August 25, 2005
@ 03:28 PM

David Card of Jupiter Research has a blog post entitled Pre-emptive IM Strike from MSN where he describes one of the reasons I love working at MSN

Finally, MSN wants to remind everyone that it's got six years of experience in this stuff -- hear that, Sergey? -- and is sticking to its promise of thrice-yearly upgrades, so watch for more goodies in November.

The upgrades are all fine, but I was actually more impressed by Irving's crisp articulation of the IM Big Picture. MSN is trying to move the conversation away from IM (defined as "real-time text messaging," how dull) to "contacts." I think they downplay presence management, but that's okay, presence sounds too much like AOL-friendly talk. As does Buddy Lists, but I can't break the habit.

What's critical about IM isn't real-time text messaging but the Buddy List as a communications/presence management hub.(Link is ancient history for geek/vision cred.) You manage your buddies and buddy groups and their relationships to you (and each other), shifting those according to what persona you're inhabiting (work, home, fun, shopping, etc.) and what communications are available to you or you want to make available to them. Then broadcast that selectively. The company that can teach consumers how to do this, and own that management tool is in a very powerful position. The portals will be duking it out with the mobile carriers for this, I suspect.

MSN's vision is pretty parallel to the one above. Irving claims Microsoft has an "ABCH" -- Address Book Clearing House -- that is a repository for all those contacts, relationships and permissions that come from Messenger and Hotmail. You can imagine how powerful that might be -- we're not just talking "gleams" and sharing playlists here -- and how much grief Microsoft will get for playing Big Brother.

Anyway, MSN gets it.

Besides the fact that I'm one of the program managers for ABCH and thus it's kind of cool to get a shout out from our VP, there are some other things about this excerpt that have me smiling. When I first came to MSN I thought I'd have to beat people over the head with the message that Social Software is the Platform of the Future but I didn't have to because everybody gets it. Everyone I've talked to from vice presidents and general managers to developers and testers working directly on individual features has their mind wrapped around our social software vision. It's really simple, the #1 goal of social software should be around improving the ways I communicate and interact with the people I know and a secondary goal is giving me avenues to communicate and interact with people I don't. It's really that simple.

We definitely have some interesting stuff coming down the road in the next couple of months. I can only hope our users have as much fun using our software as we had building it.

On an unrelated note, I have updated the track of the week from my high school days on my space. Just click on the play button on the Windows Media player module to hear this week's track. Listening to some of this stuff I can't help thinking, "I could have been a contender". :)


Thursday, August 25, 2005 7:01:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
>>MSN gets it,

Great, we get it. Now lay off the Koolaide and get back to work!
Friday, August 26, 2005 3:52:28 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Don't forget about the money... that's a goal too :-)
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