When Marketing edits your PDC talk description


A few years ago, I told a story of how Marketing messed up a bunch of PDC slides by "helpfully" expanding acronyms... into the wrong phrases. Today I got to see Marketing's handiwork again, as they edited my talk description. (Oh, and psst, Marketing folks, you might want to link to the full list of PDC sessions from your Conference Tracks and Sessions page. Unless, of course, y'know, you don't want people to know about it.)

For one thing, they stuck my name into the description of the talk, thereby drawing attention to me rather than putting the focus on the actual talk topic. Because I'm not there to be me. I'm there to give a talk. If I were just there to be me, the title would be "Raymond Chen reads the newspaper for an hour while listening to music on his headphones."

(That's why I don't do interviews. Interviews are about the interviewee, and I don't want to talk about me. People should care about the technology, not the people behind it.)

They also trimmed my topic list but stopped before the punch line.

... asynchronous input queues, the hazards of attaching thread input, and other tricks and traps ...

The punch line was "... and how it happens without your knowledge." After all, you don't care about the fine details of a feature you don't use. The point is that it's happening behind your back so you'd better know about it because you're using it whether you realize it or not.

They also took out the reference to finger puppets.

Comments (23)
  1. Dude says:

    For those of us not attending PDC will any

    of the talks/slides be avalible online?

    Thanks.

  2. Today Raymond talks about marketing tweaking PDC talk descriptions and some little-known history…

  3. John says:

    Man I’d be afraid to bad mouth the pointy heads around my office like you just did :) Totally true though. Thanks for the laugh.

  4. I can understand the motivation behind not doing interviews, but I disagree with your understanding of such.

    It’s an opportunity for you to show off your technology to a wide audience. It’s not that we care about you, it’s that we care about getting a deeper understanding of the technology you produced.

    A lot of times I wonder "why did the team do THAT?" and it’s really great to have your decisions in your own words.

    Yeah, some people use it to do the "me me me" thing, but generally that’s pretty easy for the viewer to see. I have a feeling you wouldn’t do such a thing on camera.

  5. Matt says:

    I think people should be given credit for and take responsibility for the technology they produce. I’ve always found it strange how programmers are almost never given credit for their work. I guess that just goes to show how producing technology is just a trade rather than any kind of great intellectual achievement. It’s a blue collar job that anyone could do, I guess.

  6. Raymond, are the older slides available somewhere? They would make a great viewing! ;) Or even better, the new ones pre- and post- "correcting" ;)

  7. Scott C says:

    I can respect your modesty, Raymond, but I disagree that people shouldn’t care about the people behind technology. I work in software but I’m much more interested in people.

  8. Today Raymond talks about marketing tweaking PDC talk descriptions and some little-known history…

  9. Scott says:

    "Interviews are about the interviewee, and I don’t want to talk about me. People should care about the technology, not the people behind it."

    hmmmm, that’s an interesting point Raymond. The Jazz saxaphonist John Coltrane had a similar viewpoint. He never did any interviews. He said he’d rather let the music speak for itself. Anything he had to say was in his music. However there is a point where hearing about the person playing the music, or writing the program, helps us to understand more about the music or application. Knowing that Louis Armstrong came from a really hellish background makes you appreciate his cheerful outlook and music even more. Hearing from you what you like about computers and programming could make us appreciate and understand the code samples and stories you choose to post a little more.

    That isn’t to say that you have to go on Channel 9 and be interviewed on camera. But a written interview would be interesting. You have given us some insight into your personality and interests by the stories you have chosen to share and the "non-tech" posts you make from time to time.

  10. joe says:

    Hey Raymond, long time lurker, first time commenter.

    I would have to say, do the interviews. I really like what you write more for how you tell it and the incidentals around the topic you are talking about versus the topic itself. While I agree that people should care more about the tech than the person behind the tech, the person behind the tech talking about the tech and talking about things around the tech is even better and often more enlightening.

    I think this "side bar" chatter helps give insight into what is being done beyond the merely technical details which you can generally get from other technical journals and documentation if you were simply interested in the tech.

    As an example, I love Bill Gate interviews. I don’t really care if he talks about himself, I like to see how he responds, and often, how he doesn’t respond to various questions and what kinds of side comments and incidentals he mentions.

    The explosion of MS insiders blogging has really helped, IMO, put a personal face on MS and helped show that it isn’t a borg entity with no feelings nor humour. It also helps people understand why maybe some decisions might have been made that make no sense now but were the only way it could be done when it was originally worked on.

    I love the blast towards MS Marketing. I think they need to be kicked more like that. But then I am a techie who likes many things from MS and don’t care what marketing has to say about it. Generally the more market savvy something is, the less likely I will pay attention to it or in many cases, believe it. :o)

    joe

  11. Norman Diamond says:

    Thursday, July 14, 2005 2:14 PM by Robert Scoble

    > It’s an opportunity for you to show off your

    > technology to a wide audience.

