Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Are company blogs a waste of time and effort?

Dare responds to Joel's response to Scoble's response on Joel's post ( http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/PermaLink.aspx?guid=31236f9a-cf31-4114-9f81-dd1a6df83414 ), and to top it all of, our very own Philo gets referenced in the same breath as Raymond Chen and Don Box. Now that is sure going to make his head grow.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Couldn't you just have posted this in your blog?

Jan Derk
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Yes it is a waste in most cases... About 99.999% of the time, noone cares to know what you think.

Joel is an exception to the rule.  There are a few (rare)others.

grunt
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"Couldn't you just have posted this in your blog?"

No, I reserve that for the interesting stuff and just pour all the drivel in here.

Bloody netcops. Gonna start rebutting people for poor spelling soon?

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I have no blog and I must scream.

RP
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

> I have no blog and I must scream.

Start a blog and scream there. People love that sh*t!  You'll have traffic like no other!  :)

grunt
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"""Would our customers have access to this wealth of information if we restricted ourselves to traditional channels of communication (press releases, white papers, KB articles, etc)? I don't think so. """


Bullsh*t. Another myopic geek that thinks he knows everything. Blogs are the land of a few developers and teenage girls.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

[trying to explain my bad humor attempt to Sir Just me]
Because the blog entry you are referring to among other things discusses if the world is coming to a full stop, because of everyone and his uncle being busy blogging, I thought it was rather funny to make a bad joke about you not using your blog.
[/trying to explain my bad humor attempt to Sir Just me]

There goes my career as a stand up comedian. Oh well...

Jan Derk
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The critical question Joel needed to ask, but didn't:
- Where does the blogging time come from?

If an employee previously spent ten hours a day creating good code, and now spends eight hours a day creating good code and two hours a day blogging then yes, that's a 20% productivity loss.

I doubt that's always the case. I'm betting most bloggers take their blogging time out of the "nonworking" time - the time that would've been spent surfing, or "doing email," or posting on JoS. (I know the time I spend on my blog is definitely time I would've been on JoS)

Now consider that the productive blogs (the technical articles, how-tos, etc) are actually a value-add for the company, and you're converting previously "wasted" time into value - spinning straw into gold. Employees like blogging because it's recreational yet provides visible positive value for the company.

In past decades, companies have encouraged employees to publish technical articles, journals, and books - employer-sponsored blogging is simply the 21st-century equivalent.

Finally, I find it interesting that Joel wrote a post about how blogging is a drain of resources, when his blog probably generates a signficant portion of his company's income.

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

You want to read Phil Greenspuns book, espcially the chapter on communities.

You might disagree with Dr. G on a lot of things, but his writings about how (sticky content) and why (keep them coming back) to build online communities makes sense and was in a lot of ways ahead of his time.

http://philip.greenspun.com/panda/community

Tapiwa
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Sorry Jan. Point taken.

But hey, who says this isn't my blog :-)

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Joel's blog is useful because (1) he has interesting opinions, and (2) he's not just a corporate mouthpiece.  Most company bloggers don't have either of these attributes, especially the latter one.

Junkster
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Uh, Joel IS Fog Creek; how much more "corporate mouthpiece" can you get? ;-) 

I know many people, especially ABM'ers will never believe this, but I can honestly say that we're not "corporate mouthpieces." In fact, I had to dig around to find out how to create a blog, find the guidelines (pretty standard stuff about "no internal info" etc), and convince my boss to let me start it.

I don't submit articles to anyone for approval, and nobody tells me what to write.

I suspect the reason that most Microsoft blogs are so pro-Microsoft is that MS is a pretty good employer and we're pretty happy to work here.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Philo,

I've heard bad things about working for MS Consulting (mainly from Joel's writings). At least compared to working for MS in Redmond. Your experience has been good?


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

No one spends 10 hours a day creating good code.

Sassy
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

My experience has been awesome - I'm having a blast! :-)

In addition, the folks I know over in MCS love their jobs as well.

Two thoughts-
1) MCS is a *heavy* travel job. If you don't like to travel you won't like the job. I understand in the past there have been some incidents of people being hired without being fully informed of the travel requirements. (when I was interviewed *every* interviewer stressed the travel requirements)

2) I've heard that there had been a shift in management philosophy in MCS resulting in much improved morale. I know some details, and it makes sense to me, though I can't expound on them publically. :-/

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"Uh, Joel IS Fog Creek; how much more 'corporate mouthpiece' can you get? ;-) "

Nonsese!  Fog Creek is privately held.  Joel on Software exists because Joel likes to talk about software development, not because he's wanting to hawk his products at every turn.

Junkster
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"Joel on Software exists because Joel likes to talk about software development, not because he's wanting to hawk his products at every turn."

Anyone remember the file transfer token article that discussed how it was going to "Catch on like wildfire"?

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

""" Joel on Software exists because Joel likes to talk about software development, not because he's wanting to hawk his products at every turn """

Nerds are so naive it's funny!


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

...especially those who don't recognize well-crafted sarcasm...  [grin]

(At least, I *hope* it was sarcasm...)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Blogs are an incredible marketing tool. Especially if you can develop a blog swarm the way both microsoft and macromedia have.

