Devices, services and moments

The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications, Microsoft.

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!

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