You'll be hearing a great deal about Microsoft from me over the next few weeks. I spent a few days in Seattle enmeshed in all things Microsoft at a recent blogger summit. It was a little overwhelming and a lot inspiring.
First, I can't help but talk about the employee culture there. As a CEO, I try to be a keen observer about how businesses run. While I admit I wasn't doing an expose on the company, I did meet dozens of employees and got to tour many buildings. And here's the overall impression: Microsoft is trying to do good work.
Meeting after meeting I was struck with how much care Microsoft puts into the user experience. Sure they want our dollars as we buy laptops, phones, software and games. But after getting to know the culture more intimately, I feel like the want to give me, the consumer, an exceptional experience every time I pop open my laptop, flick on my phone or open up an Excel spreadsheet.
There's thoughtful analysis going into each new development (like this new mini keyboard--coming in July). And now more than ever, it's not just clever Microsoft engineers telling us what we need. It's a 360 development process. Consumers give the brand feedback and they actually listen. Thoughtful improvements are constantly being made to tweak software and devices that already rocked.
In numerous presentations, we heard how customer preferences were taken into account when developing and enhancing products. Sometimes I scratch my head about how Microsoft bends over backwards to make sure mac users experience as much excellence on a PowerPoint presentation as a on a SurfacePro3. Why? Why help a competitor!
Wouldn't it be deliciously self-serving to only make exceptional Office products that locked us into buying exclusively from Microsoft? That's just not the way the company thinks. They want overall productivity enhanced.
If I want to think like Microsoft, I just need to focus on being excellent. Lessons: Be ahead of the pack. Listen to customer feedback. Incorporate changes quickly--leave ego out of the equation. Suffice to say, this CEO got a lot out of the Champions Summit.
Who are the Office Champions? An all-around kick-butt crew of bloggers who run independent businesses (Like Erica Diamond and Leticia Barr pictured above at the Pike Place Starbucks). We team up to produce and share content about how we use Office products to make life better.
During the 3-day #ChampionsSummit the Office Champions shared notes and we shared ice cream (Molly Moon's photo above) and ideas.... Jen Singer, a NJ writer and blogger, wowed us with her "I Work From Home" presentation and Sarah, a fashion blogger from StyleitOnline.com blew me away with her SWAY creation. I had inspiring chats with Kent & Canaan about travel writing. Christine, Leticia and I discussed the delicate dance we do as FT working moms in very non-traditional careers. And we all shared ways in which we use technology to stay relevant, connected and inspired.
Seattle happened to be an exquisite backdrop for the event. These three days were like attending the best blogging conference one could imagine. I was given time with peers I admire and tools to elevate my game.
I'm really proud to be an Office Champion. Over the next few weeks you'll be hearing more about programs that caught my fancy and that I feel are a great fit for Momtrends. Specifically, the YouthSpark program, Microsoft Band, OneNote and the Surface laptops. For now, know that I consider myself fortunate to have had the time to dig deeper into a fascinating culture.
For now, here's the highlight reel.
Design + Surface = droolworthy laptops
The Unicorn Cat. It's a thing.
This is a sponsored post--sort of. I am a Microsoft Office Champion and share my unscripted thoughts on products and services for the brand. They never tell me what to write about or require approval on anything I say.