As my role has expanded with the Microsoft.com team to cover different community properties, it has allowed me to take a more holistic approach to what Microsoft needs to do in the space. I think there is some great stuff that we've already done, but we're working hard to come up with the next generation of deliverables to improve on the experience. I always describe us as the "Communities Technologies Team" because to call us the "Communities Team" (which is what most people call us) would imply that we create the communities. Nope. We create the software to support building of communities. Even GotDotNet is not a community, but rather a site where we try to support other people (be it my old team patterns & practices or customers) creating their own communities on our software. It's gratifying just to enable the activity that goes on.
Of course, a big part of taking communities to the next level is to hear from those of you that are building or using the communities. Fortunately, my team is doing just that by getting out there and sharing our thinking on what we're doing next. We do quite a bit of customer research to build a roadmap of problems that we want to address, but it isn't until we get feedback from you guys that the rubber hits the road and we know our solutions hit the mark or if we need to tweak direction. Dave Morehouse, aka "Day Slick" from our TechEd excursion and great product manager, has started up an MSN Space where he's going to share our progress on some of the cool next wave of products. He is doing some great stuff with RSS and those of you who have learned to rely on RSS would do well to bookmark his site (or subscribe to his RSS feed, of course;->) and give him feedback. We're investing a lot to make life easier for those who participate in the communities. If you are reading this blog, there's a high likelihood you are part of one of our on-line communities. If you're not happy, then we're not building the right thing. So, whether you like what you see or not, be sure to weigh in, either on Dave's blog or even directly to me. We are all really excited to see what you guys think.