Thanks to Robert Scoble (as blogged about here), I had a great (free!) steak lunch today. Even better, I was joined by some very smart company, including Michael Arrington, Lynda Weinman, and of course, Bill Gates.
I'm still at the Mix06 conference between sessions... so I have to make this quick (I don't know how Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington attend a conference and still blog so damn much and so damn quickly!).
While Michael asked if these were regular events (having lunch with Bill), he was told that it was NOT. I was more interested in finding out if the steak lunches were regular events at Microsoft, because if so, we're happy to join the empire. ;) (FYI: I was told that steak lunches also aren’t a regular event at MSFT... oh well, I guess it'd be unhealthy and boring to eat steak everyday anyways)
Some of the more interesting items that we talked about over lunch included the time and effort required to blog. Like myself, Bill doesn't like the idea of having a ghost written blog. I suggested doing more of a photo based blog that utilized quick audio snippets (i.e. a BubbleShare album). It brought him to talk about Microsoft's earlier foray into the photo arena that has had a great deal of influence on what we've been working on, which is PhotoStory. He admitted that its something that they took a leadership position in early on, but didn't do anything with it. MS Photo Story is free, but being a downloadable app, obviously has its disadvantages -- it also has a bit of an awkward interface, but the output is really great -- esp. given how quickly you could put something together once you learn it and get it up and running. My problem is that it only seems to output .WMV -- which makes it hard to get it "published" (make it publicly hosted) and/or shared (make it privately shared).
He also spoke in length about the gap between static photos and full motion video. Something we also felt pretty strongly about. This void/gap is I think much bigger and important than most people think. There are some amazing things that you can do with video that you can’t do with photos, but the challenge with video is that editing is very difficult, so is sometimes distribution. Whereas static photos are easily movable and sharable, but on their own, lacks a personal feel that video has with voice and motion. I call the space in between video and photos “cinematic photo experiences” – cinematic as in adding audio and “motion” (i.e. creative/specific transitions) between photos.