The Importance of Vision, Lecture by Jeff Raikes / Microsoft (2004)

Video Lectures

Displaying all 11 video lectures.
Lecture 1
Be Open to Opportunity
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Be Open to Opportunity

Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services (PBS) at Microsoft Corporation, explains his own background and how being open to opportunities helped him become the only undergraduate from the Engineering Economic Systems department at Stanford. Plans change as opportunities arise, he says. He also recommends entrepreneurs look for a job they love.
Lecture 2
Overview of Microsoft Today
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Overview of Microsoft Today

Raikes explains how Microsoft has 5 computers for every employee, close to 70 subsidiaries around the world, and only 40% of their revenue comes from the Unites States. Microsoft's revenues this year will be around $36 billion, or $100 million a day, he adds. Soda is free for employees and over 3 million cans of Coca-Cola are consumed a year.
Lecture 3
Challenges in Structure Transformation: Microsoft Business Divisions
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Challenges in Structure Transformation: Microsoft Business Divisions

Raikes talks about how Microsoft participates in a broad range of competitive and evolving businesses in the software industry. They are transforming into seven business: client (Windows), information worker business (Office), Business Solutions (small to medium businesses), server and tools, MSN, and Home and Entertainment (X-Box, PC gaming).
Lecture 4
The Principle of Agility
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The Principle of Agility

In Raikes' early days at Microsoft, the strategy was to focus on agility--to have the products run on a number of different computing platforms. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to learn and respond to challenges that arise and adapt your strategy accordingly, says Raikes.




Transcript



My first job at Microsoft was to oversee the product marketing for our applications business. I left Apple at 1981, November of '81 primarily because the thing that I really love was software. And what I learned by working at Apple, very fine company but they are about the hardware devices. In software, certainly then and I think maybe even still today was primarily about how you solve more devices as opposed to a business in it itself. And so for me, it was a lot more comfortable being in a software business. And so I came, as Microsoft was trying to start-up an applications business. I suspect many of you or in the audience might if I ask you the question of, "What was Microsoft's first spreadsheet?" You might think Excel was our spreadsheet. But in fact, we had a product called Multiplan. And that was my job. My job was to be the Multiplan product manager. I wanted to tell you about a little about our strategy. We thought we had a brilliant strategy to succeed with Multiplan. We have designed some technology that actually used, for you computer science folks, used the P-code technology that allowed Multiplan to be written in C. And then run on lots of different computing platforms. So in fact, Multiplan run on a TI-99/4A home computer, the Apple II, CPM-80 systems, MS-DOS systems, CPM-86 systems that run on the Siemens 32016, a microprocessor that is also a footnoted in history ran on an Apple III. Another footnote in history that run on the Zynix based PDP-11 minicomputers. That was our strategy. Our strategy was to be able to have our application products run on all of those computing platforms because at that time there were literally hundreds of different personal computers. And on January 20th, 1983 I realized, I think Bill Gates also realized we had the wrong strategy. Any guesses to what happened on January 20th, 1983? Lotus, it was the shipment of Lotus 1-2-3. How many personal computers did Lotus run on in January of 1983? One, and exactly one. And it was a big winner. So what we learned was when it came to customer behavior. It wasn't whether you had a product that run on all of those computing platforms. What really mattered to the customer was, did you have the best application product on the computer that they own. And Lotus 1-2-3 was the best spreadsheet. In fact, it was the beginning of a "formula for success in applications". That I defined around that time called, "To win big, you have to make the right bet on the winning platform." And for us we saw that the IBM PC was going to be the winning platform. Now Lotus 1-2-3 which really advanced the state of the art in spreadsheets was the right bet. And they made the right bet on the winning platform and they won big. Lotus was not only a bigger applications software company in its first year than Microsoft Applications. It was the biggest application software. It was bigger as the software company than all of Microsoft by Y factor. They went basically from zero to 150 million in just a few months. And so, on February 1st, 1983, so what's that only about 10 days later. We evolved our strategy. Microsoft Word started up. We started the project on February 1st, 1983. So just less than two weeks after the introduction of Lotus 1-2-3. And Microsoft Word on the PC would design to specifically take advantage of the IBM PC architecture. To do superscripts, subscripts, fonts, laser printing. We really shifted our strategy. And a year later we completed the shift. We decided that the winning platform was going to be the Graphic User Interface. And so even though a little known fact, Excel was designed for the IBM PC initially. We decided to shift it to Macintosh and Graphic User Interface because we decided we had to focus our efforts on what we thought would be the winning platform, Graphic User Interface. And of course in 1984 and '85 the best incarnation of the Graphic User Interface by far was the Apple Macintosh. So what's the principle? The principle is agility. If you're going to be successful as an entrepreneur what you have to do is you have to learn. You have to respond. You have to learn some more. You have to respond some more. And that kind of agility is very important. If we had stayed on our old strategy, we would not be in the applications business today. In fact, one of the great ironies of that whole episode is that in the late '80s or early '90s our competitors, WordPerfect, Lotus. What they really should have been doing was betting on Windows. But instead they were betting on and WordPerfect was the best example. Betting on, putting WordPerfect on the mainframe, on minicomputers. In fact, they went to the lowest common denominator software strategy which we switched out of in the 1983 timeframe. So, for my key principle is, make sure that you learn and respond. Show that kind of agility.

