Monthly Archives: November 2010

Microsoft opens consumer store #7 at Bellevue Mall, WA

Microsoft Store at Bellevue Square Mall

Microsoft store front

Microsoft just opened their seventh consumer store.  So I went to check it out.  This is the first one here in Microsoft’s hometown, at Bellevue Square Mall.  This wasn’t the first store to open because they wanted to  get the kinks worked out before the big show here at home.  It looks like they did work out whatever kinks there would be.  Well most of them anyway.  Apparently they “comprimised”

comprimising photo of sign mispelled

"Comprimising" photo

on using a spell checker when they made their signs.
They have a cool wall of flat screens that make a long, continuous image.  See it in the background of the photo of me.

shoppers at Microsoft store, Bellevue WA

Microsoft store#7, Bellevue, WA

One corner of the store is setup with Xbox so you can try out the new Kinect. (see photo)  This is their equivalent of the Wii.  The cool thing about the Kinect is that it

doesn’t need a device in your hand to control.  Instead, it has a sophisticated motion sensor that you stand in front of to interact with the game.  It works fairly well, but if

you play competitive table tennis, don’t expect much realism from their version of the game.  I expect future versions of the device will improve in realism.
But this really isn’t a store about Microsoft.  It’s more about the hardware that you can run Microsoft software on, specifically Windows 7and Windows Phone 7.  So it’s really a Dell/Visio/HP/AT&T/Toshiba/etc. store.  For all its glitz and hoopla, wall of monitors and a few more (OK, a LOT more) square feet, it feels remarkably undifferentiated from the Apple store just 4 doors down.


Author with wall of monitors in the background

I was rather surprised at how no one there noticed the bright yellow IBM Lotusphere 2010 shirt I was wearing.  I know this is a consumer-focused store, not a store selling “enterprise software”, but I was still a bit disappointed.  So much for IBM brand recognition.

Kinect demo

Kinect demo

The store opened yesterday, but unfortunately I couldn’t attend.  You can read more from the Seattle Times who was there.
Apple store at Bellevue Mall, Bellevue WA

Apple store just a few doors away


The Harmonica Man: Proof you don’t have to have something to give something.

The Harmonica Man: A Pacific Northwest icon of generosity and one more reason Washington state has more musicians per capita than any other state in the U.S. This holiday season, please consider giving a bit more to those less fortunate, even if all you have to give is your music.

Check out this news article from CBS news:

Quick Tip: Restricting who can send email to your broadcast groups

You probably have a mail group used for sending broadcast emails  (mass mailings) to many people, like all of your employees.  Do you ever have someone send a message using this group that shouldn’t?  Do you ever have someone Reply to All when they receive a message addressed this way?  Do you ever get spam addressed to that group?  The fix for this is very simple.  You can restrict access to any group by setting the reader names.  Follow these steps:

1.  Before updating your broadcast group, create a group that will be used to define who is allowed to send mail using the broadcast group.  Add the appropriate members to the group.  In many cases this group will be maintained by HR or some other person responsible for authorizing broadcast messages.

2.  Edit the group used for broadcast messages.
3.  Display the document properties of the mass mailing group.  One way to do this is press Alt-Enter, then change the object to Document.
4.  Click on the security tab (the one with the key)
5.  Unselect the field “All readers and above”
6.  Add the group created in step 1 to the list of readers.  IMPORTANT:  You MUST also add LocalDomainServers as well as your administrator group or you will not be able to view this group document once you save it.

7.  Save and close the group.

Now only people listed in those groups can send email to the broadcast group.  NO messages received via SMTP will be able to use the group because they are treated as anonymous.

In Response to: How do you argue with those wanting to go to Google Mail?

In response to: How do you argue with those wanting to go to Google Mail?

First find out WHY they want to switch. Identify their pain. (Here are the 3 categories of pain along with examples: financial: to save money; strategic: to stay competitive in our business; personal: he has to work too much overtime with the current system)

Second, make your claim. Present your alternative solution strictly as it addresses their pain. Nothing more as it will only cloud the decision.

Third, show the gain. Demonstrate proof of how your solution will address their pain better than any other. Case studies where they can talk to the one who did it are best. Demos are next and lastly are well-described visions of the solution as it will reduce their pain.

Fourth, address the message in a way that it will directly reach their “Old Brain”.  There are specific ways of delivering the message that are more effective than others.  Writing a report and emailing it to the decision-maker is not one of them.  That is a total waste of time.  You must have a meeting in person to deliver the message successfully.

But what is the old brain? Start here: Google it and you may find more. Better yet, read the book “Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain”. I have been on a quest to find the same answer you seek. This is the best book I have found on the topic.  It will tell you all the steps I mentioned above as well has how to deliver the message. Technical people like us consistently fail to persuade or influence decisions because we use high order logic which does not facilitate decision-making.  It does not reach the Old Brain. Watch my blog for more on this topic soon. Meanwhile, take a break from reading websites and technical manuals and get this book from your library or Amazon and read it. I promise you, it will totally change your perspective on this issue.

