Transcript of keynote remarks by Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Small Business Summit 2007
March 19, 2007
KEVIN TURNER: Good morning. It’s great to be here and share some of the things that we’ve got going on with small businesses. You know, I got the privilege and honor last year of kicking off our very first Small Business Summit. This is our second annual. So it’s wonderful that we’re continuing the program, and I look forward to coming back every year, quite frankly. But I will tell you, I do look forward to talking and listening and sharing with this particular group, because I think it’s some of the hardest working people in the world, our small business owners, and I really, really have a lot of deep roots as it relates to small business.
I think one of the things that’s near and dear to my heart is, my wife of 17 years, was a loan officer for 10 years, and at the end of 10 years, and in between our second and third child, she decided that she wanted to open up a small business. And so this is kind of one of those things where, sure, honey, whatever it is you want to do. I was working in a full-time job, and she decided to retire from banking and get into small business. So she opened up from scratch, a store called Graffiti, and it was a paint your own pottery and bisque studio. It’s one of my favorite memories is this thing turned out to be kind of a hobby that she loved doing, and quite frankly then I spent a lot of nights and weekends doing computer programming and software and other things to help her with inventory management, and cash, and the register systems, and those type things, using Microsoft software, of course.
But it’s been an interesting experience because it turned out her and a friend were going to do this business, and just really get into it because they liked doing pottery and bisque, and sort of make and bake your own was kind of her thing. But the thing that was really fun as a result of that is, it grew to 11 employees, and became more than a hobby, and really was more than a full-time job. So as all small businesses go, she was working around the clock, and working a lot harder in her small business, as was I, as a result of that. But my roots in small business go back a long, long time.
As Cindy talked about, I worked in Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, for a number of years, and Sam’s Club is owned by Wal-Mart, and I really repositioned that business, I guess it would be about five years ago now, to be in business for small business. And that began to really turn that business around in terms of the small independent business owner. It is something that I feel very, very passionate about, and I know Microsoft does. And I’ve got some really exciting things to share with you today from one year to the next.
I think about the summit that we talked about last year, and the technology, and what was going to happen. Today, I’m going to be able to talk to you about some of the things that did happen, and I’m super excited about that. But certainly before I get started, I want to say, thank you for being here, thank you for your time, participation, and certainly your involvement with Microsoft.
I also want to make sure that we thank our sponsors. We couldn’t do what we do without our sponsors, and they’ve been a very, very key part of who we are, and where we’re going. But, again, strategically, small business is super important to Microsoft, and I think today I’m really proud to be able to share with you some specifics of where we’re going to go.
Now, when I get out and I travel and I talk to small business owners, they talk to me about four things that they need. And these are the things that we’re really working hard to listen and get closer to our customers, and small business owners, and really this is about how we’re designing our technology based off of your feedback. And here’s the four things I hear over and over again. One, I need to increase my productivity. Again, small business owners, between work and home, there is no difference. They’re always working regardless of what they’re doing. So how do we make that easier for them so that they can increase their productivity is an important that we’re really working hard on.
I need to spend more time with my customers. So whether it’s having to go replenish supplies, or fulfillment, or any time away from customers is something, whether it’s back office functions, or whatever it may be, we’ve got to work hard to streamline those processes for you. And I’ve got one super exiting thing to help you spend more time with customers today that we’re going to share with you.
I need to get the word out, and marketing materials are often too expensive. You’re going to heard about a lot of the things that we’re working on in this particular space as it relates to Office Live and some other areas where we’re going to help you get into the digital marketing arena, which I think is super important as it relates to expanding your reach in an efficient and economical way from a small business standpoint.
The fourth one, I worry about losing critical customer and financial information. Certainly this need to be on your mind as it relates to privacy and all the different things that are going on in the world, and we’re going to talk throughout this session, this summit, about what are the technologies we’re putting into the marketplace that help you protect your information and make sure that it’s secure. But these are all the issues that are paramount to running small businesses. And there are others as well that we’re going to address throughout the summit, but I wanted to raise it up into these four themes.
