Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Steve Ballmer & the "New Normal" or How Microsoft Regained its Mojo and All I Got was this Right-Sized Operating System

Ah, the "New Normal." I remember when I first started using that term, Nov. 7, 2008 in a post, Layoffs & PR Strategy.

Since then, a lot of people have climbed on that bandwagon.

The latest: Steve Ballmer of Microsoft.

C'mon in, Steve, the water's, um, lower than it used to be.

Ballmer defines the new normal as including the "The New Efficiency: With Less, Do More." How's that different from the old efficiency -- glad you asked: in the new efficiency, companies must "increase productivity and find ways to deliver new value to customers."

How can you achieve that new efficiency? Glad you asked. Ballmer says, "a new generation of business solutions is transforming IT into a strategic asset that makes it possible to cut costs without crippling customer service or constraining workforce creativity and effectiveness."

Those new solutions might be led by Windows 7, which finally shipped last week.

Look, it can be easy being snarky about this. But it's also worth hearing what Ballmer says he is smart, he does run Microsoft, and his vision will be difficult to avoid, even if you're a Mac. Check out "Microsoft CEO on ‘The New Normal.’"

On the other hand, the latest Journal interview with Balmmer, with a headline he can't like -- Ballmer Tries Bringing Back Microsoft's Mojo" -- quotes him using a lot of buzz words and vague predictions and qualifications of those predictions. For example:
We took actions as a business to make sure we had our cost structure right-sized. And hopefully with a recovery, we're right-sized. If things meander along, we're right-sized. And both of those are possible, and maybe other things not as positive are possible.
Ok, anyone else find the key message he wanted to convey? I have to assume Microsoft's mojo has been right-sized...if only because he sprinkles the term five times throughout the interview.

He also says he wished he had "message with our employees" earlier than he did. I think he meant "talked with." Messaged as a verb seems very top-down, but not very engaging, which is more the Web 2.0 approach.

To keep this post right-sized, I'm going to stop here. Thanks for reading.

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