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Microsoft Using Bloggers To Build Longhorn Buzz

Robert Scoble
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-02

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I've been asked to restart "Team 99." What was that? Well, Longhorn got its name from the bar that's between Whistler and Blackcomb up in British Columbia.

99 is the road you drive from my house to get up to the Longhorn bar. So, Team 99 is the team that'll take us to Longhorn's launch.

Now, before today, Team 99 was secret. I've learned from my messups with Jim Allchin's dinner not to do secret stuff anymore. Make everything transparent. Transparency is good.

The problem is, Microsoft can't deal with millions of people all at once. It's impossible to listen to that loud a crowd. So, let's start small. 20 people to start with. Why 20? It's how many can fit into an average conference room at Microsoft.

I want some developers there. Some "super users" like we were talking about last night.

All will need to sign NDAs cause there are things in Longhorn that we don't want to leak out, but they'll be your proxies. They'll tell us where we're screwing up, what we're doing well, and will be world's top authorities on Longhorn.

We're in the early stages (I just got an email from Vic, who is on vacation, telling me to do it).

So, instead of me picking the Team 99 members (cause I'm bad at it and everytime I pick someone I piss off someone who wasn't picked) why don't pick the members?

How would you nominate members? How about leaving me a note over on Channel 9 on the Team 99 thread? Nominate someone you think would be a good proxy for you and who would tell you the truth about what Longhorn is all about. Tell us why they'd be good for us to invite to Team 99.

Some factors? Are they trusted by the community? Are they visible? Do you think they'd give good feedback on your behalf to Microsoft? Some requirements I have? All members must be bloggers.

I don't have a formal process in my head yet, so I'm looking for help on how to pick a great group of people who'll properly represent the community.

Now's your chance to make sure there's good diversity on such group, for instance, instead of just fat white guys like me.

Another requirement? Must be passionate and authoritative about computers.

Update:

Welcome Slashdot readers, more on Team 99



Team 99 gets Slashdotted (and it's in eWeek and over on Mary Jo's site and BetaNews, among others). We're off to the races. Lots of misunderstandings, though. First, I'm not going to force anyone to say anything nice about Longhorn. The commenters over on Slashdot must think I'm all powerful. Bwwwwahhhahhha!

Second, Team 99 members are not going to be paid. At most they'll get a trip to Microsoft. Just like the Search Champs got. But, if you think that's being paid, then you don't think the members time is worth much.

Third, this isn't all about publicity. It's a good faith effort to get feedback about Longhorn's direction ahead of time.

Fourth, I really love the ideas that I'm getting because we took this public. Again I'm seeing the power of getting a few thousand people's eyes on something rather than trying to do it all behind closed doors.

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About the Author:
Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as PodTech.net's Vice President of Media Development.

Go to Scobleizer ...

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