Keeping a watch over customers using Twitter, and what it really means to be "open"

Not too long ago I stumbled upon a user who was having problems with Movable Type who I later helped by working directly with his hosting provider. A couple days later he asked if I would like to do an interview with him, which he published today. The main thrust of the interview is about how companies can better utilize the multitude of emerging communications channels to stay better connected with their customers.

However the interview covers a lot more ground than just the use Twitter. Mike Moran also asks, "Six Apart has been one of the huge forces in blogging over the years. The last few years WordPress has gotten a lot of attention, but what has Six Apart been doing to take back the momentum?"

This is a question I am glad I got to answer:

By focusing more then ever on what we do best: innovation, design and openness. We pay a lot more than lip service to the technologies and products that shape the Internet today. We commit our resources, time, money and energy to things like Atom), TrackBack, DiSO and OpenID. Furthermore we are almost always the first to support cool products and technologies like the iPhone, Fire Eagle and Atom. Then there is all of our open source technology as well, like memcached, perlbal, mogilefs, Movable Type and other cool projects we will be announcing soon.

However, being "open" in our eyes is so much more then creating and maintaining open source software. In this day and age almost anyone can make that claim.

To be truly open is a much larger commitment to embracing good ideas, even when they are not your own, and to supporting the products your customers use, even again, when they are not your own. Take BlogIt for instance--one of Facebook's most popular applications built by Six Apart. Not only does it allow you to post Vox, TypePad and Movable Type like you would expect, but you can also post to, blogs, Twitter, Blogger and others. I think you will be hard pressed to find our competitors actively embracing us the way we are willing to embrace them.

This quality I think really sets us apart from our competitors and is the kind of attitude that I think will draw people to our products.

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