Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Scoble and I are in This Quarter's BizTech Magazine

Attack of the "Blogging Roberts": Robert Scoble is featured in an article on blogging in this month's BizTech Magazine, and I make a brief appearance as well. CDW puts out the magazine, which is mostly targeted at CEOs and CTOs. The author, Dan Skeen, is a really great guy, but in an attempt to simplify the situation for his readers, he kind of sensationalized my blogging example a bit, so I wanted to make sure I cleared the air. Here's the quote in question:

Blogger Robert McLaws ( talks with surprising calm about the day he used credentials afforded to him as a popular blogger about Microsoft products to borrow some information from the company’s internal project server. McLaws says he downloaded a complete set of Microsoft bugs and then created a graph showing the correlation between the number of reported bugs and the number of releases. Then, in a clear violation of his nondisclosure agreement with Microsoft, he published the information to his blog, which gets visits from 5 million members each month.

The situation I'm referring to is the time when I graphed out all of the feedback from Vista that I painstakingly assembled from So, here come the corrections:

  • This website is semi-public, so I didn't "break in" or steal anything, as the quote might lead people to believe.
  • My login was because I was a Windows Vista Technical Beta tester, not just because I was a blogger.
  • The information I copied from the site was incomplete, because a good portion of the feedback was marked "private", therefore I could not see it.
  • If posting the information was a "clear violation" of an NDA, I wouldn't have done it. The reason I posted it, and it was allowed to stay up, was because it was not terribly clear what could and could not be published by being a member of the site. (Also, because the information did more good than harm)
  • Finally, the traffic stats are incorrect; gets 5 million page views a month, with 120,000 unique visitors, and we have almost 4,000 registered members.

Could I have left all that alone? Sure, Dan's version sounds a hell of a lot cooler that mine. But I didn't want people thinking that I was shooting my mouth off, saying that it's OK to steal from Microsoft. Dan tried to make some corrections, but the print article had already gone to press. That's why I usually like to proofread my interviews before they are published. :)

But it's still a fun article, and you should check it out.



  • Dan Skeen said:

    Robert, yes, "clear violation" is probably a bit extreme, but I particularly want to apologize for my mistake (as I have done already in private) in reporting the visitor stats. The number I used was just plain wrong.

    Thanks for sharing the link with your readers. Notwithstanding the paragraph under scrutiny here, I hope they enjoy it.

    February 26, 2007 9:48 PM
  • No problem Dan, it was an honest mistake. As I said, you tried to fix it before press time. Besides I talked a lot during my interview, so I don't envy the job you had trying to decipher all of your notes :).

    Thanks for including me in your article.

    February 27, 2007 12:57 AM