Working intimately with Microsoft, this is a topic dear to my heart. (I may be shedding a bit of a tear right now.)
The Blue Monster was designed as a conversation starter. To paraphrase the ongoing dialogue between Steve and I:
For too long, Microsoft has allowed other people- the media, the competition and their detractors, especially- to tell their story on their behalf, instead of doing a better job of it themselves.
We firmly believe that Microsoft must start articulating their story better- what they do, why they do it, and why it matters- if they’re to remain happy and prosperous long-term.
If they can do this, well, we don’t expect people in their millions to magically start loving Microsoft overnight, but perhaps it might get people- including the people who work there- to start thinking differently. Small moves.
The headline works on a lot of different levels:
Microsoft telling its potential customers to change the world or go home.Microsoft telling its employees to change the world or go home.Microsoft employees telling their colleagues to change the world or go home.Everybody else telling Microsoft to change the world or go home.Everyone else telling their colleagues to change the world or go home.And so forth.Microsoft has seventy thousand-odd employees, a huge percentage them very determined to change the world, and often suceeding. And millions of customers with the same idea.
Basically, Microsoft is in the world-changing business. If they ever lose that, they might as well all go home.
I chose the monster image simply because I always thought there is something wonderfully demonic about wanting to change the world. It can be a force for the good, of course, if used wisely.
It’s certainly a very loaded part of the human condition, but I suppose that’s what makes it compelling.
And Dave Armano chimes in with this interesting bit of insight on the value of being “infected”:
“Everyone at Mix 08 who worked for Microsoft and handed me either a “Blue Monster” business card or had the sticker, seemed different. It was hard to put a finger on, but although they were believers in Microsoft, they also seemed to believe in an external vision that challenged Microsoft to make a meaningful impact in the world.It’s a non corporate honest opinion, and some at Microsoft embrace it publicly.What’s to be learned? Blue Monster shows us that no matter how big or small the company that the world is a bigger place. And external influences can become internal influences. And it teaches us that if we are interested in the evolution of corporate culture, that symbols are important. If we don’t find our own—someone will find them for us.”
10 additional lessons to take from this:
1. Even giants can be underdogs.
2. Startups and hungry small companies don’t have a monopoly on passion: Even corporate behemoths have deeply passionate people helping turn the wheel.
3. We all need icons and banners to rally behind. If one isn’t provided, one will be created.
4. Passion is an all-or-nothing equation. If you can’t be passionate about what you do, you’re wasting your time just working for a paycheck. Even outside of work, if you can’t be passionate about something, – anything – you’re wasting your life.
5. It’s good to have a motto. Or a purpose. Or a mission.
6. Sometimes, the best ideas come from a perfect synergy of inside sentiment and outside interpretation.
7. Less words say more.
8. If monsters are conceptually cool, good monsters are even better.
9. This tastes a lot more like a movement than a campaign… which is why I like it.
10. Anything corporate-related that is worthy of being printed on a T-shirt, business card or bumper sticker is by default a culture-affecting design.
Some of you may sneer at the very notion of something like this having anything to do with the almighty Microsoft, but there is a lot more to the software giant than meets the eye. Working with these folks on a daily basis, I have a pretty clear view of what the product teams are working on, and it is nothing short of astounding. Microsoft is going to change the way we work and change the way we live for the better. If we let them. (And we should.) Looking at it from where I stand – having seen what these guys are working on – the blue monster’s words make perfect sense.
Personally, I dig it.
Transparency clause: I manage SYNNEX’s Microsoft distribution business in the US, so it is entirely possible that I might be a tad bit biased when it comes to the Redmond giant. That being said, this post probably wasn’t the least bit impacted by this bias – aside from the excitement I genuinely feel about the products and applications Microsoft’s product teams are working on, particularly in the fields of collaboration tools, unified communications, intelligent devices and intelligent environments.
Have a great Wednesday, everyone.