15 years is a milestone worth a quick blog post…

15 years ago I joined Microsoft.  I’d like to say I was 12 at the time as the milestone makes me feel a little old!  What an amazing 15 years.  When I started we were still selling DOS. 

My first job was in the call center – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said: “Thank you for calling Microsoft, this is Sean, how can I help you.”  I remember once answering my home phone like that on accident!

I’ll save trips down memory lane, but I will say “thank you” to Microsoft.  I know for me, this place has been incredible and I’ve had the opportunity to work on amazing projects and with incredible people.  It’s also a place that responded to my personal moment of truth – having to step out for almost 3 months due to my own medical emergency without once being concerned about my job or how I would pay bills or even when I had to be back – that part was simple: “come back when you are ready.”

So, for all of that…Thank you MS.

At a group meeting this week a photo was taken to commemorate the moment…that’s me just to he right of center.

DSC00141 (3)



October 11, 2007 at 4:32 pm 8 comments

Inc. Technology Coverage on Online Communities…

You never know how you will come out after a 20 minute interview for a few comments in a story, but I think this came together ok and overall it’s a good piece.  Have a read of Helping Customers Help Each Other Online in Inc. Technology online. 

There’s also worthwhile reference in the story to a company called Get Satisfaction that is worth exploring.


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October 8, 2007 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

A fun way to see our brand…

Japanese Digital Media MVP Satoru Koshiba did some really cool work with the MVP logo I thought I’d share.  Awesome work in a really fun format!

Thank you Satoru-san!

Watch the video here.


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October 2, 2007 at 11:43 am 1 comment

Some thoughts on "5 P’s" of Social Media…

I’ve been doing a number of presentations as of late on social media and I thought I’d share a slide I’ve been using that I call the “5 P’s of Social Media.”  I figured posting here might be a good place to get some feedback to make this even better.

The marketers out there will remember the 4 P’s of marketing popularized by E. Jerome McCarthy:  Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement. 

In the 2001 book High Intensity Marketing by Idris Mootee, the author proposed a new set of 4 P’s for the Internet age: Personalization, Participation, Peer-to-Peer, and Predictive Modeling.  Overall, I like this model and had never seen it before doing some research in prep for writing this blog post (I’ll have to get the book).  While social media has matured a great deal in the 6 years since this book came out, I think the model applies very well. 

What I was looking for was a prescriptive and informative model for describing the various forms of social media as well as the underlying components required for describing a social media strategy.  Here’s what I came up with:


note:  It’s a build slide that starts with People and builds clockwise.

In fairness, it probably needs to be 6 P’s by adding “Purpose” – but for me, purpose is the overall talking point for the slide, therefore, you don’t see it here.  And 6 P’s? – Getting carried away!! 🙂

Here’s a short summary of definitions (though this is made more real by using examples that are relevant to the audience).

  • People:  The talkers, authors, contributors – empowerment of the individual.
  • Places:  All the diverse venues the conversations can take place in.
  • Process:  What collaboration (and moderation) you enable, how you entitle contributor types and how you integrate with existing systems.
  • Platform:  Where and how you tie together the places, processes, people (identity/privacy) and privileges.
  • Patterns:  Presenting, tracking, filtering, measuring, monitoring and decision support.

That’s it…let me know what you think, what I missed and what examples you might use.



September 30, 2007 at 2:17 pm 6 comments

What’s Web 2.0? Again….

In any given week I have the opportunity to talk with both the web 2.0 savvy and those that are still asking the fundamental question of “what is it?”  There’s no shortage of resources for answering this question, but as I’ve said before, the same explanation doesn’t resonate with everyone. 

So, I thought I’d add another explanation that has been very useful to me as of late.

It goes something like this.  Most web users arrive on web pages via search – ultimately they are looking for something or have a question.  The problem with most web sites is they are lonely, closed experiences.  Visit any given web site and there could be 10s, 100s, 1000s, 10000s of other users on the site at the same time (depending on the size/popularity of the site) – but their presence on the site is invisible to you.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, what do you do?  Back to search. 

What web 2.0 does is it exposes the presence and activities of all these other users.  It turns a static experience into a social experience.  Better yet, it gives you access to the collective knowledge of all those other users.  And perhaps, most importantly it gives the users social proof that this is a “good” place to be. 

