Windows Seven: We're Hiring!

The software giant is looking to hire a technical evangelist for Windows Seven. That sounds like a really good idea to me.

But Microsoft had better hire someone who can be more thought leader than mouthpiece—a straight talker who can generate genuine enthusiasm while setting realistic expectations.

Longhorn really hurt Microsoft's credibility. In early 2004, Microsoft started breaking feature promises made in late 2003—and the broken promises continued through 2005, as Microsoft dumped more and more Longhorn (aka Windows Vista) features.

The Windows Seven evangelist needs to sell benefits while not overstating them. In fact, Microsoft needs someone who can sell aspiration around limited benefits so that people can get excited about the product and the company can deliver more than promised later on. People buy things because they want to be happy, to believe their lives will be better from the purchase. Apple sells aspiration so well, and Microsoft needs to, too.

The shoes are mighty big. Maybe Microsoft should call on the Friendly Giant. The job posting is dated Dec. 11, 2007, but Microsoft hasn't yet filled the position. It's a big, big job.

The requirements are daunting. Microsoft wants someone with five to seven years experience with .Net Framework, great communications skills and developer community leadership skills. That's for starters. The company also wants a diplomat, analyst and great public speaker. I'm surprised there's no call for a sociology degree.

In a blog post today, Microsoft evangelist Tim Sneath explains: "This isn't a 9 to 5 job: it's more of a vocation—you'll work hard not because you've got someone breathing down your neck but because you're passionate about making a difference and you see the impact of your work."

Really? Sneath describes the job as a "once-in-a-lifetime open position." The position is "the technical evangelist at this point in time. This is an extremely challenging, high-profile senior role, with tremendous reach and influence across the organization."

Sneath has got the "challenging" part right. I wouldn't envy anyone taking on this role, given Vista's reception, the state of mind IT organization and consumers have about operating systems or the rapid computing market shift to the services-plus-software rich Web 2.0 platform.

Stated differently: Microsoft needs someone who can make developers, enterprise customers, OEMs and technical enthusiasts feel good about Windows again. More importantly: The Windows Seven technical evangelist must sell something bigger than the operating system, something intangible: The Microsoft lifestyle.

All truly successful products—meaning those products that customers really love—imbue a lifestyle. There is an Apple lifestyle associated with Macs or a motorcycle lifestyle associated with Harley-Davidson.

The Microsoft lifestyle is a tough sell, because it is so potentially big. Microsoft products do so much and interconnect with one another in so many ways, their benefits aren't always obvious. They're tough to market. Perhaps the technical evangelist will have to sell many small lifestyles.

For the last month, I've been trying to live the Microsoft lifestyle, which, strange as it may sound, is helping me to better identify what it is. I'm using a Windows Mobile phone and Vista PC. I've got Windows Live Mail on the PC and phone. Then there is Office 2007 and Office Live Workspace... and so on. Different products connect together, creating nuances of different computing lifestyles. But that's for another post, on another day when my head isn't foggy from the flu.

Microsoft Watch readers, what would you want to hear from the Windows Seven technical evangelist? What message should he or she convey? What do you need to hear from him or her to regain confidence—for anyone that has lost it—in Windows?


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lintasberitakan @ February 1, 2008 at 8:27 PM

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