Now, next, I also want to tell you, what can you expect from us. It is super important that not only do we hear your issues and opportunities, but that we also tell you, what can you expect from Microsoft.
So I thought it was important that I put these things up on the board. Number one, that we’re going to continue to work hard to better listen and understand your business needs. Small business needs are different, they’re unique, they’re special. Making sure that we address your small business needs is something that’s very top of mind for us, and it’s very top of mind for our small business specialists that I’m going to talk about, that I’m actually very excited to talk about today.
We’re going to continue to innovate technology solutions made for small business. This is a super important part in terms of building products based off of your needs. That’s, again, we’re making the transition from a product company to a solutions company. And the small business solutions are super-important to us, and we’re going to continue to work on that.
Provide solutions that drive business value, again, they have to be relevant in delivering those integrated solutions into your business. And then to develop small business specialists to help you with your technology needs. I’m proud to be able to tell you today we have about 4,000 small business specialists across the United States to help you with your computer consulting needs, as well as figure out how Microsoft can add value to your business. And I’m super-excited about that.
So let’s make sure that we reach out to those small business specialists and utilize that function, because we’ve invested in those specialists to make sure that we can listen and hear your needs, as well as take care of your needs. Then last, to make it easier to have a relationship with Microsoft, you know, again, that’s a real key focus of those small business specialists, to really figure out how can we make it easier to do business with us.
Next, I want to talk to you about some tools, and this is the really exciting part. A year ago we talked a lot about, well, we’ve got all these products that are going to be coming out that we’re really excited about, and it was really good to build the energy around the innovation investment. A couple of things you should know about Microsoft.
Number one, we invest over $7 billion a year in research and development. That’s more than any technology company on the planet. And that’s an awesome responsibility, as it relates to R&D investment. Now, we invest in around four areas. We invest, number one, in the client-based software area. And that’s an important area for us. You’re going to hear us talk about Windows Vista, and Vista Ultimate, and Vista for Business. And you’re going to hear us talk about Office. That also falls in that first area, or first bucket that we invest in. You’re going to hear us talk about Office Live, and where are we going from a productivity standpoint.
The next area we invest in is in and around servers, and you may or may not be interested in servers, but also included in that particular bucket has to do with management and business applications, things that we can host for you, so that you don’t have to have a server in your business. And that’s super-important to us. The third area we invest the $7 billion in is in entertainment and devices. And I think that one of the things that I’m most proud of the progress that we’ve made year over year has to do with Windows Mobile.
Where you work as a small business person is, again, that lifestyle and work style is blurred, because you’re always on, as a small business owner. And I think that’s one of the things that, again, we want to be uniquely positioned as the one company in the world that can connect the digital lifestyle and the digital work style. And I don’t think there’s any other customer segment that I know of that fits that better than the small business customer. And certainly you’re going to hear us talk about that over the course of this summit.
The last area we’re investing in is the newest area, is in and around services, and software as a service. You might hear people say, oh well, everything is going to software as a service. The fact of the matter is, our company believes that that’s not the case, that we actually believe that it’s software and services, so that we want to offer you the customer the choice.
So if you choose services, if you want us to host it, or you want a partner to host it, or it’s something you want to host, we’re going to allow you the flexibility and autonomy to do that, any way you choose. So it’s not one or the other, but it is simply allowing the customer to choose. Again, that gets back to us really fundamentally listening and hearing what our customers want, and what they need in the marketplace.
Now, tools to help you succeed in your small business, let’s talk some specifics. Again, if you recall last year we showed the fact that we’ll be coming out with Windows Vista, Office Live, and Office Accounting 2007, and Office for Small Business. We’ve delivered those into the marketplace. So it feels really good today to be able to tell you that. That’s an important part of us having a value proposition for small business.
Second, we took your feedback and responded by increasing our offerings of small business focused products, so that it’s not all for the enterprise, or all for the end user, or consumer, but that we have actually tailored our offering. We still have a long way to go. We’re not perfect in this particular space yet, but we’re moving in that direction, because of the opportunity that exists for small business and for us to create value for you
Next, new versions specifically for small business, we’re going to talk and highlight, and I’m going to demo a couple of those in a second, but I’m also going to tell you about another giant step we’re taking today to really help you connect that Digital Work Style, and Digital Lifestyle. Again, as I talk about these products, and you see the pillars, and you see the products, there’s no better way to really talk about the products than to really get out and demo them.
