Mix 07 Day 2 – Live from the Keynote

3:52 – Hello from Vegas!  I’m waiting for the Robbie Bach keynote to start after a long day of digging into the details of Silverlight and the new Visual Studio “Orcas” release.  First impressions?  Looks awesome.  Though I need to get my hands on the bits and start playing around before I can say for sure.  LINQ is cool from what I’ve seen, it’s fun to see the programming model gradually evolve over time, and this is a big jump forward for web development.  The biggest surprise is the commitment to cross-platform, cross-browser compatibility.  It’s not just a one-off PR stunt they threw in for the keynote.  I regularly saw Microsoft PMs quietly demoing primarily in Firefox, not one of those “Hey, look at me, I’m using Firefox!!!”.

My laptop is fully charged but I probably won’t last more than an hour…cross your fingers that they drop any big announcements at the beginning!

4:01 – They’re late!  All right, here we go.  Lights.  Bass.  A smoke machine.  You know something cool is about to happen.  Robbie’s up, he’s here to talk about the “why” instead of the “how”, more on the business side than the technical side.  No remote Mac debugging today.  Boo.

4:04 – Talking through the Connected Entertainment strategy – the promise to get content whenever, wherever.  He’s talking through personal experiences, drawing comparisons between getting a tattoo and choosing the color of an iPod/Zune.  So how to market that?  Three things: attract, engage, and excite. 

4:09 – Starting with attracting consumers.  Talking through XBox marketing through Burger King – a video about the making of Sneak King!  Yes!!  That game is hi-larious.  Wow, sold 3.2 million copies within 6 weeks.  Crazy.  Robbie’s claiming that the Sneak King actually caused Wall Street to upgrade Burger King’s stock.  Funny.

4:13 – Talking through the custom ads in XBox games due to Massive in-game advertising engine.  And now here comes a guy from Nissan to talk through next-gen marketing through Media Center.  Blah, blah, blah, let’s get to the demo!

4:17 – OK, here’s the demo.  Showing National Geographic service through Media Center.  Showing a program with a logo overlaid on the programming, and now they’re showing an ad that you can click through based on their interests.  For instance, you can choose interiors, features, etc..  Viewers can also pause the show, click through other Nissan ads, and request to have a brochure mailed directly to them.  Sounds cool, though will people really be interested in clicking through an ad as opposed to the hitting the FF?  Overall, interesting concept.  If I’m going to be forced to watch an ad to support a free show, I’d much rather interact with the ad and get exactly what I want instead of a blanket, non-customized message.

4:23 – Now he’s discussing monetization models.  Talking through the value of the computer desktop real-estate to marketers.  Uh-oh…  Here’s a guy from Disney, he’s talking about bringing Disneyland to China, and the difficulties because they didn’t grow up with Mickey and Friends like those of us in the US.  They worked with OEMs to get a Disney sidebar gadget installed on new PCs.  The gadget is way cool…for a pre-installed craplet…  🙂

4:28 – Yeah, Gears of War!  Talking through the marketing for Gears of War, and the “Mad World” TV spot, which I loved.  They posted the ad on XBox live and users started creating mashups of the ad.  Didn’t know they did that, and now they’re showing a mashup clip featuring the song “Staying Alive” and Gears of War – hilarious!  Best part of the story – not orchastrated by MS Marketing, it was all done virally by the community.

4:34 – Now he’s talking about exciting people on radio, here’s a guy from BBC radio.  Talking through how they were able to build excitement for BBC Radio One by reaching out to teens who are hanging out on the web.  Here’s a demo showing a scenario of a user getting a “XBox Live”-type of achievement through Live Messenger, that he’s recieved as a result of attending a concert.  They’ve got a cool mashup built on Silverlight that shows music videos, Flickr photos, recommendations, etc..  He can look at related bands and create other achievements/badges to put on his page.  The badges can be shared via Messenger, which shows a synched live music video feed.  Awesome!

4:45 – These demos are cool, I’m definitely excited about using Silverlight now.  OK, back to Robbie.  He’s passing it off to Gayle Troberman, GM for Microsoft.  Looks like they’re setting up for a panel discussion.  Yep, got some marketers from Coca-Cola, the Economist, and some random marketing groups.  Holy cow, that cleared the room!  Lots of people are leaving early, probably to get ready for the big party tonight.  🙂

4:50 – Still have some juice left, so let’s keep going.  No Zune phone.  Yet.  Bet that would fill the room back up.  OK, on to the talking heads.  They’re discussing if marketing is dead or just needs to evolve.  Not too much to blog about here.

Battery is going fast, so I’m going to take off.  Cool stuff going on here, I’ll give another quick wrap-up tomorrow before I jump on the plane. 

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