* Article written by Babbobox CEO, Alex Chan
It’s more than a week after coming back from Microsoft Inspire in Washington DC. It’s a massive event with 18,000 attendees, 716 total sessions and 572 hours of content. This was Babbobox's Microsoft Inspire. New friendship forged, new connections made, new knowledge learnt, a Carrie Underwood concert, fascinating city and a overall wonderful experience.
There were many take-aways – from learning new tech to meeting people face-to-face whom you only emailed before. But here’s my three biggest take-aways from the event.
Take-away #1 – The Transformation
The biggest take-away that I saw was… A Microsoft in transformation.
It is difficult for one to admit to a mistake and publicly apologize for it, it is even harder to change unless that person really wants to change. That’s the Microsoft that I saw during Inspire. It admitted to 18,000 Microsoft personnel and partners that things are not all rosy with their partners and they needed to not just make a change, but a MASSIVE one at that. Thus, the One Commercial Partner Program.
This resonated with me, and I’m sure with many other Microsoft partners, because I know exactly how difficult it can be to be a Microsoft partner. However, with Inspire, there is new optimism. A new hope that things will be better.
Take-away #2 – Playing where the Puck will be
In many ways, a better Microsoft could also mean better things for the world. Let me explain. The following is Microsoft’s Mission Statement:
Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
To be honest, I didn’t know Microsoft’s mission statement. When I read it during Satya’s keynote speech, it took a while to sink in.
- How many companies can have a mission statement like that?
- How many companies in the world have that kind of global reach?
- Even if it does, how can one make a positive impact?
Wayne Gretzky was once said “"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." This is the second take-away from Inspire. Microsoft is gearing itself to play where the puck is going to be. For mankind, that would be Cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Services and Machine Learning.
The challenge for Microsoft is not just to establish leadership in these areas, but how to bring these technologies out to every corner of the world so mankind can benefit from it. The only way to do this is through working with other people, with partners.
The one question that I had in my mind is, do I want to be on that bandwagon?
Take-away #3 - Inspiring
The last is more personal – Knowing that I made a difference to a stranger.
Babbobox was invited on a panel session for the APAC region with 3 other leaders talking about digital transformation. Admittedly, it was a lot of fun doing it and sharing our personal stories of transformation with others.
Immediately after the session, someone came up to thank me, shaking my hand profusely expressing what I said on stage was the highlight of his entire Inspire event. To put things into perspective, Inspire had 800+ speakers in hundreds of sessions. To be someone’s Inspire highlight, I had to beat some pretty tough competition!
To know that I have inspired even one person... that made my trip all worthwhile!
Microsoft Inspire… The title… How apt! See you next year!