Archive for June, 2006

Billg Version 2.0

Posted: June 15, 2006 in Uncategorized
Wow.  Steve Ballmer sent MSFT employees "an important 1:30pm announcement" email at 1:09pm today. 
That never happens, something so rushed… and just after the market closed.  Speculation in the halls was rampant:
     "Betcha we’ve bought Yahoo!"
     "No way, someone high ranking is resigning."
     "Nah, it’s eBay, we’re buying eBay."
     "Quick, check what MSFT is trading in the after hours… up a lot… GOOG’s down… see, must be a big acquisition!"
And so on.
Must say, those 21 minutes were way too much fun, glad I was here cleaning up some loose ends!
P.S.  Ended up none of the above… was Billg discussing his transition plans… something that’s been thoroughly signaled to the market over the last few years.

No Shoe Dropped

Posted: June 14, 2006 in Uncategorized
The greatest success you can have on your first day as CEO taking over an existing company is this:
     No shoe dropped.
All organizations inevitably have something broken with them.  I was expecting to get the ‘ole, "now that you’re part of the family, we really need to discuss this situation… ". 
Would have been somewhat normal, actually.
But this didn’t happen.
So, after one day:  So far, so good. <smile>
P.S.  I know, I know, I just jinxed day two.  <g>
Well, what do you know, I’m back in the software business!
I’ve lead a group of really great investors and purchased one of the most respected names in CAD (computer aided design) software from a public company:  The TurboCAD family of precision design products.
And, I’ll be taking the helm as CEO of the newly formed IMSI/Design, LLC.
So much to talk about here, so little time.
The important stuff:
*  Nobody outside the consumer niche knows us… but we have a KILLER product that can go head-to-head with the 800lbs gorilla, AutoCAD
*  CAD is not sleepy and old… but rather, it’s on fire!  Citigroup just cited AutoDesk (ADSK), makers of AutoCAD, as one of their top four "best" stock picks for 2006.  Best way to play in the global $650 billion construction boom, says Citigroup
*  We’re very profitable <smile>
*  The current team is smart, nimble, and fired up:  They’ve got something to prove, you can see it on their faces
Why do this? 
Because we feel that this is a $100 million company just waiting to bust out if given the proper attention, care, and feeding.
Which, is what I intend to do. <smile>
I’ve been saying this for a while… but Robert Scoble’s departure for podcasting all-star John Furrier’s new company PodTech clearly illustrates an important point about who Microsoft is really competing against.
Yahoo?  Oracle?  Open source?
No.  No.  And no.
Little tiny venture backed startups?
Why work for MSFT, GOOG, YHOO, or any other big public company that has the potential to double within five years…
…when you can work for a tiny venture backed startup, get paid about the same amount of money, love what you do (so the time flies by), and get a boat-load of options that have the potential to 20x within 24 months?
Clearly — IMHO — big companies need to invent a totally separate SPECTACULARLY KILLER employment track for the very best & brightest… else, they’ll keep joining startups.  Why wouldn’t they?
Ah, Robert Scoble doesn’t even realize it and he’s still trying to open MSFT’s eyes to the realities of the new world.

Strength In A Slowdown

Posted: June 11, 2006 in Uncategorized
Interesting observation from Patti Freeman Evans of Forrester Research, as reported by Jonathan Berr in the other day.
Since online buyers are more affluent than the regular population, that means they’ll continue to spend more than the regular population if there’s a slowdown…
…which means if companies are forced to cut ad spending, they won’t cut online spending since that’s where they know buyers will be.
Jonathan then quotes David Hallerman, an analyst with market research firm eMarketer:
     "They especially will want to continue doing search advertising because it’s so cost-effective.  You can track search far better than other forms of online advertising."
An obvious statement that fans of online advertising already know… but always worth repeating since it’s fundamental to this revolution.
My part of helping transition MessageCast into Microsoft is complete.
It’s been amazing to watch — from the inside — one of the best run companies in the world respond to competition on all fronts. 
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:  Microsoft is at its best — and most dangerous — when it thinks like an underdog.
I must apologize that I didn’t share more of the "juicy" on-goings while I was here.  Lots of chances to… but the bar I used was, "is this a comment about Microsoft… or any big company?" 
Truth is, the juicy stuff isn’t MSFT-specific, as boring as that might sound.
What I will share with everyone now, though, is this:  I’m not sure any company in the world thinks as big as Microsoft.  I’ve already caught myself saying, "… about $8 billion… err, I mean, $8 million."  You just get used to saying the "b" word around here.
As for me, I’ve got two ventures up my sleeve… one that I hope will impact advertising on small devices… and the other a David & Goliath play (guess who won’t be the Goliath?).  Stay tuned. <smile>