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.


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?


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 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.

Gates ‘not afraid’ of Google

Heh, Bill is giving me lots of stuff to talk about tonight at a certain party at a certain Mountain View, CA location that I’m not allowed to blog about. Sorry, not my rules.

Larry and Sergey (the two main Google guys) tell me that the competition between Google and its competitors are way overexaggerated, by the way. I agree and yes, I just did break the blog quotation rules here. :-). It’s all about who does the best job for people. I’ve been meeting with execs from all over the world (only a small percentage of them are from Google) all day long and I see total untapped opportunity. I mean, freaking, big, untapped opportunity. The kind where people who run major media companies walk up to you and say “can you help us?” Google and MSN and Yahoo all put together haven’t even tapped a small percentage of the potential opportunity. We’re all leaving money on the table.

So, the challenge for all of our companies is to go after the untapped markets. If you’re a gold miner, are you gonna get rich by mining where other people and companies have mined already? Maybe, but it’s a lot harder work. Why not look at the vein that’s totally being ignored.

No one has nailed time-based search. No one has really nailed people-based search. No one has nailed metrics (can I go to any search engine and see a list of everyone I’ve ever linked to and how many times I’ve linked — or the other way, how many people have linked to me and how many times they’ve linked to me?)

Has anyone figured out really how to put blogs and photos on maps? Has anyone figured out how to mix professional news and amateur news in a way that demonstrates the correctness/authority/reputation of the article itself and the author in aggregate?

Has anyone figured out how to make advertising fun? Has anyone figured out how to report back to the search engines which people have actually bought anything after clicking on an ad and which ones just looked?

Has anyone figured out how to really translate from Farsi to Chinese to Japanese to English and back?

Has anyone figured out how to put a search engine onto an iPod?

Shall I go on? There’s lots of work in this industry for hundreds of companies to do without stepping on each other’s toes. When all the Internet challenges get done then we can worry about fighting.

MSN Search geeks on Channel 9

I just posted a frank talk with two of the geeks who are building MSN Search. It’s an hour long, and you’ll get a little look into how the geeks who build search engines think. If you’re interested in search, I think this one will be interesting to you. I was pretty hard on this team cause they are in the #3 spot. We talk about Google, noise, spam, and lots of other stuff.

I’m off to fly down to Silicon Valley. See ya tonight. I’ll be going to the TechCrunch Meetup, but will be there a bit late.