and Bill Gates Keynote

I just left the Office Developer Conference 2006 keynote where Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Bill Gates spoke about Office 2007. As I watched him, I realized how he is aging. He seemed so timeless to me for a long time. Now, I see greater wisdom and compassion although I think he is actually more intensely passionate than ever. It's just different, I think. Bill Gates is an anomaly. There are brilliant people; there are geniuses, people with amazing, revolutionary ideas. But, very few of them have the same genius and, if need be, shrewdness, to win in the marketplace. Critics level their claims, but one thing all are compelled to acknowledge: he's got an otherworldly sense of the economy of the human experience and the power of the moment.

Anyway, his keynote was engaging. Jay Paulus, Office Marketing manager, was sensational with his demo of what Office 2007 can do. It all worked (whew), and it was impressive. Spontaneous applause occurred twice during his short demo, and that's good.

There's a lot of good stuff in this release, although I concur with my friend, Brett J, that the name for Office is not so great. Why just go with 2007? My friend, Elliot Gerard, reminded me, though, that one benefit is that it helps convey how outdated the old version looks when the "2003" pops up on startup.

Good point, but I would love to see something out of the ordinary like, "Microsoft Office Previous Version Killer- PVK". Now, you can see why I am not the brand manager here :). In all seriousness, I am not opposed to the "2007" concept, but I just figure we have enough great minds here to come up with something even better. Whatever.

One of the big announcements is:

From Brian Jones, the Office XML hero:

"The goal of this community is to provide a place where developers can freely exchange, in an open way, technical information about how to use the Office Open XML Formats that we are standardizing in Ecma TC 45. Membership in the community is open to anyone free of charge to enable broad development with the format, regardless of platform.

This community is already comprised of 39 organizations, and includes partners from the Office 2007 Rhythms and Enterprise GO programs, as well as organizations from around the world including major tech firms (Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Toshiba)."

This is a big deal. We've learned. At every level in this company we are reaching out more and with greater zeal. Actually, working with other organizations to develop standards is not new to the company, and we have always done so. But, the Open XML Developer community broadens the net and allows Microsoft to be more transparent and be more informed. We call it: goodness.

 Rock Thought for the Day: As I mentioned in my last entry (been too busy to blog- that's not good), I have purchased the Dark Light CD from euro-goth band, H.I.M. It's a very likeable CD. The lead singer, Ville, is quite good, and I think with a more risk-prone producer, he could do something bolder, more innovative. I am pleased the band abandoned the original production-thrust for the album which had a more American feel. Now, I am true red, white, and blue, but I have travelled broadly and love music from all around. This final production of the album retains its European roots, and it is unmistakably familiar. Thematically, their future albums need to reach farther. The metaphors are sometimes (only sometimes) too obvious, too simple, too common. It starts with the album title, "Dark Light". Not terribly profound, but it helps fuel the pseudo mystique of the occult that gave the band its initial momentum. It's a forgiveable offense, thank heavens, so no big worries.

OK- I need to run.

Rock On

Comments (3)

  1. bleh says:

    where is the video?

  2. Russ Ramirez says:

    Hey John, it was great to finally meet you in person at the ODC!

    One thing I meant to ask you about VS pertains to the editor. I didn’t see in the final version of VS2005 a way to modify the editor settings on a per item basis other than colors as in VS2003. For example, if I want to set the properties for display of comment text to Tahoma 10pt Italic, but still want keywords and such in Courier New, this doesn’t seem possible though I can make the text any color I want.

    I do 99% of my work in VS2003, at work, so if I’m wrong about this, I apologize.

    When I use Notepad++ for example, I can customize it to the hilt. I’m free to use Notepad++ outside of VS, but it seems to me that the VS editor should at least support all basic text properties per item as it does with colors on a per item basis. It’s a great tool getting better all the time, but shouldn’t the editor be a little more spiffy?


  3. Jeff Cate says:

    Once again, I have to say that John Durant is a one-of-a-kind preseneter.  I first heard him speak last year at Office DevCon and loved it so much that I made sure to go to his sessions at TechEd 05 and PDC 05.  One of the things he does that so many other PMs from Microsoft don’t do is to work at "engaging" the audience.  John is the master at getting the audience involved in his session.  He goes out into the audience and greets people before the session starts and during the session he frequently walks out into the audience and speaks directly to individuals or groups of people.  You get the feeling that he is really interested in you as a person – which I believe he truly is.  Keep up the good work, John!

    As far as Bill Gates, I was impressed with him as well, but in a much different way.  He is not that great of a presenter – IMHO.  However, when it came time for the audience Q&A, I was amazed.  Many of the questions were very technical and detailed, but Gates had no problem answering them in detail and for the most part spoke up first instead of deferring to Sinofsky.  I thought to myself, "here is the Chairman of one of the largest companies in the world and he has an incredible command of the details of its products and business".  Being a President of a very small company (10 employees), I can relate to the difficulties of staying on top of the details of our business and the amount of details Gates is staying on top of is pretty incredible.

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