November 18, 2003
@ 08:46 PM

Robert Scoble writes

Rob Fahrni answered back and said "Scoble's on one of the best teams inside Microsoft." I've landed on a good one, yes, but I totally disagree that it's the best. I've seen tons of teams that are doing interesting things. By the way, he says Visio is a failure? Well, does the Visio team have any webloggers? Does it have an RSS feed? How are you supposed to sell software if you don't have a relationship with your customers?

On the surface it reads like Robert Scoble is claiming that if you don't have a blogger on your team nor an RSS feed then you don't have a relationship with your customers. This is probably the funniest thing I've seen all week.

Scoble's post reminds me of the Cult of the Cluetrain Manifesto article by John Dvorak. It's always unfortunate when people take a bunch of decent ideas and turned them into near-religious beliefs. Being in touch with your customers in an informal and accessible manner is nice but it isn't the only way to communicate with your customers nor is it necessary to make you successful.

I love my iPod. I love my TiVo. I love my Infiniti G35. I love Mike's Hard Lemonade and Bacardi O3. None of these products have official webloggers that I'm aware of nor do they have an RSS feed for their websites that I'm subscribed to.  Furthermore, if competing products did it wouldn't change the fact that I'd still be all over the my iPod/TiVo/G35/etc.

Blogging and RSS feeds are nice, but they are the icing on the cake of interacting with and satisfying your customer needs not the end all and be all of them.


Wednesday, November 19, 2003 7:59:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Did you just link to John Dvorak? Heh, now you have me laughing.

Your point is very valid. But not all that helpful.

Back in 1977 everyone who said "Personal computing will change everything" seemed pretty wacko too. But, guess what, it did. Was that religious? Maybe.

So, now I'm saying that RSS is changing the way people will relate and keep in touch with companies in the future.

So, are you advocating that a "stick your head in the sand" approach is the one that Microsoft's marketing professionals should take? Or some stance in between yours and mine? If it's the former, you're just dramatically wrong. If it's the later, well, that's why I took a provocative stance cause I know that most people will do something in between the "wacko" opinion and the "luddite" one.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003 8:39:19 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'm not advocating anything. I just think your post was silly.

If Microsoft marketing folks decide that pushing press releases via RSS feeds is a good thing I'd welcome the move since it makes it easier for me to track them but I don't labor under the mistaken assumption that this somehow makes Microsoft a more customer-focused and open company.

The World Wide Web, like every major mass communication technology before it (the printing press, the radio, the phonograph, television, etc) changes everything. However the changes typically have not been what their early advocates expected. No one who predicted TV would change the world would have foreseen that it would become the wasteland of reality shows and trashy talk shows that it is today. The inventors of USENET and email didn't anticipate how badly spammers would destroy them as mediums for worthwhile communication. The list goes on...
Wednesday, November 19, 2003 8:45:54 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hi, the link to "Visio team" seems to be invalid.
Thursday, November 20, 2003 5:56:43 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Makes sense to me.
Thursday, November 20, 2003 6:50:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I think you've both got a point. For someone who is already sold on a product like you are on your iPod, etc., the RSS feed won't make a difference. But for someone just checking it out, it might be very handy. Or, as the SPOT phone example, to keep track of new developments.
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