    This very blog does it better.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005 3:42 PM by Matt

    > I think people should be given credit for

    > and take responsibility for the technology

    > they produce.

    I have the same wish. But the fact is that even most companies don’t get credit for the technology they produce. My employer designs things, builds prototypes, and sometimes even makes the first production run, but the things get the brand names of the companies that act as vendors in the marketplace.

  12. Brad Abrams says:

    Raymond posts a good (meaning blunt) entry on his session at PDC2005…

               …

  13. Norman Diamond says:

    Oh neat. I mentioned which kind of company gets credit for work done by which kind of company, and then a few hours later we were all informed of an example:

    http://www.ednjapan.com/content/l_news/2005/07/04_02.html

    Of course no one expected our company to get any credit for it, it’s just an example of the way things are. (By the I wasn’t involved in that product.)

  14. MichaelM says:

    I noticed this in one of the session descriptions also:

    …address space with popular Win32 blogger and Microsoft developer Raymond Chen, we mix…

    Most of the other descriptions don’t offer up the name of the presenter, but I think you have to take into account, that when you talk, people listen. You’ve proven to everyone that you’re an expert on the technology. I’ve been to PDC presentations that could have been extemely helpful, but the presenter just plain sucked. I’m not worried about that if I know you’re the one presenting.

    With how much insight you’ve got, I bet if you read the newspaper out loud, we’d probably get something from it.

  15. oldnewthing says:

    will any of the talks/slides be avalible online

    Although I am giving the talk, the talk itself belongs to the PDC. You’ll have to ask them if they intend to make any of the talks available online. But you’ve seen most of the underlying material in this blog, just not as well-organized.

  16. android says:

    It might be insanely fun to reverse engineer their clean up program and then come up with a deck of slides that would be converted to the most ridiculous phrases possible.

  17. Matt says:

    Norman Diamond wrote:

    "I have the same wish. But the fact is that even most companies don’t get credit for the technology they produce. My employer designs things, builds prototypes, and sometimes even makes the first production run, but the things get the brand names of the companies that act as vendors in the marketplace."

    See, I look at this type of thing as yet another sign of the decline of civilization. Notice how greatness and genius are continually covered up and squashed by the corporate herd mentality. There are no heroes to look up to anymore, nothing to aspire to but a big salary, a number. Even someone like Tiger Woods’ greatest claim to fame is that he makes X millions of dollars a year, so he’s basically no different to Bill Gates or Michael Jordan. Our humanity is continually being downtrodden and everyone is reduced to a number. It’s no wonder there has been such an increase in suicides and violence over the past few decades. If you can’t be a big number, what’s the point of living?

  18. Matt says:

    Teenage suicide, I should have said.

  19. Michael J says:

    Hi Raymond

    I pretty much agree with you about the interviews, but I think that publicising a speaker is somewhat different. Anybody can stand up and give a talk, but the credability of the speaker goes a long way towards deciding whether the talk is worth listening to.

    To the readers of your blog, you have established that you have considerable extertise and a degree of skill in presenting your views.

    I guess that the marketing people want to push that – and potential attendees probably appreciate that.

    People will go for the technology, not because you have a pretty face, but they will go because they will expect to hear something new and interesting on the technology – rather than somebody incompetent spouting generalities and errors.

  20. Paul Dougherty says:

    Actually, they did link to the full list of PDC sessions: it’s just below the RSS icon.

    ("A nearly-complete list of session titles and abstracts is now available.")

    But "ALL" should have been in the same list as the sub-topics like "Presentation", "Fundamentals", etc

  21. Dewi Morgan says:

    I have to say, to my shame, that I agree with the marketing droids on this one. I’m a programmer, so naturally despise the marketing side of things. But I’m also a director of my own company, though I can thankfully mostly leave the marketing stuff to my far-better-qualified business partner.

    They removed the comment "…how it happens without your knowledge", and I would have done the same. It’s a very negative comment. It’s practically an invitation to MS’ detractors to say "MS is doing stuff to our data behind our backs! Look, they even give a talk about it!"

    "…behind your back" sounds deliberately scurrulous, and is just a really bad turn of phrase for a public document describing your own company’s product.

    The line they used, "…and traps" sounds less bad, and means the same thing. Personally I’d have used something like "…pitfalls for the unwary", since I feel that retains more of the original interest, without the negative implications of underhandedness, but that’s just me.

  22. Today Raymond talks about marketing tweaking PDC talk descriptions and some little-known history…

  23. Following up on the questions asked at the end.

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