Home > Uncategorized > Pinball isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Pinball isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

March 9, 2006

Adam Barr posted an interesting article today – Microsoft’s New Pinball Wizard: Robert Scoble:

…If you can get Scoble interested in your prototype, so that he blogs about it, does a Channel 9 video, etc. then beyond the immediate satisfaction of recognition, you have the potential to push it closer to the more significant goal of executive approval. In the end Scoble cannot greenlight any projects, but he can throw significant weight behind them. External users can weigh in on the merits and deficiencies of an idea, and early-stage communities can form around them much sooner than in the current system. Plus, the conversation is now taking place (at least partly) on a public blog, so it is much more transparent….
[Via Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters]

Adam, while I follow your logic I don’t quite agree.  Yes, projects for new products need to get sold internally at Microsoft (and any other manufacturer of a tangible or virtual product).  BUT, I disagree that Scoble is a force behind getting things pushed through that process.  Rather Scoble is an evangelist for projects that have already run the gauntlet.  MS’s legal team would never want him to disclose products or ideas that aren’t making it to market – why give a leg up to the competitors and let them know you’re going to tack before you execute the maneuver?

Channel 9’s role, in the cynical view of the world, is to be the first out of the gate to generate marketing excitement in the user community; or to at least fan the flames that have already been started.  Sure, I’ll grant you that some of the stuff shown out of the MS Research teams is advanced and not ready to hit the market yet, but I’ll bet you the patents or other legal protections are in place for that intellectual property before it shows up on the business end of a Ch.9 video camera.

That all being said, I can’t agree more that services like Channel 9 and people like Robert Scoble (and blogs like the Blogger Status blog I wrote about earlier today) are definitely changing the way companies interact with their users.  Perhaps your underlying point here, Adam, is that we’re seeing companies realize that they need to involve the user community in product decisions more than they used to.

Because if they don’t then someone else will create what the market is looking for, and the online community will help evangelize your competitor instead of you!  🙂

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Adam Barr
    March 10, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    I was slightly exaggerating the effect that it has right now. But it’s still early; as people realize the power that this can have, they will adapt. After all when someone does a Channel 9 video they basically say what they want, with nobody from legal looking over their shoulder; and people will start to use it as an opportunity to talk about future plans and solicit feedback.

    – adam

  2. Nathan Novak
    March 11, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    Adam – thanks for the reply! I’d love to agree with you that it’s going to change, but I just don’t see it happening. I can’t trust the lawyers to keep their hands out of the mess. Right now, for example, they’re limiting what folks like Scoble and others (like everyone in the Office 12 beta) can blog about. And for a software company, an organization that lives and dies by its intellectual property, they’re not going to slack off any time soon.

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