Listening to Dave Winer’s talk to NPR types

We’re playing Dave Winer’s talk to NPR types yesterday on the car stereo as we drive up to Vancouver. We’re only a few minutes into the talk and already it’s a great talk. Dave Winer at his visionary best. How do you judge interesting talks? I judge them by “did it cause conversations at parties away from the event?” This one did, which is why we’re listening now. He’s talking about things the podcasting industry should do.

Microsoft has no innovator’s dillema?

Oh, boy, Don Dodge says that Microsoft will not fall into innovator’s dillema.

Hmmm, someday I’ll post an email to me from a top Microsoft executive that had the words “business value” repeated 13 times (I asked them to buy a variety of things, including Flickr (this email was written three weeks before Yahoo bought Flickr). The executive was running a business with billions in revenue and didn’t see the business value in what I was proposing Microsoft do. Truth is, Microsoft is run by people who aren’t taking risks and don’t see the value in Web stuff. Why can I say that? Name a single Microsoft Internet product/service that made you say “wow” in the past three years. I can’t name one and I’ve been looking.

But, in this trip to Seattle I had a few meetings with MSFTies that I didn’t talk about cause they don’t want to be quoted on my blog. In them I was reminded once again that Microsoft has a far deeper problem: it isn’t shipping cool stuff THAT IT ALREADY HAS BUILT. I can’t tell more. I heard the story of yet another team that had a killer service that was killed. Funny enough several members of that team have left because they were demoralized about building something cool, getting close enough to ship that they had already sent the technology outside of Microsoft to partners, and then getting reorged and getting the product killed.

It isn’t the first time I’ve heard this story, either. I remember when Mark Lucovsky said “Microsoft has forgotten how to ship software.”
I stuck up at that time for Microsoft. Kevin Schofield, who works in MS Research, defended Microsoft too. But, yet again, another developer left Microsoft (this time Chandu Thota, on the Virtual Earth team, who is starting up his own company). Just remember, happy workers don’t leave. And the continual flow of smart developers leaving Microsoft tells me that Microsoft has deep managerial problems that are going to prove challenging to overcome.

But, I’ve learned never to bet against companies with billions of dollars in its pocket and tons of smart people still working there.

If Microsoft gets the marketing teams, the executives who are constantly reorging teams, the bean counters who don’t want to spend money to acquire interesting companies, out of the way, watch out.

Then what Don Dodge says will really have some truth behind it. Until then, Microsoft is sure getting boring to watch lately.

Can’t wait to hear what Ray Ozzie is working on. The silence gets worse for Microsoft with every passing day. I wonder how many companies are looking into Amazon’s S3 service yesterday. Last night I met Jeff Barr, Amazon’s Web Services evangelist, he told me that I wouldn’t believe how many customers are adopting that service and how big Amazon’s data centers are getting because of it.