Skip to main content

Scoble Gets Bashed for Asking a valuable Question

Once again proving that the biggest barn in the yard gets the most crap thrown at it, Scoble asks a very basic question "What's your product's philosophy?" and the comments thrown back at him are almost like flame wars on old bulletin boards.

Hey - Scoble's job is as evangelist and he carries it off well. But his blog is his own opinion.

I'm sure asking the philosophy question stumps a lot of product groups. If it's happening at MS, that's frightening because it shows how few of them are still practicing MSF (where's Jim McCarthy when you need him?)

The founding premise of MSF is that when you start a project, you identify a VISION for it. Guess what? That Vision should form the philosophy behind it. It drives everything about the product and makes it very easy to separate what's critical for the product and what's not.

While I'm sure many people will find humour in some "versions" of MS Product philosophies - IE's philosophy (from one commenter) must be (paraphrased) - "screw the standards".

But I think in comparison to Excel's original philosophy ("to build the best spreadsheet ever"), there is a lack of direction in some of MS' products.

The down side of asking that question is that it requires a lot of self-reflection and honestly, too much self-reflection can be a bad thing. One company I work with has had more than three "reflection" type meetings in a period of 5 years. Hey - if you have to think about and define the "focus" of the company 3 times in 5 years, someone needs to start leading the company, instead of letting it drift aimlessly.

The Wiki has a very straight forward direction as espoused at the bottom of the page: a low-impedance, fat-free VisualFoxPro site. Is that its philosophy? Probably not - but that one guiding direction helps direct what is on the site. Steve Black (and his merry band of editors) have done a great job ensuring that the focus stays on.

Call it philosophy, call it vision, call it whatever. If your product (or company) doesn't have one that everyone can rally behind - then either GET ONE or doom yourself to eventual failure. Personally, I think every VERSION of a product should have its underlying goal as well that fits in with the version.

Consider Visual FoxPro.
Version 3.0 of Visual FoxPro might have been "let's get excited about OOP".
Version 5.0 could have been "Use n-tier".
Version 6 - "better tools for building better applications"
Version 7 (when Intellisense came in) was "let's play leapfrog with existing concepts".
Version 8.0 - "Better interoperability"
Now with VFP 9, as Drew Speedie paraphrased in the new issue of FoxPro advisor- "let's blow the lid off extensibility"

Maybe it's me but I think Robert would do well to promote internally that product groups actually publicly state their Vision. They might get criticized publicly for them but I have to say - once you have made the goal public, it becomes much easier to defend decisions and to focus attention.

Scoble Gets Bashed for Asking Basic Question


Popular posts from this blog

Well, that explains CodePlex...

In a move that will be sure to anger open source (or rather anti-paid software, anti-Microsoft open source)  zealots, Microsoft is planning to buy GitHub . A year ago, I mused about why Microsoft would shut down CodePlex and how the world needs competing source code repositories to be strong. I'm not the only one per this Slashdot article  : "...   people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability...." - Jacques Mattheij I will be interested in seeing this play out - whether developers jump ship or not. Have all the efforts Microsoft has made in pushing towards open source be seen as genuine or will all the zealots jump ship or maybe even attack? Microsoft's comment about why they shut down CodePlex referred to how spammers were using CodePlex. Well, GitHub

Attending Southwest Fox 2019 could change your life - Find out how

Southwest Fox is coming up in October and as I do every year, I spoke with the organizers Rick , Doug and Tamar on the FoxShow. Deadlines for Southwest Fox: Super-saver price (before July 1): $695 Early-bird price (before August 1): $770 Regular price (August 1 and later): $820 This year, I took a different approach with separate shows for each organizer but the main message is still the same : July 1st is their Go/No-Go date. Conferences don't talk about this very often. I don't think developers really question if Apple will hold their WWDC in June or Microsoft will hold their Build conference - but that's because those conferences are vendor-led. Southwest Fox is a community-driven conference - it's not driven by a company with an agenda. Listen to the interviews and you can hear how important each of the organizers feel the live connection between speakers and among attendees.

Virtual FoxFest - A New Way to Conference

If you haven't been keeping up with the news around the Fox community, the Southwest Fox conference has gone digital now showing up as  Virtual FoxFest .  At $49, it's a steal and a great way to learn some new ideas and get inspired. While the reasoning for this change is fairly obvious with the year of COVID - for me, this is something that has been a long time coming. I appreciate many people's needs for a physical conference but the world is very large and it's difficult to get people from around the world into a single physical location. I recently attended a single-track conference via YouTube (a Quasar conference). YouTube's Live stream provided a very handy way to watch, rewind and communicate with people online. While Tamar, Doug and Rick are still making decisions related to the streaming platform, there are lots of great options available. I'm really looking forward to it. The FoxPro community has also really felt its international roots