Welcome to Next at Microsoft

Thirteen years ago to the day, I started my career at Microsoft – time has flown by and I’ve had a series of amazing jobs. As well as those official jobs, I also have what I often called my “night job” – a blog I wrote that focused on the company, our products, our partners and our people. It began while I was mingling in the startup communities and social media gatherings in London. Often at these events, I found myself answering probing questions about why I (Microsoft) was even there, which turned in to great discussions that allowed me to help people understand us a little more. There were so many myths and misunderstandings that I started my blog to continue those conversations and it proved to be a lot of fun. I met a ton of interesting people along the way and saw the power of storytelling first hand.

And now I find myself turning that night job in to a day job. An offer to come to Redmond and be a storyteller for the company was hard to turn down so I took the decision to move my life and my family 4799 miles. Now I’m here, exploring and unearthing stories.

My aim is to give you a “director’s cut” of Microsoft – showing you who we are, what we do and how we work. I’m keen to show you products and features that I think you’ll enjoy, cool downloads you may have missed, research ideas we’re working on and places that even Microsofties don’t know exist. It’s been an interesting few months of exploration and I’ve been meeting with lots of people – developers (yep, we have a lot of them), but also designers, ethnographers, writers, architects, sociologists, cinematographers, producers, racing car drivers and even Oscar winners. I’ve found some fascinating stories and some explanations to long held myths about Microsoft. With each person I’ve met, my closing question to them has been: Why are you here? Why Microsoft? …the best way I can sum up the answers is that people feel they have the opportunity to do world changing work here. Change the world or go home, some say. I’ll dig in to that a little more as we go.

There are a lot more stories outside of Microsoft I’d like to share too – small businesses who are starting out and using our cloud services to get up and running; people who’ve never used a games console before who are now jumping around in front of Kinect and having a blast; people like James Cameron who used Microsoft technology to make the movie Avatar and Jay-Z who’s been promoting his new book with Bing. I’ll explore those stories too and over time, others will join me here as guest bloggers and contributors.

One more thing. Do we need another website in this busy world? Another blog from Microsoft? That’s for you to decide and I ask you to voice your opinions. Tell me to keep things on track or change the direction if I’m heading off the rails. I hope this site can help show you who we are, what we’re about and where we’re headed.  If you have ideas or stories that need to be told, please, send them my way. You can also follow our Twitter feed for this site -  @MSFTNext.

So, welcome to Next at Microsoft. Settle in for some stories.  

[thanks to Starbucks for the image inspiration this morning – prior to that you’d have been stuck with a photo of me!]