Pop stars

Then has been a trend in pop music recently to hype tracks well before they are released. The idea being that will build up a backlog of pent-up demand and loads of people will buy on release day, thereby potentially improving the chart entry position. That could maybe be excused when the world was physical media (remember 7″ singles?- never mind that, some you probably remember 78’s! ;-) ). But in these days of download music its hard to understand why radio stations can access a track a month before the buying public, except to deliberately manipulate the market.

Anyway, obviously this post isn’t about the music industry, but its just that I see a lot of similarities in IT.

For example there are lots of great new features in Excel 2007 (widely and well promoted since beta 1), but I am still not seeing the market. VS2008, again lots of great new features (did I mention I still mainly use VC6 and VB6?), but no clients have framework 3.5 yet (its not released, like VS2008 isn’t). VSTO is beginning to mature, but still a very limited opportunity. I’m not even going to mention Sharepoint hype, its easy to believe that will bring world peace, or better. Of course once you have tried these products its a challenge to go back to your previous set-up. Hence the value of Virtual PC and VMWare. Its not just Microsoft, its been hard to get past System 9 fluff from Hyperion.

There seems to be more and more pre-release hype around many of the products I am involved with. To be frank, I find a lot of it distracting. I’m trying to run a business based on the software people are actually using, but I keep getting dragged away by this exciting shiny new stuff. Its great but totally unusable as it is not distributed to my target customers. (And I don’t think I can influence that distribution in many cases).

Is anyone else seeing this push for early adoption? (/Attempts to create a ‘buzz’?). One thing that shocked me was the way many of the Office blogs were dropped the day Office 2007 was released. In fairness, Dave Gainer and the Excel team blogged more frequently, and at a higher quality, and they kept it going for longer (and its back in use regularly now). The Access team and the UI blogs look a little unloved in comparison.

Back to music: the thing is, I can easily download a music track for less than a quid, it is almost certain not to break anything, and if it doesn’t work for me I can simply delete it, again not breaking anything. Much of this hyped software really isn’t like that, keeping up with the hype is a significant effort.

Of course I’m still looking forward to going to Seattle next month to discuss Office 14 – I love new stuff, me. Just need to find a way to balance that with a viable real world business.



One Response to “Pop stars”

  1. Matthew Henson Says:

    Like you I love new stuff, but wonder how well Office 2007 – which has many features I like – is really going to penetrate when its new UI makes life harder for power users. Fie formats – improved – are also going to be a pain in some contexts. MS have a horrible task, trying to sell the same products to you and to “Mr never used a computer”, and one size fits all only if some are uncomfortable.
    There is a conflict of interests between MS and their customers: MS want generate cash by forcing change but customers mostly value continuity over improvement – witness the non-response to the plea to retain VB6. There may be a case for the sand-boxing provided by dot net, but it exposes your code – and i notice that Microsoft barely use it in Vista.
    However seductive the ‘Great New Thing’ I would be doing no favours if I used a brand-new technology then left it with a customer who had nobody who could maintain it. Maybe the only safe way to use the GNT is in-house.

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