Microsoft gets it right

Microsoft gets an advert right. At last.

After years of some terrible adverts including ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Dinosaurs’, someone in the marketing department gets it right and focuses on what matters – PEOPLE.

Technology only really matters when it helps people; when it makes our lives better. Smart watches, tablets and the latest phone may be interesting, and techno-gadgetry dominates technology blogs … but only for a few brief minutes per post. The harsh reality is that for most people it doesn’t matter how clever/cool/geeky the technology is if it doesn’t have any human value. The value may not be obvious, but that if often a sign that you are not being imaginative enough in the vision of what is possible.

What matters with ANY technology is not the technology itself, but how it can help people. It seems a minor semantic difference, but it isn’t. It is absolutely critical. Interesting and innovative technology doesn’t matter until it does something useful. Looking at the recent CES announcement, it is interesting how many products fail this simple test.

Having worked for Microsoft for many years and seen what it develops and prototypes internally, it is amazing how little of this reaches the market. Microsoft has some of the smartest researchers in technology and is a prolific innovator but very little of what is developed makes it into a product with the name ‘Microsoft’ on it. That doesn’t mean the learning is lost as something far more valuable happens. Most research isn’t locked away in corporate filing cabinets never to be seen again, but is instead openly published in academic journals, so available for others to build on top of. If you look carefully, Microsoft technology and innovation is in many more places than you would think – helping thousands of companies across a range of industries to deliver life changing technology. Now that is #empowering.

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