Remarks by Doug Burgum, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions
Microsoft Business Solutions Convergence 2004
March 22, 2004
DOUG BURGUM: Good morning. It’s good to meet you. It’s good to have all of you here for Convergence 2004. And I want to start off, as I often have, with a very simple thought, and that thought is thank you. So it’s not a quick thank you; this is a deep thank you. And it’s not just a thank you for getting up to be here this morning for the opening keynote, especially those of you from the West Coast, this might be a little early to be coming to a presentation, but I want to thank all of you for first of all being our customer or our partner — because that’s what the audience is made up of — and I want to also thank you not only for your investment in our solutions, but most importantly in the next three days, your investment in time in being here and being a living, breathing part of the community of customers that we have.
It’s so important for us to advance our ability to serve you, and it’s important for our ability to take advantage of all the great things going on in the world to have the chance to have interaction, to learn from you and to spend time with you. And I understand the pressures and the demands associated with business today, that there are many things that would pull you to staying at home in your businesses, whether that’s business reasons, family reasons, et cetera. Travel in some ways is always a sacrifice, it’s always a trade-off, but you’ve made a choice to be here with us, and on behalf of the many, many Microsoft Business Solutions and Microsoft team members that are here, we just want to take this moment from all of us and say thank you to you, our partners and customers, for being with us today. Thank you. (Applause.)
Now, you may have thought that you were just coming to a keynote this morning and later on when you’re in the breakout sessions you’d have to really dig in and work and think and take some notes, but I’d like to take just a minute this morning, because I always believe that if you’ve made this big investment in time to come to a conference like this, that it’s very important for everybody to get the most out of the event that they go to.
And my experience going to conferences over all these years is that if I’ve got a clear set of goals that I want to accomplish at that event, then I’d better make sure that I’m meeting those goals when I’m there.
But also what happens to me is when I’m so busy, I get busy last minute throwing stuff in the bag and on the go, that you often don’t have the time to thoughtfully think about what those goals are.
Now, was there a sheet on your chair when you sat down today, just a blank sheet of paper that says Convergence Goals? Can anybody hold that up or does anybody have those? Yes, those things are there. So what we’re going to actually do is because I know how busy you are, out of respect for all the things going on, we’re going to take one minute out of this keynote right now, a full minute, for you to have that piece of paper and jot down what your goals are for Convergence, so that you’ll have that, you can refer back to it at the closing and see if you met those goals. And after you get done writing your goals down, I’ll share with you what my goals are. So take one minute for your convergence goals.
DOUG BURGUM: OK, Convergence goals. I said I would share with you my goals, so let’s take a look at those for Convergence 2004. Where are my Convergence goals? Here they are. So the first one, express gratitude and appreciation to customers and partners. I’ll be doing this throughout the event, but I’ve got a start on it this morning. Check on that one, but sincerely appreciate that, know that, we wouldn’t be here without all of you.
Next one: This is less clear how I’m doing on this one. I’m not on the keynote. Check back with me in an hour; we’ll see how that is all going, OK.
Sharing goals and fears, I guess we’re doing both of those things this morning.
I’ve got a goal here to meet 250 new people. I got a good start on this last night, met a bunch of folks at the reception last night, but this one should be a fairly easy one and in addition to be meeting the 250 new I’ve got several thousand people that I’ve already met that I’ll be happy to renew acquaintances or business relationships with.
The next one, visit every booth at the expo. This may seem like a goofy one, but over all the years of Stampede, which is our partner conference and our customer conference, I try to do this. It gets harder and harder to do every year just because of the sheer size of the event, but for those of you — how many of you got a chance to go to the expo yesterday? We’ve got lots more expo hours, but lots of great solutions from our partners and ISVs that are there and every time I go there I see very cool stuff that’s being built in conjunction with our products on top of our products, alongside of our products, extending that functionality, creating better solutions for you, so that’s always a fun time for me and I look forward to doing that.
We’ve got a couple of other great keynotes coming up this week, Todd Skinner tomorrow morning and Orlando on Wednesday. I’ve heard both of these individuals talk before and, boy, I’m excited about hearing both of them on those two things. And just remember when you hear Todd’s speech tomorrow compared to mine, remember, he’s a professional speaker, OK? (Laughter.) Think about that when you’re doing your evals. He’s the professional; I’m just a business guy asked to do keynotes. But he’s great, don’t miss Todd, don’t miss Orlando.
Spend time with press and analysts. OK, I’ve already pissed them off this morning. (Laughter.) So I’ll be making up with them later on I guess today, trying to do that.
Attend many partner and customer receptions. I’m sure I’ll be doing that. I’ve been invited to many, many of these, so thanks, all of you, for inviting me to them. I’ll try to make as many as I can.
And this is a serious one: Avoid the wardrobe malfunction. (Laughter.) I’ve got a demo with Matt coming up here, never quite sure what might happen when Matt’s on stage.
And then tomorrow, I get a chance to host the Pinnacle Awards right here in this ballroom. And we’ve moved that. It used to be an evening event; tomorrow it’s at lunch. And we’re set up here, we’ve got a terrific lunch set up tomorrow in here and we have — everybody’s invited, not just the Pinnacle Award winners. Everybody is invited and we don’t have enough seats for everyone. You might think why would we do that, so this is just I’m telling you now up front. We put little round tables of eight, serve a really nice lunch, better than the other one that you get someplace else, and we don’t have enough room for everybody. So if you want to go to the Pinnacle Awards and hear about our best customers, then you should probably think about being there early or enjoy the box lunch elsewhere. But I’ll be there hosting the Pinnacle Awards and everyone is welcome.
