So, I posted a question a couple of days ago asking those who’d been to the MVP summit this week whether or not a feature I requested on the vNext request was being developed. Now, I got jumped up and down on in that question because the MVPs have been slapped this year with NDAs up the wahoo, and they are all too scared to talk about what they’ve learned – I like and respect these guys a lot, but the response on the thread was a little bit OTT in my opinion.
Now, the point of this blog post. I think Microsoft has gone too far with this whole NDA thing. While I understand that they have commercial confidences that they need to keep from the competition, but not everything that they cover in the summit will be so secret that the wider world can’t be told about it. This brings me to the point – Microsoft in the past has relied on the MVPs to be the advocates of the up and coming releases, they are the front line in evangelising the technologies that Microsoft has come up with. When a product reaches a certain level of maturity, the whole product evangelist thing stops as an official marketing tool for Microsoft. At this point, the reliance on MVPs to act as the funnel of information out to the development community becomes more important.
Now, with the use of the NDA creating an effective barrier to this, Microsoft has just hamstrung their key marketing frontline from preparing the wider public and getting them excited about what’s coming. (BTW – this is in reaction to an MVP last year letting the cat out of the bag on upcoming features that were genuinely NDAd – leading to this knee-jerk blanket NDA). Bear in mind that Microsoft has suffered some embarrassing marketing SNAFUs over the last few months (way to go Muglia), you’d think that it would want all the help that it can get, but apparently this is not so.
Off topic slightly: Microsoft, WPF is the best development framework you have ever produced. Don’t dilute and dumb it down, or even run it down. Improve it and continue to see how it can be innovated, and you will find the take up increases. Initially WPF was such a step change that people were scared off it, but now they are more exposed to it thanks in no small part to your MVPs, that takeup is increasing – ironically at just the point you’ve lost interest in it.
Now, the amazing comment was that they couldn’t even discuss what was said with other MVPs from the same discipline who weren’t able to attend. I’m sorry Microsoft, but you’ve lost the plot here. You need to stop being so insular and actually start communicating with people – you could take a leaf from Apple’s book here and start to get a better marketing campaign going.
Well, I had to get my frustration off my chest here. In the last few weeks, I’ve heard a real company line from the guys and girls inside the Redmond ivory tower. The thing that has become markedly apparent is that they don’t get how their decisions affect those of us in the wider world. With every bit of marketing foul-up and crossed wires, they can negatively affect entire companies – and they just don’t get it; and this is incredibly frustrating.
Oh well, I guess this post has just kicked any chances of getting nominated for MVP into touch and, you know what, I don’t care? I am too old to put up with the crap I heard this week and I am now, officially going to take a look at what other platforms can give me and my company.
What the hell. Nobody reads my ramblings anyway, and Microsoft certainly dosen’t care about small business owners, so if you do happen to stumble across this; please help, I’m a prisoner in a jam factory. It will be interesting to see if any of my compatriots on the Disciples read my blog – if they do, this post should stir things up.