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.

Comments

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

    Cheers!

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

    Cheers!

  3. 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/

  4. 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/

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ..

  12. 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 ..

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Re: Microsofties complaining about too much attention being paid to one of their innovations, please. When was the last time they had that problem? They gave a tour to a *blogger*. And your heart’s clearly in the right place, so you don’t need to apologize.

  20. Re: Microsofties complaining about too much attention being paid to one of their innovations, please. When was the last time they had that problem? They gave a tour to a *blogger*. And your heart’s clearly in the right place, so you don’t need to apologize.

  21. “This is just a service that inspired me and made me react emotionally, in a way that few things I see make me react.”

    You seem to fly off the handle emotionally every few days, so… This is either really good or yet another tornado of empty hype.

  22. “This is just a service that inspired me and made me react emotionally, in a way that few things I see make me react.”

    You seem to fly off the handle emotionally every few days, so… This is either really good or yet another tornado of empty hype.

  23. Microsoft has major traction on the client-side/UI. I fear it will have something to do with this strength.

    Perhaps it will be a new take on Mashups and widgets. 2d/3d can be used from the organization point of view. But a security sandbox comes first.

    I fear it will make have use of .NET’s features. :-)

    It could reinvent the Web browser at the same time. Then again, maybe it shouldn’t.

    But having a heavy modern touch, and media touch, it could provide for some cool effects. It could make use of integrated browser widgets and RSS reader widgets or things like that, the user being able to customize it all.

    By integrating cool features, it could in the soon future be integrated in the next versions of Windows. Think mobile or Windows 2010.

    The appeal could have to do with allowing users to customize and organize in multiple ways. And it will have a huge media and Internet traction.

  24. Microsoft has major traction on the client-side/UI. I fear it will have something to do with this strength.

    Perhaps it will be a new take on Mashups and widgets. 2d/3d can be used from the organization point of view. But a security sandbox comes first.

    I fear it will make have use of .NET’s features. :-)

    It could reinvent the Web browser at the same time. Then again, maybe it shouldn’t.

    But having a heavy modern touch, and media touch, it could provide for some cool effects. It could make use of integrated browser widgets and RSS reader widgets or things like that, the user being able to customize it all.

    By integrating cool features, it could in the soon future be integrated in the next versions of Windows. Think mobile or Windows 2010.

    The appeal could have to do with allowing users to customize and organize in multiple ways. And it will have a huge media and Internet traction.

  25. So you got excited about a new, innovative product. I dont see anything wrong with that. In fact, its nice to see people get passionate about something. I dont see what all the fuss is about.

    BTW, I think being limited to two people does not limit the POTENTIAL of any team or their product. I know you didnt say it would, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. Yahoo was started by two people, same with Google! Whether or not it lives up to the hype, I see nothing wrong with the hype itself.

  26. So you got excited about a new, innovative product. I dont see anything wrong with that. In fact, its nice to see people get passionate about something. I dont see what all the fuss is about.

    BTW, I think being limited to two people does not limit the POTENTIAL of any team or their product. I know you didnt say it would, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. Yahoo was started by two people, same with Google! Whether or not it lives up to the hype, I see nothing wrong with the hype itself.

  27. Oh! I know! they have a Second Life island. And they’re making a widget. HTML on a prim! Finally! And not a moment too soon are going to put that up any minute. And yes, this will revolutionize virtual worlds.

    They could call it Worlds for Windows. I will sell them that idea for $1.5 million. There. I’ll be waiting for my check in the mail now, kthx.

  28. Oh! I know! they have a Second Life island. And they’re making a widget. HTML on a prim! Finally! And not a moment too soon are going to put that up any minute. And yes, this will revolutionize virtual worlds.

    They could call it Worlds for Windows. I will sell them that idea for $1.5 million. There. I’ll be waiting for my check in the mail now, kthx.

  29. we all need inspiration in our lives what with all the crap thats currently going on. I for one am waiting avidly for this announcement. Thx Scooble for raising awareness of this, you did what Microsoft would of paid over a million bux for…

  30. we all need inspiration in our lives what with all the crap thats currently going on. I for one am waiting avidly for this announcement. Thx Scooble for raising awareness of this, you did what Microsoft would of paid over a million bux for…

  31. Hey, Robert, you said ” 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).”

    Well, you were right about the Tablet PC being a big impact technology, except it wasn’t Microsoft’s Tablet PC, it was Apple’s. The iPhone is the X generation Tablet PC in my humble opinion.

    Technology forecasting isn’t a science anyway, so keep looking for us all.

  32. Hey, Robert, you said ” 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).”

    Well, you were right about the Tablet PC being a big impact technology, except it wasn’t Microsoft’s Tablet PC, it was Apple’s. The iPhone is the X generation Tablet PC in my humble opinion.

    Technology forecasting isn’t a science anyway, so keep looking for us all.

  33. It’s not the cool stuff at Microsoft I don’t expect, it’s how they trash the people that create it. Sorry to say it but the small teams that make cool stuff get eaten by bureaucratic bloat. I hope hope hope that changes, I really like Microsoft, it was so exciting growing up with that company close by and watching it grow. There WAS a time when everyone was excited about MSFT and what was coming NEXT but then Jobs took that…

  34. It’s not the cool stuff at Microsoft I don’t expect, it’s how they trash the people that create it. Sorry to say it but the small teams that make cool stuff get eaten by bureaucratic bloat. I hope hope hope that changes, I really like Microsoft, it was so exciting growing up with that company close by and watching it grow. There WAS a time when everyone was excited about MSFT and what was coming NEXT but then Jobs took that…

  35. two people big and hasn’t yet shown very many people their work.

