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June 13, 2006

Is Microsoft Blogging, Like, Dunzo?

(dunzo == done, finished, over; no longer worth thinking about)

Consider the following recent events:

Now, there are still a lot of Microsoft bloggers, more every day. But they mostly blog about their product. Which is great for customers, of course. They have a "straight from the horse's mouth" information stream, and there's probably somebody who will help them directly with their problems.

What is disappearing are the blogs that tell stories about life inside Microsoft. Those are important because they help convince people to come work for us. Dare Obasanjo is still around but it's a pretty short list after that.

I went to a presentation class today and the key message was that you have to tell a story. Microsoft is selling itself to potential employees, and blogs are part of the story it can use to sell itself. I don't mean stories like when 25 people all blog about WinFX being renamed to .Net 3.0. I mean stories that show the real human side of Microsoft and make people think it's a place they want to work. And of course, some of those stories aren't going to paint Microsoft in the best light--but those stories are important also. To the extent that blogs show that one person can make a difference at Microsoft, they are invaluable as a recruiting device.

On top of that, I'm personally not feeling very motivated to blog right now. For one thing, I'm not on a product team anymore, so I don't have a product to write about. In Engineering Excellence our "customers" are other groups at Microsoft. Plus, working in Engineering Excellence allows me to do, as my day job, some of the thinking I used to do on my blog. I've always been interested in the "how" of Microsoft, and now I have a job where I can write papers and give talks and design courses and participate in company-wide working groups on the kinds of topics that interest me. Which is great, but it does have the ironic effect of making external blogging less interesting.

P.S. Robert Scoble quotes Alex Gounares as saying "[Microsoft] is going to accelerate its usage of blogging." Just for the record, that is NOT what I am talking about. To paraphrase Kurt Cobain's t-shirt...

Posted by AdamBa at June 13, 2006 07:56 PM

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Don't worry. I'm still reading your blog and I still want to work at Microsoft. Though I still haven't found a way to convince anyone there that I'm worth having and that they probably want to have me. I guess that's how it goes when you're fresh out of college, looking for a full-time job, and a little too starry eyed.

And to touch something else you mentioned, I was glad to see Larry post again recently. He had me worried not posting anything for so long. I'm an avid reader of both his and your blogs and was eagerly awaiting more on Larry's series of "Making the network faster."

Posted by: Paul at June 14, 2006 06:30 AM

Thanks, good to hear there is at least one.

I actually sent Larry email a couple of days ago asking if he was still blogging...he replied "yes, but badly", and then posted a couple of entries. So that's good.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at June 14, 2006 09:04 PM

Blogging about product is just another form of advertisment and for some reason most people don't like advertisments.

The worst form of censure is the one people censure themself. PR person giving advice or been asked what can and cannot be blogged is bad. It just kills the spirit of blog by tranforming it from personal diary to PRlog.

And it is not the freedom of speech that is at stake. It's the simple fact that PRlogging is boring.


Posted by: Ivan at June 17, 2006 03:07 PM