Tara, invisible to Microsoft

Personal note to Tara Hunt: you don't exist. 🙂

Oh, sorry, for everyone else, I'm just having some fun with Tara. She notes that big companies like Microsoft are gonna have a tough time getting it.

Totally agreed.

But, we have our secret weapons: Technorati and Bloglines and Feedster and NewsGator and IceRocket and other blog search engines.

They let us listen like a small startup.

The problem is, even when we hear, it takes a lot of convincing internally.

But, even there, we have another secret weapon: internal blogs. Email mailing lists. Lunch meetings. And social pressure.

Tara applies the social pressure. Which is why she's not invisible.

She's also onto something.

Big companies don't get small things. I was talking about that with a bunch of MBA students last night. The average billionaire executive doesn't understand why you'd speak to 100 MBA students. After all, Bill Gates could buy a full page ad in the New York Times and not notice the money missing from his account, right?

But, that's why my email is on my blog. Why my cell phone is on my blog (it's down at the right, and, yes, I do answer it, if I'm not in an interview or something like that).

By the way, I deleted all my feeds and am starting over. Tara's one of the first I added back in.

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I’m nuts about Southwest

Funny, I just got off of a Southwest airline from San Jose to Seattle and found out that Southwest now has a blog. There's more on Memeorandum.

It's a pretty cold blog so far. It's the kind of blog I think most corporations will start out with. Safe. Take no chances. Don't piss anyone off. Don't reveal anything that the PR team isn't comfortable with.

That's OK, I guess. Most Microsoft blogs are just as boring. So can't throw stones when we live in a glass house.

But, I spend a great deal of my life on Southwest planes. Some things that I'd love to see?

Their IT system rocks. Who developed it, how is it built? Was it done in Java, or VB or C#? What does their data center look like?

What are some traveling tips? Here's one: There are two rows of exit row seats. The first row doesn't recline.

Second, if you fly Southwest ALWAYS check in online (you can do that starting 24 hours before your flight). That'll get you into the "A" or "B" group which will almost guarantee you a decent seat and that your carryon luggage will get on board.

Some other things I'd love to know? Is there free WiFi near their counters anywhere? What's the best restaurant in each airport?

Who makes the most reliable luggage?

Some craft definitely have funnier crews than others. Any way to know whether you'll be on one of those flights?

As a geek I like sitting near the front of the plane where I can see the door. They let me use my Tablet PC or cell phone up to the minute that the door closes. I answered several emails this morning using my Verizon card while waiting for everyone else to load onboard.

Others? What are their favorite online travel resources? (Flight trackers, etc).

Where do they go when they want to have fun on a layover?

Anyway, nice to see more companies try to figure out how to engage with the blogs and, yes, I am nuts about Southwest.

They are a no-frills airline, but generally have the lowest prices when we fly (which is why Maryam switched us to them). One thing, though, their service is almost always better than other airlines I fly, especially in baggage handling — my bags on other airlines can take 20 minutes to show up, but not on Southwest.

Southwest takes a bit of time to get used to (they give everyone a boarding card with "A", "B", or "C" on it, and first on gets the best seats, if you're last on often there won't be space for your luggage so it'll have to be checked). Plus they don't have meals or video screens, at least on the short flights I'm usually on.