So as I said in an earlier post, I've been at Microsoft for almost four years. I worked in other places in the industry prior to that, in a variety of roles, including in technical sales roles. I've talked to a lot of customers, and I still have a lot of friends at other companies in the industry. When I was working for other companies and talking to customers, it was common to start at neutral and eventually gain someone's trust when it became clear that you were being straight with them. Coming from Microsoft, though, it's far more common that I start a conversation with a customer or partner from a huge negative trust position, and it becomes clear that nothing I do or say will ever change it.
This can lead to some funny incidents, in which I say something as obvious and straightforward as, “The sky is blue,” and that statement is met with suspicion. But it also means in some cases that people shoot themselves in the foot. Take the Empower program, which gives small ISVs deeply discounted access to Microsoft technologies to help them develop their first product. I've been slowly getting the impression that there are a lot of people who could benefit from it, but are convinced it's somehow intended to trick or trap them. Really, it's a good deal... and you can believe me because it's obvious how Microsoft's interests align with yours. But is there something I can say, really, that will convince one of you who is a skeptic that there's no trap?