Hal Berenson, former Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, writes an amazing blog about his insights into past and present goings on at our former employer, but in this post he drills into what’s gone wrong with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 evangelism. I have to say, I totally agree with Hal, the WP8 evangelism approach of Apple-like secrecy was plain wrong, and ignored all the hard won lessons of the MS Evangelism Playbook.
As one of Microsoft’s original Evangelists and co-originators of the PDC and founder of WinHEC, the former Windows software and hardware ecosystem conferences now defunct, sharing as much technical information as early as we could was instrumental to building support for each release of Windows I worked on. I talked about this in an earlier post, how evangelizing products early paid off for Microsoft and now BlackBerry. Hal focuses on the feedback angle, realize at Microsoft we had smaller and NDA only feedback sessions sometimes years in advance of the PDC to fully brief and gather feedback from the ISV community. These were the little known Microsoft Systems Design Review series and more granular feature level design reviews we convened with key technical leaders in the industry.
At BlackBerry being open and working with the app development community early as possible has already paid dividends for BlackBerry 10 with record early support. We see no reason to change our approach, if the rest of the industry continues down the secrecy path, so be it. I’m happy to run this key tool from the old evangelism playbook, time tested with proven efficacy.