Friday, May 01, 2009

I'm Too Small for Microsoft to Care

Man, I'm tired. I was gone five days last week on a trip to HTG in Dallas.

Then I flew to Redmond for two days this week. Just crawled in the door.

I'm ready to be home for awhile. Maybe I can finish this darn book!

- - - - -

Anyway, I was thinking . . .

Have you ever found yourself saying "I'm Too Small for Microsoft to Care"? Or heard someone else say it?

Well, you should know that Microsoft does care. They care appropriately.

Let's be honest: You're not HP or Intel. You don't have a multi-billion dollar relationship with Microsoft. There are groups of people who are paid to care about and nurture those relationships.

For you there might be a TPAM who also server 87 other partners. Microsoft can't effectively track license sales and you fall into the category of partners who just don't appear on the radar. And, let's be honest, many of the people who read this blog don't have a TPAM.

So it's interesting when someone from Microsoft says, "We want to suck your brain dry and find out how you make money. We want to find out what you sell, how you sell it, who your clients are, and anything else you want to tell us."

As we filtered into a room, end-user customers filtered out. I don't know if the snacks were intended for us or leftover from them. Do customers and consultants eat the same food?

Anyway, it was very clear that Microsoft was listening.

Microsoft is NOT Like Hollywood (for us anyway).

If you think about software development like a movie, you can see all the elements of production. Design, building sets/scenes, packaging, etc.

But in a movie, there are formulas for success. The most popular formula was created by Sharespeare and still works today. You take a story, change the ending to a Hollywood ending, add one or two comic relief characters, throw in a side story with a little background. Poof. Major hit.

And maybe developing games is like that. Except you have to add spectacular graphics.

But business software is not. With business software, there is a constant striving for new ideas. Some kick ass (SharePoint). Some are slow to be accepted (Vista). Some have people scratching their head and saying "What the hell was that?" (Groove).

In addition to the creativity needed to develop and product the software, there's a huge amount of creativity in finding niches and hidden pockets of opportunity.

Does this process always give you the software you and your customers need the most? No.

But rest assured: They're working on it.

Does Microsoft care about you personally? Sorry. No. But to the extent that you fit into a niche or two, they're working very hard to give you what you want. And to the extent that your clients fit into a niche, they're working very hard to give them what they want.


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