Executive Blogging

A lot has been made about Microsoft’s corporate blogging. In fact, since my team owns this site, we’ve been getting constant queries on doing studies on the motivations of our corporate bloggers (we usually politely decline). While everyone has their own reason to blog, I think the high-level reasons are pretty clear: free soapbox, a way to share information (the term we often use around here is “transparency”), a way to get feedback, and a simple mechanism for some level of outreach. Personally, those all relate to my rationale. I love all the people I’ve met through my blog and I also love being able to look back at what topics were top-of-mind over the last couple of years.

While employee blogging now feels like a regular thing, what I do find surprising is executive blogging. While Bill Gates doesn’t have a blog just yet, there are quite a few Microsoft execs have embraced the “blogosphere”. The most prolific exec blogger has been S.Somasegar, the VP for the Developer Division (think Visual Studio and the .NET Framework). I actually think Soma’s blog is pretty good and it’s a great way to hear the “view from the top”. Of course, in case you think he’s just a bigwig that doesn’t know development, you guys should check out the book Showstopper. Soma was one of the top testers on the very first version of Windows NT. So, if you want to know the strategic direction of Visual Studio and .NET, you should definitely subscribe to his blog.

The latest executive blogger is Steve Sinofsky of the Office team. Sinofsky is best known as Bill Gates’ former technical assistant that wrote the famous e-mail with the subject line “Cornell is WIRED” that legend says changed the way Microsoft approached the internet. Well, perhaps that debt of gratitude to Cornell has inspired the purpose of his blog—an outreach for recruiting. As a Cornell alum, I loved seeing him give credit to his alma mater (his exact quote: “I’m a Cornellian through and through as folks I work with will attest to”). Given there’s a lot of flak around the ability of Microsoft to attract top-notch college developers, it’s nice to see a Microsoft executive take the time to focus on something this important. So far, he’s a pretty active blogger and, while I don’t know if he can maintain the pace that he is at right now, I sure hope he can. And, while he’s at it, maybe we can bring a few extra Cornellians to the Pacific Northwest.

Two blogging execs, but I expect more are to come (I've heard some pretty good rumors, but I can't share those just yet). I don’t know about Bill or Steve, but you never know. Stay tuned...