And then here’s the last one: Avoid making any embarrassing historical inaccuracies during my keynote. If I do, I’m sure Matt will bring them up multiple times during the rest of the conference. This is a goal I have never achieved in all my — (laughter). You’ve got to set your goals high. That’s one we’ll try to avoid.
I missed one here, my last one. This is an important one: get 10 hours of sleep, total. That would be the one there.
And then look at how good these folks are. I hit forward and where’s the — oh. OK. (Laughter.) Help me get the mission statement up. There’s a big monitor over here and this says “mission slide is ready” on that. They’re probably wishing they could control my thumb from backstage, too. (Laughter.) Should I push forward or reverse? Everybody who thinks I should push forward raise their hand. (Laughter.) OK. Reverse? Reverse, I’m going to try reverse. (Laughter.) OK. Now we’re going to go with forward. OK, the forwards win. OK, all right, here we go I think. (Applause.)
Thank you. Thank you. We worked a lot on this user interface. (Laughter.) This is two buttons. (Laughter.)
Here we go. Last year at Convergence we had a talk about Microsoft’s mission statement, which was launched really for the first time and as part of what — and it’s sort of I think the sum of all of the thinking around this — is called realizing potential. But as you can all read right here, we have sort of zeroed in or focused the mission of our corporation around enabling people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.
And as I have said before and will say again: I feel this is a terrific mission, just period. And why do I feel that way? I feel that way in a number of ways. I mean, over my lifetime of work in this industry I’ve always felt that, as I’m sure all of you, we are all individuals, if you’re in this room, you’re a well-educated, well-compensated, hard-working, leading-edge kind of individual on the planet. That’s just by definition of the five or six billion people we have on the planet. If you’re in this industry at this conference, you’re in some top, top, top percentile of people in terms of education and knowledge on sort of the front edge.
And as such, you have probably spent a lot of time working very, very hard over your life and over your career. And I think it’s important again if you — there’s been a lot of quotes from people on their deathbeds. One of my favorite ones from Adam Smith, the great economist, on his deathbed, his quote was, “I wish I would have drank more champagne.” That was one of his comments, truthfully. But there is the old joke that nobody ever said on their deathbed, “I wish I would have spent more time at the office.” And that may be true if your work lacks purpose, but there are plenty of people around the world, whether they might be healthcare, non-profits, as many of you might be, in some kind of services organization, where people find that there’s great purpose in their work and at the end of their life their career has represented a body of work that they feel that they were invested in, that they were passionate about, that they felt made a difference.
And that’s what I’ve always felt. I’ve always felt like I’ve had an opportunity to help improve the lives and business success of other people, that I’ve had a chance to enrich the way our team members experience life by the choices and actions that I’m able to influence in the teams that I work with.
And so in this same way here, and when we talk about the mission statement here, of enabling people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential, to me this has purpose. And it’s not just in sort of a BizTalk kind of purpose; I mean, this is sort of rich and meaningful in some ways, because when we think about ourselves as humans and we think about the role that humans play on this planet, which is a unique role, and because essentially on our little sphere floating through space, humans — we are the race that is setting the agenda at this point in time on our planet and it’s not any other species, we’re the ones that do it.
Now, we say, OK, we have a chance through the rich communications that exist to be bombarded with messages over and over and over again about one of the unique attributes of ourselves as a species, which is that we are capable of enormous, sometimes unthinkable atrocities against ourselves. I mean, that’s just a sad and difficult fact.
And I’m sure that today we think about how horrible it is of all of the conflict and strife and poverty and sickness that exists in the world, that it’s a horrible thing. And when we look back on the last couple of centuries and we think about what our parents or grandparents may have gone through with two world wars and the impact that that had on people’s lives in terms of, again, conflict and strife, that you sort of say to yourself, it’s sort of amazing that we’re the ones that are in charge.
And I had said in one talk that we were the only species on the planet that was capable of doing this. I was corrected later that apparently ants also conduct battles against themselves and that someone told me that there’s actually more ants on the planet than there are people. I’m not sure how anybody knows that. I don’t know if there’s some guy out there doing the ant census of 2000 that was going sort of door to door, anthill to anthill, but anyway, apparently we’re not alone. But the good news is the ants aren’t in charge, because they’re waging war against each other. We’re the other species that does this.
But then the flip side of all the atrocities that we’re able to commit against each other is the fact that if you look back on the last couple of centuries of invention, of discovery, of breakthrough across the fields of — pick any field you want to pick — with any of the sciences or the contribution that technology has made to any of the fields of knowledge is that we really are, and I remain optimistic as we enter this next century, that we are on the brink of sort of turning the corner towards a period where perhaps we can leave behind some of the gross injustice that has gone on, and that we can move towards something that is a point of higher potential.
How high is up for humans? I guess when I say I’m optimistic, I don’t believe that the life that we live on this planet today is as good as it’s going to get. I believe that at some point in time, maybe not in my kids’ lifetime, maybe in my grandkids’ lifetime, at some point in time there will be an accumulation of understanding where people will cause there to be a turning point, and things will get a lot better than what we have today when we’ve got the misunderstandings and the conflicts that we have. I just believe that.
