March, 2007

  • Steve Clayton

    Are you running Windows Vista?


    Probably not is my guess based on chattig with a number of partners this week. You're waiting for the drivers right? Or your hardware isn't up to it? Or your apps will not work? I've heard all of these things (and more) but if you're keen to run it and these things are stopping you, it's time to take another look. First, let me be clear though - like James's post that I read this week, this article is really intended for Microsoft Partners. There may be useful things in it for customers, but I'd like to offer a message to partners

    Running Vista makes it easier to sell Vista

    That seems pretty obvious I suppose but in my recent calls to partners, many are saying "we ain't selling much Vista" and then when I ask "are you running Vista?" they say no. That's a bit like going to buy a Ford and the guy selling it to you is driving a VW. Would you listen? Perhaps more importantly, would the guy driving the VW have first hand, honest experience of selling a Ford? That's the thing here...if you're not running it, neither will your customer. Remember when you said you wanted to be their trusted advisor? Then they're going to have to trust you when it comes to Vista. All those shiny Microsoft adverts only get them to look in the shop window - it's you that encourages them in.

    I'm not looking to teach anyone to suck eggs here so lets move off that topic and look at what can help with this little adventure.  

    As I get more and more resources I'll link to them here. Meantime, are you a partner in the UK running Vista? Let me know in the comments form!

    Link to James Akrigg .:. Out of Office : Are you running Windows Vista?

  • Steve Clayton

    Did I drink too much blogging juice?

    My Blog Juice

    My work here is done! Barry just tipped me off that a search on Google for my own name now brings me the the top of the list above who does a very nice line in guitar picks. I may enquire about a guitar pick with my WeeMee on as a momento. Sadly I'm not top of yet for the same search but it's surely only a matter of time before that site catches up? is ahead of me there so lots of work to do I feel.


    Joking aside, this is a great example of what I have been telling several small businesses for quite some time - blogging works as a marketing tool. Here's an example:

    Number two on this list is Thomas Mahon of English Cut. The story is pretty well known and you can read it in Naked Conversations. In a nutshell, through a smart blogging approach, Thomas went from being a relative unknown in the world of high end suits to a rock star. Sure he had first mover advantage but so can you - pick your microniche and you can do the same thing.

    If I were Flat White coffee shop in London for example I would be all over this as they make the best coffee in London (in my opinion). They have coffee Otaku.

    As it happens a search for London's Best Coffee bring up my blog as 5th on the list and I only wrote about them once. Imagine what would happen if they wrote about themselves a few more times with this term and other similar ones.  

    There are lots of tools and techniques out there for search engine optimisation (SEO) but this is quite a bit more than that. Thomas and other succeed because they write about something they're passionate about so not only do they find their way to the top of the list through consistency but when people click through to their site, they find something useful and probably come back for more...oh and they tell their friends which is the best marketing on the planet. Sneezers is what Seth calls them.  


    You can find out much more on this stuff from way smarter people than me though. Hitwise Heather is a good place to start but here are some more:

    There is a tonne of stuff out there about blogs and search engine optimisation but at the end of the day, content is king and as Hugh says Blogs don't write themselves.


  • Steve Clayton

    Geek is chic - Zune is pink



    A pink version of the Zune is coming on May 1st apparently. ClickZune has the details

    Link to Geek is chic. | geeksugar

  • Steve Clayton

    Open XML needs you


    I've been listening and watching the whole Open XML debate for a while now and decided it was high time to chime in and ask you to offer your support. Here is my very simple recap of things - apologies for the paraphrase but this is the deal.

    1. Customers and partners have repeatedly asked us over the years to open our proprietary Office document formats. You were probably one of them...I used to get this question a lot when I started at Microsoft.
    2. We listened (novel I know) and in Office 2007 we included the Open XML format. We also support it in Office 2003 through a free add-on.
    3. Customers have since told us they would like Open XML become an open standard with broad rights to use, without cost, without any patent infringement. Makes sense.
    4. Microsoft agreed and called for the standardization of Open XML via international bodies like ECMA. They approved it as an open standard on Dec 7th 2006.  
    5. The vote was nearly unanimous; of the 21 members, IBM’s was the sole dissenting vote. IBM (again) was the lone dissenter when ECMA agreed to submit Open XML as a standard for ratification by ISO.
    6. The ISO process involves a 1 month period for national bodies to review followed by a 5 month technical review process and when ODF (an alternative doc format) was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process - why should we?
    7. In the meantime, during the one-month period for consideration of Open XML in ISO, IBM led a global campaign urging national bodies to demand that Open XML was not even considered. They ignored the fact that the vast majority of ISO members chose not to submit comments. Nice eh?
    8. We think this is a blatant attempt to use the ISO process to limit choice for commercial motives - no surprise that Notes doesn't support Open XML.
    9. We think people want choice. Seriously.

    If you agree, please show your support at - it only takes a few moments.



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  • Steve Clayton

    Can I tell you why Microsoft UK is blogging?



    I had the pleasure of presenting with Helen Love today at the Social Media Forum and encouraged people to Love The Orange. The orange in question is that one up there - you know, the RSS icon. The room was full of media folks from some big organisations like Vodafone, ING Direct, BAT, Kone and others. You can find out more from the Melcrum blog.

    We were followed by the wonderful Debbie Weil who presented some of her recent research on blogging. Apparently 85% are not using blogs. Wow! I hope we helped convince a few of them to join the blogosphere. We were both pretty forceful about saying GET IN THE GAME - people are blogging about your company. Look at and find out who. Join the conversation.

    Here are my slides but you'll notice something - they're mainly images. I go along with Seth's views that slides aren't much use without the person. You can probably infer what I said from some of it but I'd like to think I added something to them. The guys at Vodafone thought so as they asked me to come chat with them about it. Guess what...I'm more than happy to. So here's the deal,

    • If you'd like me to chat with you or your company about this, let me know. I'd be delighted to share our experiences if I can.

    Some great qustions today. Here's the ones I can remember

    • How much time do I take blogging?
      Too long but my management see the benefit and empower me with the latitude
    • Should we start internal or external with our blog?
      External. Now. Do it. The internal people will read it anyway so you get 2x the power. At least
    • How do you deal with criticism in comments?
      By defusing the emotion and engaging the person in a conversation. Most people are surprised when they hear Microsoft is listening
    • Why did you remove "be wary of team blogs" from your slides
      This would be my number 11 item. I'm not saying don't but just recognise that a team blog has difficulty in having a personality.

    Final point. Go read Debbie's book. Along with Scoble it's the other bible.

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