Just spent my first 3 days in New York City, attending the BlogHer Business Conference.  When asked how did I enjoy NYC, I recalled the scene from the first Matrix movie, where Neo is crossing the very busy street in the crosswalk during orientation.  I felt equally baffled and confused =)

Microsoft Blogging Case Study

Besides trying to act non-tourist-like by wearing earphones as I walked by solicitors (which worked, btw), I was invited to be a panelist on the Microsoft Blogging Case Study (live-blog transcript"Case Study #5").  I was joined by Ariel Stallings, Ani Babaian, and Nelly Yusupova who moderated, 3 very amazing women.  Working with guys day in and day out, I forget how much fun and reinvigorating it is to connect with other technical women.

Below were my top points from the blogging case study.

  • At Microsoft, it is all about blog smartWe hire smart people to make smart decisions.  When i’m in doubt about a post, whether it is a Visual Studio tip day i need sanity-checked or a peer review to ensure what i’m saying makes sense, I ask for help.  I even ask some of my non-Microsoft blog readers to review comments to get their thoughts, just for that other point-of-view.
  • My personal rules of the road are three-fold: 1. no politics  2. no religion  3. no rants.  There’s a time and a place for this, and it is called Facebook.  I should also mentioned that Facebook is for my friends only, hence why i’m not on the Microsoft network.  When in doubt about posting something personal, think "always customer first.  will this post help my readers and/or customers make a better connection with me, or will it drive them away from me?"
  • I started blogging because i wanted to connect with the blind developer community, but what actually happened was that i connected with those like me, non-visually impaired software-accessibility testers looking for help and advice.  That was the lightbulb moment that i realized that what i learned internally could be shared externally, hence the info on software testing, Visual Studio, and so forth.
  • Since blogging is an extension of my day job and i blog in my spare time, my ROI may be different than bloggers who have blogging ROI as actual goals and commitments.  For me, i measure "success" via metrics (something i can control) and indicators (signs of success). I can control the number of blog posts i’m going to write, but i can’t control the number of page views (sorry, no bots allowed).  An indicator of success is when my RSS hits increases, meaning that i’m getting more and more subscribers to my blog.
  • Windows Live Writer is my hero.  I bow to it.  It has carried me through all these months writing the Visual Studio tip of the day, because of its ability to 1. publish posts to go live at a future date and 2. to write offline and store on the local computer.  Consider how I’m writing this blog entry on the plane, going to save it locally as a draft when i’m done asking the poor people next to me how to spell a certain word, and then publish it next time I’m on the internet.

One particular "shout out tweet" we found on Twitter. 

social media so perfect for people like these Msoft bloggers. they’re so genuinely excited about what they do. makes their co. look good.

Why I love Windows Live Writer

After the panel, the blogher people interviewed me to see where this love for Windows Live Writer was coming from.  Their timing couldn’t have been better, as i had just demo’ed Live Writer to Paull Young by having him post to his blog.  He was awesome to let me put him on the hook with me to explain why Live Writer rocks.

http://www.blogher.com/live-microsoft-windows-experience-lounge

I can’t sign Live Writer’s praises enough.  It is the main factor why i’ve been able to keep the Tip of the Day running.  You rock, Live Writer.

I was Microspotted

Ariel has the absolutely coolest job ever.  She gets to interview Microsofties about their jobs, their personalities, and why they work at microsoft.  Ariel interviewed me about my job on CodePlex and working with the open source community. 

Also, she took some pictures of me outside on the street of NYC.  She’s an awesome photographer.  I got a quick peek at one of the shots, and it really moved me.  It’s amazing how much time goes by and when you see yourself in a great photo, it’s like you get a second to stop and smell the roses and realize how far you’ve come, especially when you’re someone like me, so driven about getting over the next hill that we never really give ourselves even a moment’s rest.  On the plane out to NYC, I had just finished reading Nelson Mandela’s book long walk to freedom, and one of the very last sentences really hit home, where he mentions how there’s always a next hill to climb.

Yeah, I think this is the longest post i’ve written since starting tip of the day.  I should probably do more cross-country flights.  =)