Lecture 5
The Importance of Vision
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The Importance of Vision

Raikes explains that PowerPoint was created as a new way to present overhead slides. Microsoft made the bet that people would be willing to change the way they present information and launched PowerPoint into one of their most successful applications. You have to listen to your customers, but you also have to see beyond what your customers do now to what they might do in the future, he says.
Lecture 6
Innovation in Business Models
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Innovation in Business Models

Raikes talks about how Microsoft's success at innovating business models equals its success in technology innovation. Before Microsoft, there was no market for a company that did operating systems. The business model to license operating systems was novel and helped to propel Microsoft to success.
Lecture 7
The Value of Broad-Based Leadership and Experience
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The Value of Broad-Based Leadership and Experience

Broad-based leadership is important to the success of a venture, says Raikes. Though everyone cannot have every skill, it is important to bring together a leadership team that has both a broad and deep set of experiences. Still, people should be hired more because they are passionate about what they do and willing to work hard, rather than their experiences.
Lecture 8
Small/Medium Businesses and the Internet
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Small/Medium Businesses and the Internet

In this decade, there will be a shift in the way small and medium companies do business, says Raikes. The next generation of workers will have 15 years of Internet experience when they enter the workforce and will expect great computing tools. They will only hire companies they can communicate with online. Small to medium businesses will need to adopt new business application software to help them communicate with customers, he adds.




Transcript



I believe that during this decade we're going to see a significant shift in how small or medium businesses run their companies. And I think it's going to become part of the Internet. And here's the way I like to frame it. My daughter, I have a son and a younger daughter. I'm going to pick my son because age wise I hope he'll graduate from college and enter the workforce about the end of this decade. He'd be about 22 with that timeframe. By the time he graduates from college, and enters the workforce. He'll had 20 years of experience working with personal computers and more than 15 years of experience working on the Internet. Now what does that say to me? That says to me that he, my oldest daughter, their classmates, their friends, they are a new generation. Where when they come into the workforce they're going to expect great computing tools, the ability to communicate with the business. In fact, I don't think they'll pick a doctor, a lawyer, a contractor for their homeroom model, their insurance agent. Unless they can electronically communicate with that business, electronically schedule their time, electronic billing and payment, electronic collaboration. That will be the expectation in 2010 for any small or medium business. So what does says to me is during this decade, small and medium businesses will meet to develop or adapt new business applications software that will help them communicate, connect with their customers in that way. So the reason that Microsoft bet so big - $2 to $2.5 billion on this business, brought them into Microsoft and create Microsoft business solutions is because we believe that there'll be a huge amount of value created through software that helps support that kind of interaction. And we have the simple, humble aspiration of wanting to be right in the middle of helping to create that software value. So, what's the principle? The principle is to project areas of future value. Understand transcend demographics. See what kind of opportunities that may create. I may end up being very wrong but it was worth the bet. We like to make big bets, and we think that's going to be an opportunity. And it really comes from that belief. Not that the value was being in the number one counting company for mid-market companies, but to create that whole new set of value for companies during this decade.

Lecture 9
The Principle of Persistence
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The Principle of Persistence

Raikes talks about how many palm devises failed before Palm because hugely successful. Microsoft is still working on a tablet PC, though efforts in the past have failed. Microsoft's entrepreneurial success is characterized by persistence: keep investing and keep trying, says Raikes. Persistence is a part of agility. You learn to respond and then you keep trying, he adds.
Lecture 10
Choosing the Path That is Right for You
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Choosing the Path That is Right for You

Find what you have a passion for and find a company that represents that, says Raikes. Life is too short to focus on money. Interviewers look for three things: high energy, high horse power, and the ability to get things done. It is nice to have relevant experience, but it is more important to be really passionate and willing to learn quickly, he adds.
Lecture 11
Can a Company Be Successful at Both Software and Hardware?
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Can a Company Be Successful at Both Software and Hardware?

Raikes talks about how companies can be successful at software and hardware, but only within a certain scope. If you're looking at the overall market, it has to be either hardware or software, he says. Within a niche, it is sometimes important to do both.