Customers and partners occasionally reach out to me for help locating information and data to support their efforts to assess product technology and market opportunity.  There’s really no secret formula for how I go about collecting this information and often times rely on the same resources that the general public has access to.  One of the benefits to me in seeking our externally available resources is that it affords me the comfort of knowing that this content is approved for public consumption.

Here’s a simple guideline that I recommend others consider when doing research on Microsoft products and technologies.  I’ll use Windows 7, Silverlight and Azure as topic examples:

Rule 1:  Start with the Big 3

Microsoft.com – Business and Consumer Messaging

MSDN.com – Developer Messaging

Partner.Microsoft.com – Partner Messaging

Rule 2:  Search Our Blogs

Blogs.MSDN.com is rich with information about our application developer product technologies.  Blogs.technet.com is an excellent resource to search for IT specific help.

Each of us at Microsoft discover information relevant to our roles and responsibilities in a wide variety of ways.  We have product and marketing team contacts, we are generally members of role specific virtual teams, and we also subscribe to a internal discussion groups of interest.  When we discover information of particular importance to our role, our customers and partners, we often blog about it.  Thus, our blogs become a treasure trove of information to help you discover the information you are looking for.

Rule 3:  Visit our Conference Web Sites

It’s almost become standard practice for Microsoft to record and post most sessions delivered at our marquee events.  Though I believe there is no substitute for attending these events in person to focus your attention on learning and to afford yourself the opportunity to network with peers and product group members, I find our event websites to be an extremely useful resource in the days and months that follow.

Here’s a nice collection of web sites with great information to support your research needs:

MIX09

MIX10

PDC09

Not Yet Announced

WPC09

WPC10

 

Rule 4:  Bing It!

To broaden your search just Bing It!  For example, if I do a Bing search on “Why [insert product technology here]?” you get quite a few hits.  Here are a couple of simple examples.

Here’s another example of Binging on “Silverlight Adoption” and one of the hits directed me to this blog entry on http://blogs.msdn.com:

http://blogs.msdn.com/mikeormond/archive/2009/02/27/silverlight-adoption-a-few-numbers.aspx

So, if you find yourself tasked with researching Microsoft product technologies, market opportunities and business value messaging, think back to this strategy.  It will go a long way to help expedite your work.  It’s the path I often take.

If you have other guidelines you’d like to share, send them my way and I’ll incorporate them into this posting.