To answer Hugh's question: I do - and 4500+ other bloggers. Sure Bill, Steve and Ray do as well but this company is changing from the inside. Slowly, but surely. More important than speaking though is listening.
The cartoon above is my favourite one in the Blue Monster series so far. It reminds me a bit of Sun's strapline of "the network is the computer". It really starts to get to the underlying message that Microsoft is a platform company and the partners we have are the real innovators out there. Let me explain what I mean by innovation here as I'm using it pretty broadly and a few commentators have already said that Microsoft isn't innovating nearly as much as Google, Amazon and others. That may be so in terms of pure technology (though I'd disagree) but the innovation I love is when a small company starts up and begins making money and helping people. I'm not just talking ISV's here, I'm talking about companies like Risual who were 3 people who worked for a large Microsoft partner and then decided to start out on their own. They now have a thriving small company in Sheffield, England and support their families through it. And they enjoy it. It makes me immensely proud to see people like that succeeding.
Another example is DotNet Solutions in Windsor. A small software development company doing cool things with Microsoft technology and seemingly loving every minute of it. They're building innovative applications like the Wikipedia Explorer and the XFN Explorer (search for Scoble) as innovative rich client applications as well as mashup web apps like TrafficEye.
There are more well known examples such as Skinkers and I'll use these guys to explain the challenge ahead of Microsoft. I met Matteo from Skinkers at a Chinwag Live event a few months back in London. Matteo says we met in a dungeon together which isn't far off 😉 The event had about 60 Web 2.0 type attendees and speakers included Ryan Carson, Dave Nicholson, Andrew Orlowski and Matteo himself. I asked the final question of the night and there was an audible gasp in the room when I said where I worked. THAT in a nutshell is our challenge - people don't think we're relevant in this new world. I think we are but we have our work cut out through years of neglect of some audiences and hiding out in Reading in the grey boxes. We're out in the blogosphere but need to be in out in the real world too. Scoble was right about that in his recent comments on Hugh's blog.
I've had a few people such as Jas and Amit email me recently saying it would be good to catch up so I'm thinking of doing a coffee morning and getting a few others along just to see what happens. I promise to come with both ears open. Initially in London but if it's a good forum I'd be happy to get on the road. If you're up for it, let me know here.
They have a working name of Blue Monster Coffee Mornings 🙂 Sign up via comments...