Doodling for Profits – The Blue Monster reaches Business Week!

Hugh and Steve, get a well deserved mention in Business Week!  Excerpt follows the break.  Rock on Guys!

In the fall of 2006, a group of senior European executives at Microsoft (MSFT) entered a meeting expecting to see a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, Steve Clayton—then the chief technology officer for Microsoft’s U.K. Partner Group—showed them a hand-drawn image of an impish blue creature bearing gnarled fangs and sporting the provocative caption “Microsoft: Change the world or go home.” After a few initial gasps, recalls Clayton, the attendees engaged in a lively discussion around the current direction of the company and the brand. “People liked the way it changed the angle of conversation,” Clayton says.

The image was not the product of Microsoft’s marketing department or an ad agency, but of cartoonist, writer, and marketing strategist Hugh MacLeod—a friend of Clayton. Ever since MacLeod sent the cartoon to Clayton and posted it on his blog, gapingvoid ( more than a year ago, the “blue monster” character has become an unofficial corporate mascot among many Microsoft employees, posted in cubicles, printed on business cards and T-shirts, and added to e-mail signatures. “I’m told it always leads to an interesting, atypical Microsoft conversation,” says MacLeod—the result he had hoped for.

Windows Live SkyDrive out of beta, capacity increased to 5GB!

This is great news!! Windows Live SkyDrive has increased its online storage to 5 GB. Earlier today it was 1 GB.

The “Beta” tag is also removed.  Well Done Skydrive Team

Rock On!!977F793E846B3C96!1697.entry

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Book Review: Nick Carr’s Big Switch


Nick Carr’s publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book, “The Big Switch: Rewiring the world, from Edison to Google”. I have been reading the book on and off for the last few days. Overall, the The Big Switch is a very pleasant, thought provoking and easy read.

The book is essentially two books in one. In the “first” book, Carr discuss the move to “utility computing” (grid-based, aka cloud computing) and goes on to describe a number of historical analogies on how electricity utilities and grids were first introduced during the last century. The second “book” is made up of a series of essays on the social, moral and policy implications of our digital world. Though well researched, I found the first part rather boring.

With regards to utility computing, (Software virtualisation. Data Centre consolidation. IP connectivity. ITIL processes, hardware standardisation. Shared IT Services model). The idea sounds great and more and more enterprises are seriously starting to think about moving to this model for the future.

In the “second” book, (which I found very thought provoking) Carr, explores areas such as privacy, security and “market of one” opportunities and risks. He concludes that we are heading into a new era:

“In the years ahead, more and more of the information-processing tasks that we rely on, at home and at work, will be handled by big data centres located out on the Internet. The nature and economics of computing will change as dramatically as the nature and economics of mechanical power changed with the rise of electric utilities in the early years of the last century. The consequences for society – for the way we live, work, learn, communicate, entertain ourselves, and even think – promise to be equally profound. If the electric dynamo was the machine that fashioned twentieth century society – that made us who we are – the information dynamo is the machine that will fashion the new society of the twenty-first century”.

In both of Carr’s books, he treats Information Technology as a highly commoditised, yet essential service. The switch to Software as a Service (SaaS) model will have a profound effect on society and business, in the same way as cheap electricity had over a century ago. Carr argues that the switch to utility computing will shrink the workforce, lead to increasing income inequality, and destroy the middle class. This is fundamentally the thesis that he presents. However, Carr admits that it will take a couple of decades before businesses will be able to make the leap to this new cheap and ubitiquitous infrastructure based in the cloud.

“The Big Switch” is very well researched and extremely well written book. However, as was the case with Nick’s last book, “Does IT Matter?”, The Big Switch is designed with ideas to provoke the reader. Carr does not present any solutions to the above highlighted topics. However, his often controversial observations leave the reader with a large number of unanswered questions – This is of course where Nick Carr excels, encouraging debate amongst IT executives the world over.

I highly recommend getting a copy now that it is generally available.

Microsoft reinvents Office Live for SME’s as ‘free’

Microsoft is now offering its Office Live Small Business product for free to SME’s! 

Office Live Small Business is aimed at companies with ten or fewer employees and to date has pulled in over 600,000 subscribers, which is somewhat modest by Microsoft standards.

New features include Store Manager, a $39.95 per month ecommerce tool for small and medium-sized business to sell their wares online either through their own website or on eBay; and a beta email marketing add-on for newsletter production.

Customers can expect to stump up $14.95 for each subsequent year that they have a domain name registered on the service. Anyone who subscribes to Office Live Small Business will be able to keep their personal information out of the public Whois database, Microsoft says.

Microsoft is also supporting the Firefox 2.0 web browser – which means Office Live will be accessible on non-Windows-based systems.

The service is currently available in the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan.

Microsoft’s press release is here.

I’m surprised the Office Rocker hasn’t blogged about it 😉

Nick Carr interviewed – "The Big Switch"

Nick Carr being interviewed about his great new book, The Big Switch.  Grab a copy of one of the most important books of the year.


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"Who Owns What" – The New Digital Landscape UPDATED

Amy Webb has updated the fantastic “Who Owns What” list (07/02/2008). The list shows the acquisitions made by the “Big 5” Digital Media companies in the world.

In the six months since Amy first created the chart, there are a handful of notable updates:

  • AOL’s list has grown tremendously, while Google, News Corp and IAC have remained relatively unchanged.
  • AOL is heading strong into behavioural targeting and various ad network options.
  • Yahoo’s buy early and large strategy toned down considerably in Q3 and Q4 of 2007.
  • Google’s last acquisition was Postini early last fall.
    The current list can also be downloaded as a PDF here.