So what I’d like to do is I’d really like John Stroiney to come up and really help me demonstrate for you Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, and Office for Small Business 2007, because when you see these products, and the innovation in these products, I think you’ll be as excited as I am. So please help me welcome John to the stage.
JOHN STROINEY: Hi, Kevin
KEVIN TURNER: Hi, John.
JOHN STROINEY: Well, thank you, every one. It’s a pleasure to be here. I always say that one of the best parts about my job is that I get to go out and talk to small business owners all the time, and show them this great technology. And what I’d like to share with you today is a couple of the things that they’ve responded to in a great way, that they’ve told me they really enjoy about the product, so the 2007 Microsoft Office System and Windows Vista.
We’re going to start off in Outlook, because for most of us, that’s where we start our day, whether we’re going to process e-mail, or perhaps we’re going to check our schedule and see what lays in store for us. So the first thing I’d like to call your attention to is over on the right-hand side of the screen you’ll see a new feature called the To Do bar. The To Do bar consolidates some information that before Office 2007 we had to go to several places to find. So now we can see our calendar, we can see some up coming appointments, and we can see some tasks that we have in place, ready to go, without having to bounce back and forth between our inbox, our calendar section, and our task sections.
As Kevin mentioned earlier, productivity and enhancing productivity is a big deal for small business owners, and it’s something we hear all the time. This is one way to do that, and save time as we’re processing our day. Another thing I’d like to show you is that within the e-mail preview task pane here we’ve got the ability to actually preview documents. In the past if we wanted to look at this Word document, we would double click on it, and that would launch Word, and we’d view the document from within Word.
Now, I simply authorize the fact that, yes, I do, in fact, want to preview this, and look at this, we can actually see the document. We can scroll through it, we can get the information we need much more quickly with, again, without having to launch that application. Same thing here with PowerPoint, this is another huge timesaver, because I can simply click preview, and then from here click through the slides, get the information I need, and continue on with my day with the things that are important to me.
For most of us, we spend a lot of time processing information. We have a lot of information that’s stored in Outlook. So the way in which we find that information makes a big difference in how we can get things done. So with out new instant search bar we can type in a criteria. So in this case let’s say I’m looking for anything in my inbox that has the word sales in it. Well, my results list has now shrunk somewhat, because I’ve taken out all the other stuff. I can shrink that further by saying, show me anything that has the word sales and spreadsheet in it. And, again, that further reduces this. So this means we spend less time searching for that information, and more time acting on it as a small business owner. So this has been a big hit for our small business customers.
What I’m going to do now is head over to Word, another application that we use on a regular basis to produce documents, whether it’s a letter to our customers, perhaps a sales proposal. And here you can see that we’re taking advantage of a new user interface called the ribbon interface. What this does is presents the information that has typically been in the application, but in either a tiered menu structure, or perhaps in a toolbar structure, and brings it to the forefront.
We streamlined this in such a way that I think you’ll find you can get things done more quickly and actually start using some features that you might have not been using in the past. So one thing I’ll do here is we’ll select this title line for this section. I’m going to come up here to my styles area, and as I do that drop down I see all the different styles that are available to me to choose from, as I’m trying to enhance the look of this document, make it look more professional.
As I hover over the items you’ll see that it changes the look of what I’ve selected. The best part here is I’m not committing this change yet. I get to see how it looks before I commit the change. What does that do? It saves that repetitive process of applying a change, taking a look at it within the context of the document, perhaps you decide it doesn’t look the way you wanted it to, then you have to undo it, and go do something else. Now, it’s just as simple as hovering over, picking the one that you like, applying that change, and you’re in great shape.
