Have you read Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book “naked conversations”? In the first chapter, they talk about the two sides of communication in companies today: the bloggers and the folks whose job it is to reduce risk and control the corporate message. I admit that after spending most of my career being one of the “corporate message cops” it is more than a bit intimidating to join the ranks of our MacBU team bloggers. But here goes!
By way of introduction, I’m Mary Starman, and I am the group product manager for the MacBU. I’ve recently celebrated by 10th anniversary at Microsoft, and have worked in several fascinating but somewhat unusual teams. I have worked on everything from our ActiMates toys (remember Barney, Arthur and D.W, and the TeleTubbies toys?) to our hardware line (mice, keyboards, the SideWinder game devices) to an early incarnation of the of Pocket PC. I even worked on our SmartPhone technology back when it was still just a code name. Then along the way I found myself in another “unusual” group – the MacBU.
Working in the MacBU is interesting for a product manager at Microsoft. While I do have to help our management team run a smart business (after all, even at Microsoft, every business has to be responsibly run) there is also the freedom to be a little different from the rest of the company. We get to be a little more fun in our packaging and branding, the way we talk about our products, etc. And we get to take advantage of interesting stuff Apple does with their hardware and their OS. But I think the biggest surprise for me was the first time I was at focus groups with Office for Mac customers. They were so passionate about their computers, their applications - - let’s be honest, we just didn’t see that kind of passion when we did focus groups about keyboards or mice. Every time I meet with our larger corporate customers, I get excited again about the possibilities and the people we are developing our software for. And seeing the responses to our blog so far, the passion continues.
After signing on to be part of the team of MacBU bloggers, I admit I had some doubts. A lot of the work that I do doesn’t seem all that glamorous when you’re slogging through forecasting or trying to help shape the tiny details of a new feature. But in reading the comments you all have been posting, I realized that I’ve been involved in a lot of the decisions that you’re curious about. Questions like “why don’t you do (fill in your favorite app)”? So, questions noted, and in my upcoming posts I’ll try to explain more about our decision process, what goes in to choosing to do an app (or not do one) etc.
I’m looking forward to this blog and the opportunity to give you my perspective on this great team we call MacBU.