Blogging: The case for Ballmer and Gates
According to the home page at Blogs.MSDN, there are now 606 Microsoft employees blogging. I think that is just great. From reading Microsoftie blogs, I've gained insights into what the various teams and product managers are thinking, and some are even detailed enough to provide us with a direct look at the decisions they make on a daily or weekly basis, and more importantly the reasons behind those decisions. Having this kind of access to information has enormously impacted my perception of what goes on within Microsoft, and the ability to post comments on entries, or via my own blog, gives me a chance to even have a two-way conversation with many Microsofties that I otherwise wouldn't get to interact with, even at huge conferences like Tech Ed.
Even with all those current 'softie blogs, there are still two that I'm dying to see, Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. I got to see Steve speak just a couple of months ago when he came to our Developer Briefing in Toronto, and I saw Bill give the keynote at Tech Ed in 2001 in Atlanta. Both speeches were fascinating to me, giving me a peek into the minds of two brilliant men, plus a look into the strategies and plans of the most fascinating company in the world. Both speeches kept me up late that night pondering all the new (to me, at least) ideas put forth. However, there were only around 1000 of us present at Ballmer's speech, and maybe 10,000 at the Gates Tech Ed speech. Imagine how many more people these guys could reach if they only kept a blog! I can guarantee you that more than 10,000 people would subscribe to a blog by either of these men.
I'm pretty sure that both Gates and Ballmer give speeches on a regular basis, and probably even have some kind of speech writers to help with the process. These speech writers could probably even write their blog entries, since they know the message and even the style of each executive. Steve and Bill could just rubber-stamp the entries, and suggest any needed improvements. Even to pull an Eric Rudder and only post once per quarter would be HUGE coming from these two guys. The time commitment could be as little as one hour per quarter. Why not put in that time, when it enables you to reach 10,000, or maybe even 100,000 people and give the “official” Microsoft message. The PR potential alone is tremendous.
At a minimum, please consider offering the speech transcripts as an RSS feed. In a recent Gates speech, even he talks about the value and benefits of blogging. So why not put your billions where your mouth is ;)