Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Vista Phoenix Launch Rundown

Today's launch event is really centered around the business aspects of the Vista/Office/Exchange launch, but it's still fun to get out in front of customers and help drive excitement about Vista. I've been going around with my recorder, getting people's reactions to the platform. I'll have them up in podcast form soon.

Microsoft's really pushing Sidebar development for business customers. One of the problems with the Sidebar is that there are WAAAY to many craplets for consumers, but the business case for gadgets is really compelling. Building line-of-business Gadgets that deliver dashboard-like statistics to specific business divisions is what is going to make the Sidebar important for businesses. I have a feeling that Donavon is going to be REALLY busy.

I love watching the reactions of people who have never seen Vista & Office 2007 before. There were some really wild cheers about some of the features. Windows DreamScene got a surprisingly excited reaction. Something about showing a moving waterfall on your desktop really gets people going. Flip3D always gets the crowd going. I hadn't really seen some of the new things about Office Sharepoint Server, so that was nice.

Customer Perspectives
You know, I don't know how much listening to generalities about how customers like technology. They brought out the IT guys from Taser International and PING, and it was kinda boring. First off they spend 3 or 4 minutes talking about the backstory of their companies, which I personally didn't care for. Then they didn't do any demos. I'm hoping they do demos in the developer tracks.. though I won't be able to go to the track sessions.

Community Involvement
One of the things that really drives me crazy is that Microsoft is completely disorganized at the sales level. I've been fighting for MONTHS to get the Windows Featured Communities involved in these local events, and it was a huge uphill battle. I can't stand going to these events, because usually the expert community knows more about what's going on with any given product. At developer events like TechEd, they go crazy in the Experts Cabana, making it very visible and touting at each session. What happens at the sales level is almost unspeakable. I would describe it, but it would be much easier to show you.

Vista Experience Pavilion "Ask The Experts"

It's really nice to know where we rank on the sales chain. I want to take this opportunity to point out the fact that the Windows Featured Communities should have been drafted to help Microsoft plan these events, and we should have been FAR more involved and visible during the event itself. What the sales people fail to understand is that enthusiasts and community leaders at all levels sell way more Microsoft software than MS Sales staff do.

User groups, Student Ambassadors, MVPs, and Featured Communities should have been SHOWCASED so that Microsoft can say "Look, the community has had more of an impact on these pieces of software than any prior release. Here are some of the people who were involved in that... make sure you find them downstairs in the "pavilion". That fact that they weren't is a shame, not just from a egotistical standpoint, but from a sales standpoint. Because business people are far more likely to listen to other customers than they are to the vendor.... especially since everything Microsoft Marketing says needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

But anyway, I did want to say thanks to everyone who came over to the "Ask The Experts" area. I had a great time chatting with all of you.

Well, I need to get back to my "Experts" duties, but I'll post more pictures soon.

PLEASE NOTE: There are people that worked really hard in the Southwest Region to get people in the community more involved that the 'canned' conference allowed, and they did a great job overall. This post was not intended to disrespect them by any means. It is intended to let the Microsoft corporate offices know how far off-base their sales organization is, and why they should not rely on third-party organizations to create their events.



  • anonymous said:

    They should still make Sidebar more programmable, allow developers to use .NET and COM. And provide a tool to make gadget creation easier for non-developers.

    January 17, 2007 11:41 PM
  • Here’ s something I discovered a couple weeks ago that some people may find useful. It’ s not rocket science or anything and a lot of people probably already knew about it. But I’ m posting it here partially so I remember about it. Anyway, I found you

    April 5, 2008 6:22 PM