FW: MSDN

It never hurts to ask.

 


From: Robert Scoble [mailto:rscoble@microsoft.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 7:12 PM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: RE: MSDN

 

Actually, my triangulation worked. Should have an answer soon for you. THanks, and I agree that it’s too hard to break through to the right people.

 

Robert

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 4:51 PM
To: Robert Scoble
Subject: RE: MSDN

Robert,

 

Yes, I remember my corporate days well enough to appreciate the challenge ahead of you. Even when you do find the people who administrate the MSDN subscriptions, their initial response is likely to be: “Who the hell are you?” After all, most Microsoft employees don’t know what blogs are either. You may be better off starting your quest by seeing if Microsoft has an equivalent of Dell’s Executive Services department. They can be instrumental in slicing through the corporate jungle, as the following brief tale shows.

 

As you know, I have a XPS Gen2/M170, one of those 8-pound bricks with the 17” display. In about two weeks, it will have achieved the heretofore impossible feat of going a full year on my wheelchair without any actual service outages (a story in itself!). However, there have been three service calls, with the most critical being an outage of that honking big display (thank Gates for Remote Desktop in XP Pro). Dell has outsourced their L1 tech support to places like New Delphi and Panama City, and the actual terms of my four-year Complete Care contract do call for the laptop to be returned to a repair depot if accidentally damaged. Of course you know from my blog that’s not even an option because my whole life centers on this laptop; however, a call-taker in New Delphi has no frame of reference beyond the contract text so you can imagine the phone calls (using Xpress-It) that went on for days.

 

I finally got desperate enough to try a “Hail Mary” maneuver. Using Google, I determined that Kevin Rollins is Dell’s CEO. Then, I sent an email describing my situation to what I suspected might be his email address, based on past experience with what Dell external addresses look like. While I doubt I pegged Rollins’ “real” email address, my electronic round had clearly landed close enough to spray him with shrapnel, because Nancy from Executive Services was on my cell phone not two hours later ready to do whatever it took to get me back up. Small things like this occasionally restore my faith in humanity. Nancy has since taken over managing my tech support, and she’s slowly rehabilitating Dell’s reputation with me.

 

Anyway, I think the moral of this story is to start with whatever department at Microsoft is charged with “getting things done.”

 

Scott

 


From: Robert Scoble [mailto:rscoble@microsoft.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 3:05 PM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: RE: MSDN

 

I’m sorry, I’m just snowed under on email requests. I’m working on this (I don’t know the folks who can make this happen, so gotta triangulate in on them a bit). I’ll try to get you an answer this week.

 

________________________________

Robert Scoble
Microsoft Corporation — Technical Evangelist

Weblog: http://www.scobleizer.com

Book blog: http://www.nakedconversations.com
Microsoft Video Blog: http://channel9.msdn.com

Cell phone: 425-205-1921
________________________________

 

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 5:09 PM
To: Robert Scoble
Subject: RE: MSDN

Robert,

 

I was quite sincere and reticent in requesting your involvement in getting financial assistance with my MSDN subscription. Some of my more liberal friends believed companies like Microsoft would have entire departments devoted to assisting people with disabilities. Ha! I know large banking and energy corporations don’t so software companies would have no compelling reason to either. The unpleasant reality is that, while there are 40 million disabled people in just this country, they don’t really exist as a coherent demographic group in any recognized sense. I’ve been on the “bleeding edge” all my life, I suppose simply because I’m too stubborn to “drop out and tune out.”

 

You know from my blog that my current primary effort is to equip those unable to speak with software that really does the job. The products currently available suck a hard vacuum if you want an actual conversation, something critical to doing real-life business. Xpress-It, which is based on technology dating back to Windows 95, is unique in that ability even today. Only now, with the UMPC, is PC hardware reaching the right mix of power and portability to offer Xpress-It’s uniqueness to ambulatory disabled people. Of course that assumes I’ll have access to the latest Microsoft development tools and environments, which would be cost-prohibitive without a MSDN subscription.

 

Yes, you are “just a Microsoft employee who blogs,” but we both know that’s a vast understatement. Your job title as a “technology evangelist” grants you access to everyone from Gates on down. If you couldn’t help Microsoft understand that assisting with my MSDN subscription serves its own best interests, no one else could.

 

Scott

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 7:50 PM
To: ‘Robert Scoble’
Subject: MSDN

 

Robert,

I just received a rather disturbing letter from Microsoft.

I have faithfully renewed my Microsoft Software Developers Network subscription annually since Shell laid me off in 2002. I’ve done so in order to retain access to the latest software development tools for my work on my Augmented Assistive Communications product, Xpress-It. I’ve been telling myself every year this would be my last renewal because of the increasing price. I had to downgrade last year from Universal to Enterprise level because I simply could not scrape up enough money for the former. Yet, with the advent of the “Origami” (UMPC) class of computing devices, and Vista looming on the short-range radar, this seems hardly the time to turn out the lights on Xpress-It. Although the current tools continue to work, I’ll need access to Microsoft’s latest releases—especially Vista—to verify and maintain Xpress-It compatibility.

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s letter informs me that the renewal price this year for what apparently is the equivalent of a MSDN Enterprise subscription is $2,300! I can’t go anywhere near that neighborhood anymore. I paid around $1,500 last year, and it put a hurt on me that I’ll feel for the next five years!

I know you get 150 emails daily, and I’m loathe to request this type of assistance. However, anything you could do to reduce that cost would really help me and those I’m trying to help talk would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your attention.

Scott

 

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