The new Robert Scoble Services agenda

Oh, Dave, I couldn’t say “clone the Google API”¬†in public! But you did. So I’ll riff on it. I agree with it. I’ll even repeat it. Clone the Google API. Clone the Google API. Clone the Google API. Without the limits. Without the limits. Without the limits.

Here’s my riff:

See, there are two diseases at Microsoft:

1) We look at the world only through a businessperson’s eyes.
2) We have no clue about the power of influentials.

The first one makes us look like greedy, rapacious, businesspeople. And, generally, we are. ūüėČ Let’s just get that on the table here, OK? We would like to see our stock price go up. We would love to make a boat load of money. And be able to do even more to change the world. I don’t know why we try to run away from that, but the more we try to run away from the fact that we’re trying to make a profit here the less credible we’ll be.

The thing is, if we want to be in the advertising world, we need to be in the audience thrilling business. That’s not going to be easy for us. Why? Cause thrilling an audience is a different skill than identifying, strategizing, and executing a business plan (er, making a boatload of money). That’s why when you’re at a baseball game they try to hide the business guys off in some box somewhere. Or, why, during a rock concert they don’t let executives who wear ties out on stage. Unless it’s to write a check to some charity.

So, if we want to gather an audience together, we must think differently. We must do things that thrill audiences. We CAN NOT chase Google’s tailpipes. Audiences NEVER go for copies. Ever see all those copies of Star Wars? I saw a few. They all sucked. Not because they did anything wrong, but they were copies and we all knew it.

We need to go in new directions that Google isn’t going in.

And, in fact, that’s what Google is doing to us. Larry Page told me last week that teams inside Google often try to create projects to copy Microsoft. And he kills them. Why? Cause he knows that he will never get a big audience by copying something we do.

We also need to get out of the greedy mode. We need to share. Why will someone put Virtual Earth on their Web site? Well, let’s look at why Chris Pirillo puts a Google AdSense component on his site. THEY PAY HIM.

That tells Chris that, while Google might be a greedy group of businesspeople too who are trying to make a boatload of money, they SHARE WITH HIM some of that money!!!

We’ve gotta get that. That’s the whole key to having a successfull Internet advertising business.

This leads me to the second point.

2) We don’t know how to thrill influentials. Google does. Maybe by accident. Maybe by plan. I don’t care anymore. They found a way to bring us a little better search with advertising that sucked a lot less. That’s really why they are on fire.

How did they do it? They didn’t do it by doing committee meetings. By doing focus groups. By studying millions of users. They did it by understanding the leading edge of users and serving them well. They did NOT serve my dad well in the early days. It took me two years to switch my dad from AltaVista to Google. They DID serve ME well, though. On every user study I’ve seen I’m way off the end of the bell curve. But Google groks people like me. They serve people like me. And they romance people like me in a way that no other company does.

Hint: Google is still not doing things for my dad. They are doing things like Google Talk. For me. Things like Google video. For me. Not for the mass markets, but for the influentials.

So, when you see Microsoft not supporting Firefox out of the gate, you are seeing that we don’t get the role of influentials in gathering audiences.

Now, we’re not out of this game yet. It might be the end of the third quarter. Or the beginning of the fourth. We might be down 48-3. But, if we play a different game than Google we have a shot.

It’ll take doing things that Google can’t do. 1) Being transparent. 2) Supporting an open attention system. 3) Changing the search game by opening up its APIs. 4) Investing in gadgets and services that don’t have any monetization strategy other than to thrill audiences (er, influentials first).

If we do those four things then you’ll know we’ve really gotten this services thing. If not, well, I don’t want to even consider the possibility that we won’t. Those are my four agenda items for the next year.

And, yes, this little technical evangelist seven levels down from the CEO who makes less than $100,000, will bet his career on these four things. They are that important.

Oh, anyone see that Robert Scoble Services spells RSS? Heh!

Joel, and others, give us hell for

Joel Spolsky gives us hell for Tags us with “Marimba effect.”

I don’t think it was clear. This was the beginning of a major rudder turn on Microsoft.

This was Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie and others (Steve Ballmer internally) yelling at all of us to “turn, turn, turn.”

Yesterday will be remembered not because of what we announced. But because of the direction we’re now headed in.

Microsoft is no longer an applications company. It is a services company.

Don’t get caught up in the badly-pulled-off demos yesterday.

There is something a lot deeper happening inside Microsoft than that.

Yesterday I talked with Jenny Lam. You might not know her. But she’s one of Microsoft’s new leaders. To me, she’s the face of where Microsoft MUST GO.

She’s an experience designer. She designed the visual experience for the PDC. She does lots of the graphics you’ll see on the desktop of Windows Vista.

Everytime I see her touch a project, it turns into something interesting. She adds emotion. Art. Humaness. Romance. Kindness. Playfulness.¬†And a distinctly female touch. No, stupid, not pink or flannel sheets (you’re missing the point). But the kind of touch that my wife adds to my home.

Joel: you’re right, if we just announced only it’d be tagged with its unusable and broken state. But you’re all paying attention to the wrong thing. What really was happening is Bill and Steve and Ray are saying “it’s a new day at Microsoft and everyone here better pay attention.”

Oh, I’m paying attention, all right. This whole thing is ALL about attention.

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 page or in other places. It’s about a new URL for search. Sorry, typing in 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.


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.

Microsoft talks about its new services strategy

I’m watching Ray Ozzie on stage in San Francisco. All Microsoft employees can watch it live. I LOVE our intranet!

Dave Winer is blogging.
So is Dan Farber of ZDNet.
So is Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.
So is Todd Bishop of Seattle PI.
Michael Gartenberg gave his analysis.
Richard MacManus gives his analysis.
Niall Kennedy is blogging too.

They are showing off Windows Live. New URL is . Updated: it doesn’t yet work completely on Firefox or other browsers. They promise more support is coming. Sorry. and are two other sites that were demoed. Sean Alexander has a brief note about those.