And part of it is the wave of capability that’s going to cause a coming together, and maybe it will come together with children. Maybe it will come together with a sharing of ideas. Maybe it will come together where people will realize that we’re more the same than different. People will start to understand the strength and power of diversity as opposed to thinking that opposites are bad. I mean, there are so many things that can continue to build on and happen.
And so, to the degree that we as an organization or I as an individual get to help contribute towards helping humans move toward their full potential, it’s worthwhile, it’s purposeful, it’s something I feel good about doing every day and I feel good about the fact that we as an organization, Microsoft, are able to contribute to that.
So I wanted to spend some time on that and sort of give you a sense about that feeling.
And in terms of how does that relate back to sort of the task at hand, so that’s this lofty, lofty goal about human potential, and you might say, yeah, but, hey, I use your products, Microsoft, and they cause me a lot of frustrated, they caused my organization a lot of pain. It’s not helping me reach my full potential.
Part of what I want to say to all of you this morning is that at least I’d say more and more deeply across all of Microsoft this is well understood, understood that we’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of driving better solutions.
And if you just take a look at this quickly, I’m not going to go through each one of these things, but whether it’s the concerns about security across all of the systems, or the fact that we’ve got tremendous amounts of — and I can call them nothing other than fixes, you know, maybe call them security patches, but the capability is there today in software to address many of the security problems which people experience. But the fact is the majority of people using products use older versions. And it’s not a criticism of the customer; it’s a fact that updating is too difficult, or because of the fragility of the system, if you load the update, they worry about it breaking the app and so people continue to expose themselves to security risks and not load the most secure software because of other concerns, legitimate concerns, that they have. So this interaction between versions to help people all move towards a more secure future is one of the customer pain points.
When problems occur, sometimes it’s often difficult to even diagnose what the problem is. And, of course, there’s a lot of work that’s going on now to try to improve that. And when you think about the fact that we’ve got not just thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions — there are hundreds of millions of customers using Microsoft products, hundreds of millions, hundreds of millions. So, there’s hardly any other product on the planet that has that much usage and therefore that much variance of usage and therefore it’s difficult though even some traditional means of like let’s have a focus group, let’s have some interaction to really understand what the problems are that customers have.
And this is why things like Watson, which many of you have that opportunity when you have a problem on your system and you click, you know, ‘Do you want to send this information to Microsoft? Do you want to report this problem?’ How many of you have ever clicked that button and sent in the little report? Well, when you do that, you’re acting as a member of the community. That information is detailed and analyzed and that information actually is greatly influencing, for example, what the Office team works on when they try to really figure out what is causing problems in the software. It’s no longer listen to the customer that sort of yells the loudest; you can statistically listen to the body of stuff and say, hey, here’s where the problems are really occurring. And there have been things uncovered through the Watson technology, the online reporting error system, that were never caught through all of the other investments that were made in quality before, so a big advancement in terms of diagnosing the problem.
Moving between machines: How many of you have a different machine at work than at home? A number of you. OK. And so how many of you then have upgraded in the last two years and had to move your data from an old machine to a new machine? OK, we’re constantly moving between machines, and it’s a pain. It’s a pain to move around between the stuff. And fear of losing information is still an issue.
Getting it just to start up. You know, me personally, every time I push that button, I just wish I had instant on, wish that thing was just going, impatient, got to go through all the loading stuff.
And then even on the spam side, if anybody’s hooked up to — while the filters and everything are increasing, spam is still a big issue for people, particularly people that are using Internet and e-mail services.
Bill Gates was giving a presentation recently and he was sharing with us some of the spam that he had received literally in his own mailbox, which was interesting, because one of the ones that he received was, ‘Dear Bill, are you interested in low interest loans?’ That was one. (Laughter.) And he thought that that wasn’t very relevant, so he thought maybe they didn’t have the right filters and it wasn’t very good targeting. But then he got one a little while later, which said, ‘Bill, need free legal advice?’ (Laughter.) So he thought that maybe somebody else’s model was maybe a little bit better in terms of targeting.
But spam is an issue, it frustrates people. Particularly it’s an issue again when we involve children in using e-mail, there’s a concern as parents that we all have in terms of what they’re going to be exposed to by the spam, and so those are all sort of obvious problems that people have.
But in addition to the pain that customers see, there is a whole set of other things which are sort of less obvious that we as Microsoft would still see as being big problems. Let’s take, for example, structured and unstructured boundary. There’s a lot of work going on here. If you think about the data that you have within Navision or Axapta or Solomon or Great Plains, it’s relatively structured. If you think about the information that you have, which may be volumes of information that exists in your e-mail, which is completely unstructured, how does the mapping of these two things occur? How do we link these together? How do we associate them in ways that can be helpful for you in your business?
The phone and the PC boundary: This is primarily a North America audience here, and we all love our cell phones and I’d be surprised if there was hardly a person in this room that doesn’t have a cell phone. But the fact is as much as we love our cell phones, people in Scandinavia love them even more, people in places like China and Japan love them even more, where adoption rates and penetration rates on cell phones are even higher than they are in the United States.
And as we move towards Smartphone technology, where people are able to have the ability to have access to the Internet, have access to e-mails, have access to customer information on their phone, we have to again make sure that that is a very tight and clean boundary.
