and a decent shot of courage

I haven't written much lately because I've pulled some weird stunts, like stay awake 26 hours and tweet for a good percentage of that while triaging bugs. I've put on my painted shoes and my marketing hat and gone to conferences while blitzing in and out of ops calls. This being in PR while shipping web stuff is a little nutty. ( My main search feature is and like any new community site it is in a constant state of improvement.)

There's a lot of blogging and tweeting going on about bing - some of it even from my team or me - and I think its best if other folks try to parse out the brand, the new features, and the context of what this means for the industry. As usual in my community woo woo way, I have to go back to the people both inside and outside of the search team and that's where I get my bearings on bing.

This search release was assisted by the internal testing of thousands of Microsoft employees on their lunch breaks, spare time, late nights. Way more people than is represented in the search organization, which despite all "still hiring" reports, is still not as big as you'd suspect for an org taking on a major player like Google.

Those employees' feedback made bing what it is today. That's an important difference from other launches.

Then of course there's our twitter and facebook accounts. I know more about those because they started really during the time I joined my current team. Those are the folks that keep us honest, cheer us on, kick our butts, and make us think. This too is an important difference, which I hope will only be assisted by the /community site's forums and blog commenting capabilities. There's more you in bing than there was in Live Search. Because we have these new tools and the folks ready to listen.

People who have gotten email from my Microsoft email address know I always carry the Anais Nin phrase "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" in my signature. I remember being in the search engineering building, talking with Andy Oakley about the search presentation to MVPS at the MVP summit, and being spontaneously dragged by him into some sort of beer thing with the entire org and VP Satya Nadella giving a short speech.

Satya may shoot me for this bc I don't remember what he said. But I remember looking around at the faces of the search employees around me which were carrying a totally different vibe than two years ago when I left search for Xbox. It's hard to explain those ineffable crowd moments where you know folks are committed and its a quiet commitment, not rowdy, not arrogant, but just in it. Every time I faced a skeptical customer at a demo (you know who you are MS Hater Guy) I remembered that sea of faces, just in it.  Showing up and saying hello to the doubters and the haters.

There's a bit more smiling around the building now, because it always feels good to get something out the door. And everybody knows there's more work to do, we can't just stop here. But the essence of bing to me are those non-search employees who never gave up on us, and gave us feedback whether we liked it or not. And the customers, who, whether they liked us or not, cared enough to give us feedback. And of course the search team, who have spent a couple years since I left, working to create this thing you have now before you, called bing. They pushed and pushed through it. Here it is - a start at what we hope will be a new way to think about search.

We hope you try bing of course. And send us feedback via the feedback link, the twitter acct, the blog, the site. But remember us when you are faced with something tough, where you commit without knowing the outcome, and do it because you choose to & your heart says so. That's what we made it for, that's what we made it with.

Live it vivid!



Comments (5)

  1. I am sure you have heard about bing , the new search from Microsoft. But one thing that looks great is

  2. Betsy,

    I am reminded of General Patton who used to go with his troops to the front line, because being there was the only way to overcome the fear. It also raised the moral of the troops to see him there on the front lines. I am glad you are back at Search. They are lucky to have someone like you who "gets it".

    Great job this last week. I am proud of you and inspired by you.  Stay cool sister.


  3. Without heart, the web is nothing.

  4. Bill says:

    I’ve been a critic of MSN in the past, but I have to say that I’m quite impressed by Bing. In fact, I was so impressed that I wrote a blog post about it (see

    I just want to say that you guys did a great job of making Bing, and promoting it. For the first time in a very long time, I see some hope from Microsoft search. 🙂

    Consumers need an alternative for Google. Competition is healthy and good for consumers. Keep up the good work, and hope you will make Bing a verb, a key measure of success. 🙂

  5. Joe says:

    Hi Betsy,

    The employees at Bing are doing an AWESOME job – the service is really good.  One thing I would love to see is the ability to search and chart public data.  Google currently has the ability to chart basic data like "New York Unemployment" but I suspect this feature will grow immensely as time passes and Google starts competing more aggressively in the productivity space.

    I view data as a killer feature because it can save students and office workers SO much time.  For instance, Imagine a student has a project and goes to search for information – he or she looks up US GDP and a chart comes up with a little button that says "insert into Microsoft Word" – truly huge – a huge time saver and a serious reason for people to switch.  

    Microsoft could just buy someone like Haver Analytics and roll out their data for non-commercial use while still charging for commercial use.  Over time, you could automate the collection of the data.  Ultimately though, it would be a shame if you fell behind in this key area.

    Go BING!!

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