Un-PC Reality

One of the things in all the better Leadership training seminars I’ve been to in my career has been the insistence and dedication to reality. Usually the best strike hard by announcing a string of facts about what is changing that is causing organizational problems and asking everyone to confront them. 

There are some that have taken this advertising campaign as a validation that their world has not changed. Some that continue to believe we can maintain the way things have existed – the way our revenue and ecosystem has worked in the past – and confuse that desire with the goals of the PC Campaign. Certainly, Windows as a platform is not going anywhere – the marketshare numbers still show remarkable power. The problem is Google and others have proven that not only is that not a hindrance to their efforts – they can use it against us by layering a platform on top of it. That is the reality we find ourselves in. We risk becoming a pretty TCP/IP stack for the larger world.

That is why it is dangerous to assume “I’m a PC” means an old client PC with a tower/flat panel screen in the corner of the Den running Windows 95. It’s tempting to want that old model back, but the reality is Windows has moved away from the PC. What Windows is the air we breathe? Are you talking just of the client? What about Windows in the cloud? If I spend 90% of my time on my MacBook Pro inside mesh.com using Silverlight – am I then – in your opinion – still running Windows? 

To borrow from Emerson: there is no wall where I, the device, ends and you, the operating system, begins. Windows now comes to see us without bell. The walls are taken away. 

I’m still trying to figure out if we have seriously – each of us – looked that reality dead in the face. There is a sense of urgency that needs to spread through everyone – an urgency that I’ve seen so I’m optimistic we can achieve a lot more in the future than we have in the past. What we have to guard against, however, is assuming that this future looks like the past – a PC on every desktop running Microsoft software. 

Perhaps we should second the new mission statement with a vision “the network, through every device, running Microsoft software”

I think in some there is real fear of this new reality- fear that needs to be addressed – a way forward clearly communicated for them. That I believe would help Microsoft regain its spirit – which never relied on the current products – but always the future. We should aspire to make our customers fans – fans of the brand and the innovation, not of just the PC.