In terms of paper and the digital boundary, we’ve had an opportunity before even from this stage of Convergence to talk about the Tablet PC, for example, which is at the beginning of first generation of trying to create that breakthrough. But the fact is, and in spite of the fact that the Tablet PC has been enormously successful in terms of a product, it still isn’t truly mainstream. If there are people taking notes today in the audience, there’s a much higher probability that the person would be taking notes today or at this conference on paper than they will be on the Tablet, because there are still some things that get in the way of that experience, whether it’s battery life, whether it’s weight, whether it’s sort of accessibility after the fact. We haven’t quite crossed, it but there are some things that I think that will happen in this decade where we’ll start to see again a tipping point where at some point where digital note taking and digital interaction might actually be better than paper, but we’re not there yet.
Skipping down on some of these, I mean, business intelligence is an easy one. We would sort of say, ‘Hey, what we want to be able to provide all of you through our systems is business insight,’ but my sense is that even if that’s our goal, to help you have the insight to make better decisions, to be more competitive in whatever part of the United States you’re in, that our systems today aren’t as good at that as they can be. They need to become more intuitive and easier to access the information.
Meetings: Meetings are — by any definition, in any industry, in any part of the world — a huge time-consuming chunk of business cost, which is not very effective. What can we do with technology to improve meetings, to reduce travel times, to increase effectiveness? Again, lots of things that can happen here.
Application customization: Everybody in this room has probably customized their application to get some more specific value for themselves. With that, there’s been a cost, because depending on the level of that customization, maybe then you can’t take advantage of some other feature, which then relates to the next piece, which is the application utilization gap, which is in virtually every application that’s out there, whether it’s from us or from anyone else, the amount of functionality customers use versus the functionality that’s available, there’s a big gap.
And if you fast forward ten years from now and you’re faced with a particular problem in your business, there probably will be somewhere, someplace on the planet a piece of software that can help you, but how will you know where that software is and how will you know to have that in your business, how will you know to get access to it or to get trained on it.
And so there could be stuff out there today, maybe it’s down at the Expo and the way you’re going to find it is walking around going booth to booth to booth until you have your ‘A-ha’ moment, but again is there a better way to sort of expose customers to potential solutions in a way which helps people close this gap.
Workflow and scheduling. Again, a challenging but important area, and just communications in general, it’s still often too difficult and too time-consuming where people will say, ‘Hey, I’d rather just pick up the phone and call somebody versus try to use some other form of technology to communicate.’ So again, these are all other things that customers see.
But if you sort of say, what’s our ability to make progress against all those obvious pain points, because I think you’re sort of saying, ‘OK, great, nice keynote, the guy told me everything I already know and I could add ten more things on the list. Hey, you want to hear pain, listen to my pain.’ OK, we understand that there’s a lot of pain out there, but we say what’s our ability in this next decade, and that’s why am I optimistic. Because I think that the environment for innovation, the work that we’re standing on to allow us to address some of these issues in our industry is really tremendous.
And let’s just zip through four major areas.
In terms of processors, we’ve been living on 32-bit for the last ten years. I’m sure that most of you, if you’ve been around this industry a long time, would easily remember back to sort of our 8-bit beginnings in the early 1980s and then we lived on 16-bit and then we got 32-bit. We’re at the cusp of the 64-bit really becoming mainstream for clients and servers. And again, in addition to sort of Moore’s Law, which we’ve been riding for the past 25 years where we get a doubling of power at half the price every 18 to 24 months, which is the main driver of our industry, is we have a chance to drive that forward again for maybe another decade, and it’s exciting to think about the capability that we’re going to be able to have in terms of designing software on top of those processors.
But even more so than just processor speed, in terms of networks, I mean, I think it was somewhere back in ’99 or 2000 I probably offended a subset of our sponsors by saying that I thought that computing power and bandwidth were both going to be free. And this was a euphemism, for at that point in time, trying to think about the future and trying to get customers to think about the fact that hardware prices were going to drop and drop and drop and drop, and bandwidth was going to drop and drop and drop and drop in terms of cost. And both of those things have happened and the capability that we have in our hands today is so much greater than it was before that I could actually give the same talk today.
I mean, we have had this again explosion of bandwidth, and bandwidth now taking lots of different forms as wireless takes off and on the 802.11, the Wi-Fi. Then you’ve got new technologies, which are related to that, like the WiMAX, and the 3G stuff coming in Europe, DSL and cable, but there are just more and more ways for people to get more and more information through bigger and bigger pipes, cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, and this will continue to change the experience that people have, and it should continue to change the kinds of things that we think about in terms of business applications, in terms of how we can deliver solutions and information to people.
And then in storage: storage is sort of a mind-blowing thing, again like processors, where you keep getting more and more for less and less. And whatever type of storage it is — RAM, flash, magnetic disk, the DVD, read, write capability or distributed storage — there’s just so much capability coming.
And then again in our sort of packrat mentality as humans, as we get more and more things that we want to store, not just business data but movies and photographs and music, we have a yearning to use the storage, but then when we’re storing all of this data, we need better ways to access and better ways to get through it.
But it’s really remarkable. I mean, there will be devices just in the next few years, if you think about it — how many of your kids have got some kind of portable music player device? Lots of folks have got those? And these things today I think they cost roughly US$249, $279 and maybe you can put 5,000 songs on them, but these prices will come down and we’ll be in a position where within five years there might be devices under $100 where you’d be able to store every song you’ve ever wanted to hear in your whole life, I mean tens of thousands of songs, you’ll be able to store all kinds of personal information and you might be able to store up to 50 movies just in the little thing that you’re carrying around, and if you want to get add-on stuff, maybe 500 movies.
