now you’ve got me watching Sir Martin Reese’s presentation from TED.

    Cheers!

  18. No worries. I look forward to the video. But, now you’ve got me watching Sir Martin Reese’s presentation from TED.

    Cheers!

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