Thursday, June 21, 2007

Do the Microsoft Shuffle

    "You put your business card in
    You take some business card out
    You put a logo t-shirt in
    And you shake it all about.
    You wander the halls and meet a buncha folks.
    That's what it's all about."

Hey, kids! It's that time of year again: Two big Microsoft events that result in one very odd coincidence.

Event One: The Worldwide Partner Conference. The biggest little gathering of nerds you've every seen. (You've never seen so many blue tooth borg implants!)

Event Two: The annual job shift, in which 50% of the Microsoft employees get new assignments for the new fiscal year (July 1st).

The coincidence: Almost no one from Microsoft ever brings their business cards to the Intergallactic Partner Conference. It's like the car salesman who says he hasn't had cards printed yet. "Let me scratch it on the back of this used napkin."

The Microsoft Shuffle is a very important time for MS -- and for you, the partner. Some people take on new responsibilities. Some get assistants. Sometimes offices merge. New products are being announced, along with new product managers. The landscape is a-changing.

Which is one reason it's good to show up at WPC!

I've exchanged emails with several people in the SMB (SBS) space whose jobs are changing July 1st. Do you know what's happening in your world?

I know you've looked at the tips for attending a conference

And Vlad's cast on conferences in the 21st century

But here are a few last-minute tips for the Intergallactic Partner Conference.

First, if you're within a day's drive of Denver (which is about where the Denver Airport is located), then register and attend the Small Business "Pre-Day" Event.

Second, tune up those business cards. Just a reality check here: It is cheaper to get business cards from Vista Print or iPrint than to make your own laser-perf wonders.

(I wonder why the MS folks don't do that.)

If you're really cheap, you can get the free cards with the vista print logo on the back. If you notice someone looking at it, just say "That's my other company." Give them a 30 second elevator speech on how you've made millions of dollars giving away free business cards. No will know you don't own Vista Print.

Third, I know it's a bit late, but consider going to the conference. You'll meet people from all over the world. Someone's bound to buy you a drink. You'll get a real sense of what Microsoft thinks is important for the next 12-24 months, and you'll come home with free t-shirts.


If you've been to any of my presentations in the last two years, you've sat through the five-minute spiel on how you are responsible for looking ahead five years. Of course no one has a five-year crystal ball. But your job is to understand the business you're in, to look to the future. To speculate about how you're going to thrive in the years ahead.

Attending the largest event sponsored by the biggest player in your space will give you tremedous insights into where your business is going. And you'll have unprecedented access to people who design, build, support, and sell these products.

Anyway, if you can't make it this year, put it on your radar for next year.

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