So think about every VCR, every DVD, every song you’ve ever owned on a little device that costs very little and you can carry in your pocket. I mean, that’s just right there, that’s not some big visionary statement, just right there in terms of that.
And then in terms of peripherals, in terms of what we have there, I mean there’s just again an explosion and sort of an explosion of consumer interest in things like large LCD screens, high-definition TV.
We have PCs today, there’s PCs that are starting to come with built-in cameras, or phones that have cameras built-in, whether they’re still or motion, but the camera and that optical capability being built right into the device becoming more and more common.
Printers, not just the ones we think of today, but personal portable printers and actually advances in the way printing is advancing where maybe there’s a time ten years from now where the whole cartridge thing is a thing of the past, because inking technology changes.
Portable media: With these new portable media computers, where you see kids where they’ve got DVD players, music players, all this stuff and very, very small capabilities or like the iPod, microphones built in, sensors, again the RFID capability, which is sort of again, think of that as really smart, next generation bar-coding where you can put these Smart Tags. Today it’s sort of at a stage where it’s being mandated by big distributors like Wal-Mart and it’s happening at the pallet level, but as these tags are produced in the billions and come down in the costs that are very, very low, you will see things tagged at the individual item level and our systems and software will need to respond to that. And it’s going to be, again, cost savings for even very small companies, not just because we’re sort of in that phase one of being mandated by governments and large organizations, but in ten years from now it’s going to be a very prevalent thing in terms of giving people better line of sight into inventory management, into demand planning, into supply chain work, et cetera, and we’ve got some exciting work even with some customers. Right now, we’ve got a pilot customer in Denmark that’s doing some great thing with small and midsized customers there. But anyway, lots of stuff happening and again the integration of phone capability built in.
So my whole point of going through all this stuff is just look at the body of work. And this is just not all happening at Microsoft; this is stuff that’s happening by all of the big players in the industry and all the consumer electronics people, all advancing the state-of-the-art across processors, network, storage and peripherals.
And if you take a look then at where is Microsoft focusing its capability, again back to the mission statement, what are we doing about the customer pain points and we’ve got this environment, again the work that we can stand on is advancing at a very rapid rate.
Well, we’ve got a focus at Microsoft called ‘integrated innovation,’ and when Microsoft made a decision about three years ago to create itself into seven business groups, cutting across things like Windows, like Office, like Business Solutions, it wasn’t to set up separate, independent organizations which have unrelated activities. Because if you look down at the list of some of these other organizations that are also making significant investments in R & D, they may be spread across hardware, across chips, a little bit about software, they may be spread across consumer devices, et cetera. Microsoft has $6.8 billion focused integrated innovation around software. There’s never been anything like this in the history of business, where this much focus has gone into creating and advancing capability.
And so again, one of the reasons I remain optimistic about the future and I remain optimistic about our ability to solve these pain points, is because of the deep focus that we have as an organization of trying to advance the state-of-the-art, and doing that in conjunction with the whole ecosystem, with the whole industry helping to drive this thing forward.
So if you’re not optimistic about the future, you don’t spend this kind of money in R & D. And so this is again exciting to think about what we’re going to be able to accomplish in the next decade.
And as I just said, again, how do we describe that, we talk about integrated innovation and what does that mean? Another way to think about this — and this is just a picture we call sort of the stack picture — but if you think about whether it’s Office, and we know we have a number of Office customers that are here today, both people that are also using other products from one of our ERP lines or CRM but also just plain Office customers that are here. We’ve got everybody using Windows. We’ve got server underneath that. We’ve got a bunch of developers here that are using tool suites like Visual Studio .NET. And, of course, Microsoft Business Solutions, which is sort of a common element across the whole group. But again, the idea of Microsoft, the core idea around integrated innovation is for us to have all of this stuff work really, really well together.
And then if you see the white part that surrounds that backdrop where I’ve got the words “partner, software and services,” this is essential, because integrated innovation doesn’t stop when it leaves the labs of Microsoft; integrated innovation continues on and continues on with the partners that you’ve worked with to ensure that these solutions and third party solutions and services that are delivered all work together in a way to have this integrated innovation deliver true customer value for you.
And then it goes even further, because many customers themselves, with their tools capability and in-house customization, take these solutions — we’ll hear about some of those at the Pinnacle Awards, how the customers are also part of this ecosystem in driving innovation to new levels of value.
So again this is very much a together thing. Another phrase we have for integrated innovation is ‘better together,’ and when you hear us say better together, it means not just our own products inside but it’s ours plus partners plus you, the customer, being better together to solve problems.
In terms of bringing it down from sort of the industry, then to Microsoft, and then to Microsoft Business Solutions, just one slide on sort of how we’re focusing our R & D, because we are among the top R & D investors across all business applications. There are some companies, a few, a handful of companies that are still larger than us, but as we have entered into Microsoft, we’ve increased our R & D budgets, we’re spending more today in R & D than we did at the time of the acquisition or the acquisition of Great Plains and Navision. We’re expending considerable more R & D dollars on that. And there are a number of things that we’re driving across that.
And one of the things that you’ll get a chance to see here at the conference is that we’re driving value to customers through new interfaces. We’re driving better together solutions with CRM across all of our core ERP lines here: Axapta, Great Plains, Navision and Solomon.
