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Why Channel 9 is stupid

Yeah, that's right, I'm not going to fit in with all of the “me too” crowd. Channel 9 is stupid.

I mentioned awhile ago that GotDotNet has been a failure of sorts, partly for technical reasons, but partly because it's another fragmented kingdom at Microsoft. In addition to GDN, we have ASP.NET and WindowsForms.NET. All three went off to do their own thing, and clearly never talked to each other.

Now we have this Channel 9 thing, which is supposed to offer some kind of insight into how Microsoft's developer folk work, and allow us to talk back to them. Sounds pretty good in theory, right? I don't think so.

I can't really speak for all areas of development, but right now I think that I get a pretty good insight into how things in the ASP.NET are going on via the blogs of people like Rob Howard and G. Andrew Duthie, as well as a number of non-MS bloggers who also participate in the forums at ASP.NET.

Should I now go to this new site (with the ridiculous avatars down the left side) because it looks cool and trendy, and everyone thinks it's a good idea? Is there a mandate that the people in the ASP.NET sphere go there and participate? If there's not, then it's just one other place I'm really not that interested in going. I can barely keep up with the other content I want to read.

They post that they want to “move beyond“ newsgroups and blogs or whatever. That's a joke. The protocols change, but when you stop and look objectively at the Internet today, we're just using rich text editors now to post to Usernet and .plan files. Let's not kid ourselves.

Here's the thing, for years we've complained about marketing getting in the way of the real point and purpose of product. That's a valid concern, and certainly the only problem marketing causes these days is delays (because we shouldn't need to wait for Whidbey). However, now with Microsoft fostering this entrepreneurial spirit, kingdoms rise from the dark corners of Redmond without any regard to what's already going on elsewhere. For all the evil that marketing allegedly is, at least there's some kind of coherent strategy there. But then again, they post right on Channel 9 that marketing has no place there.

It could get more ridiculous, or the kings of these kingdoms could all sit down together, put their egos aside, and decide how to consolidate their resources and serve the market segments they cater to more affectively. That sounds like marketing, I know, but modern marketing is more of a two-way street than it ever has been, especially since that Internet thing came along.

Posted: Apr 06 2004, 09:37 AM by Jeff | with 21 comment(s)
Filed under: ,

Comments

Snorrk said:

I agree up to a point -but It's all about reform.

Experimenting with ways to communicate with the community at large is not a bad thing. I think that C9 is a very ambitious project and I watched all the video clips with great interest. I'm going to be watching C9 evolve and hope it will reach its potential.

The point about the kings sitting down and consolidating their resources isn't very good - unless you can tell us right now what is and will be the best way to communicate with the community, I suggest you give them a break and let them experiment a bit.

Nobody is forcing you to visit Channel9..

>S

# April 6, 2004 9:51 AM

senkwe said:

Ouch, so now it's "stupid" for MS to simply try something new?
# April 6, 2004 9:57 AM

AndrewSeven said:

Repeated failures in community building have lead MS to a process of continual re-invention (ahem) of community sites. This does not solve the problem.

Its a blog and a forum and a bunch of aother things, it has not moved beyond anything.

Try moving beyond marketing and into the truth.

Please don't market annother .Not
# April 6, 2004 10:03 AM

Sahil Malik said:

I sort of agree.

I read a blog yesterday that windowsforms.net had 1/100th of the number of users as asp.net did. Curiously enough, as a big time techie junkie, I hadn't even heard about windowsforms.net .. come to think of it, why did I know about asp.net .. because a technology called "asp.net" was marketed (exactly that name). For windowsforms.net, why isn't it winforms.com?, or windowsapplications.net? or nonasp.net?

msdn.microsoft.com was good enough, and I wish all this content somehow branched from there. Now I have 5 competing sites to check. At most they should have segregated windows forms and asp .. but channel 9 is taking it too far. .. soon we'll have a channel 8,7,6...... .. ..
# April 6, 2004 10:10 AM

Marc Orchant said:

OK... graphically it's abit over the top but hardly stupid. It's a nice blend of mediums and puts a pretty human face on the participants. Give it a little time to mature and shake out the inevitable 1.0 issues before condemning it.
# April 6, 2004 11:30 AM

Henry Erich III said:

Everyone can have an opinion of Who, err heh What is stupid, right Jeff?
I personally love it because I can talk to "The Microsoft."
Maybe im just stupid though...
# April 6, 2004 12:02 PM

G. Andrew Duthie said:

Jeff,

Thanks for the nod. I do want to clarify that I am a non-MS blogger, since your post seems to lump me in with Rob as an MS blogger. I'm very happy to be considered in the same sentence as Rob as a source for ASP.NET info, but I didn't want anyone to mistakenly think that I'm a 'softie. :-)
# April 6, 2004 12:02 PM

Ryan Dawson said:

I like channel9. I like videos as opposed to reading (sometimes). What is stupid about that? You say that you would rather read their blog -well, I didn't know Bill Hill had a blog.
# April 6, 2004 12:14 PM

Colin Ramsay said:

"he protocols change, but when you stop and look objectively at the Internet today, we're just using rich text editors now to post to Usernet and .plan files. Let's not kid ourselves."

How can you compare a textual medium to an entirely visual one? Video allows tonal inflection, body language. It's the peak of that old adage "a picture tells a thousand words".

You come across as someone who is spitting the dummy because you don't like something new. Someone who doesn't like their culture being re-invented because they are comfortable with the status quo.

