What do you know about a brand? What do you know about a company? If I told you that these folks were all social media types from within a big west coast company, and that they were all excited by the trends in personal media making, and in the implications to both the consumer and the enterprise, and if I told you they took me on a tour of their headquarters that ended with a trip to their cool store, where would you guess they work?
What if I said that some of them were working on web-based applications for office productivity, and others were working on the future of podcasting? Something coming to mind? Do you have an idea?
I was fortunate enough to tour Microsoft’s campuses, including their research facilities (where I saw more patents and cool ideas sitting around than I could imagine in one space), as well as their media production studios (which were just downright incredible and filled with geek goodness), and then I toured the museum and finally the store. I met all kinds of really great folks from the Office Live team, from architecture, from podcasting, and all kinds of other parts of Microsoft. They were passionate, excited, engaged in trying to make great things happen and make products and services that people wanted to use.
So imagine me, a guy who’s had nothing but Macs in his house since 1984, but who has his engineering background in NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 boxes and products, and what I’m thinking about. I met an entire “Social Media Minds” group, and came away thinking that Microsoft really has some neat ideas for the future. ( I wrote about some of this back a year ago.)
As I grow older, while others are putting boxes around their perspectives, and pegging people into certain categories while not others, I’m seeing that there is no box. And I’m pretty damned excited for what that kind of thinking opens up.
Thanks for the tour, Microsoft. I’m grateful for your contributions to the space. Keep opening things up. Keep sharing. Keep trying new things.