Scoble had a post about his most recent trip to Google today that contained an interesting quote:
A lot more blog listening behavior. Carl Sjogreen, who runs the Google Calendar team, told me that the first thing he does every morning is do this search: “Google Calendar.” He says he answers everyone’s questions, even if you’re a kid in another country with only four readers.
Such a simple thing to do, yet so powerful. Listening to what the bloggers have to say and responding.
It amazes me that this is not standard operating procedure for a product team. Anyone on the team, not just the business guys. Dev, QA, everyone should be watching for conversations about their product and helping to quickly respond. Some of the best feature requests and bug reports come straight from a user's blog. Unfortunately, I don't see a lot of this at the b0rg.
As the DevMgr for two Windows Live products (WL Alerts and WL RSS), I have search feeds in my aggregator (Bloglines) that I check multiple times a day. (We rolled Windows Live Alerts into production this week. There have been a number of posts about the changes, some good, some critical. It has been great to be able to get immediate feedback on what our users think).
If you are interested in doing something similar for your product, a really easy way to get this rolling is to head over to TagJag (the renamed gada.be), enter a search query (e.g. "msn alerts") and grab the URL for the OPML output. Next, go to your aggregator and import the OPML. You can now easily monitor the conversations going on regarding your product. (If your aggregator doesn't import OPML, find one that does). Currently, TagJag puts together a bunch of sites in the OPML output including:
Some might not apply (e.g. RSS Auctions) - just remove them from your feed list.
Become a better advocate for your product - do this today