If you don't want to watch Channel 9 then please don't. But to proclaim it as "stupid" only serves to demonstrate your shortsightedness.
# April 6, 2004 12:37 PM

Jerry Pisk said:

Video is a very good marketing tool. But it's useless for developers, which I think that's the target audience. You can't consume the information at your own pace, you can't search it, you can't quickly find what you need, you can't link to a specific piece of information in it. Personally I think Channel 9 is pure marketing, Microsoft needs to show that it listens to developers without the need to actualy do so (just read the blogs here about updates to VS, .Net framework and so on).
# April 6, 2004 12:58 PM

Bruce Hafner said:

OK - maybe there are problems here. Maybe it might not get used....but here is what I see as the point (from a Non Microsoft Employee)

Too often in business...especially if you sort of control or drive an industry you tend to ignore the needs of the user base. In fact often you get a sort of Techno - pompous crowd ...sort of an elitist thing going on. Well Get over it. Often in life we get where we are by chance, locality, a friend etc. Development, technologies, groups get a sort of inbreeding think going on.

This is a great opportunity for the average user to give some feedback here and there. Even if only one great idea gets exchanged out of 150 bonehead ideas it is really well worth it.

Just my thoughts
# April 6, 2004 3:09 PM

Jerry Pisk said:

Bruce, you have tons of ways to give Microsoft feedback. Newsgroups, MSDN articles have forums, there's tons of "wish" e-mails at Microsoft, you can call them, you can send them a letter, you can comment on their employes' or groups' blogs. Do you really need yet another way? Especially since most of the existing feedback is going directly to Recycle Bin...
# April 6, 2004 8:04 PM

Robert Scoble said:

Jerry: I totally disagree that feedback goes into the recycle bin here. Absolutely not the case at all.
# April 6, 2004 8:10 PM

M said:

Robert, feedback through you might not go to the bin, but lots of it does, or at least is perceived to. I work for MS and *I* don't know how to give feedback to most products externally (internally, I'd jump onto autodl, join the appropriate alias and hope someone notices my comments). If I were a customer I would have no idea how to give feedback on a specific product, and if I did, and even if it were listened to, I bet 99% of the time there would be no feedback loop.

In my days before working for MS, I got involved in a beta for a competitors product. I had an idea for an improvement, it got to the dev responsible for that item, we worked back and forth on that idea, I was sent private builds containing this feature, and it made it to the final product. I don't see that sort of thing happening with MS. The perception of stuff going to the recycle bin is a problem.
# April 6, 2004 8:41 PM

Rich Ersek said:

I think Snorrk has it about right. There are a lot of experiments going on right now and there will be more. Snorrk points out that one reason is that noone can know in advance what's going to work best. Another reason is flexibility - if MSDN had a framework that allowed experimentation and ease of posting content, then perhaps we could do all these things in one place. However, it's a lot easier to just put up and maintain an ASP.NET and for some other group to put up their own thing - for now.

So what does the future look like? It could be a lot of independent sites, which isn't all bad since Microsoft is a big company with many different types of customers. Do you think Xboxers would be happy to be directed to a place like MSDN for their forums? My guess is that some things will take off, some will die and others will consolidate.

For now, let's play a little. That was the fun of the internet and WWW in the first place.
# April 6, 2004 8:52 PM

Mike Schinkel said:

Damned if they do, damned if they don't. MS is often bashed for lack of innovation.
Can't innovate without trying new things. I like that they tried it, even if it does eventually suck (not saying it will or won't.) Babe Ruth struck out more often, because he swung the bat more...
:-)
# April 7, 2004 4:06 AM

Benjamin J. J. Voigt said:

I believe genarally the best way to give feedback to a particular product is probably the newsgroups. Lots of devs hanging around and many MVP's/RD's which can carry your message to the right people, plus newsgroups have a structure which can be analyzed and searched. Blogs are probably the second best option, but you'd find the right blog to go to.

I've been thinking a lot about how Channel 9 fits into the MS space, I've send my roomy and some other dudes off and confront them with the three big community concepts because I wasn't sure how to feel about it. After some more discussion at work, I'm pretty sure Channel 9 is not bad in the sense you are pointing out.

I'd not go to C9 for product feedback, but for entertainment! Socialize at C9 find a newsgroup or a blog for technical discussions. Of cause this is nothing official, but thats how I'd handle it.

I'll blog some more on this topic later on, but for now: We _will_ stop establishing yet an other forum, at least we are trying hard to stop.
# April 8, 2004 9:07 AM

Jeff said:

Socialize, eh? I guess that's cool. I guess when I want to socialize it's with people who are not in any way shape or form involved with computers! :)
# April 8, 2004 9:17 AM

Kathleen Bremner said:

I think channel 9 isent stupid I think channel 7 is stupid since all it is News! :)
# June 19, 2004 5:45 PM

Friend of yours said:

IF YOU CAN GET ME THOSE VIDEOS AND INTERVIEWS WITH ALL THOSE BRIELENT PEOPLE THAT WORK WITH MICROSOFT OR ELSEWHERE THEN I WOULD STOP GOING THERE START COMING THERE. I MEAN WHAT IS YOUR POINT? IT WORLD HAS ALWAYS MISSED THIS KIND OF COMMUNITES, CHANNLE 9 FILLS THE GAP.

# October 18, 2006 10:28 PM

Jeff said:

Way to comment on something more than two years old!

# October 18, 2006 11:12 PM
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