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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
PowerBlog Review: E-Bitz

Editor's note: It's time once again for another PowerBlog Review of a business weblog! This is the thirty-seventh in our popular weekly series.

Just what is a Microsoft MVP? That's a question I needed to answer when I saw the E-Bitz blog.

The E-Bitz blog is one of a series of Microsoft MVP blogs at the domain msmvps.com. E-Bitz is edited by Susan Bradley. Susan is a Microsoft MVP in the Small Business Server platform.

As Susan told me recently, she took over the MSMVPS.com domain from someone else. The MSMVPS.com domain is host to a large number of blogs by the other Microsoft MVPs, and Susan appears to be the webmaster. E-Bitz is one of those blogs.

OK, so back to my original question: what is a Microsoft MVP? It's a select group taken from the user community of those who have been recognized by Microsoft for their expertise and passion about Microsoft products, and their willingness to share that expertise with the user community.

Susan has turned her blog into a tips and tricks resource for the Small Business Server 2003 platform. The blog is yet another way that she volunteers her help and support to the Microsoft user community.

E-Bitz covers technical subjects, but does it in a way that's understandable even by non-technical people. It is packed with useful information, even if you don't use Small Business Server.

One of the attributes that I admire greatly about this blog is the way it ties technical points back to everyday business issues and makes them relevant. If technology is going to be a critical partner to business -- walking hand in hand, so to speak -- then it has to be relevant. And understandable. And interesting, to boot. E-Bitz accomplishes that.

For instance, in a recent post, Susan gives one of the best explanations I've seen in print to justify a Network Administrator position, and why networks need ongoing care and feeding:

"You know what this business is like, the things you did ten years ago, five years ago are not what you do now. Heck, did we even know what Voice Over IP was a few years ago? And now more and more businesses are integrating it into their networks.

Security is not an end goal. It's a process. We don't get a map, a final destination, it's like life.... we keep growing, learning, changing, evolving.


Our "digital lives" need constant attention. Setting networks up, of any flavor, whether Linux or Small Business Server flavors, is not just about setting them up securely right NOW. Keeping safe on the Digital Information SuperHighway age means that you will reevaluate that network on a regular basis."
There's no overt promoting of any particular business on this blog. It's not that kind of site. Rather, it shares information and in so doing demonstrates the power of the Microsoft Small Business Server technology. In many ways it's the best kind of product endorsement. It's not trying to sell anything to anyone. Because it's authentic and informational in nature, it is more powerful than any ad.

Size matters not!  Judge me by my size do you?No review of E-Bitz would be complete without a few words about the blog's logo - Yoda, from Star Wars. When I asked her about it, Susan told me she is a HUGE fan of Star Wars. And Yoda has special significance according to Susan:

"If you hover over the image of Yoda and the Small Business Server 2003 logo you'll see why I chose it. SBS 2003 has been a bit historically the 'runt' server of the Microsoft fleet. We break every rule in the book, we don't do best practices, yet as can be seen in recent reports, the platform is selling like hotcakes. The philosophy of SBS is that it is and can be everything that a Small Business needs for a server. Yoda says 'Size matters not! Judge me by my size do you?'. The SBS 2003 logo says 'Ditto what the green guy said.' The tools that the SBS 2003 platform give a small firm are EXTREMELY powerful. It puts you on the same platform as the 'big guys'."
E-Bitz is a global blog, getting visitors from across the globe. Susan blogs from Fresno, California, USA.

The Power: In terms of business blogging, E-Bitz is a terrific example of using a blog to communicate with a user community and share product knowledge. E-Bitz also does a great job bridging the gap between technology and business.
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