I’m writing this from my hotel room in Barcelona. I’m not planning to go out tonight, but if anyone is in the neighborhood and fancies hooking up, I can meet in the bar downstairs for a beer. My cellphone doesn’t seem to want to work in Spain, so call the hotel at the number below.
Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
Passatge Taulat 262-264
08019 Barcelona, Spain
+34 935 070 707
I haven’t gotten any sightseeing done. Hopefully tomorrow. The blog panel this afternoon went fine. Thanks to Eileen Brown for inviting me to be on it. I spent part of the day wondering around the convention center, trying to get my head around THE. BEAST. THAT. IS. MICROSOFT. Some notes:
1. The number of people on the Microsoft payroll is the same size as SEVEN Roman Legions [The Romans had about 25-30 Legions at the peak of their power]. And they spend their time arranging long lines of one’s and zero’s into clever little lines, and getting paid for it. Somehow they manage to make it happen.
2. A young Microsoft employee I was talking to said an interesting thing to me. We were talking about this big cultural change that is going on inside Microsoft. He said a lot of it is generational. The old guard is highly competitive, the new guard is more collaborative. The old guard sees Open Source as a threat, the new guard sees Open Source as an opportunity. He was confident the new guard will prevail because, of course, being young, they’ll be around for much longer. He reckoned it’ll be at least another decade before the outside world starts recognizing the change that’s currently happening internally. Interesting.
3. I must have repeated the following story at least a dozen times in the last twenty four hours: The inspiration for the Blue Monster came from a conversation I had late last year, with Steve Clayton. Steve told me that, like a lot of other Microsoft employees, he could be making a lot more money and taking a lot less grief from the general public, if he was working somewhere else. But he chooses to work for Microsoft anyway. Why? Because he gets to play with the cool new toys. He gets to work on stuff that will “change the world”. And as I continue to find out whenever I meet someone who works for Microsoft, this is a commonly held belief inside the company. From a marketing perspective, this a far more compelling storyline than “Your Potential, Our Passion” or whatever.
4. When I first checked into the hotel last night, afterwards I stepped outside the hotel to go smoke a cigarette. There I randomly met a group of American Microsoft employees. We chatted for a bit, then I told them who I was. Two of them immediately took off their jackets to show me the Blue Monster t-shirts they were wearing. Small world, indeed. Apparently somebody at the conference made a whole batch of them to give away as schwag, but they went fast. They ran out in only a couple of hours. I’d love to get my hands on one of them before I leave, but I’m not too optimistic.
5. On blogging for the company you work for: Somebody in the audience today asked me what they should do if their boss doesn’t like the idea of them blogging. I replied that if you have something interesting to say about your product, and still your boss won’t let you blog, my guess is that he’s probably an idiot, and you should quit your job and go work for somebody else.
6. I firmly believe that the general perceptions of Microsoft will be very different in twenty years’ time than what they are today, and for the better. And I also believe that, when the textbook writers eventually get around to writing the story of how this change happened, Microsoft blogs and bloggers will be at the very center of the story. It is this belief that made Microsoft interesting to me in the first place, and continues to do so to this day.
[Update- Friday Night:] Back in London. Arrived safely home etc.
It’d be a crack if the person in the room 0319 was a blogger reading your article and came across to knock on your door!
Even better if the blogger was a babe needing a beer and decent conversation! I said conversation. And the beer too.
My boss’s boss is there. Not really a blue monster person though – wouldn’t get it.
Hey Hugh – just wanted to say that I love the blog. Definately digging on the social object discussions. Thanks for being so forward and cutting through the digital abyss that is online marketing.
Barcelona’s a great town. If you get a chance, head to the El Born neighborhood and stop in at La Vina del Senor (I can’t do the squiggly thing above the “n”) and enjoy a bottle of wine in the courtyard by Santa Maria del Mer. Also check out Los Quatros Gatos – that’s the bar Picasso hung out in.
Thanks Hugh-both for the faith in Microsoft’s Blue Monster cult : ) and the faith that the bloggers it has will be key.
I am going to be thinking for quite some time about the Roman Legions though. What a concept.
Hey Hugh, Your blog is getting tired man, we got your message a year ago. It was good, but we moved on. You can repackage your message and feed it back to us but we have gone.
Thanks for the memories,
(signed on behalf of former readers)
Hey Steve, my stats are pretty high these days. Secondly, the more of a certain type of reader I lose, the more money I make. Do the math.
Thanks to Everybody else for the kind words. Rock on.
I link to your articles quite often to my friends at Nokia. I’m trying to get into the company.
What you write about Microsoft can be taken word for word with a simple replacement of company name and be applied to Nokia.
For that I thank you and hope one day when if get in I can pull some strings to have you speak to an auditorium of employees.
Two things – One. Why would the “steve guy” leave a comment like that? That speaks volumes about him. People like that drive me crazy. I assume he felt great and superior about himself for a good ten minutes after that smarmy comment.
two. I love you comment about the boss not liking the blogging. Too many people are scared of their own shaddow. If they person has something interesting to say about an interesting product, then a smart boss would welcome and encourage the blog. My guess is the boss in question is afraid of his or her own shaddow and fears for their own job. Alas, you are right, the person should find a new boss!
Hey Hugh, after 10 years at Microsoft -without too much success changing the world- I recently followed the Blue Monster advice and went home.
Keep on posting.
If you’re still in Barcelona you don’t want to miss the “Comerç 24” bar in 24, Comerç Street. http://www.comerc24.com. Not sure they serve Stormhoek but that would be the only thing…
“I firmly believe that the general perceptions of Microsoft will be very different in twenty years’ time than what they are today, and for the better.”
Hardly original. If it’s not different the company will be dead anyway – along with most of the current senior management!
Dennis, I am so nicknaming you “Eeyore” from now on 😉
Dennis – truth doesn’t have to be original. It just has to be said.