Category Archives: music

Scott is confused by “Live”

Scott Hanselman, one of our best customers, is confused by Windows Live.

Shhh, Scott, don’t tell anyone, but this isn’t about just the portal. And if anyone at Microsoft thinks it is I’m gonna come and kick them in the rear.

It’s about a new advertising platform. It’s about giving users new services that can be docked on the live.com page or in other places. It’s about a new URL for search. Sorry, typing in http://search.msn.com was too confusing and convoluted. It’s a lot easier to say “go to live dot com.”

It’ll all make sense when the subdomains start popping in.

What opportunity is there for developers? Lots. See, you’ll be able to create a service box that’ll drive traffic back to your site or blog. Why would you do that? Well, on your blog you’ll have a monetization service that’ll give you a paycheck.

But, yes, they made this stuff too complicated. I see it clearly in my mind now. I’m going to get some videos now and make these teams simplify what they are trying to say.

We don’t know how to romance developers anymore (if we ever did). Sorry about that.

Oh, Joe Wilcox wrote a post about “what is live.”

Jeff’s eyes are bloodshot

Jeff Sandquist was just in my office and he’s wiped cause he and Adam Kinney shipped the Microsoft Gadget site last night.

It’s interesting that there are a TON of blogs about the new Live stuff. Just visit Memeorandum for a good list. Hey, I noticed a lot of you haven’t figured out there are some cool options in Memeorandum (click that “preferences” link in top right!!!)

Tim O’Reilly’s blog about the event got noticed here at Redmond. Why? Cause he said this: “The big takeaway: Microsoft is fully engaged with thinking about what I’ve called “Web 2.0.”” and this: “Overall, leaves me with a lot of optimism that Microsoft is fully engaged with the right problems, and we’ll be hearing a lot more from them.”

Tim is one of the main guys who is pushing the concept of “Web 2.0″ so this is interesting that he sees Microsoft as a major player now.

Me?

I keep going back to that list of things I posted this morning. We need to nail those. AND we need to make a killer advertising platform.

Here’s some principles I’m going to be pushing for as this advertising platform gets built out:

 1) Share the attention data openly and transparently. Don’t be greedy, make that a key part of, and a differentiator of, our platform. Steve Gillmor’s Attention Trust is getting my attention. If that gets us to think about how to share our attention data, that’ll be huge. If we turn into greedy, evil, bahstahrds with your attention data, then we’ll lose a real opportunity to build something special here. I feel like I’m at Apple Computer back in 1988 or 89 and people were asking Apple to license the OS. In a few years it’ll be too late.

2) Give a clear, consistent, easy-to-understand, business model. I’m still struggling to understand what I’ll get by putting a new Windows Live service on my blog or business site, for instance. Will I get buzz? (That new Virtual Earth gadget looked pretty cool). Or, will I get money like Google’s AdSense pays? I’ll be pushing Gates to fund four “buzz components” for every “monetization component.” This is important to make the advertizing ecosystem work.

Anyway, I really like Niall Kennedy’s photos of the event. It’s going to be interesting to watch Microsoft change over the next few months.

Ross doesn’t trust Microsoft’s approach to Web

SocialText’s founder, Ross Mayfield, nails why a bunch of my friends don’t trust Microsoft and are finding what Microsoft’s Web offerings quite boring (or, even worse, worthy of derision).

As I’ve been going around the world I’ve been meeting with many people who’ve built their companies on non-Microsoft stuff. Some of whom have companies worth billions of dollars now. Some of whom you’ve never heard about unless you read TechCrunch. Here’s 12 reasons Web 2.0 entrepreneurs like Ross tell me that they aren’t using Microsoft’s stuff:

1) Startup costs. Linux is free. Ruby on Rails is free. MySQL is free.
2) Performance per dollar. They perceive that a Linux server running Apache has more performance than IIS running .NET.
3) Finding tech staff is easier. There are a whole new raft of young, highly skilled people willing to work long hours at startups who can build sites using Ruby on Rails.
4) Perception of scalability. The geeks who run these new businesses perceive that they can scale up their data centers with Linux and not with Windows (the old “Google runs on Linux” argument).
5) That Microsoft doesn’t care about small businesses. After all, Microsoft is an evil borg, but Ruby on Rails comes from a single guy: David Heinemeier Hansson. He has a blog and answers questions fast.
6) That open source makes it easier to fix problems and/or build custom solutions. A variant of the old “Google or Amazon couldn’t be built on Windows” argument.
7) On clients, they want to choose the highest-reach platforms. That doesn’t mean a Windows app. Or even an app that runs only in IE. It must run on every variant of Linux and Macintosh too.
8) They don’t want to take shit from their friends (or, even, their Venture Capitalist). Most of this is just pure cost-control. I can hear the conversation now: “OK, you wanna go with Windows as your platform, but is the extra feature worth the licensing fees for Windows?”
9) No lockin. These new businesses don’t want to be locked into a specific vendor’s problems, er products. Why? Because that way they can’t shop for the best price among tools (or move to something else if the architecture changes).
10) More security. The new businesses perceive Linux, Apache, Firefox, and other open source stuff to have higher security than stuff built on Windows.
11) More agility. I’ve had entrepreneurs tell me they need to be able to buy a server and have it totally up and running in less than 30 minutes and that they say that Linux is better at that.
12) The working set is smaller. Because Linux can be stripped down, the entrepreneurs are telling me that they can make their server-side stuff run faster and with less memory usage.

