Hey Microsoft! Wow me!
I’ve been thinking a lot about Microsoft these last few months. It seems like every single technology category has bloggers slamming some mistake Microsoft made...usually only from the perspective of that one sector. Here’s a slam from Geeks News Central about podcasting and Windows Media Player 11. Now granted it looks like Microsoft has missed an opportunity here, but common on, Microsoft is huge and it’s likely that podcasting was not identified as a market for their Media Player. And while there are some very vocal proponents of podcasting, the numbers I’ve seen so far aren’t showing that it’s really that big a market yet. So if you were deciding on whether to release a product or hold it to add new (potentially unplanned) functionality what would you do? Personally, I would ship and then go back through the product release cycle with the intention of getting a quick release out. (If the feature was identified as critical.) I think podcasting is an important new vehicle and to enhance Microsoft’s leap into the Internet, Microsoft must support it. But does Microsoft need to support it today?
I read this great article by Phil Wainewright and he really articulates a lot of my thoughts very well. Microsoft has the money and the people to make any undertaking revolutionary. Personally I prefer it when Microsoft doesn’t play the "me to" game, even though it’s kicked me in the butt in the past. While at Kaseworks (one of the first companies to have a code generator for Windows), one of our struggles was figuring out how to generate the code in a reusable way. As much as I hate to say it, Microsoft’s way was significantly better than Kaseworks’. (That and the fact that Microsoft had the compiler to put underneath it.) They didn’t evolve our methodology but revolutionized it. It helped put us out of business but it also helped an extremely large number of developers become more productive. That’s what I want to see from Microsoft. (It’s also what I want to see from Google and all the other big players with money and bright people.) Don’t follow. Lead. Beat the many headed hydra that you call a company into submission, make the teams talk to each other, and figure out how to build innovation into your processes so you can "stop missing the boat" and start wowing us.