    Well, not directly maybe, but my ‘network’ already (supposedly) knows, could goto the sky on it, but granted my word. But a few things to keep in mind, it’s not a product release, they let other product teams do that, and from my drumbeat, it’s more a conference demo of sorts, the “emotions” more from the “content” than the “technology” itself. How’s that for pulling a Scobleish “talk-about-it-while-not-talking-about-it.” ;)

    That said, by hyping it you killed it. Everyone will look, but it won’t meet expectations, nor the runaway speculations, except for the geeky cave-people that get “emotional” over Excel and Pagemaker.

    Heh, too funny, hyping up a demo, not even a product release itself, slim-pickings there at Microsoft, eh? And even if Research makes good, the parent company will drop the ball, and even if (by some miracle of God) they don’t drop the ball, the market won’t take. And if the market takes (miracle #2), getting it to a decent Version 2 or 3, will require serious Xbox-like subsidization, and Bungie-like forceable buy-outs.

  36. two people big and hasn’t yet shown very many people their work.

    Well, not directly maybe, but my ‘network’ already (supposedly) knows, could goto the sky on it, but granted my word. But a few things to keep in mind, it’s not a product release, they let other product teams do that, and from my drumbeat, it’s more a conference demo of sorts, the “emotions” more from the “content” than the “technology” itself. How’s that for pulling a Scobleish “talk-about-it-while-not-talking-about-it.” ;)

    That said, by hyping it you killed it. Everyone will look, but it won’t meet expectations, nor the runaway speculations, except for the geeky cave-people that get “emotional” over Excel and Pagemaker.

    Heh, too funny, hyping up a demo, not even a product release itself, slim-pickings there at Microsoft, eh? And even if Research makes good, the parent company will drop the ball, and even if (by some miracle of God) they don’t drop the ball, the market won’t take. And if the market takes (miracle #2), getting it to a decent Version 2 or 3, will require serious Xbox-like subsidization, and Bungie-like forceable buy-outs.

  37. Robert, saying who it was that showed you stuff allowed people to work out what area it was in.

    Keeping to the letter of an embargo, but not the spirit of it can only have the effect of making people think twice before telling you anything. Not a good thing in your line of work.

  38. Robert, saying who it was that showed you stuff allowed people to work out what area it was in.

    Keeping to the letter of an embargo, but not the spirit of it can only have the effect of making people think twice before telling you anything. Not a good thing in your line of work.

  39. The thing I’m talking about is NOT anything you’ve seen Microsoft do before.

    Snack food?

    Though it would have to be really, really, REALLY good to wring a tear from my eye. We’re talking Anton Ego, flashback-to-childhood good. You know, Proust’s madeleines and all that.

  40. The thing I’m talking about is NOT anything you’ve seen Microsoft do before.

    Snack food?

    Though it would have to be really, really, REALLY good to wring a tear from my eye. We’re talking Anton Ego, flashback-to-childhood good. You know, Proust’s madeleines and all that.

  41. Microsoft will present Windows Vista SP2 and SP3 immediately after rolling out SP1. A major leap forward is the decision to rename the fake administrator account to ‘genuine advantage administrative account’ which will be hidden by default and may only be retrieved by deleting registry entries as a halfpoweruser (hpu), which will be blocked by default and may only be unblocked by downloading admanpack (450Mb, webinstall only). New expensive courses are being set up so engineers can study their asses off figuring out how to log off, how to change their wallpaper and how to call Microsoft Customer Nag Service in case the machine gets locked entirely.

    Minimum requirements for SP3: 8,6GHz or better triple core, 1Tb free memory, 5 extra harddisks, three NT4 recovery floppies, a floppydrive and a 50-digit personal private genuine advantage code, which will be put on a personalized webpage just once, right after your hundreds of dollars payment has been collected.

  42. Microsoft will present Windows Vista SP2 and SP3 immediately after rolling out SP1. A major leap forward is the decision to rename the fake administrator account to ‘genuine advantage administrative account’ which will be hidden by default and may only be retrieved by deleting registry entries as a halfpoweruser (hpu), which will be blocked by default and may only be unblocked by downloading admanpack (450Mb, webinstall only). New expensive courses are being set up so engineers can study their asses off figuring out how to log off, how to change their wallpaper and how to call Microsoft Customer Nag Service in case the machine gets locked entirely.

    Minimum requirements for SP3: 8,6GHz or better triple core, 1Tb free memory, 5 extra harddisks, three NT4 recovery floppies, a floppydrive and a 50-digit personal private genuine advantage code, which will be put on a personalized webpage just once, right after your hundreds of dollars payment has been collected.

  43. Good grief, did nobody play Elite on their microcomputers 25 years ago?

    Impressive, yes. I expect to see a new version of Elite using this technology. I expect Microsoft to go the extra mile (or should that be light year) instead of waiting for somebody else to do it.

    And a lot of those images will be familiar to anyone who has bookmarked APOD. I also recall something similar (if perhaps innaccurate) at the beginning of the Hollwywood movie “Contact”.

    Get out of the house once in a while and you might realise the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. If WWT helps Americans realise this, so much the better for the rest of the world.

  44. Good grief, did nobody play Elite on their microcomputers 25 years ago?

    Impressive, yes. I expect to see a new version of Elite using this technology. I expect Microsoft to go the extra mile (or should that be light year) instead of waiting for somebody else to do it.

    And a lot of those images will be familiar to anyone who has bookmarked APOD. I also recall something similar (if perhaps innaccurate) at the beginning of the Hollwywood movie “Contact”.

    Get out of the house once in a while and you might realise the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. If WWT helps Americans realise this, so much the better for the rest of the world.