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Did Erik Get Fired?

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<TongueInCheek />

Hasn't the diversity of (unique) trolls gone down recently? Has Microsoft, via
its PR agencies, cut the air supply on some of its "sympathetic members" [1]?
Maybe the sinking profits have something to do with it [2].

[1] http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071023002351958 (From

"5:  Jihad

A Jihad is a road trip. in which an evangelist visits a large number of ISVs
one-on-one to convince them to take some specific action. The classic Jihad is
one focused on getting Tier A ISVs to commit to supporting a given technology
by signing the technology's Letter of Agreement (LOA - see above).

A Jihad focuses on the Travelling Salesman aspect of evangelism. As in sales,
the purpose of the exercise is to close – to get the mark the ISV to sign on
the dotted line, in pen, irrevocably. Not to get back to us later, not to talk
to the wife about it, not to enter a three-day cooling-off period, but to get
the ISV to sign, sign, sign.

If the start of the meeting is the first time the ISV has seen the LOA, then
he's not going to sign it at the end of the meeting. Since we're asking for a
very serious commitment, we want the ISV to give their signing serious
consideration. If the ISV cannot deliver, then his committing to deliver is
worse than useless – the ISV's participation may occupy one of a limited
number of available slots, keeping some other ISV from participating.

To maximize the chance of getting the ISV to sign during the Jihad visit, make
sure that

    -- The ISV has seen the LOA at least a week before the Jihad visit

    -- The LOA is very clear about what exactly each side is promising to
deliver, and when

    -- An Officer of the ISV's corporation will be attending the meeting

    -- Microsoft's Director of DRG has positioned the LOA with sufficient
seriousness, in a cover letter or other communication in advance of the

    -- You make it clear from the start that the purpose of your visit is to
answer any questions that they might have, preparatory to signing the LOA
while you're there

    -- They understand that those who do not sign the LOA, are frozen out of
all further information about the techology until it goes into public beta

    -- They understand (without being crude about it) that you will be making
the same offer to their competitors

    -- You have T-shirts or other swag to give to those who sign. lt's amazing
what some people will do for a T-shirt.

There are a million tips and tricks to effective road trips, and to being a
Road Warrior in general, all of which is beyond the scope of this discussion.


8: The Slog
Guerilla marketing is often a long, hard slog.

    slog (sl^g) v. slogged, slogqing, slogs. –tr, To strike with heavy blows,
as in boxing. -intr. 1. To walk with a slow, plodding gait. 2. To work
diligently for long hours. –n. . 1. long, hard work. 2. A long, exhausting
march or hike. [Orig. unknown.] -slog'ger
    –American Heritage Dictionary, 1991

In the Slog, Microsoft dukes it out with the competition. MSDN and Platform
marketing are the regular forces, exchanging blows with the enemy mano a mano.
Evangelism should avoid formal, frontal assaults, instead focusing its efforts
of hit-and-run tactics.

In the Slog, the enemy will counter-attack, trying to subvert your Tier A ISVs
to their side, just as you should try to subvert their ISVs to your side. New
ISVs should be sought, and directed to MSDN's one-to- many programs.
Evangelism should constantly be on the lookout for killer demos, hot young
startups, major ISVs, customer testimonials, enemy-alliance-busting defections
and other opportunities to demonstrate momentum for our technology. If bugs
are found in our technology, or missing features are found to be critically
important, then now is the time to identify and fix them. Stay engaged with
the technology development team; ensure that you are a valuable resource for
them, not a hectoring pest. Document all of your progress (ideally in
regularly updated internal Web pages) and forward it regularly to management.
If management is not aware of your progress, your successes, and your
stumbling blocks, then they can't help. (They may not help anyway, but they
can't if they don't know what you need.)

Keep those Tier A ISVs on track to delivery! They are your strongest weapons
and cannot be forgotten.

The elements of the evangelical infrastructure - conference presentations,
courses, seminars, books, magazine articles, whitepapers, etc. – should start
hitting the street at the start of the Slog. They should be so numerous as to
push all other books off the shelf, courses out of catalogs, and presentations
off the stage.

Working behind the scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our
technology, and damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during
the Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your
technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). "Independent"
consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations
and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts
in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic
sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money
granted). "Independent" courseware providers should start profiting from their
early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should
be sought and turned to our advantage.

I have mentioned before the "stacked panel". Panel discussions naturally favor
alliances of relatively weak partners - our usual opposition. For example,
an "unbiased" panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would contain representatives of the
backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell,
WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus we find ourselves outnumbered in almost
every "naturally occurring" panel debate.

A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with
people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact
strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able
to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to
select the panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can't
expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to
get the moderator to agree to having only "independent ISVs" on the panel. No
one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies
would be allowed – just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the "real world."
Sounds marvelously independent doesn't it? In fact, it allows us to stack the
panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the "independent" panel ends up
telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the
press to cover this panel, and you've got a major win on your hands.

Finding a moderator is key to setting up a stacked panel. The best sources of
pliable moderators are:

    -- Analysts: Analysts sell out - that's their business model. But they are
very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes
them very prickly to work with.

    -- Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a
well-known consultant on your side early, but don't let him publish anything
blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference
organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up. Since he's
well-known, but apparently independent, he'll be accepted – one less thing for
the constantly-overworked conference organizer to worry about, right?

Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the
Slog. We need to know who their allies are and what differences exist between
them and their allies (there are always sources of tension between allies), so
that we can find ways to split 'em apart. Reading the trade press, lurking on
newsgroups, attending conferences, and (above all) talking to ISVs is
essential to gathering this intelligence."

                                -- Microsoft, internal document

[2] Microsoft sees slide in profits

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