Bing trying to be cool is a bit like a librarian in a night club. If you aren’t inherently cool it’s tough to fake it or buy it. I admit it, I’m not cool – haven’t been since the Regan administration. I was at a couple of major conferences last week and the lack of diversity was staggering. Both very influential events were packed with uncool white-bread types like me. I even heard that another even better heeled gathering of the great and the good partied with featured guest rapper Flo Rida (I have a hefty side bet that most of the crowd thought his name was pronounced Florida). So I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the recent sacking by Microsoft of two of the top marketing guys who were starting to make Bing a little cool, maybe slightly edgy. The cited reasons for the firings of Hadley and Carver were the usual corporate doublespeak of “violating policies relating to management of company assets and vendor procurement.” Put more simply: They were over achieving in the fun department.
It was certainly refreshing to see Bing take an aggressive strategy of linking their brand with cool trend setters like Jay-Z. The recent sack-ees also masterminded the Bing Bar at South by Southwest where a killer good time was apparently had by all. I guess the sackings were the hangover. The Microsoft fun express jumped the rails last week and the question that remains is will Bing go back to its library shelves or will it stay for last orders and a drunken taxi ride home. I hope they do try to continue being fun. Search is in danger of getting dull. Search used to be cool, and now all of the cool kids are the social media glitterati, while us poor search guys are looking for our library cards.