Recommend this Entry

Software Suicide: Microsoft’s hangs itself with “Why Migrations Instead of In-Place Upgrades?”

In response to Perry’s blog at Microsoft: “Why Migrations Instead of In-Place Upgrades?” He gives 5 bad reasons:

  1. Surprise! It’s not about the laziness of the Exchange Devs
  2. In major releases we tend to make substantial changes to our architecture to take advantage of exponential changes occurring on the hardware front. Doing this in a backwards compatible way often leads to substantial compromises that leads to a more expensive and less reliable TCO.
  3. Certainly to fully take advantage of the changes in the release requires rethinking the hardware design. Over the past couple of releases, doing this properly will reduce costs so substantially that continuing to run the old hardware would be un-economic even through it is fully depreciated.
  4. Given the rapidly improving hardware and the fact that the most expensive component (storage) wears out. Regular hardware refreshes in the order of every 3-4 years are needed. Doing both a major-version in-place upgrade followed by a migration to new hardware is a model that combines the worst of both approaches
  5. The migration model is well suited to most organizations because it allows you to move your least sensitive mailboxes first, your most sensitive mailboxes ( execs? application mailboxes?) last and have a great coexistence story.

Here is why I say they are so bad:

1.  Yes, it is a sign of laziness.  Not lazy developers, but lazy product designers and product managers.  Henry Ford’s engineers insisted they could not make a car for $800, but he kept sending them back to work until they did it.  You could learn a lot from Henry Ford.

2.  That just  reflects a poorly designed product.  Other brands of products are able to take advantage of the new hardware architecture without compromising cost or reliability.  In fact, NO OTHER SOFTWARE on my computer or in my server room requires a hardware replacement to be upgraded. Not any software by any other manufacturer.  NONE.

3.  If your software design requires rethinking every 3 years and forces a redesign of the hardware and a replacement and is intolerant of backward compatibility, then not enough vision and planning is going into the product.  That is also driving up the TCO unnecessarily.  As a business owner, I would be willing to give up some of the minor performance gains you provide through tweaking the hardware with every new release if it means I can let *my* needs drive hardware replacement rather than *yours*.

4.  Thanks for forcing me to make my hardware upgrades when you want them instead of letting me decide.  Your assumption of a 3-5 year hardware life cycle is true for some companies, but not all.  That is a very broad range and I expect software upgrades more often than I expect to upgrade hardware..  If you provide a major release every 3 years and I plan to upgrade hardware every 4-5 years, then you are forcing me to either replace the hardware before I am ready or to continue to use old software.  Also, even if I am replacing my hardware as often as upgrades are provided, the timing of those events do not necessarily coincide.  I may have to replace the hardware before you come out with that major release.  What do I do then?  Wait another 4 years for my hardware to get old before I upgrade the software or do I buy all new hardware again?

5.  Great coexistence story?  I don’t give a rat’s ass about stories.  I am not running software to provide stories for your marketing.  I want to be able to use the latest software with the least amount of risk, pain, expense and disruption in my business as possible.  I want the flexibility to manage my computer systems as my business needs, not yours.  If I have to make a migration anyway, I think this is a great opportunity to look at migrating to a different platform.  I know Lotus Notes and Domino don’t strong-arm me into purchasing hardware and they come out with major releases about every year.

I don’t know anyone who looks forward to migrating their software.  Why on earth would you intentionally build this requirement into the design of your product?  That is software suicide.

If you have an executive looking to migrate to Microsoft, share these points to scare some sense into them.

Wikipedia definition of FUD showcases IBM and Microsoft

I stumbled upon the wikipedia definition of FUD which happens to showcase IBM and Microsoft for their examples.  It is worth reading the entry in its entirety, but here are two good exerpts.  While IBM is given credit with the original exploitation, they appear to have abandoned the practice while Microsoft has perfected it:

The idea, of course, was to persuade buyers to go with safe IBM gear rather than with competitors’ equipment. This implicit coercion was traditionally accomplished by promising that Good Things would happen to people who stuck with IBM, but Dark Shadows loomed over the future of competitors’ equipment or software. After 1991 the term has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon.

And this:

Although originally associated with IBM, from the 1990s on the term became most often associated with software industry giant Microsoft. Roger Irwin said:[8]

Microsoft soon picked up the art of FUD from IBM, and throughout the 80’s used FUD as a primary marketing tool, much as IBM had in the previous decade. They ended up out FUD-ding IBM themselves during the OS2 vs Win3.1 years.

The leaked internal Microsoft “Halloween documents” stated OSS [Open Source Software] is long-term credible… [therefore] FUD tactics cannot be used to combat it.”[9] Open source software, and the GNU/Linux community in particular, are widely perceived as frequent targets of Microsoft FUD:

  • Statements about the “viral nature”[10] of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
  • Statements that “…FOSS [Free and open source software] infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents,” before software patent law precedents were even established.[11]
  • Statements that Windows has lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than Linux, in Microsoft’s “Get-The-Facts” campaign. It turned out that they were comparing Linux on a very expensive IBM Mainframe to Windows on a PC.
  • Statements that “If an open source software solution breaks, who’s gonna fix it?”[12] Website is Hot!

