Channel 9 is a Microsoft community site used to promote conversations among Microsoft's customers targeted at Microsoft Windows users and developers. Channel 9 features video channels, podcasts and screencasts including interviews with Microsoft developers about their products, discussion, and a wiki, which has been adopted by various Microsoft teams as a way to aggregate feedback and respond to issues.
According to the first video ever posted on the site, the name was inspired by the ability to listen in and get to know the pilots on United Airlines' on-board entertainment system's channel nine, branded "From the Flight Deck," on which passengers can listen to the radio conversations between the flight crew and air traffic control.
Channel 9 was created in 2004 by a group of Microsoft employees to provide unfiltered access to the development teams outside of the control of marketing and PR. It was the first such project within Microsoft, starting before any official Microsoft blogs.
Microsoft Developers and Employees routinely converse with users on Channel 9 forums and its wiki — even some senior employees such as Larry Osterman. The Channel 9 team have produced interviews with Bill Gates, Erik Meijer (computer scientist), Mark Russinovich and others.
Channel 9 has the following doctrine:
- Channel 9 is all about the conversation. Channel 9 should inspire Microsoft and our customers to talk in an honest and human voice. Channel 9 is not a marketing tool, not a PR tool, not a lead generation tool.
- Be a human being. Channel 9 is a place for us to be ourselves, to share who we are, and for us to learn who our customers are.
- Learn by listening. When our customers speak, learn from them. Don't get defensive, don't argue for the sake of argument. Listen and take what benefits you to heart.
- Be smart. Think before you speak. There are some conversations which have no benefit other than to reinforce stereotypes or create negative situations.
- Marketing has no place on Channel 9. When we spend money on Channel 9 the goal is to surprise and delight, not to promote or preach.
- Don't shock the system. Lasting change only happens in baby steps.
- Know when to turn the mic off. There are some topics which will only result in problems when you discuss them. This has nothing to do with censorship, but with working within the reality of the system that exists in our world today. You will not change anything by taking on legal or financial issues. You will only shock the system, spook the passengers, and create a negative situation.
- Don't be a jerk. Nobody likes mean people.
- Commit to the conversation. Don't stop listening just because you are busy. Don't stop participating because you don't agree with someone. Relationships are not built in a day. Be in it for the long haul and we will all reap the benefits as an industry.
Channel 9 also features a wiki based on Microsoft's own FlexWiki. The wiki has been used to provide ad-hoc feedback to various Microsoft teams such as the Internet Explorer team as well as for teams such as Patterns & Practices to promote discussion, although some teams have migrated to CodePlex.
The Channel 9 site, via The SandBox, gives its users the ability to create and host their own projects.
- ↑ "Channel9 Wiki: HomePage". http://channel9.msdn.com/wiki/default.aspx.
- ↑ "The 9 Guys - Who We Are". Channel9 Videos. http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=74.
- ↑ "About Channel 9". http://channel9.msdn.com/About/. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- ↑ "Larry Osterman profile". http://channel9.msdn.com/User/Profile.aspx?UserID=5004.
- ↑ "Channel 9 Doctrine". http://channel9.msdn.com/about.aspx.
- ↑ "Internet Explorer Feedback". Channel9 Wiki. http://channel9.msdn.com/wiki/default.aspx/Channel9.InternetExplorerFeedback.
- ↑ "patternsandpractices". http://channel9.msdn.com/Wiki/PatternsAndPractices/. Retrieved 2008-07-03.