Another thing we can do here is let’s say I want to add a photo. If I use the insert ribbon, you’ll notice I’ve got some typical things that I would insert here, whether it’s a picture, clipart, et cetera. I’m going to insert a picture. And as I insert this picture you’ll notice we get a different ribbon that comes up automatically. Why? Because Word has sensed I’m working with a photo, and I may want to do some things with that photo. And much like I did with styles before, I can change the style of the photo.
So if I want to make that a circle with a border around it, it was as simple as one click. I didn’t have to take that out to a photo editing application and do that. I did it all right from within Word. So very quick, very easy, and today with cameras and photos being a very real part of a small business owner’s life, this makes it even easier, even quicker to get that stuff done.
Over in Excel, one of the things that we heard consistently was, when I’ve got a spreadsheet and its’ got a lot of data in it, and I’m trying to figure out which data is which as I scroll through, and maybe I’m down at row 200, or row 2,000, I lose the titles of those columns, and unless I lock those titles I don’t know necessarily what I’m looking at.
Well, we’ve made a significant change there. As I scroll down you’ll notice, watch where those letters are. We change from the letter to the title automatically, as soon as you get past that column title. So that, again, means less time navigating around a spreadsheet, scrolling back up to the top, and then scrolling back down to your data.
Additionally, we’ve expanded the capability of Excel, so if you’re a small business owner who processes a lot of data in Excel, perhaps it’s your parts list, perhaps it’s your customer database, you can now take advantage of one million rows within Excel. That’s an increase from 64,000. So if you’re a big data person in Excel, we’ve really made a significant change for you.
Finally, within Windows Vista we know that as a small business owner you are spending a lot of time going back and forth between applications, Word, Excel, Outlook, perhaps your browser, and so finding the document that you need to work on right now can sometimes be cumbersome, especially if you have a couple of Word documents open at the same time. In the past, you might have used alt-tab. Well, we’ve improved that. You’ll notice here, when I hit alt-tab I see screenshots of the Windows that I’m looking at. So there was the Excel spreadsheet I was working on, there’s the Word document, and if you notice on the left hand side of the screen, we can actually see Windows Media Player playing in the background in real time.
Now, this is great, but I’m going to show you something new, and that is what we call Flip 3D. Check this out, we can very quickly and easily scroll through in a 3D view some of the same windows that I was just looking at using the alt-tab functionality. The best part here is, look at this real-time, in action, screenshot of Windows media player showing that video, and what I like about this most is I can actually read that information in the Flip 3D view. So I don’t even have to stop or switch to that application. I can grab the data here, maybe it’s whatever is on Line 3 there, and, then head over to my Word document and type that in. So, again, saving a lot of time, increasing my productivity.
Finally, at the end of the day perhaps it’s been a real stressful day and you just need to relax a little bit, well, you can take advantage of one of our Windows Vista Ultimate extras, and that’s called Dream Scene. So perhaps your office is downtown and you can’t get out to the country, well, we can bring the country to you. So with that, I’d like to thank you very much for your time, and also encourage you to check out some of the in-depth Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office System Web casts that we have going throughout the week.
KEVIN TURNER: Thank you very much.
PARTICIPANT: Kevin, thank you.
KEVIN TURNER: I appreciate that. Thank you. (Applause.)
You know, you saw a lot of functionality, and you saw a lot of ease of use that we put into that technology, and a great user interface, and all the different things. Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System is about safe, secure, a great experience, and improving your productivity. In a nutshell, that’s the purpose of those products that we put into the marketplace. And as a small business owner, you may or may not use many of those, or some of those. But, the fact of the matter is, we’re trying to simplify your life, so that you can spend more time with your customers, and spend more time doing the things that you want to do to grow your small business. That’s the root of the new products that we’re putting into the marketplace.
Now, I’m super excited today to be able to launch a product, and it’s launching a product, this is something we’ve never put in the marketplace, we’ve never announced it, and you’re going to hear it first today, and it is specifically aimed at small business. Now, I want to introduce this product, because you needed a better way to communicate, you need a better way to bridge the phone, which is a very important aspect of your small business, and the computer. So I’m really proud today to be able to launch this product called Microsoft Response Point. And today Response Point is going to bridge the gap between the telephone and your computer. But, really, what I’d really like to do is let you hear it from the eyes of a small business person.
