Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
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That Time Bill Gates Answered a Tech Support Call ... and Crushed It

That Time Bill Gates Answered a Tech Support Call ... and Crushed It | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Leaving the C-suite to spend some time in a cubicle will teach you a lot about your own company.


"Hello, this is Microsoft Product Support, William speaking. How can I help you?"

That’s exactly what he said and it's kind of a famous story in Microsoft lore. It’s worth retelling if, like me, you haven’t heard it. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

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Growthink teaches how to FUND, build, grow, and sell a great business: http://bit.ly/2hn5ROb

 

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Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great story and good lesson for founders and company executives.

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Whitehatsme's comment, March 7, 2017 1:45 AM
Splendid, Sir nice to see you
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Microsoft Research leaves Silicon Valley: Why big companies aren't startups

Microsoft Research leaves Silicon Valley: Why big companies aren't startups | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Microsoft is in a buy not build mode these days, and the closing of the Silicon Valley Campus branch of Microsoft Research confirms this will be true for some time to come.

VCs often cite how easy it would be for a “Microsoft” or “Google” to come along and crush the little startup that is pitching them, but that rarely happens.

There was a time when Microsoft was a monopoly and would throw together a team to build a product specifically to compete in a newly realized software market, but those days are over. Microsoft is in a buy not build mode these days, and the closing of the Silicon Valley Campus branch of Microsoft Research confirms this will be true for some time to come.

Microsoft has been cutting jobs. In July 2014, it announced it would be laying off 18,000 employees. And on September 18, it laid off 2,100. 160 of those were in California, and the largest group of those in California were from Microsoft Research.

Microsoft Research is the group responsible for innovation rather than progression. The idea behind Research is that some of the best ideas aren’t ready to be tested in products; they need to be fostered by mad scientists so that product managers can come see what they have been playing with and determine which can be integrated or productized.

Microsoft Research is responsible for tablets, large screen touch devices, home automation, smartphones, and more. Microsoft built, tested, and demoed products that looked almost identical to iPad, Nest Thermostats, Siri, Roku, and more. The right founder likely could build startups based entirely on things Microsoft has abandoned, and that is what is wrong with Microsoft today.

Microsoft is not Apple or Google. When people talk about big business and how they are slow to move, or innovate, they are talking about Microsoft and IBM. Microsoft and IBM have always relied on business-to-business sales for the majority of their revenue, and as a result they have been hesitant to build anything they might have to abandon, or that wouldn’t be compatible with the rest of their products. This has always made Microsoft Research a bit of a graveyard for products.

Whereas Apple decides what features need to exist in five years and assigns a team to build those features, Microsoft tends to look at what products might be possible in the future and doesn’t worry about how much those products would cost the consumer. That difference of products as opposed to features has lead Microsoft to come up with some great concepts that no one could afford, and then because there is no viable market, the company shelves the product and it dies.

VCs love to invest in software for a very simple reason. It doesn’t cost anything to sell the second copy. Microsoft Research has done cool software projects, but most of the things that come out of Microsoft Research have been a blend of hardware and software. With no rules on the cost of the build of materials Microsoft often presents solutions like the 50-inch Microsoft Surface, which had a $30,000 price tag. It came out with 11-inch convertible tablet PCs for $2,200 in 2003, when the typical laptop cost half to a third of that.

Many of the cool software products that came out of Microsoft Research also never found a way to be monetized. From “Mouse without Borders” to “Photosynth,” there are all these pretty great products that others would charge money for and make a few million dollars on. But they’re too small for Microsoft to bother with. Without that “bother,” Microsoft doesn’t seem to be able to create new billion-dollar products.

For example, there is a fun little piece of software that came out of Microsoft Research with the rather cumbersome name “Automated video looping with progressive dynamism.” The tool lets you take a video, and it will find five seconds of that video to make a loop of, even if there was no looping in the video in the first place. This is enough of an app to build a “Vine” competitor, or to inspire millions of animated Gifs on Reddit, but at Microsoft it will be an EXE that sits on the company’s server and goes unnoticed (other than the mention in this post and a side note in a patent). It could have been some funky-named dot com: Dynavloop, maybe. Or Autamaloop?

What it really comes down to is that Microsoft doesn’t have what every startup that succeeds has: business sense. VCs don’t invest in a really cool technology, they invest in a large potential return. When you point engineers and people with doctorates in various fields at a problem, you may get a result, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get a business.

Brandon Wirtz is a former Microsoft employee who now works with startups to grow their reach, develop their products, and determine their place in the competitive landscape as CEO of BlackWaterOps.com.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Insightful article showing how big corporations think and where there are opportunities for startups.

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One question from Warren Buffett made Bill Gates completely rethink Microsoft

One question from Warren Buffett made Bill Gates completely rethink Microsoft | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
At a January event to celebrate 25 years of friendship, Bill Gates revealed that a question from Warren Buffett helped make Microsoft a powerhouse of the '90s.

In a January conversation between the billionaire philanthropists to celebrate 25 years of friendship, moderator Charlie Rose asked each what surprised him the most about the another. Gates eagerly fielded the question. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

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Growthink teaches how to FUND, build, grow, and sell a great business: http://bit.ly/2hn5ROb

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Two giants respect and admire each other. This article sheds some light on that.

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The Dot Com story

The Dot Com story | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

How it all started.

Old Testament computing....


In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dorothy. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known.

He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."

"YAHOO," said Abraham.

And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began. And that's the truth.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Found this in my inbox this morning, though I'd share it here.


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