Want a friend in Washington? Get a smartphone or a Scotsman
25 July 2014
A week after the Microsoft WPC14 in Washington, sorry DC, I am still buzzing, and disrupting the office with photos and stories.
It was my first time at a WPC event and first time in DC, so what are my takeaways?
Firstly if you are going next year, prepare, prepare, prepare. At these type of events I very much know what I am after but with 15,000 other attendees on the go it is easy to get lost in the mix of what is going on. Plan it out, set some objectives mark them down when done and use the extra time to find out more.
Maybe a little later in the day than others for us but Microsofts’ user to cloud Office environment is pretty kick ass, mature and ready for any business to take full advantage of.
Kevin Turner‘s keynote had an absence of chat about products still under development or waiting for the next release and was all about Microsoft being market leading and ready to sell, in volume.
There was a notable demo late in the week on Skype Translator which pitted a German woman and an English guy against each other, the banter was translated back and forth in good amazingly accurately, even given the tension in the one voice and the joy in the other three days after the World Cup Final. Very impressive stuff.
Microsoft are evolving quickly in to a services business, its not complete for many reasons, mainly the historical and always needed on premise products, but it is trucking in that direction.
Windows Mobile is here with a bang, I have always stayed away from it as all my previous experiences were dull and pointless to say the least but now it is probably the best mobile interface I have touched for both business and home use, that is what I want from a device.
You might know that I struggled with the underwhelming experience of my iPhone5s and switched to a recently purchased HTCM8 which was better, different, good but just not there. (now for sale at a good price). The Lumia 930 is fantastic.
Scottish Development International really did create some fantastic business intelligence and networking opportunities for us while we were there, well done Gordon Esslemont and Julie Brown and the rest of the team for making it work so well. Love the wee booklet which we are going to pinch the concept of. As you know no matter where you go there is always a Scot doing a key job and it was fantastic to meet up with Stuart Baird and his team. He is a long time ex-pat working for the British Embassy in DC (shhhh don’t tell anyone).
It was clear to me that WPC brings together partners, competitors, suppliers and friends from everywhere and outside the Microsoft space I had the chance to catch up with a few like minded others. Trend Micro are a business that gets IFB, our markets, clients and needs and JD Sherry and his team did a great job in further developing our understanding of how we will work together and also strengthening the relationships and friendships involved. We may have done some of this “networking” in a less formal environment that the conference.
I also benefited from a great opportunity to discuss partner strategy in a relaxed session with Michel van der Bel. I say relaxed, he is Dutch, they never stress, but exposing the top guy in the UK in this way for me demonstrates how business ready the Microsoft are and confident in the product mix and delivery.
Of course you could argue that this is all marketing smoke and mirrors to cover up the fact that they are looking over their shoulder, or at times at the bumper in front with a Google sticker on it but there is no complacency here. IFB have always said as a business the only thing you can do about competition is compete and Microsoft have their sleaves rolled up.
As for DC, well I have to say my new favourite City. When you get there make some time, actually a lot of time, just to take it in, walk around, take a bus tour, join the dozens of runners around the National Mall.
If you do I bet you bump in to a Scotsman.