I wrote this on the plane, but didn’t get around to posting until now. Take it, Brandon from 2 days ago:
Seattle was an absolute blast. I understand 100% why Chris Pirillo decided to move there after the first Search Champs program. I’m writing this now from the jet while we’re about an hour from home. I’m offline, so I won’t be able to link to other Search Champs related posts until I’m home.
First, let me tell you a little more about Seattle. As I mentioned in a short interview I did with Chris (more on that later), I felt like someone must have been playing a trick on us. The weather in Seattle was absolutely gorgeous - not at all what I was expecting. There was not a single cloud in the sky during the 3.5 days that I was there, and the temperature was exactly where I like it (not too warm, not too cold). The view of Mount Rainier is phenomenal. I was floored when I first saw it sitting spectacularly on the horizon.
The only negative comment I made the entire time was about the traffic. But pretty much every city ever has more traffic than Albany.
On to Search Champs…
There are many things I’d love to tell you about that I cannot, because of the NDA. Fortunately, though, plenty of interesting stuff (especially the info regarding MS Research projects we saw) is exempt from that agreement. You can be sure I’ll be blogging about one of the desktop search-related projects, named Tesla, very soon.
Regarding the MSN Search team themselves, I cannot praise them enough for their passion and desire to make their products and services better. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems that they’re being held back.
The most important advice I could give the MSN Search team was this:
You cannot get ahead by following the leader. On this market’s current path, Google is moving faster than you. So how do you get ahead? Forge a new path for the market. Make Google turn around and say, “Shit, how did we miss that turn?”
Historically, this approach is not new to Microsoft. They used to do it all the time. In fact, I think their Xbox division is doing it right now.
Improving your basic search relevancy is important, and I’d never say otherwise. But you guys need to focus on features that Google lacks. And show your customers how they can be more productive on your engine. Focus on Search Clustering. If you roll that out before Google does, and show people how great it is (if you need help there, e-mail me)… I bet you’ll see your userbase double overnight.