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I am glad.

I wish, in hindsight, I would have spent more time on the Apple question.

It's a tough one, but listen to this interview with Guy Kawasaki: http://news.com.com/1606-2-6055690.html

Note that even HE equates Apple with Steve Jobs. What would happen if Steve Jobs would die tonight? Apple would see a HUGE destruction in brand value because even its insiders perceive Apple as being Steve Jobs.

At a company that has tons of bloggers, like, say, Sun Microsystems or IBM, you know that the company isn't one guy and its future isn't based on one guy. You also know where to have a conversation. A business conversation. With people who work deep inside the company.

The other day I had a CTO of a major company call me and ask for help (my cell phone is on my blog). Why? Cause he could get through to me. I got him the help. Does that make Microsoft a better company? Damn straight it does. Help the customer at all costs.

But, I should have had a better answer. Blogging is a business choice you make. It's not the only choice. We just think it's the better choice long term.

No question that Apple is closely tied with Steve Jobs. One great point you made on the value of blogging is that it can humanize a company. It is possible that some of Apple's current success comes from that fact that Steve is a humanizing force for Apple. Not many CEOs have the charisma (reality distortion field) that Steve does.

Your point here about the potential downside of it being tied to one person is well taken. I remember when he was in the hospital for cancer a few years ago how worried people I know at Apple were.

From the comments that you and Shel made afterwards:

http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2006/03/amazons_cto_ret.html

...it seems like your expectation for the talk was different than what you got. I really don't know what kind of briefing you were given, and I apologize if you felt bushwhacked. We want people like you and Shel to come chat with us more. In my experience that kind of dialog isn't too atypical of Amazon.

We like to pride ourselves on being a company that has a love for data that is second only to our love for our customers. I like that you mention on your blog (or maybe some comment on another blog) that you have some data on the impact of blogging on Microsoft's customer image.

Perhaps there just isn't a lot of data out there on corporate blogging right now. It is, after all, somewhat nascent.

The only part of the whole dialog going on after the fact that is annoying is from some of the people who weren't there and who claim that Amazon "doesn't get it". There is a difference between not getting it and showing healthy skepticism or playing the devil's advocate. I do believe that most of the dialog about this is taking place on blogs...

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