Careers: Interviews
Marcus Schmidt, International Business and Technology Authority, Senior Marketing Manager and Community Manager, Windows Business Group

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., ITCP, MVP, DF/NPA, CNP has an exclusive interview with Marcus Schmidt.

Marcus SchmidtAs a senior marketing manager and community manager in the Windows Business Group, Marcus is responsible for building a vibrant consumer community around some of the world's most widely used products - Windows & Windows Live. Every day he sees, hears and learns how MS customers use these products in their daily lives. The best part of his job is sharing and showcasing the contributions of the community to the world through MS corporate websites, e-mail newsletters, Facebook and Twitter.

Marcus has been at Microsoft for nearly twelve years, in various marketing and product management roles across a wide range of products and services. While currently working with consumers, his previous roles focused on business customers, both large and small. Prior to Microsoft, he worked in a small startup software company for five years building Manufacturing and Human Resources software.

A native of South Dakota, Schmidt received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the South Dakota State University (SDSU), as well as his Master of Science degree in Industrial Management.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.
http://blogs.technet.com/cdnitmanagers/

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:31: Can you provide a profile of your roles and challenges?
"....I spend a lot of time working with folks outside the company to understand more about their challenges in using our products but also to encourage these folks to share their ideas and tips and stories about how they use our technology...."

:01:35: Marcus shares how he got into computing.
"....If you can ever find something you really love to do and turn it into your regular work it's a great thing...."

:02:29: How is Microsoft using social media to listen to and talk with the community?
"....We start outside the four walls of the Microsoft web properties and then try to work with our community members on the Microsoft properties....We have discussion forums and community areas inside of Microsoft.com where we listen to our community members directly...."

:03:44: What lessons have been learned about social media?
"....what we learn most about social media is that there are a ton of people out there that need information and social media is a great way to get them that information...."

:05:06: About a half a billion people use Windows Live and about 180 million people use Windows Live Spaces. That community is growing bigger and bigger. Do you have any other data?
"....The other data point outside of Windows Live into the broader world of Windows is that we have about a billion people all around the world using Windows PCs. That is a gigantic community of individuals - if we could tap into just some of the expertise that community has and some of the stories they have of how they use the product, we think that could be very inspirational and educational for everyone else using PCs as well...."

:06:58:  What are the key strategies and tactics for building on-line communities?
"....Looking at existing communities that are out there and trying to find passionate and interested community members from those existing communities....The next place to start finding those passionate and interested consumers is through blog posts...."

:09:04: We see the rapid update of Twitter-how does it translate into being a business tool?
"....Using it as a way to listen and understand what the current conversations are among the millions of people using Twitter....Engaging appropriately on some of those conversations....It becomes a way to get information out into a broad group of people..."

:11:04: How can Windows Live be used by users and businesses?
"...Windows Live is fundamentally a consumer oriented offering....That's the biggest way we see it being used today - as a communications sharing tool and then kind of as a centralized place to keep in touch with everybody's social media activity.... "

:13:18: Can you talk about what cloud computing is versus Windows Live, and is there a connection?
"....You kind of get the best of both worlds. You get all the performance and all the capability and all the robust offline capability of a Windows PC and the software that's on that - plus you get the portability and the scalability of all the services that would be up in the clouds...."

:14:37: What is the connection between Windows 7 and Windows Live and Windows Server 2008?
"....We really look at Windows 7 as being our next generation client operating system, basically designed to run your Windows PC. What Windows Live does is to extend and complete your Windows experience....They are mutually beneficial products - Windows products being extended by Windows Live. Windows Server is the server side version of the operating system that you can deploy in a business and acts as your multi-function server....So you get out of the consumer realm into the business realm...."

:16:40: Why move to Windows 7?
"....It's just a better operating system in terms of speed, reliability and also in terms of making the little things that you want to get done, easier...."

:18:17: Please provide your predictions of future IT/Business/Consumer trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....The consumer trends that I am seeing are definitely around more and more consumers getting more and more involved around social media....Another consumer trend I am seeing is this idea of crowd sourcing where you start to ask broad groups of people their opinions on things and use that as a way to make decisions ....You can literally tap into the opinions, the collective intelligence of millions of people and use that as a way to help shape opinions and shape the direction of product designs, support offerings and all sorts of different things...."

:21:51: Which are your top specific recommended resources and why?
"....Finding a few key people to follow on Twitter and tap into their expertise....Jeremiah Owyang an analyst of Forrester and a social media specialist....Blogs....Books (eg. Groundswell)...."

:23:14: Provide commentary on topics of your choosing. Or, if you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....I'd be interested in your thoughts on how you see that (semantic web) revolutionizing things like how consumers use the internet and the ways social media might work on the internet.....I'd be interested in anyone's social media story where they were amazed or shocked about something....Your favorite or amazing moment on social media?...."

:24:57: Marcus shares some interesting stories about social media.

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