I talked earlier about sort of the breakthroughs that can be achieved in terms of quality with products like Dr. Watson, which are in Office, and we’ll be adding that sort of Dr. Watson, that online error reporting capability, to sort of link you as part of our community to let you hit a button and directly be sending feedback to our development teams in terms of, ‘Hey, we’re having a problem, we want you to know about it.’
And that online connection, I mean, today it’s sort of it’s a red light. I mean, you crash, you push the button, it’s a bit of a pain. Certainly it’s a pain. We wish it hadn’t crashed, but if you think about Dr. Watson in five or ten years, there may be an opportunity for you in sort of a yellow light situation. You didn’t crash, but you don’t really like it; hit a button, send us feedback. Or maybe there’s even an opportunity to have sort of a green light Watson, which is, ‘Hey, I love the way this works.’ Hit a button, send feedback, thank you for designing it that way. This is an opportunity for us again to have a real-time connection, letting the software be part of that community that keeps us all together.
And as you look underneath each of these, where we’ve got a very robust R & D roadmap for each of the major product lines, we’re going to be talking about these in-depth during the breakout sessions today. You’ll get a chance to hear from the people on the development teams, from the product managers, from the people that support the products, which is why again we’ve changed the format of Convergence based on your feedback. So rather than having a long general session keynote that tries to cover all these product lines, immediately after mine we break into these tracks, and you can get a chance to go — in addition to these, plus CRM, plus Office — you can get a chance to really drill down on the solutions that are most important to you.
And across the bottom of this slide a very, very important message, which is we’ve made a commitment that we’re going to enhance and support these ERP product lines until at least 2013, because we understand that you’ve made an investment and we’re going to continue to surround these products with additional value like the Microsoft Business Network, like the Microsoft Business Portal and you’ll get a chance to see how those products have advanced as well in the breakout sessions; and so again exciting R & D value that we’re driving even within Business Solutions.
And so to show you some of the exciting stuff that’s coming up, I want to just take a minute and share with you a little demo on a product that’s going to be shipping this summer, which is our CRM Mobile product. And as you know, how many CRM customers do we have in the audience? A number of folks out there? Great. A great number. Thank you for those people that have purchased CRM in the last year and put it to use in their business.
This is the fastest selling CRM product ever to hit the market, with the highest penetration. We’ve had a super successful first year with great feedback from our customers. We’ve just released CRM 1.2, which has got a number of enhancements and additional capabilities, as well as broadening CRM capability into another nine languages and really turning it into truly a global product, so all of that is very exciting.
But even as we’ve just released 1.2, we’re working on some extensions, CRM Mobile. This is going to give those of you that use CRM today an opportunity to extend the capability to devices like PDAs, which are very fun, and if we can have the WolfVision come up here.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Hey, Doug?
DOUG BURGUM: Matt?
MATT GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m here to do the demo, I know. Excuse me, everybody. I apologize.
DOUG BURGUM: Doing a demo here?
MATT GUSTAFSON: There’s something I have to do before you do the demo.
DOUG BURGUM: Excuse me. Can I get the WolfVision up, please?
MATT GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I have nothing to do with that, but I need to check something before you go, because I know you’re excited to do the demo, Convergence, going to show CRM Mobility, but there’s a little thing that happened backstage. I forgot to do it ahead of time, totally my fault. I apologize profusely, but I got a little reminder backstage that I was supposed to do something, got a call from one of our vendors who told me there was a serial numbered part that we needed to check before we did any demos and I kind of got caught up in the whole prize bag thing and I was all excited about getting out here and I forgot.
So if you don’t mind, can I just check something real quick before I go? Because I’ve got the serial number, I know what it is; I just want to check and make sure it’s not going to — I’d hate to have your demo crash because of something I did or failed to do.
DOUG BURGUM: We wouldn’t want that. We wouldn’t want that.
MATT GUSTAFSON: No.
DOUG BURGUM: OK.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I’m sure my paycheck wouldn’t want your demo to fail for something I forgot to do. (Laughter.)
DOUG BURGUM: OK, so I understand, you need to check.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I just need to do a quick check. And again I apologize.
DOUG BURGUM: Help me understand what’s the fabulous element of this interruption?
MATT GUSTAFSON: Well, I’m going to get a chance to show off Great Plains 8.0, so I’ll be fabulous, I’m quite sure. And then you’ll demo, which I’m sure will be equally as fabulous, probably even more so I’m guessing. (Laughter.) I’ll do one and then yours will be even better, I’m sure, but let me check this first.
DOUG BURGUM: Well, you know, I love all of our children. I’m always happy to see any of our great ERP product lines demoed. And with Great Plains 8.0 coming out soon, I’d be happy to see that.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I’ve got 8.0 here. We’ve got great features and functionality across Navision, Solomon, Axapta, the whole nine yards.
DOUG BURGUM: So I’ll just wait on my CRM demo.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I really just want to check this thing, Doug. That’s all I want to do. I didn’t mean to cut into too much of your time.
So here’s what’s happened. One of our vendors, Sam, called me up and said he’d got a serial numbered item that we’d built into something and it’s wrong, so I need to look it up and make sure that it’s not one that’s close by.
So I’m going to go into Great Plains 8.0, see if we can bring that up. There it is. This is the new interface for Great Plains 8.0 — looks a lot like Office 2003, for those of you that are familiar with that. We’ve replaced a lot of the pallets and gone with much more of a cascading look. It looks more like a Microsoft app, yes, a real live Microsoft app coming from Great Plains. You’ve got to like that.
