the next great blogging tool
In the context of my entirely surreal experience in Redmond earlier this month, it is difficult to pick out one moment and label it “weird.” If I had to, though, I’d definitely point to when Bill Gates asked me what blogging application I used.
He’d sat down next to me at the very long table we’d been sitting around all day, and spent the hour answering our questions. I had noticed that his eyes would occassionally dart to my screen, where I was taking notes in VoodooPad. When the Q&A was over, we all got up to take the group photo. That was when he asked, and it was immediately obvious this was not idle conversation.
So I told him; I take notes and jot down ideas in my VoodooPad since it’s a personal wiki, then I develop drafts in Ecto, and I publish to a WordPress blog. He said the names of each product back to me, making certain he’d memorize them properly, and then let me (and Rael, who’d joined the conversation) know that he intended to talk to the product managers for the Microsoft Word team, to incorporate blogging functionality into an upcoming release.
You could have knocked us over with a feather. Rael mentioned later that his wife, Asha, had written a book about hacking Word to make it work for online publishing – but that was in the mid-90s. People gave up trying to make Word work for writing online before Pyra was even up and running. And here was Bill, nonchalantly mentioning that he’d very much like to see the world’s #1 desktop publishing application build in yet another feature set. All to support an activity that (according to some) has already peaked.
So, yes, weird moment. But it has got me thinking. I do like Ecto, and the hosted version of WordPress does keep getting better and better… but what would the ideal application for writing online look like?
I will make one grand prediction for 2007: the next great blogging tool will integrate seamlessly with instant messaging, to easily allow ideas incubated in focused conversation to escape to the larger conversation of the web.
Because it sure as hell is not gonna be the next version of Word.