Mike Swanson

April, 2006

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    The Power of a Great Actor


    Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working on a project with many of my fellow Microsoft technical evangelists, including Lynn Treadwell (pictured) and Scott Davis. I'm helping mostly with the messaging, and I've spent quite a bit of time collaborating with a professional writer on the video scripts.

    Without going into all of the details, most of my background and experience is with the written word. I used to write advertising copy, and I did a lot of technical editing. But—although I always try to write in a conversational tone—I've never written an actual script. Needless to say, this was a shift for me.

    This past Friday, we had a rehearsal at Microsoft Studios with a well known actor. I don't want to spoil the surprise, so you'll have to wait to find out who it is. But, it was a very enlightening experience.

    I fully expected that hearing a professional actor would increase the power of the words we had written, but I didn't expect it to have such impact. The tone of our messaging is to inspire and talk about possibilities, and I walked away from the day completely inspired! Not only that, but the physical movements and dramatic pauses added a great rhythm and cadence to the message. Outstanding!

    It also surprised me how economical you can be with your words and still make an effective point. We trimmed a lot of unnecessary dialogue and "roughed" it up a bit. In the end, our result was a whole lot better.

    We spent all day today back at Microsoft Studios recording the final content, and I can't wait until you can see the results. Expect an update in a few weeks.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Looking for Cool Windows Vista Demos


    We're working with a number of our early adopter partners and customers to put together short video segments that illustrate applications that take advantage of the new features in Windows Vista and/or WinFX. Although we're aware of a lot of very cool stuff, we wondered if there are other compelling applications out there that we know nothing about. So, we decided that a blog post (like this one) might be an interesting way to find out.

    Unfortunately, our deadline for submissions is the morning of Friday, April 7th. I'm not sure if we'll get anything that quickly, but you know what? I think it's worth throwing it out there. If I learned anything from the Show Off event at PDC05, it's that there's a ton of great stuff going on in the developer community. I'd love to be shocked or surprised. :-)

    Here's the deal. If you do have an application that provides clear business and/or consumer value, exploits some Windows Vista and/or WinFX technologies, and you have a very short (less than one minute) Camtasia video or some great screenshots, I'd love to see them.

    Instead of drowning my mailbox with megabytes of video, I'd recommend one of the following:

    • Host your screenshots and/or video on a web server, and use my Contact Form to let me know where to look (preferred).
    • Or, use the Contact Form to tell me a little about the application, and we can continue exchanging screenshots via attachments (slower, because I'm busy working on this stuff right now).

    Regardless, include your name, company, a short description that explains how our technology enabled your application/scenario, and some reasons why you think your application makes sense for us to highlight.

    Good luck, and let the submissions begin!

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