Sunday, April 12, 2009

How I Do It

So it's not easy being the pre-eminent Windows tech columnist in the known universe. Obviously. Paul Thurrot's Windows Supersite remains the only reliable source for information about anything that really matters in technology (that is, anything from Microsoft). My competition just can't keep up, sorry (cough) Mary-Jo Foley and my good friend Rob Enderle.

So how do I do it? Normally I wouldn't tell you, but I'm on something of a Microsoft high after watching the latest round of "I'm a PC commercials", so I'm going to spill the beans here. Pay attention, you tech hacks (I'm looking at you, T-Shirt salesman). You could all learn something from me.

First, you have to have a deep and abiding relationship with insiders within Microsoft. How many times a year do you think I get wined and dined by these jokers? Answer: A lot. A hell of a lot, obviously. They clue me in to what's coming up down the road and I sign a NDA while laughing all the way to the bank.

Next, I write some kind of forward-looking piece of commentary on The Supersite For Windows where I advise Microsoft, telling them what direction I think they should go in. For instance, you'll notice that many months ago, I advised Microsoft to actively attack their most hated competitor (Apple, obviously) with some hard-hitting advertising. Of course I knew what was coming down the pipe. A 3% market share for Apple would be dangerous, and as a marketing guy, Steve Ballmer knows this better than anyone. So he had his lieutenants give me a preview of the new ads. (I've had them on my beloved Lenovo for months now, waiting for them to run through that contractual obligation they had with Seinfeld and Gates. I cannot tell you how much I hate Gates, by the way. The man rolled over and caved to Apple so many times, and his toxic influence is still being felt on the Redmond campus. Ballmer seems to have finally grown a pair, so maybe the Gates years are finally over, and none to soon.) But that aside, the point is I always know what's coming up before any other writer. So it's easy to prognosticate on this stuff, obviously.

Next, I expand on the point I made in several blog posts and commentary pieces (many cleverly disguised as "news" stories).

Soon, Microsoft implements their plans, and I gleefully write that they're finally listening to me. I look like a prophet of success, my reputation soars, and Mary Jo Foley gets to sweep up my droppings and spread them all over her "Inside Microsoft" blog, or whatever she's calling it these days. My brilliance leaves the rest of them eating my dust.

It's a business plan that reaps huge rewards. And only I can do it. Because I am the master.