By Kevin O'Keefe

No lawyer blog but Bill Gates to start blogging

Bill Gates didn’t invite me over to the house or office to discuss beginning his own blog but our Seattle times reports Bill may be starting his own blog. As the Times says “Bill Gates has a reputation for coming late to the party, then making a big splash when he arrives.”

2001964786.jpgBill Gates coming on to blogs and RSS is going to be big. It was not that long ago that Netscape was the browser of choice and AOL the world’s window to the Internet. That was back when Gates did not think the Internet would be as big and portals to the Internet would have the value they do for advertising and commerce. But now Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser is used by darn near everyone and when we think of the big three portals for commerce and advertising we think of Google, Yahoo and MSN. AOL’s impact is in a free fall.

Bill’s blog won’t be all business, either. He’s expected to share personal details such as tidbits from recent vacations, according to tech pundit Mary Jo Foley’s Microsoft Watch newsletter. Citing unnamed sources, she reported this week that Gates is about to start blogging “real soon now.”

Without confirming the advent of the Bill Blog, Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said “Bill would love to do his own blog at some point in the future, time permitting. Bill and the company are very enthusiastic about blogging,” “Bill talked a lot about the power and potential of blogging at the CEO Summit and the advantages it gives to communicating and sharing information with a wide range of potential audiences.”

Some Microsoft employees have been blogging on their own for several years. In January, the company began hosting blogs on its software developer Web site, which as of yesterday listed 709 blogs. Eric Rudder, a senior vice president at Microsoft, started a blog in May 2003 but let it lapse for months at a time. Co-workers jokingly suggested they would use his name as a verb, meaning letting one’s blog go dormant.

The Times reported Gates has a history of writing for a broad audience:

In the early 1990s he wrote a syndicated newspaper column, and he still writes occasional opinion pieces.

Gates has long had his own Web page where he posts speeches, and he periodically sends an e-mail newsletter to customers.

Gates also has a stable of writers and communications specialists who help produce material. It’s unclear whether they would help keep his blog going.

Barry Mitzman, a former public-television host who helps Gates write materials such as position papers, had not heard that his boss may be blogging.

“That’s cool,” he said. “If Bill were to do a blog, that would be very interesting. I’d read it.”

Gates is jumping on at the right time. Corporations, especially software companies in the Silicon Valley, have already embraced blogs as a way to interact with their customers. And based on the figures in a Pew Internet study last year with 2% of 128 million adult Internet users in the country publishing blogs, there are more than 2.5 million blogs.

Lawyers, attorneys and law firms would have to be asleep at the wheel to miss the Internet marketing opportunity lawyer and law blogs present. If Bill Gates is telling me it may be worthwhile to start a law or legal blog, I’d listen. This guy does not predict the future, he makes it.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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