Ray Ozzie on connecting with customers and partners via blog

(It’s been a busy week with mails, reviews, meetings and running the latest Vista and Offce builds on my machine at the office.)

In the latest print edition of Wired (not yet on the web – update 100806: the article, Rebuilding Microsoft, is now available), there’s an interesting, brief article on “Rebuilding Microsoft.” It takes a look at the move of Ray Ozzie in to the chief software architect role, one where you have to understand the needs of our customers and balance the efforts and capabilities to provide innovative solutions. Interesting to note is this old blog entry from Mr. Ozzie on blogging as a way to connect with customers and partners:

“By the way … restating the obvious:  another fascinating and unique thing about this [blog] medium is that I can speak directly to this special interest group right here, along with others who had similar questions.  For one who has attempted to leverage many customer communication vehicles over the years (press, speaking engagements, article placements, custom quarterly publications, executive briefings, developer and user conferences, …) this “direct touch” feels incredibly empowering.  It’s much faster, more direct – being unedited, it’s more conversational – enabling me to interact, not just speak.”

Although his external blogs may not be updated regularly, this from the man who gets it: in this Gartner interview, Ozzie says that he knows that “the most important person is the customer or integrator that understands how to match the capabilities of a specific technology to what’s needed.”

Customer connection is not just via blog, trip reports and email: it’s getting the feedback through our field and product teams, “listen and respond” systems (like Connect), from customers directly in their visits to Redmond, and venturing out to their sites to see and hear how our solutions meet their needs.

Or, in a few cases, not: always good to hear how we can improve.

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