It's hard to come up with a decent post title.  Maybe that's because my posts aren't typically focused on one topic.  I got some feedback today from one of our partners that they actually read (and even enjoy!) my blog.  Thanks Mike!  I wasn't sure anyone was reading it since I never get any comments.  Mike's feedback has inspired me to post more regularly.  Feel free to throw in a gratuitous comment here and there to let me know you're really out there!

Thomas L. Friedman, author of "The World is Flat", several other books and many New York Times columns, gave a talk today as part of our "Breakfast Series" seminars.  Amazingly enough 1000+ people showed up at 8:30am (crazy!) to hear him.   I haven't read his book, but he gave a concise summary of the 10 events/dates he felt have changed the face of the world and increased globalization.  He also emphasized the importance of education and how parents really need to get involved in order for America's kids to be competitive on the global playing field.  It's nice to hear someone who articulates what I've been thinking for a long time about the U.S. education system.  Not that I expect public education to change much as a result, but who knows - maybe someone who has read his book or heard him speak will be moved to make some sweeping changes in the next 10-20 years.

Well, that's about all the political commentary you'll get out of me.  I'm just not that kind of girl. ;)  The mass of Post-its on my desk has disappeared into Microsoft Project.  I was so glad to get rid of those!  Of course, being a good Seattleite, I recycled them in the "mixed paper" bin.  I'm still working on getting the Project Plan to behave the way I want, with the correct dates and durations, etc.  but that's my own battle to fight with MS Project. 

Today a few of us from the Speech Server team had lunch with Brett, the PSS manager who owns support for Speech Server, and Zhan, the Tech Lead who is the main guy supporting our customers.  It was great to get insight into how their team works, how customers get support, and honestly, just to meet in person since both of them work at other Microsoft sites.  Tomorrow Brett will be presenting a quarterly business review to our whole team.  A lot of people on the product team don't know how the support teams are structured, how customer contracts work, or how a customer issue gets through support and comes to us (if Zhan's team needs help with a particularly tricky issue).  I think this presentation will be really useful for our team.  (And I sure hope it is, since I'm the one who set it up and would hate to waste 40 people-hours' worth of time on a team trying to build and ship a product!)

On the TAP front, the selection process is moving along nicely.  Some of our customers have dropped out at this stage, realizing they are not in a position to commit to a long TAP program, and I really appreciate that they've notified me, and indicated their interest in our Beta program in 2006.  By late next week I will know whether we have any open spots available to accept customers from our waiting list.  I've also gotten 15+ people so far from my team to sign up as "buddies" to our TAP participants, so each participant has a personal contact on the MSS team.  I'm currently working on training for the buddies, as well as putting together the agenda for the kickoff training session for the TAP partners. 

So as you can see, there's much to do prior to the official start of the TAP program.   But I'm having a lot of fun with it.  

Comments?  Anyone out there?