Now, why am I telling you this stuff? After all, I’ve just given you a list of perceived competitive advantages for Linux, Ruby on Rails, MySQL, and others. Isn’t this yet another example of why Scoble should be fired for being negative on his own company?

No.

See, I don’t want uninformed customers. That doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help Microsoft. It doesn’t help the customers. I want you to ask your Microsoft salesperson the tough questions before you buy into any of our new Web stuff. And, I start with the presumption my readers are smart enough to use Google or MSN or Yahoo to find out this information anyway. If you don’t get the right answers from Microsoft when it comes time to consider new Web technologies/methodologies/tools, er, if we don’t answer these points above, then I want you to run to the competition (and I’ll help you go there, just like I did when I helped run a camera store in the 1980s). And, when we bring services out, or bring new Web strategies out, I want you to trust us because we treated you right and gave you all the information.

Thanks Ross, though, for bringing your distrust out into the open. That’s helpful cause at least we can work on it now. And deal with it openly, without FUD, is what we’re going to do. Or, we’re going to be fired. That’s my cautionary tale to everyone inside Microsoft. Pay attention to this stuff or you’ll find yourself working somewhere else cause the customers went somewhere else.

What do you think? Did I miss anything in my list of 12?

How are people finding blogs? It’s not blog search engines

Inside Microsoft we have interesting discussions about our blogs. Today Michael Rys sent around his stats. 72.86% of his traffic (about 2500 visits today) came from search engines. 25.84% came from Web sites, including other blogs, .89% came from email. .41% came from news groups. Of the traffic that came from search engines, 94.56% came from Google. 2.49% came from Yahoo. 1.83% came from MSN Search. Does Google have a monopoly in search? I’ll let you answer that question, cause I’m not a lawyer.

Oh, and he also has a blog on http://blogs.msdn.com but that one gets far less of its traffic from search engines, which tells him that not all blog URLs are being rated the same.

Also, blog search engines like Technorati aren’t bringing him any noticeable traffic. That matches what I’m seeing in my referer logs too. I wonder if Google’s blog search is going to change that much. I doubt it. Time-based search isn’t as easy to use as link-based-relevancy-search like what Google’s main engine gives us.

Dare says I just rediscovered Hailstorm

Dare Obasanjo, who works on the backend team at MSN, says I just rediscovered Hailstorm (which was Microsoft’s doomed effort to host your data on its servers). Hmmm, I didn’t remember Hailstorm being aimed at end users. I also didn’t remember that Microsoft tried to take people slowly into that world. They wanted them to jump in feet first. They also didn’t have the trust of customers the way Google has the trust of people on the street.

The other thing that’s hurting Microsoft? We don’t have a monetization gadget. Do we pay bloggers yet to include components? Not yet. Google does. That gets bloggers and Silicon Valley businesspeople to feel good about including their components on Web pages (and bootstraps them into this new world in a way that keeps people from screaming). Oh, and they didn’t name it “Hailstorm.”

Jason asks what I think of Microsoft jumping into the hosted application space

Jason Fried, founder of 37 Signals, asks me what I think of the news that Microsoft is jumping into the hosted application space.

I say that’s cool, but Google is building both Web Monetization Gadgets and Web Buzz and Brand Building Gadgets. They are building an advertising platform that’s very interesting. Google is no longer a search company.

Personally, I share Jason’s skepticism. I wanna see shipping services and gadgets. Enough talk. More action needed. Google has their stuff out there (even if they do call it all “beta”). Yahoo, in many ways, is further along than Google (but not in advertising model, which is why their stock price isn’t going nutty like Google’s is).

I want to get a more complete look at what we’re doing first, though, before I mouth off. I hope to sit down with Ray in the coming weeks and get a good look at what we’re doing.