Having an open mind towards leaks

Recently a blog post was made by a Microsoft employee who was excited about the new team he was joining. His post hinted at the new product by mentioning the potential competitors.  Probably something that sholdn't have been done, but I don't really feel that it should be big news that we would be working in that space.  It's sort of a "duh, Microsoft wants to do better online story". 

There was a minor uproar on an internal Dl about how we should be educating folks about blogging. Here is my reply. 

In this case the blog is not hosted on one of our blog sites.  So there is no automated way to catch everyone who sets up their own blog service.   There are a few solutions here.

1. New hire education. If we’re going to continue to have our blogging free-for-all it needs to be part of NEO. Back in my day they spent 30 minutes on “press relations”.  I don’t know what we do now, but the press game has changed since then and it should probably include education on blogging. 

2. Continuing Education.  I hate to say this, but those cheesy videos that we produce on other issues like compliance… we need a series (shorter and with more unintentional humor) of videos about blogging at Microsoft.  A tour around campus with in-person education couldn’t hurt. I think there is already an ongoing series like this in person that someone in evangelism is running.

3. DL Sign-up. As suggested new blogs on official employee blogging sites should force a DL membership for education and announcements.

4. Realization that leaks and transparency go hand in hand… and that’s OK.  If transparency and customer connection is a strategy then some leaks are going to happen.  There really is no way around it.  The deal is that we have to be OK with the occasional leak like this.  In this case it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we would be looking to improve our online services.  It’s really not news.  A bad leak would be more like a feature list, screenshots, or release schedule. Acknowledgement of the existence of a group working on an innovative service… not such a bad thing for the bottom line. 

The last one is critical to our strategy to regain customer trust and loyalty IMO. I wrote a series of blog posts on it in 2004. Including one that talks about the problems of having a transparent culture.  We have to be as diligent with education as we can, but be OK with the knowledge that asking people to talk to customers AND thinking that every secret will be held sacred is not a reality. 

Comments (2)
  1. John Walker says:


    Excellent and reasonable post. I hope the employee that made the post didn’t get canned. I’m sure he learned his lesson 🙂

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    He’s still here. I don’t believe that will change because of this, but I just wanted people to think about this.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too when it comes to creating relationships with your customers.

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