Forget the Blue Monster for a second - this is real change the world stuff. I blogged about NineMillion a while back but I wanted to tell you more about this and how you can get involved.
Use the Live Search page up to March 31st, Microsoft will make a contribution to ninemillion.org to help support educational programs for refugee youth. So bookmark it, tell your friends, or add the gadget to your Windows Live Space or Live.com
Link to Change the world with a search | Larry Larsen | Channel 10
Want to know how to develop a SaaS solution? The folks at SkyScrapr want you to learn. Check out their entertaining "four-part reality based video series" to get an insight in to the process.
I got myself on to the beta of this last week so hoping to find out more on this as I play and share with you what I can. I got a great email from Phil Smith pointing out some great resources on this listed below:
Paul Thurrott also has one of his usual solid reviews up.
Phil is pretty eagle eyed too as during the Channel 9 video with Charlie Kindel on Home Server he spotted Blue Monster over his shoulder at about 9 mins 30s. Sweet :)
Link to Windows Home Server
I came across this story today in the FT that touches on something I'm trying to do more of - and get Microsoft to do more of. How many times have you seen a presentation from Microsoft with a tonne of PowerPoint slides, full of bullet points and groovy clipart? Too often I expect and whilst you remember those presentations it's probably not because of the content...more likely the lack of it.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying Microsoft doesn't give good presentations - it's just that I think we could do better and leave a longer term imprint with the audience by telling stories. People love stories - we're brought up with it from school and from being down at the pub or just sat around with friends. You don't sit and take friends through a bullet point list to get your story across, you tell them a story. In some meetings the bullet points are needed of course but generally speaking, stories work better.
The Blue Monster works well because it's a story. The history of Microsoft works well as it's a story. Talking to someone about how they could revolutionize their business using Exchange Server is a story (or a potential one). Telling them it's features one by one isn't nearly as engaging. They can get the facts from a data sheet. I believe our job and that of our partners is to help translate our products and services in to stories that fit each and every customer.
You may think you don't have a story or your business is pure facts. Trust me, it's worth exploring what you can do with this. My team has worked a little with Katie Ledger and if you want help telling stories, I'd highly recommend her approach. If you're not telling stories (and short ones at that) she's brilliant at helping you crystallize them.
What's your story? Can you tell it in a way they's going to engage people and draw them in? Worth thinking about....