So we tested and built this product, and allowed one of our key one of our very best small business customers to really come into the marketplace and help us test this out for you. Nothing really tells it like the video. So please roll the video.
KEVIN TURNER: We have a pretty good interviewer there in that particular segment if you didn’t notice. But, what an exciting thing, what an exciting opportunity Response Point is for small business owners. I think it’s one of the coolest things we’ve done as it relates to helping you connect that Digital Lifestyle and Digital Work Style. Again, 20 years ago Bill Gates had a vision for our company which said, look, I want a PC on every desk and in every home. And the fact of the matter is, in this country, we’re well on our way to doing that.
Now, his new vision for Microsoft is we need to be that uniquely positioned company in the marketplace that can connect the Digital Lifestyle and the Digital Work Style. And that’s the vision and aspiration for our company. And no better customer segment, again, fits that than the small business owners. And that’s what we’re working hard on.
Now, I’d like to transition to our Tech Makeover contest. And certainly this is an exciting thing to be able to make the transition to, but to do that I think we need a live demo of this Response Point system, and what we’re going to do with it. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to try this live.
Call Cindy Bates.
CINDY BATES: Cindy Bates.
KEVIN TURNER: Cindy, can you come up here and help me with this Total Tech Makeover Program we’re going to announce?
CINDY BATES: I sure can. Be right up.
KEVIN TURNER: And I’m super glad that this response point worked in Live, in the new technology. I had a little fun with the response point there.
So, Cindy, welcome up here. We’re glad to have you.
CINDY BATES: That’s great. Thank you. I’m really excited, together with you, to share the stories of our three fabulous finalists for the Tech Makeover. And, first, I actually want to thank our sponsors, Dell and CompUSA again, we couldn’t do this without them.
For those who might not be familiar with the concept, I want to just give you the background. The concept was open to all small businesses that had registered for the summit, and we had a panel of independent judges that read through every one of the many hundreds of self-nominations that we got. And they were looking for the passion for the business, and then really that technology need. I think as you see the videos that we’re going to share, these are really wonderful finalists. We do have some fabulous prizes to share, and our grand prize is $100,000 technology makeover. That includes $45,000 of state-of-the-art hardware from Dell, Microsoft Software, and services from our Microsoft small business specialist. And I don’t know if it works with the camera. We’ve got a wonderful row of small business specialists here with us today. There they are. Wonderful. (Applause.) So, they will be providing services to the grand prize winner depending on geography.
KEVIN TURNER: And if we have any small businesses that need any help, they need to get with these people right now.
CINDY BATES: Absolutely. Absolutely, yes.
KEVIN TURNER: That’s right.
CINDY BATES: Our second prize is $60,000 in CompUSA funded small business specialist services, in addition to Dell hardware and Microsoft software. And then our third prize is $7,500 of Dell hardware and Microsoft software.
So, with that, let’s take a look at three fabulous finalists.
KEVIN TURNER: So please join me in welcoming to the stage these incredible small business owners, and our finalists for our Technology Makeover Awards. (Applause.)
I would also again like to thank Charles Royce, senior manager for Dell, who is here today to help sponsor this; as well as Karen Falconer, our V.P. of Technology and Business Services for CompUSA. So thank you very much for your sponsorship. (Applause.)
CINDY BATES: So, Kevin, the moment has arrived. Congratulations to everyone again, and we’re going to start with our third place winner, and I’ll hand that to you.
KEVIN TURNER: So our third-place winner, who wins $7,500 in Dell hardware and Microsoft software, as well as a Microsoft Response Point phone system, which I think is super cool, and includes 25 desktop phones. Our third place winner goes to Air Rescue International. (Applause.) Congratulations.
CINDY BATES: Our second prize winner is.
KEVIN TURNER: Second-place, which gets a tech makeover worth $60,000, $25,000 in services from Microsoft Small Business Specialists, sponsored by CompUSA to implement the Microsoft technology solutions, $10,000 in Dell hardware, including new computers and printers, and $25,000 in Microsoft services as well as a Microsoft Response Point phone system. And the second place goes to Childs Capital, LLC. (Applause.) Congratulations.
