My stomach is still on fire. We had Kentucky Fried Chicken at the office last night, and my 42 year old stomach can’t take the grease any more. The dev team gobbled it up, though.
We’re in crunch mode — that time when tech teams pull out all the stops and crank toward a release. It means a lot of late nights, catered in lunches and dinners (I know… KFC isn’t exactly catering, per se) so people can stay focused, and the push to a deadline.Â
I’ve never worked on a technology project where it hasn’t come to this.Â It was 2:30 AM when I finally hit the sack, yesterday.
So what are we working on?Â A couple of months ago, I called a friend of mine and asked how his day was going.Â “Lousy”, came the reply.Â “I’ve spent the last two hours playing telephone tag”.
Next week we hope to be able to deliver an early release of a new feature for the iotum Relevance Engine, part of a roadmap of features we call “Minerva” internally.Â We’re not quite sure what to callÂ this featureÂ yet… but I think it’s going to change the way people think about presence, especially mobile presence.Â It’s not based on today’s presence technologies, although it’s something like presence.Â It’s not a buddy list either, butÂ moreÂ like a hybrid of a buddy list and a to-do list combined with telephony.Â The goal for this feature is the elimination of telephone tag.
We’re going to be looking for a few people to try this out.Â Initially it will only be available on Blackberry. Â If you have a Blackberry with OS release 4.1 or higher, and would like to participate in an early trial, feel free to drop me email.Â I’ll send you an invite when it’s ready to download.
Why does Live Messenger think I need a date?Â Does it know something that I don’t know?Â You see, I’ve been happily married for twenty years, as of today (yes,Â today is ourÂ anniversary!), and haven’t been part of the dating scene since my early twenties.
So why does Live Messenger persist in serving up LavaLife advertising to me, telling me that thousands of singles, just like me, are waiting to meet me?Â Why is there a persistent LavaLife tab on the Messenger window?Â Old world advertising model, right?Â So it would appear.Â Just push enough advertising at enough eyeballs and sooner or later someone will click on it.
Except that Microsoft knows that I’m 42, married, and only interested in using Messenger for business networking.Â That data is part of the profile info I filled out when I signed up for Messenger.Â They just don’t do anything useful with that information.Â In fact, Messenger can probably detect that my network connection is in Palm Springs at the moment.Â By comparing that location to my home location (also in myÂ profile),Â Â it could infer that I am here on business or a vacation, and offer up advertising for local restaurants and site seeing.Â
Messenger is crying out for some relevance engineering.Â Microsoft could do a much better job for their advertisers, and their users, by targeting the Messenger Live experience better.Â Microsoft might find that they have more advertising slots available to sell if they targeted the advertising better, advertisers might get better results and be willing to pay a higher CPM, and users like me might actually click on advertising relevant to our specific interests.
InÂ the meantime,Â I’m heading out for a special dinner this evening with the best, and only,Â date I’ve had in over twenty years.