Imagine you are in an unfamiliar city looking for a place to eat.  You see two restaurants.  The first one has no other customers in it…and the second one is crowded.  Which one do you want to eat at?  What if there’s a 15 minute wait at the crowded one?  If you’re like me you will go to the busy place.  All that visible evidence tells you a great deal about the restaurant that reassures you this is the place to be.

Now, it could be that other restaurant just opened and actually has better food, but perception, comfort and risk aversion naturally pushes you to the busy place.

It’s easy enough to pull this analogy apart and describe all sorts of web 2.0 sites that don’t really fit this example perfectly – that’s not the point.  The point is finding ways to describe this evolution that resonate with the broadest set of people possible.  If you want to be a web 2.0 evangelist to your friends, your mom, your legal department, your IT department or your executives, but they don’t seem to get it, who has the problem?  Not them, you’re the evangelist.  It’s your job to continue to find the right way to tell the story until you see that oh so sweet “ah ha!” moment.


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September 28, 2007 at 1:31 pm 1 comment

Email is so "yesterday"

I was setting my out of office today for an upcoming business trip and couldn’t resist…here’s what I entered (with a few edits in the blog for some privacy):


Thank you for your mail. I’m out of office travelling on business Wednesday, Sept.  19th – Thursday, September 27th with very limited access to email.  Here are a few follow up options:

Old School:

– Contact my Admin, Jake Grey (xxxxx@microsoft.com or 425-704-xxxx) as he knows how to reach me.

– If urgent, you can try my cell phone, # below in autosig.

New Media:

– Reach me through my blog at www.communitygrouptherapy.com

– Track me down via Twitter at http://twitter.com/seanodmvp

– Post a message on my wall in Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745365643


Sean O’Driscoll
General Manager, Community Support & MVP
Customer Support & Services
Microsoft Corporation


I know, I could have been more clever and more complete, but there are only so many hours in a day 🙂


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September 19, 2007 at 1:27 pm 2 comments

A Blog Policy does not a Blog Strategy make…

In recent months I’ve offered two posts focused on blogging.

Much of this has come from my own experiences at Microsoft and recent conversations with over 30 other companies about challenges, opportunities and best practices in social media.  When it comes to blogging the most common conversations organizations have both internally and with their peers are around policies and practices (roles & responsibilities, moderation, tools, legal, etc).

This has me wondering where the strategy is?  Given the explosive growth of blogging and where it really came from (individuals), it’s no wonder organizations started by establishing policy.  It’s one of those activities that is born from the front line, not from the board room.  I’ve seen blog policies that range from “thou shalt not” to detailed 10 page documents to simple guidelines that just re-enforce existing company policies regarding competitive information, privacy, offensive material, etc.  

Clear guidelines and policies for employee blogging are obviously necessary, but policy really isn’t the same thing as strategy.  Some may argue (and I partly agree) that blogging and strategy are oxymorons.  They will say that blogs are valuable because they are not driven by strategy but by unfiltered authentic voices inside the company across functions, roles and responsibilities. 

Hmmm, I  agree with this, so what’s the big deal here regarding strategy.  Well, I guess the big deal is that I think things should be done with intention.  But, red flag, it shouldn’t be overdone and if the PR dept starts the process of defining the strategy – beware.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really against PR but if you’ve been through press training you likely need to be re-trained in this new web 2.0 world.  If your blogger’s posts are reviewed before published – you really aren’t blogging – you might as well turn off comments and call it web 1.0.

I’m perfectly happy with a blog strategy that is just about workplace health- this means, the business goal is about building employee empowerment.  This shouldn’t be your default strategy for lack of having one, but it is a great strategy if it is the design goal.  In general, strategy should support at least one (preferably more) of the following pillars:

  • Workplace health – attracting, developing and retaining great talent
  • Customer satisfaction – customer service, response mgmt and transparency
  • Cost reduction
  • Revenue – customer acquisition, globalization and marketing
  • Innovation – feedback and collaboration

A good blog strategy need not support all of these pillars and cannot violate the principles of transparency or authenticity, but should bring intentionality to your blog strategy by clearly articulating what it’s for (and what it is not). 

When you hit the office tomorrow, try it out.  Go ask people what your company blog strategy is.  9 times in 10, I bet what you hear will be statements that are more about policy (what you can or can’t do). 


September 16, 2007 at 3:29 pm 1 comment

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