In a blog post today, Joel Oleson cautioned the community about writing anything on SharePoint 15, despite some SharePoint 2013 information now being public. I fully understand what he’s saying and I want to offer my contrarian opinion, if I may have a moment of your time.
Oh, and while I have your attention, I just wanted to once again mention that Joel and I are good friends, despite the staged controversy last spring. If you haven’t read the story, please check out this post as a start and feel to read up on my sarcastic tribute and to a person for whom I have nothing but the greatest respect.
Now back to explaining why the man is dead wrong.
What Does Microsoft Think?
Joel believes it is good advice to not blog about SharePoint 15 for several reasons. First, although the information is public, it is preliminary and may change at any time. This may be good advice, especially to those who will base their future on what they read willy-nilly on the web.
Second, apparently Microsoft disapproves greatly (I can vouch for that) and it may even affect your career options (which Microsoft certainly wants to see, and I can vouch for that too). Microsoft are famous for their strict NDAs and those that already have access (TAP customers) will be under tight scrutiny from Microsoft to ensure no information is leaked.
However, what surprises me is that Joel claims that Microsoft assumes everyone in the community is under NDA, not just those that sign the agreement. That claim is completely ludicrous, considering you can’t give out information first and then ask people to not know and talk about it, simply for the reward of absolutely squat.
Now, Microsoft has previously offered me access to early bits if I just shut up and don’t write about what I know. Although there will be cold days in hell for months in a row before I’d agree to something like that, it’s an offer I can understand. After all, they’re giving me something in return for something. If Microsoft expects people to shut up simply because they want to, well, it’s time that Redmond woke up and smelled the coffee.
What About You?
Joel is right in that people are motivated by short-term popularity. In fact, I wrote about that in my comment on “What’s Wrong with the SharePoint Community”. It’s a plague on the community if you ask me, especially when I see blog posts that regurgitate the same content that everyone knows already, or even copies information from the SDK and post verbatim copies on their blogs.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone is motivated by popularity alone. Since this post is about why I’m writing about SharePoint 2013, I’ll let you know exactly what my motivation is.
I write about SharePoint because I believe it is to the betterment of a community of equals. I’m highly excited about learning new things, and when there’s a new version of my favorite platform… Well, let’s just say I could be more happy in a year of Sundays.
So, I read. I’ve read literally hundreds, if not thousands of pages about SharePoint 2013 already, information that Microsoft has made available to me. I have barely slept in days, and I couldn’t if I tried, simply because I’m so excited.
However, I understand that most people aren’t as hooked on this as I am. Some may even have families or jobs that require them to do something else than read protocol specifications for days on end. Those people, however, still need to be prepared for what’s coming. It’s their jobs to do SharePoint and they give advice to their clients on what to do over the next months or years. Knowing what goes on is essential to your career, not detrimental.
So, I share. I share because I have spent the time researching the topics. I share because I have time to follow what goes on related to SharePoint 2013. I share because it saves other community members literally hundreds of hours of digging. Scale that saving to the thousands of people who will read what I write and you’ll see that I’m actually doing the community a massive service.
Yeah, I’ll piss off the MVPs and anyone in the TAP program who may want to spill their guts, and definitely Microsoft. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, but nobody forces guns to their heads to accept those NDAs. Nobody, in their right minds, expects anyone to not save everyone else thousands of hours of work simply because they don’t want anyone talking about what they are already publishing.
By the way, I am a selfish bastard, and to afford some flowers for my wife for the days and weeks she won’t see me, I’m publishing what I find first to those who purchase a subscription to the new USP Journal SharePoint 2013 Beta series. It’s an issue series that runs from now and until the public beta becomes available, it costs $14.95 for the entire series, and you can get the information on the USP Journal mailing list if you’re so inclined.
I’ll even make it dirt simple for you: Just fill in your name and email below and I’ll send you the information you need:
PS: Joel knows all this already, and in fact mentions in his post that some people understand the risks and choose to accept them. I’m one of those.
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