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May 20, 2005


Rick I understand your larger point about corporate blogging, but this is why I thought Ballmer's comments were significant, with the caveat that they may have been mis-reported.

The one technology that Ballmer didn't express caution about was XML. He was irrational about it, over-promised about it. Of course now that XML is achieving some of the promise he had for it, he spins the other way, presumably because the innovation didn't come from Microsoft.

I linked to your piece, and I might have checked with Wagg-Ed too, but 24 hours have gone by and there haven't been any emails from either MS or Wagg-Ed, but that isn't unusual for these days. Back when you were at MS, there would have been a half-dozen emails from all sides of MS in protest. It's become really quiet these days. Not sure exactly what to make of that.

Rick, I think that's a totally cheap shot you just took at me and I wrote why I think that over on my blog.

It seems odd to me that you left off the obvious Lesson Four. "If misquoted or misleadingly paraphrased, be prepared to immediately release an accurate quote." (Possibly, depending on whether Ballmer's actual remarks turn out to have been problematic or not, followed by Lesson Five: "Never say anything in public that you don't want your enemies to quote on the internet". Of course, I don't rule out the possibility that an accurate quote would exonerate Ballmer...but it's still a prudent Lesson either way.)

Matt: video is a lot better for answering misquoted quotes. Why? Cause we get a lot more human detail that way. Look at the Jim Allchin video over on Channel 9 for an example of how we responded to the community misunderstanding stuff coming out of Microsoft.

Robert is a great guy but he gets irrational when it comes to RSS because ATOM is an upgrade and we always upgrade.

Paul, when you resort to ad hominem attacks, that's a sure sign that you don't have a factual argument, so you attack the person instead of challenging the ideas. God help Microsoft if logic like yours plays a role in the company's decision-making.

Interesting. I didn't see any ad hominem attacks, and I see both Dave and Robert being touchy here, so that's even more interesting. I thought the "straight up" part was pretty clear and I don't see any cheap shot. I also think we do way too much reading between the lines on each other (as well as not reading the lines that are here very carefully, like failing to notice that Paul has no current relationship with Microsoft).

I'm not going to add to that over-interpretation distortion-feedback squeal here other than to notice that I make all of those slips too. I will clean it up when they are pointed out to me. When I catch myself heating up about something, I find that is a pretty good warning that I am about to humiliate myself, if I haven't already.

Off-topic: Here's something I'm mildly touchy about. Every time I visit a blog, I am remembered even if I've not been here before. That's eery. It is kinda handy except when I check-off "remember me" I think I'm interacting with the blog I'm visiting, not its hosting system. That also tells me I've got a cookie on my machine that catches my visits to all blogs, not a separate one for each one. Either way I suppose this permits visitor-behavior tracking. Ewww, now I'm talking myself into it being creepy. I have no reason to believe that visit information is being misused, but I as a visitor here have never been exposed to any terms-of-service or privacy agreement with regard to (nor have most of the 8 visitors to my Blogger-hosted blog where Google does the same stuff). I bet if I change my URL to a blog with different topical focus, here, I'll find it changed when I'm "remembered" on other blogs too. Ahah, abstraction breakage.

Rick, thanks for that emphasis on source evidence, and how the lack of it can lead to TooManyWords Syndrome.

I'd differ with you on this part, however: "In my opinion, Scoble could have sent the link he got to WagEd, asked if there was an actual record of (or witness to) what was said. And waited."

I'm not sure about "waited". Scoble was the first I heard with that line "Blog on good news or bad." and this is often pertinent advice. If a story is a risk for flareup, then an early acknowledgment that it has been observed is useful.

This is particularly true if the source event could be redefined elsewhere -- once Slashdot or BoingBoing get ahold of a story, they can redefine it for all time. Being in front of a potential wave can be helpful.

But such an acknowledgment link does need to be carefullly put in context, with what the staffer does and does not know about the situation, the uncertain aspects of any story, what they're doing to learn more -- factual stuff. Extra opinion can be a risk in such situations, agreed.

Even if something appears in quotation marks in a newspaper, you still have to check what the person really said...!

tx, jd/mm

Hi John,
The blog on good news or bad news is an interesting point that I'm thinking about. I guess that approach carries with it the responsibility of being more careful but it is an interesting point.

On waiting, Dave Winer, in his comments makes a good observation. I was assuming that there would have already been a zillion emails flying even before I post anything!

Thanks for stopping by.

This has stirred up quite a hornet's net. The comments were made in a Q&A session in front of 400+ people. Steve did make those comments - I have verified with my peers, the transcripts are not going to change the question or the response - as this is what was said - very clearly.. If nothing else, the transcript might even be less flattering.

