Continuing the Conversation

I take it back, people do sometimes leave good comments. I'm thrilled with the comments on "A Malcolm and a Martin", as well as the conversations on other sites:

From Scott Berkun: (Buy his book now!)

My position is that you need attention to have influence, and radicals can bring attention to an issue that is being ignored. But there are other ways to get attention. You can earn it from people who learn to respect you for intelligent work you do, problems you’ve solved, or smart things you say.

Interestingly, I'd summarize a lot of Scott's argument as a plea for civility and accountability. Put succinctly, you catch more flies with honey. I don't disagree, I just think the honey-tongued are inspired by those with a gut full of bile.

From Timothy Johnson: (Buy his book now!)

In projects and in life, you need those people who will challenge the status quo with reckless abandon. And you need those people who will calmly assess the status quo against the proposed changes, analyzing and logically weighing the alternatives to provide solutions. It's about balance, but it's also about tension.

On another topic, my ramblings on Office 2007's big bet have indirectly led to my quotes in Information Week's piece on TransMedia. I like both hosted web apps and installed desktop apps, and think they complement each other well:

"Writely and Word each enhance the value of the other, but they're for completely different purposes," he writes via e-mail. "Kids in junior high write their papers in Word from the Student version of Office, so we're at best 10 years from the workforce including a significant number of employees who had their primary word processing experiences happen with an online app."

Dash says desktop apps continue to offer obvious benefits: the ability to work offline and responsiveness that's not dependent on the performance of distant servers or network traffic. Then there's the issue of trust.

"I think there's something a little deeper behind people's attachments to desktop productivity software," he writes. "Documents created in Word are often lengthy, involved efforts, ones that people put a lot of investment into. The combination of browsers and AJAX applications isn't yet a platform that most people trust."

Nick Bradbury had a great take on my Office post, too:

Usability is the most important feature of any application, and the improved usability of the new MS Office is by far its best new feature. I agree with Anil that Microsoft has made a risky bet by so radically changing Office's UI, and it's a bet that will pay off.

That post also had the side effect of putting me right under Microsoft for search resuls on "Office 2007". I really should do something with that, but I'm struck by the fact that, despite the marketing team's efforts to rebrand as the 2007 Microsoft Office System, this is still what people are gonna search for. Shouldn't you also be posting info under that name?

Anyway, it's not all butterflies and hugs, some of the feedback has ranged from "Who the hell calls software brave?" to Could you possibly be any more of a corporate sycophant? This is your life? I can't imagine why some people think the blogosphere is an unkind place. Sure, that's a normal reaction to a conversation!

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