Overthinking It

During my interview loop with Microsoft, I kept finding myself talking about the hilarious (and well-done) video on what would happen to the iPod package if Microsoft owned the redesign. If you have not seen this video, please take a look. When I first came across the video, my instinct was that someone had removed the glove and slapped MS across the face…..only to find out that this gem was produced internally — by the packaging team, I believe.

Most of the folks I interviewed with had not seen the video, but wholeheartedly embraced its message — and agreed that it accurately portrayed how Microsoft sometimes over-thinks some of its solutions. The problem? As Seth Godin recently blogged, the problem is that they don’t always do their homework to understand how the world (customer) views them. But it’s not just Microsoft. Many technology companies suffer from the same problem — they focus so much on the technical solution, they lose sight of the business problem.

Not every problem is a technical problem. Microsoft is filled with some truly brilliant people, most of whom are building amazing technology. But technology without context is about as useful as an iPod box filled with bullet points and gate-fold system requirements charts. Sometimes all you need is the white space.

(reprint, 041206)

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.