I found it really odd that he was comparing RSS to Web Services coming up- much like MS was creating a new MSN from scratch as the Web was taking off. If there is a popular open standard taking, embrace it and ride the wave! Alas, Microsoft cannot invest in any business unless they know they will dominate it and it will be a multi-billion dollar revenue stream .. only because they are a public company with a huge market cap and they have to maintain. Anyone with that kind of a valuation and street expectation will do the same.

At the same time, I agree with Scoble that RSS has not quite hit the mainstream, I had a hard time pitching Enterprise RSS to some of attendees esp. since they tended to subscribe to Steve's point of view after that Q&A - clearly did not get 'it'.

amit - at - well - dt - com

ATOM is an upgrade, it is so clear and simple.

The RSS cult does not want to have this conversation.

Paul, I've been told by various Microsoft people that this is about Indigo.

Paul: beta was an upgrade of VHS that was rejected. It had sharper picture quality. I wanted the world to go with the Beta format too. It's the geek's desire. I lost.

Why? Cause the market had already decided and there was too much cost to switching over.

So far I have seen very few reasons to switch from spitting out RSS 2.0 files to Atom files.

And you are being VERY anoying with your evangelism. Just saying "it's the future" will not make it so.

XML Web Service is the future.

Rick, read the Corporate Weblog Manifesto. I wrote this before I started working at Microsoft and it has largely been seen as the defacto document for how to do a corporate weblog.

Rule #2? Post fast on good news or bad.

Clint Sharp's post about this topic was interesting:

Wow, Scoble, I don't know you fron squat, but you and Winer come off looking really, really bad here. Chill, dude; it sounds like Rick is giving you more respect than you deserve. You did fly off the handle and are more worried about sucking up to Winer than you are in commenting on what really happened. Ballmer has been pretty well-known for pushing XML; why is it FUD for him to continue doing so? Or do you really believe RSS would become a widespread standard if XML were not in the picture?

Amit -- in your blog you said these comments were made directly to you, and you intimated you had a one-on-one with him. Now you're saying they were part of a Q&A discussion. Which is it? Sounds like you have some accuracy issues here as well as you try to puff up your importance.

The lesson: you're all amateurs when it comes to collection and disseminating news.

As for Winer: we all know he's a bully and an insecure fascist who erupts when people don't buy into his particular vision of how things should be. Still looking for people to sponsor your sorry butt to conferences?

I wrote this before I started working at Microsoft and it has largely been seen as the defacto document for how to do a corporate weblog.

By whom? I oversee blogging efforts for a Fortune 100 firm and I don't see it as the de facto document.

You're way too full of yourself, Scoble. Get a grip.

Michael, it's been quoted in two blogging books, Fast Company, the Economist, Business 2.0, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of weblogs. It also was handed to all the PR employees at Target and Boeing as a guide to best practices on business blogs.

Which Fortune 100 firm is blogging? You work for GM?

And why am I even replying to someone who resorts to ad hominem attacks? Do you behave like this at work? How do you stay employed.

Not to mention that when I Google for your name, Michael, I find no blog of yours. So, what do you know about blogging if you don't even have one? And what right do you have to tell me off? None. Next!

Who do you work for Robert?

Steve Ballmer must have been referring to;

Why does Dave link back to his own blog...Indigo isn't finished.

"And what right do you have to tell me off?"

Ah, Scoble, you're showing what you really think of a "conversation." You view it as a process where you preach and someone else nods in agreement. Do you always get so worked up when someone questions you? I never did attack you (except to say you didn't come off looking so good, which hardly qualifies as an attact), and it's pretty poor form to try to brush off valid criticism by whining about it being an ad hominen attack. Other posters in this thread have remarked on the lack of ad hominem attacks, despite attempts by you and Whiner to disregard any disagreement by labeling it an ad hominem attack. Poor, poor Bobby; we're picking on you by actually questioning you. It's an ad hominem attack to question your credentials? When you try and shut down debate by calling yourself the Grand Poobah of Corporate Blogging, you should expect a little negative feedback. Shame on you.

The irony is you're whining about ad hominem attacks while immediately resorting to them. Isn't the point of blogging to overcome this? Oh, wait, it's not when you're an A-Lister like the grand Robert Scoble dealing with a lesser being. Do you really not see how poorly you come off in these comments? Rick put together a really thoughtful post here, and all you can do is preach back at him. Shame on you.

I checked out your blog. Pretty pathetic, really; between your shrill defenses of Microsoft and your attacks on those who don't buy into your ideology, you come off as this insecure child who can't a) handle another viewpoint and b) can't abide anyone who isn't on your A-list. If Doc or Whiner had said these things, you'd be nodding in agreement. But a lesser being says them and you resort to a lecture. Shame on you.

And as for my blogging efforts: you know you're a mondo loser when you assume Google knows all. Tell you what, pal: it doesn't.

Translation: Michael doesn't have a blog and is just pretending to work for a Fortune 100 company.

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