CINDY BATES: And I think it may be obvious who our grand prize winner is, but I’ll let you do the honors. Again, the grand prize winner wins $100,000 Technology Makeover, $40,000 in Dell hardware, $25,000 in Microsoft software, and $35,000 in consulting services from our Microsoft small business specialists.
KEVIN TURNER: And our grand prize winner is Tomorrow’s Child Learning Center. Congratulations. (Applause.)
PARTICIPANT: On behalf of Tomorrow’s Child Learning Center, and all the big kids, and the little kids, we would you just don’t know how much good you’ve done, and God bless you Microsoft.
CINDY BATES: And Comp and Dell.
KEVIN TURNER: Congratulations to all three of our small business owners. Thank you so much.
That’s the coolest part of really implementing software is about software helps people, enables them to reach their full potential. And that’s one of the great things about Microsoft, because that is our aspiration, enabling people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. And it really hits home when you talk about stories about people that are actually using the software or using the technology to make a difference.
Again, I started today by letting you know how special I think this audience is of small business owners and small business customers. It’s special because many of you have your life savings tied up in pursuing your dreams, and that’s really what Microsoft is all about. Just 32 years ago, we started out as a small business. And you, too, again, can reach whatever dreams or whatever objectives that you set forth by believing in hard work and the discipline that goes with great small business. And we want to be your partner in providing software and solutions that help you do that. But, again, I think there’s no more noble cause than being a small business owner, finding your way, carving your niche out, in the world and in society today to be able to pursue your dreams.
So, congratulations to all small business owners, and thank you again for your participation in partnership with Microsoft. We’re going to keep investing in small business. We’re going to keep growing in small business. We’re going to have a great summit for you over the next four days about the technology, about the solutions, grounded in small business. Again, this is just our second annual, so we’re going to continue to get better and better at this by listening to you, and your feedback is super important to us. So, thank you for your time today.
And I think we’re going to open it up for some questions. And one of the things that I did last year that I want to do this year is, this is my e-mail address, and this is my phone number, and I know that tens of thousands are watching on the Web cast, and I got a lot of e-mails last year after the summit, but the fact of the matter is, you’re important, and I want to make sure that if you need help, or there’s anything I can do to connect you with the right small business specialist, that we’re able to do that. So, thank you again.
CINDY BATES: Absolutely. Well, we actually already got some. The folks in the back, we’ve got questions from the audience from online from some of our CompUSA stores, so I think they’re going to keep coming as well. But I’m going to throw a couple of these out here.
So, from one of our CompUSA stores, what is the best business advice, Kevin, you have ever received?
KEVIN TURNER: The best business advice I’ve ever received probably came from Sam Walton. I worked with Sam Walton directly for about 18 months as a young auditor in the company, and one of the things he told me was, look, Kevin, you have to continue to listen to your customer. And if you listen to your customer, and allow them to direct your needs, that that’s the most important thing you can do in any business, and he said it all starts with finding a niche, finding something that’s of value to customers. He said that one of the biggest mistakes he’s seen in business is that when people quit listening to customers, then their business model becomes obsolete. So I think that that listening mechanism, and the muscles to listen, and be able to respond, and fill a void, or fill a niche, to be able to take care of a customer is the most important thing in starting, creating, and sustaining a successful small business.
CINDY BATES: Great. Here’s a question from an online viewer. Are there any things you do at Microsoft that small businesses can learn from?
KEVIN TURNER: Is there anything we do at Microsoft that small businesses can learn from? I think one of the most exciting things going on at Microsoft is this idea of digital marketing. We’re in the process today of being able to figure out how to redirect our marketing efforts to be more digital. And the efficiency with going digital marketing is much cheaper than print, and the reach that you get from a customer standpoint is much more effective and targeted. And so there’s a lot of opportunities. I think that if I was a small business person, certainly capital and expenses are a premium, and to make sure that you’re very effective with your marketing use, but making sure that you’re studying how to do digital marketing, how to reach people electronically, because it becomes something viral as it relates to something that’s good that’s unique and interesting online, and how it can connect with people in a local community. So I would encourage you to keep an eye on digital marketing, and make sure that that’s something you’re looking at. It’s a lot cheaper, and certainly a lot more effective than print or other media types.
