Devices, services and moments

The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications, Microsoft. It was originally published on The Official Microsoft Blog.


As is common during the holiday and New Year season, I find myself in a reflective mood. But oddly enough, I’m not drawn to reflecting on the past 365 days, but simply one of them. The day I’m thinking of was a normal one, not that unlike the other 364 that surrounded it. In fact, the only remarkable thing that happened was that I happened to pause at the end of it and take note of how the extraordinary has become ordinary.

I woke up, scanned the headlines, checked the sports scores, and looked for Tweets that would enrage me. Did some mail, went for a jog, commuted to work, had some meetings. Drove to the airport, flew to San Francisco, had some more meetings and grabbed dinner. Then I checked into my hotel, called home, said goodnight to my daughter and did some work before going to bed. Like I said, pretty standard stuff.

But what I took note of at the end of that day was how the technology I used kept up with me, enabling me to make the most of any moment I was in. It didn’t matter whether the moment was personal, professional, at home or in a hotel, driving a car or riding in a plane, working alone, or with a team.

It kept pace seamlessly and never made me think about what context I was in or make me change identities. The technology I used just followed me throughout the day, making every part of it easier, richer, more productive.

That’s because I use stuff made by a company that doesn’t see me simply as a Venn diagram of distinct market segments, but rather as a whole person. Microsoft, since its founding, has always made technology for people. People who do a wide variety of things throughout their day and would like a set of tools that can do the same. So, as I navigated my day, my devices adapted with me as I moved between personal, professional and social contexts. I didn’t have to switch platforms when I toggled between consumption, creation and collaboration activities. I wasn’t forced to manage multiple ecosystems, understand different UI’s and become the systems integrator of my own tech.

Whether I was streaming a Webcast at my desk or streaming Netflix in my hotel, co-authoring a presentation in Office or co-piloting a Scorpion in Halo, the devices and services I used just worked as needed. Without the workarounds, duct tape or juggling acts I see fellow business travelers engage in while on the road or in the air. I was able to work online and offline using both touch and mouse. I video called my team using Lync in a conference room and my daughter via Skype. I downloaded corporate data securely and uploaded Instagram photos instantly. I chatted with colleagues on Yammer and friends on Facebook. I balanced budgets and “Angry Birds.”

From minute to minute, moment to moment, I just did what I wanted, and my tech followed along, helping me make the most of every situation I was in. All ordinary stuff, but made extraordinarily easy when your tools fit your whole life and not just part of it.

That’s what I see when I look back at 2013, the year when all the pieces fell into place to help me make the most of every moment in my unexceptional day. And when I look ahead into 2014, I’m willing to bet that any of you who try our latest stuff will reach that very same conclusion.

See you in Las Vegas!