[Cartoon part of the Microsoft Blue Monster Series. Backstory from Steve and Kris etc.]
If you look in the comments of the previous post, you’ll see some really smart discussions about Microsoft going on.
Especially nice to see Robert Scoble [formerly of Microsoft] chiming in:
Steve: a lot of people inside Microsoft think what I did for three years [at Microsoft] was be an arrogant, egotistical asshat.
They missed the little secret sauce that I fell into by accident: these tools let you listen to customers and influentials and haters and respond.
I know of one cool team at Redmond that’s about to bring out something small at Mix07. It’s not a big thing that’ll kill Amazon or Google. It’s a small thing. But it’ll get lots of hype.
Because they demonstrated they are listening to the conversation that’s happening out there across tons of tech blogs.
That’s what’s magical about Microsoft letting average employees blog: it guarantees that a few will fall into the same secret sauce I did and will have to listen to people outside of Redmond for a few minutes a day.
It just was frustrating to me that I couldn’t get the leadership to really listen too.
Microsoft’s Steve Clayton [one of the guys responsible for getting me this gig] replied to Robert:
Robert – some good arguments. Big companies clearly find it harder to take risks and as you showed whilst at Microsoft, it’s the people on the ground who take the risks (both personal and on behalf of the company). Hugh got hired by some risk takers at Corp, not by Bill and Co.
With respect to Amazon, Google and others a major difference is Microsoft’s channel approach. Sure Microsoft will release something cool and innovative every now and then but more interesting is the channel of partners doing that on the Microsoft platform – people like Skinkers, Mydeo, Caspian, Horsesmouth, Dotnet, Thirteen23 and many more. That’s a pretty serious business engine that most observers of Microsoft miss. As Hugh says, we need to make them the rock stars as they’re a huge competitive advantage to Microsoft.
And of course, the unsinkable Dennis Howlett had something to say:
When the Blue Monster finally caves in and says: ‘we’re dicounting 90% on the commodity but you pay for the real extras’ then I’ll be a huge fan. As it is, Microsoft sucks calories from IT that it doesn’t deserve. That’s why it is pretty much shut out of recruitment in the Valley- where the innovators are working. Or at least that’s what your company’s innovation team leader tells me.
No amount of fun stuff that Hugh does will change that. This ain’t consumery stuff that you can decide to take or not. This is serious business stuff with real $$/££/€€ at stake.
Hopefully people inside Microsoft are seeing this…