CINDY BATES: Here’s a question from one of our audience members. One of the biggest challenges at my company is retaining great employees. What is your philosophy on motivating and retaining employees?
KEVIN TURNER: Well, you know, the most important part is, it starts with listening to them. People will work hard for money. People will give you their heart for meaning. Making sure that you involve them in the business, making sure you listen to them, making sure they understand the big picture. Too many times I think we’re rushed, and we’re just simply trying to give an outcome. And the fact of the matter is, no matter what level a person comes into a small business or a large company, they want to be a part of the solution. They want to feel a part of the overall team, because as humans I think we all aspire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And I think that small businesses are no different. I mean, you’re a person of influence as a small business owner. The fact of the matter is, you have dreams, and the other fact of the matter is, the people that work with you have dreams too. Understand what those dreams are, and understand how they can intersect with where you want to go. Make them partners in your business, and make sure that they’re informed, and up-to-date, and have the knowledge of that. And if you do that, I think you’ll get the best of both worlds, because it’s not important what they do when you’re watching, what’s really important is what they do when you’re not watching. And that’s a part of that overall involving them in the business.
CINDY BATES: Here’s another question from an online viewer. What are your thoughts on small businesses being able to do more business by tapping international opportunities?
KEVIN TURNER: Well, certainly I think that the Internet has made it a flat world, so to speak. And certainly I think that carving out a profitable business infrastructure in your local market certainly is job one, but then casting an eye to the horizon about, look, how do I tap into broader opportunities, how do I fill a void, a niche, a need in a broader way. The Internet allows you to do that, and I think that that’s one of the things. There’s a lot of great businesses that have started in a small business community way, and then have been able to grow their operation internationally. And certainly there’s a lot of good test cases for that.
Studying that, and making sure that you understand how they’re able to thoughtfully build that infrastructure, and then take it to a global scale is something that I would encourage all of you to look at, because, again, the Internet makes it a flat world, and making sure that you can have a broader reach, and a broader audience, and a broader opportunity is something that I think is very exciting from a technology standpoint, and from a business standpoint today.
CINDY BATES: OK. That’s great. Actually, it looks like, to respect everyone’s time, we have time for one more question. And so this was, again, one of the original ones that came in from a CompUSA store in Austin. When you think about small businesses, what are the most exciting things you see happening in the next couple of years?
KEVIN TURNER: When I think about small businesses, what are the most exciting things that I see happening? I think that at the local level, look, we have figured out the Internet makes a great global play. It makes a great national, and global play. People are going to figure out how to localize the Internet. People are going to figure out how to make the Internet make sense in your community to fill voids. That will come from entrepreneurs, that will come from people in the market that really understand and are able to listen and adapt to the needs of a local community. You know, it used to be in business the philosophy was more about, look, you need to think global and act local. At Microsoft, we’ve adopted a completely inverted approach to that. I don’t subscribe to think global and act local. I subscribe to act global and think local, because at the local level is where you’ve got to connect with customers and their needs, and making sure that you’re able to do that. And I think the Internet, again, and technology, and all the things that are going on in this infrastructure and in our marketplaces, are going to be able to happen at the local level. And it’s going to happen from small business entrepreneurs that are out there, taking a chance, taking a risk, and being able to follow their dreams. And so I think that that’s a super exciting horizon for us.
And I guess I’ll close at this time by again telling you thank you for what you’re doing. We appreciate the fact that small businesses, particularly in the United States, fuel our economy. It’s a big, big part of the success of our economy. So thank you for the hard work that you do there. Thank you for pursuing your dreams. How exciting it is to be able to pursue your dreams, and we want to be a part of developing those solutions to do that. And, again, really, if there’s anything I can do to help you, [email protected], please send me a note, or let me know. But I look forward to getting the feedback from this summit, and I hope you have a great program. Thank you very much.