Monday, November 16, 2009

Don Dodge already has a new job

It's becoming more and more apparent that Google totally gets it (and despite numerous significant product announcements this year).... Microsoft is losing touch with a huge portion of their own base.

We live in a time where different groups of users want to be 'in the loop'.

Whether they're developers, system builders, IT professionals or just regular everyday users, people want to put a real face on a company more than ever, and more importantly, be able to communicate with a 'human' to answer questions .... and begin to 'trust' a significant change or new product.

Just before Twitter arrived on the scene, Google's then 'top secret' webmaster contact who made numerous appearances on message boards as 'GoogleGuy' outed himself.  We know him now as Matt Cutts.

Matt now makes regular rounds of trade shows, has numerous videos all over the web explaining how Google works and is (very) closely followed by almost every SEO in the world.

Microsoft has a small army of product evangelists. They're even divided by 'region'. Can you name more than two?

Many are relatively new to the scene.  Some answer e-mails and some don't.

A few I've encountered since falling in love with Windows 7 simply have no clue of who to turn to within the organization for what.  This, at least, has been my experience so far  this past year.

In the meantime, Microsoft is spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Windows 7.  In networking with a few of my peers, they forgot one thing.  The 'evangelists' of my generation.  The guys that used to get the 'pre-release discs' back in the Windows 2000 era and before ...

I didn't making any 'public noise' after contacting 6 or 7 Microsoft folks about dropping 'the old dog' a few RTMs of Windows 7 and getting no reply?!  ("No" ... with a reason ... would have been OK).

You'd think that after ten years of belonging to just about every Microsoft program there was (on and off) including the somewhat controversial Freedom the Innovate Network,  OEM System Builder program (one of the first), TechNet, MSDN, Connect, Partner etc. etc ... they'd make an exception for a guy that just didn't have time to throw a party?

I basically just wanted to share a few downloads or discs with people in my circle so they could discover what I had in the Release Candidate .... (and wrote about many times here .... and elsewhere).  Maybe they thought I needed a few Christmas presents ? :)

I decided the just buy a family pack (as a few Microsoft employees that DID communicate know).  Ballmer got my $150  (Wow?!) ... but probably lost a bunch of IT demos that could have turned to $$$$$$ because I decided I had spent enough time trying to find the right person in Redmond .... or wherever.

So TechCrunch is reporting tonight that Don Dodge is onboard with Google.  Another familiar face to many of us and one case where I can totally see bypassing the Google hiring process to snag him quickly before someone else did.

It doesn't matter how big a company is.  In fact, it may not matter how great a product is.  In today's market, it's all about the buzz and trust

Dodge, like Cutts (and many others) have that trust from the tech community.

From huge corporations to small business and new entrepreneurs, there's nobody that doesn't prefer 'a contact' or at the very least, someone they can read on the web ... and trust what they're reading.

Google just set another example of their understanding of the landscape, the market and the competition.

I tweeted when Dodge was 'fired' (above) and again yesterday tongue and cheek about Windows 7.

I never expected to go public with these thoughts because I honestly think Microsoft made huge inroads over the past few months, not only with Windows 7 but with Bing, the Yahoo search deal, and more.  I didn't want it to sound like sour grapes .... but the fact is the marketing effort and networking off-line just seems to be a mess.

'Free evangelists' never ask for compensation.  I never did and people currently much more visible than myself talk and blog about products and companies simply because enjoy it.  The FTC now wants to see some disclosure.  I'm confident most will do it when they get NFR's or freebies of significance.

Give the writers and networkers the tools.

Just imagine.  You might save a few million bucks??

Good luck to Don.  I sincerely hope he enjoys his time at Google as much as he seemed to enjoy the years he spent at Microsoft.