So we’ve implemented right here, I’m going to go into the vendors, because Sam is one of our vendors, and he sent me a serial number. I’m not sure which one it was.
Oh, you’ll also notice just while we’re in here, I guess I could point out this new little action button up here. From here, you can jump to different actions and tasks you can perform right from the vendor list. It’s actually very incredible.
But I don’t remember which Sam it was, so I’m just going to do a quick search here and look for all the Sams in my vendors, and I can see that I’ve got a couple of the contacts Sam, I’ve got a name. This one doesn’t even have a Sam on it; I wonder what that’s all about. Oh yes, the address had Sam in it, so it looks like again we’ve got cross-column searching built right into the lists and you can quickly get at data.
This is turning into more a demo I guess than a problem solver. (Applause.)
DOUG BURGUM: A very enhanced lookup.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I’m sorry. I just need to look something up here really quick.
So I’m going to go to our serial tray, because Sam gave me the part. It was an SDRAM we got from him.
Oh, and one other thing you’ll notice in one of these usability things. It’s got the auto complete built-in across the board, so if I’ve typed it in already it’s already there, just like Outlook, very cool.
I’m going to type in the serial number tag. Oops, got the wrong one, one second. Again, I apologize, Doug. This is totally inappropriate and I’m sure I’ll hear about it later at the recap. We should probably have put in a seven second delay. (Laughter.) It looks like there it is. I’ve actually received this particular serial numbered item. I know I’ve received it. It looks like I’ve already built it in something we’ve manufactured.
I’m going to go down here. Normally, I’d have to print out about 20 pages of reports to find this thing. I’m just going to go to the new build of materials trace window and look to see what have I built that’s actually used this serial number. And voila, it looks like I’ve built it into — oh no, it looks like it’s in a PDA.
Let’s see. Let’s check the document that it was sold on. Yeah, it was to us. I was afraid of that. Let’s see where we shipped that to. I’m afraid it’s here somewhere.
We’ve integrated Microsoft products all over Great Plains 8.0. This, of course, is MapPoint, the icon for MapPoint. Let’s see if I can get a map of exactly where that item went when MapPoint comes up here. (Laughter.)
DOUG BURGUM: There we go.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I’m afraid of this. (Applause.) It’s going to be here.
DOUG BURGUM: It’s getting close.
MATT GUSTAFSON: This is not — (Laughter.) Yeah, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that — oh yeah. (Laughter, applause.) It’s that one.
DOUG BURGUM: Wow. That new MapPoint is really powerful, Matt. (Laughter.) That’s impressive. You guys have been busy.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Again, it’s integration —
DOUG BURGUM: That’s integrated innovation there. That’s really good.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Well, I’ve brought a replacement for you here. This is an SDRAM chip to replace the one that was mislabeled earlier, so you can get on with your demo. Again, I apologize for that.
DOUG BURGUM: But do you want to stick around?
MATT GUSTAFSON: I can hang around if you’d like. I’d love to.
DOUG BURGUM: OK.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Because this was a fabulous demo. I’d love to see what yours is going to be. (Laughter.)
DOUG BURGUM: I might need your help. I thought I would show the PDA.
MATT GUSTAFSON: We can do that.
DOUG BURGUM: All I need is this device called a WolfVision.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Because it looks so much like a Wolf. (Laughter.)
DOUG BURGUM: It does, yeah, something like that.
MATT GUSTAFSON: It looks nothing like a Wolf.
DOUG BURGUM: The power light is on.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I tell you what, can we just all gather around close?
DOUG BURGUM: There we go. Here’s the little device that Matt handed me, in case you couldn’t see that, but that’s a 256-meg chip.
MATT GUSTAFSON: And this is how we’re actually deploying CRM mobile, as I understand, when you install CRM.
DOUG BURGUM: The whole app is right on this.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Slap the card in the back.
DOUG BURGUM: Slide that right in the thing here, but I think the thing we’re actually demoing here more than anything is that you just can’t get a good manicure in Fargo. (Laughter.) I think that would be the first part of our demo right there. Wow. (Laughter.) Scary.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Yeah, sure you can. (Laughter.)
DOUG BURGUM: You’ll have to give me the name.
OK, all right, so we’re going to take a look at CRM Mobile. And as I said earlier, we’ve got a number of CRM customers here and CRM, great application, integrates deeply with our ERP products and we want to be able to improve our interactions with customers and with people that we’re marketing to, selling to, prospects, all this kind of stuff.
But sometimes you’ve got salespeople that are on the road, and they’re on the road and they want to have that information about the customers with them when they’re out there, sometimes it’s handy to have it in a PDA. PDA’s are cool.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Customer in your pocket.
DOUG BURGUM: Part of that explosion of technology I was talking about earlier. So we have CRM Mobile right here. And, so what we’re going to do is, in our little PDA device, as much as we’ve got all that memory we talked about, sometimes if you’ve got a lot of contacts, and a lot of opportunity, and a lot of accounts, you don’t want to be downloading all of that on your PDA, you want to just have a filter to be able to get at that. So, we have a capability built in here, tools, I’m going to go to sync, I’m going to go to subscriptions, and then a way of connecting, you know, I’ve got a wire going in here, so we’re connecting to the server, and we’re going to give us some options here in terms of what it is that we want to —
MATT GUSTAFSON: You’ve got the app loaded, you slapped in the card, installed the app, now it’s time to synchronize. I’m assuming you need to have the right security, you can’t just go willy-nilly grabbing data anywhere.
