Back home from MySpace

MySpace tour

What an awesome treatment Rocky and I got at MySpace. We had full access to their executive team for hours today.

We just got home after driving for seven hours, so will try to get a post up tomorrow sometime (although we have a busy schedule tomorrow, too, starting at 8 a.m. at Cisco). This set of interviews and tours inside MySpace will definitely be part of our launch package on March 3.

Chris DeWolfe, MySpace CEO, in his office

Just wanted to say thank you to Dani Dudeck, who arranged a world-class tour and set of interviews (it was the best access I’ve had to a company since leaving Microsoft — starting with a fun interview with Chris DeWolfe, CEO/Founder, pictured here).

First impression? I have way underestimated MySpace. They have some serious tools to use in the fight for developers. Heck, the posters on almost every wall which documented some cool secret concert somewhere is a good demonstration of the coolness this company can call upon to engage with developers (and some of the developers hinted that they have a few surprises under their sleeves). One other advantage? MySpace is already available in 25 countries and has a passionate and loyal audience (my son’s friends, for instance, won’t switch to Facebook, and neither will my brother, who advertises his Virginia bar on MySpace).

A board I found on one MySpace'ers desk

And what’s up with this guy? He’s Tom Anderson and he wants to be everyone’s friend. I thought I had a lot of friends until I compared to Tom: he has more than 100 million friends on MySpace. Of course he’s automatically added to everyone’s profile, which you’ll hear in the videos, is a competitive advantage for MySpace. Yes, they did point out that they don’t have any technical limitations on the numbers of friends one person could have on their system.

Tom Anderson makes another friend

When you see the videos you’ll see that MySpace has a philosophy. One that says that users should be free to express themselves in pretty much whatever way they want. If that means yellow text on a blinking purple background, so be it.

Steven Pearman, runs product development for MySpace

Who’s the keeper of that philosophy? Steve Pearman (seen here). He demonstrated something that I wish more corporate types would demonstrate (including me). He pointed out several times in our interview that he doesn’t have any claim on knowing the right way to do something. He said that even if he were pretty correct, say, that 95% of MySpace’s users agreed with him, that’d mean that millions of people would still disagree with his decision.

Imagine that kind of pressure to get it absolutely right. He came up with an interesting answer, which we’ll save for the video on March 3.

Anyway, gotta get some sleep so I can be ready to talk with Cisco executives in the morning.

Oh, and as always, all of my photos are completely in the public domain so you can use them for whatever you’d like without giving me credit or anything in return. That’s a gift from me and Fast Company Magazine.