Friday Links and Dogfood


Hi, my name is Brian Johnson and I’m a product manager at MacBU. Welcome to our Mac Mojo weblog! It’s been quite a week for us  at MacBU. Starting a venture like this blog doesn’t come without a bit of wondering whether you’re doing the right thing. I think it’s obvious that this is the right thing to do, but it’s obviously not the easy or the safe thing to do.

I’ve been a blogger for a number of years and I’ve been lucky enough in my last two jobs to be working for leaders who understand how important it is to engage directly with customers. In my last job, it was Sara Williams and Shawn Morrissey who understood completely how this should work. (They’re both directly responsible for this blogs.msdn.com domain that exists today.) In my present job, GM Roz Ho, my boss, Mary Starman, and Sheridan Jones, have all been extremely enthusiastic about interacting with customers and this blog is the result.

My plan for contributing to this blog is to post weekly on Fridays and to link to blogs and other stuff I think might be useful and interesting to Mac Office users. I’ll also try to answer some of the questions I see about our products that come in during the week.

This week I’m linking to a few of the news blogs that are linking back to this one. There are some good conversations going on at some of these sites about what our motives are, and whether this blog is going to ultimately be of any value to customers in the future. Hopefully it will be.

spymac.com – Microsoft launches MacBU blog
The Apple Core – What can we learn from Microsoft’s Mac BU blog?
Ars Technica – The Tale of Two Mac Blogs: Microsoft and Apple
TUAW – Microsoft Mac BU launches blog

Two things I want to touch on before I sign off today. First, about Nadyne’s post from earlier this week with regards to carrying a MacBook Pro around at Microsoft. When I started here at MacBU I thought I might feel self-conscious about carrying a Mac around at Microsoft, but that feeling faded pretty quickly. I’ve been at Microsoft for quite a while now and if there’s one thing we feel strongly about here it’s dogfood; that is, working every day with the products that we sell. I use the Mac about 98% of the time and I feel fairly self-conscious now when I’m not carrying one around campus.

Second, to answer Jason’s question about an iPod ban on campus, check out my interview from On10.net. One of the features we added to Entourage in the update we posted this Spring was the ability to sync your contacts and calendar on your Mac using Sync Services in Tiger. Of course, this allows you to carry your data pretty easily on your iPod, and we did this on purpose because it’s what our customers were asking for and it’s the kind of thing you need to do as a first class software developer on the Mac. (I still think most people outside of MacBU carry other types of MP3 players – I believe it’s a dogfood thing.)   


Comments (10)

  1. Limeybloke says:

    First!

    Speaking of iPods. . .

    What would happen if Micro$oft bought the brand?

    Of particular note to those in marketing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pXL5_RvGrs

  2. Mr Lizard says:

    Nadyne carries a Powerbook around the campus, not a MacBook Pro 😉

  3. Brianjo says:

    Noted, Mr. Lizard. 🙂

  4. Dr.T says:

    What do we learn from this blog? It is a try to use web 2.0 hoping it will have some kind of halo-effect to Office. The product itself is not able (and won’t be i future) to do it itself, because of its constructional defect, but i’m really interested in how this blog change anything. By the way – i’m always wondering about companies (not only Microsoft) who force these weblogs. Well my job does not pay me for publishing some kind foo bar in the internet. As long as companies have such an return of investment, "killing bugs" is secondary …

  5. nadyne says:

    Limey – That video was actually made by folks within Microsoft.  Here’s a story about it:

    http://www.ipodobserver.com/story/25957

  6. Thrasher says:

    Don’t listen to the comments coming from Dr. T.  I can’t say I’m a huge blog fan.  There are few that I read regularly, and those that I do are not this sort of blog, they’re like Engadget.  Sort of "news" blogs.  Anyway, I’m really enjoying this blog in the week it’s been up.  I check it every day and have read every article.  While I can’t claim to be a MS fan in general I actually really like Mac Office.  I don’t have any complaints, and find it much better than the PC version.  Keep up the good work!

  7. Limeybloke says:

    Ok, Kudos to those folks and a revelation that a sense of humor is allowed at Redmond (and other M$ sites).

    However if they get the point of their deficiencies why don’t the Bigwigs?

    Still can’t see MonkeyBoy Ballmer getting the joke.

  8. LRH says:

    Hello Mac Mojo, FYI:



    Dear .Mac blog team,

    Where to begin? If you had comments turned on, you’d get blasted for the sanitized content you’ve produced so far. It’s annoying and has no human touch.

    For a much better example of how to blog to your customers, see MS’s Mac Mojo blog.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo/default.aspx

    It’s genuinely, and perhaps suprisingly, readable and entertaining. These guys know they’re on thin ice and taking a risk, and yet they’re doing it anyway. Kudos to MacBU.

    We really need a comparable Apple blog.

    Best,

    LRH

  9. alec says:

    What is dogfood, and does MS sell it? (also, bacon bacon bacon!!!!)

  10. nadyne says:

    alec – "Dogfood" is a Microsoft term.  It’s how we refer to our own products.  It comes from the phrase "eating your own dogfood", and got shortened to "dogfood".  It’s both a noun and a verb, because we’re versatile like that. 🙂  It’s often used to refer to early pre-release versions of our software, such as one of the daily builds of something that’s not even in an alpha state yet.  It can also refer to something that’s currently in production.  

    Regardless of whether it’s early pre-alpha or something that you can go to your local store and buy today, the basic idea is the same: We shouldn’t expect you to use our products if we don’t use them ourselves.  It’s an important tool to help all of us understand our users.