A Microsoft VP once told me, "In the world of business, there are Pioneers and there are Settlers. Microsoft needs both." I’ve always gravitated toward the startup opportunities within Microsoft. A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to help take a fledgling technology called, "WPF/E", name it, brand it, and launch it as "Silverlight", with my team. The response has been phenomenal, with over 1M downloads/day and a developed balance of features for RIA-focused and Media-focused features.
A number of months ago, I learned of a new opportunity that what right in my wheelhouse of consumer-focused digital media as a steward of user experiences in the Entertainment and Devices Division as Director of Product Planning for Ad-funded Experiences. Looking back on the most personally rewarding times of my career so far, I’ve most enjoyed building teams that focus on the user experience, and deliver "free stuff" for consumers. One could argue my first attempt there was developing the original XP Digital Media Fun Pack and Powertoys, many of which included a small sponsorship message. Following the acquisitions of aQuantive, ScreenTonic, and Massive Inc., it became clear to me where opportunity intersects with my personal interests. Put another way, working on the Silverlight platform and seeing so many cool apps developed helped me to realize I missed having a hand in building consumer products myself. It/s hard to leave the amazing leadership of Scott Guthrie, Soma and so many friends, but I’m not going far.
So what does the job involve? It starts with working with many of the teams in Entertainment & Devices – Zune, Mobile, Xbox, and more to identify market opportunities where the consumer wins and brand advertisers get impressions. This is a new area and we’re going to step lightly and take feedback as we did with over 10M enthusiasts on Xbox Live who regularly download free add-ons for their games – Map packs, cars, tracks, and even feature-length movies sponsored by brand-name companies like McDonald’s, Frito-Lay, Nissan, Ford, Nike, and many others. The question is can we do the same thing for more media types and devices. In a nutshell, that’s my job – to put the fun in ad-funded entertainment experiences.
And I’m hiring. More on that later 🙂