Send your end users to this site:

Better yet, have them add the RSS feed to their Notes client
and remind them to glance at the updates.  Publish it and re-publish it to your users often as they will forget.

This will expose them to the coolest features of the software at their fingertips, remind them daily in concrete terms why we all say Notes is cool, and put a feather in your cap as their favorite Notes professional for showing it to them.  There are 4 groups of people you MUST give this to:

1.  Secretaries and administrative assistants – Your best advocates or worst adversaries depending on what you teach them.
2.  Senior executives and vocal Notes nay-sayers – Their position and their loudness makes all the difference.
3.  Remote users and road warriors – They have no one to learn the tricks from and yet need them the most.
4.  Other Lotus professionals – Make it viral and as common as for maximum leverage (Darren, not used as a verb).

This is certainly a cool website.  Darren is proving that grass roots campaigns can make all the difference.  But it has no value if you don’t give it to the users of the software.

Re: My note to Lotus Support

(As commented on Brian M Moore’s post)

I have been calling Lotus technical support for many years.  In fact, back in the R3 and R4 days, I think everyone there knew me.  At that time the support was structured differently with tiers and so often I would here “Hi David, What’s the issue so I can write it down.  I already know if it’s coming from you, I’m going to be escalating it.”  Through all of these years I have been very pleased with the support I have received.  And trust me, I’ve generated more than my fair share of SPR’s to be solved in future releases.

One reason I have made so many calls is because of the stellar service that I have always gotten from IBM support.  If you call expecting them to magically feed you the answer to your problem, you’re in the wrong business.  If you call expecting to have someone work through the problem with you as an instant extension to your team, you will be successful.  How well they can help you is actually very dependent on how well you communicate the problem.  Use the opportunity to develop and refine your own troubleshooting skills.  Pay special attention to what they ask and how they go about isolating and identifying the problem.  The type of thinking required for troubleshooting is not the same as for say, following installation procedures from a manual.  (Referred to as Navigational Thinking vs. Procedural Thinking.)

If I’m calling support, it probably isn’t going to be a quick fix, though with their access to internal resources, this does happen.  At the end of those calls you’ll say “Wow, that was easy.  Glad I called.  You just saved me a lot of time.”

Another great thing about Lotus technical support is that they are here.  They are in Austin, Atlanta, Cambridge.  If I call today I am very likely to talk with someone who I have worked with in years past.  They may even remember details about my system, making troubleshooting even faster.  I’ve even had someone say “David, btw, I read your latest blog article.  You were dead on.”  There is a value to this longevity and continuity that cannot be measured objectively, but has immense value.

I echo Brian’s blog post.  Joyce, please pass this on to Robert A, Adrienne D, Andrew L, Brian G, Brad H, Brian Y, Christopher M, Chesley S, Deronza S, Ed N, Erik S, Emily Z, Greg H, Harold M, Isaac B, Jacqueline C, James S, and many others on the support teams.  You all do great work!

What Lotus Doesn’t Know: Examples of Highly Successful Social Media Ad Campaigns

Social media can produce an amazing stage for advertisement campaigns.  This article at shows off a variety of innovative and very successful campaigns run on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and other websites.  The creativity was in how social media was blended with other components of the campaign to make them so successful.  Here is one example:

The campaign : In January 2009 Burger King created a Facebook application that rewarded people for deleting friends on Facebook. All you had to do was delete 10 friends to receive a free coupon for a Whopper Burger. Every time you deleted a friend it also sent a notification to their wall, informing they’d been sacrificed for a free Whopper. Sadly the application is no longer available on Facebook, as the developers were asked to change this key feature so Burger King decided to pull it altogether.
The numbers : A total of 233,906 Facebook friends were deleted, resulting in more than 23,000 Whopper coupons issued .
Why we love it : It turned social networking completely on its head, encouraging people to do the very opposite of what we typically use social media for. It also tested the strength of these online friendships and just how high people valued them the price of a burger, apparently.

Others include the high fashion trench coat manufacturer, Burberry, called for photos of people wearing their trench coats in fashion capitals around the world and explain the story about their coat.  It generated 7.5 million page views in 1 year.

Carphone Warehouse created a youtube channel that has received over 2.5 million hits.

CNN streamed the inauguration of President Obama and alongside the video was a live feed of Facebook status updates of viewers yielding 3,000 comments per minute, over 200,000 total. “Look Ma, I’m on CNN!”

Bing sponsored an ad in Farmville where players received Farmville dollars for joining Bing’s Facebook page.  31 million viewers.

Of course IBM took a shot at this too with the Lotus Knows campaign soliciting our input on what Lotus knows.  I don’t Know what that’s doing for Lotus.

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