Check out www.markme.com , macromedia's blog aggregator.  Once something like that hits critical mass, it becomes an automatic marketing / support / machine that makes people feel a LOT more comfortable buying your products (because they can see that there's a viable community associated with the product).

mystified
Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Yes.

The Answer
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Philo == Junkster?


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Nope.

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

---"Anyone remember the file transfer token article that discussed how it was going to "Catch on like wildfire"? "-----

Yea, I do, and it was a product Joel recommended because he used it, not because he had a stake in it.

The same goes for Rick Chapman's books, which Joel never misses a chance to plug. (Perhaps he gets a special EU compliant copy with the author's personality unbundled).

Like many of us, Joel posts on this and the other forum 'cos he can't think of anything better to do with his time. If he recoups some of the time and money invested in good publicity for his company that is an added bonus.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"""and it was a product Joel recommended because he used it, not because he had a stake in it"""

You sure about that? He's buddies with the owner.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

So if you use a good product but happen to be friends with the owner (which may be why you tried it in the first place), you cannot recommend it?

FWIW, I wish the email token thing *would* take off like wildfire so people would stop emailing me 5mb attachments.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"So if you use a good product but happen to be friends with the owner (which may be why you tried it in the first place), you cannot recommend it?"

Of course you can recommend it (though you should always indicate biases in such cases). The dubiousness of that instance was the fact that the technology went against virtually everything Joel stated in prior writings so it was a bit out of place that suddenly he was recommending some obscure, custom utility that required both the sender and the receiver to have it, and furthermore claiming that it was about to "catch on like wildfire". It hurts the credibility when one's standards change when it relates to friends or vested interests.

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Philo, don't take this the wrong way, but...

I can't believe you're that stupid, so I must assume you're just being a jackass.

Yes, you can be friends with somebody and still recommend their product, but it calls into question the motives behind the recommendation. Was it really a good product, or are you just doing a little back-scratching, or is it some of both?


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

On the subject of biases, I hate the fact that several of my recent posts have me coming off as "Anti-Joel" -- I'm anything but (in fact I respect Joel so much, based upon his writings, that I just picked up two books off his book list). Even if Joel is quid pro quo'ing, that's entirely his right and ability, but it's entirely our right to call him on it (and then it's his right to delete the post, and then it's our right to bitch about it, and then it's his right to...)

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

You know, maybe this is another one of my mental short-circuits where I apparently miss how everyone else's brain works.

See, I don't do the "endorsement" thing, and I don't buy into it. When I need a product, I have a set of requirements. If I don't know of anything that meets those requirements, I ask friends. Friends recommend things. I then compare those things against the requirements. That [x] was "recommended" by [y] has nothing to do with it - it's simply a matter of finding out about new products.

This is why I don't get persuasive advertising - Pepsi can run ads all day long, I'm still not going to like it more than Coke. Donald Trump praising Verizon has zero weight compared to their network coverage. My boss using a Samsung smartphone doesn't outweigh the fact that its battery life isn't what I need.

Joel recommending some email file thingy doesn't make it some "must have" thing. If I have the need to send someone tokenized files, I know where to look.

So I don't get the problems people have with guerilla marketing either - I'm not going to start smoking because some guy in a bar recommends a cigarette, whether he works for Philip Morris or not. I'm not going to suddenly like Pepsi because someone hands me a free Pepsi (I'll drink it, but I won't change preferences)

And finally - I don't expect anyone to buy anything I recommend "because Philo says so." Someone says "hey, what can I use for web-based collaboration?" I recommend SharePoint and can arrange for them to get free trial DVD's - they can try it out and judge for themselves. I'm not going to try to shove a square peg in a round hole (you'll note I didn't mention FrontPage on the "newbie web editor" thread - I don't think it's a good fit for a newbie)

So, sorry for the mix-up.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Philo, your comments go entirely in opposition to decades of advertising research, and billions (neigh, hundreds of billions...trillions) spent worldwide yearly. I'm not saying what's right or wrong, but just that your position is an extreme minority.

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Yeah, I know.
You may have noticed that on occasion I operate at right angles to reality.

It's a blessing and a curse. :)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Dennis, the research is paid for by advertising companies, and supported by research companies.

I think that some people do buy stuff just because it is advertised.

For me though, advertising only serves to introduce me to a product. Let me know that it is out there so I can consider it when I make my next purchase.

In areas that I am most knowledgeable, I tend to totally disregard adverts.

In others, I will look for recommendations from friends etc that I think have more domain knowledge.

In some instances though, options paralysis hits me, and (please don't send me to buy dishwasher), I just tend to buy a product by someone I know, or the one with the most outrageous claim on the box (cleaner, whiter, brigher, and removes limescale)

Tapiwa
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

> ..., or the one with the most outrageous claim on the box (cleaner, whiter, brigher, and removes limescale)

The only product you will ever need: http://www.officialtomwaits.com/music/m_sc_lyr.htm#Step_Right_Up

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Bloging about writing blogs is always a good time waster!

grunt
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home