DOUG BURGUM: Totally secure in terms of whatever, and secure in terms of you can set up all of your security on here, where I just get my information on my little PDA.
MATT GUSTAFSON: What are we going to subscribe to?
DOUG BURGUM: And this is an HP iPAQ 2003 here. So, I want to subscribe here. I’ve got some things set up in our account, so I’m going to select Convergence accounts, because knowing that I was going to come here, I had the registration for everybody.
MATT GUSTAFSON: OK.
DOUG BURGUM: So, I was able to —
MATT GUSTAFSON: Load all of the information for us.
DOUG BURGUM: Here’s all my Convergence contacts, opportunities.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Too many opportunities.
DOUG BURGUM: I have so many opportunities, but I do have some activities that I’m going to load. There’s my open activities. I’ve got an estimate here.
MATT GUSTAFSON: What’s that going to do?
DOUG BURGUM: It’s estimating how much space is going to be used on my PDA, 23 percent, I’m OK with that. And do you want to save those changes? Yes, I do. I want to save those changes. And now, what it’s going to do, it’s going to start doing the synchronization.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Right now, it’s connecting, securely connecting, with the server, and bringing information for all the Convergence attendees that we have here.
DOUG BURGUM: My information, my contact information that I have.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Right. I have a favor, because I met somebody last night at the welcome reception, his name was Chip from Wheeler, Texas, and he wanted 20 literature kits for Great Plains. He was so excited, hadn’t even seen my fabulous demo, still wanted 20 literature packs sent back home so that he could share them with everyone, but I didn’t get his phone number.
DOUG BURGUM: Chip hasn’t heard about our Web site?
MATT GUSTAFSON: I don’t know, I didn’t ask him. Neither Chip nor I were in any condition to discuss technology last night.
DOUG BURGUM: Because we have a great new Web site.
MATT GUSTAFSON: That’s true.
DOUG BURGUM: At Microsoft.com, business solutions ( http://www.microsoft.com/businesssolutions ).
MATT GUSTAFSON: It’s all there.
DOUG BURGUM: Wholly improved, new industry solutions, but apparently not —
DOUG BURGUM: Apparently he wants the hard copy. So, I was going to get — if you could get me his phone number from your handy-dandy PDA, I could go back stage and I’ve got to call sales ops, because I want to set up a follow-up call, I have to call production and make sure that they can actually ship out 20. I’ve got to call the inventory team to make sure I’ve got 20 in stock. And knowing that people are out at Convergence, I’ve probably got 10-12 phone calls I have to make, but I need his phone number to get the whole thing started.
DOUG BURGUM: OK.
MATT GUSTAFSON: If you could just give me that, I’ve got a pen here somewhere.
DOUG BURGUM: It seems like you’ve got a whole slew of things that you need to do.
MATT GUSTAFSON: I’ve got a lot, yes. It takes a lot to get Chip his literature.
DOUG BURGUM: OK. Well, let’s see if I can help. I can do more maybe than just give you a phone number.
MATT GUSTAFSON: OK.
DOUG BURGUM: We’re going to go in here, I’m creating a new task in my CRM Mobile application. I know that this is an eye test for the old guy here, we’ll spell ‘lit kit,’ and then we’re going to go, let’s see, package, packet, select a word there and it fills out, cool, that’s so cool. And you said —
MATT GUSTAFSON: It was Chip Simons from Wheeler, Texas.
DOUG BURGUM: Well, let me — I’ve got to tap in this field, Simons is the last name?
MATT GUSTAFSON: Simons, yes.
DOUG BURGUM: You’re sure on that?
MATT GUSTAFSON: Yes.
DOUG BURGUM: I’m sorry, that’s the accounts, I need to go to contacts.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Whatever you want to do, I know we could do.
DOUG BURGUM: We can do it either way, but we’re going to go find it.
MATT GUSTAFSON: That’s flexibility then.
DOUG BURGUM: It is. There’s Chip right there. I’m going to select OK. I want to save those changes. There he is, he’s filled in right there. That’s slick. I want to save those changes, yes.
MATT GUSTAFSON: That’s a lit pack of activity that’s going to get started.
DOUG BURGUM: It’s not just the lit pack activity. Here’s what’s going to happen because I’ve got workflow designed into this thing, so I’m sending this message, it’s going to go back to sales ops, it’s going to send a message to our ERP system, 20 lit packs are going to come out of inventory, those are going to be shipped to Chip. I’m going to get an e-mail confirming that they were shipped to Chip. And sales ops is going to have a tickler in there thing to call him in a week and make sure that he got them.
MATT GUSTAFSON: Really.
DOUG BURGUM: All that is taken care of. Business process automation.
MATT GUSTAFSON: You’ve been talking about business process automation, that’s actually what it is. That’s fabulous, Doug. I thin it was even more fabulous than mine. Thank you, Doug.
DOUG BURGUM: I don’t know about that, Matt, but it was —
MATT GUSTAFSON: All right. A quick reminder that this is a little demonstration of usability that’s gone into all our products. We’ve got new interfaces, and new usability built both into our Axapta products, Solomon, Navision, across the board. You can learn a lot more about them at the general sessions and all week. So, take the time to learn a lot more about how all these things work together, and how the productivity can come to you because of some of this great stuff.
DOUG BURGUM: Thank you.
And as Matt said, we have a number of great breakout sessions I mentioned earlier, and these are actually in the rooms. Like, for example, for Office System, you don’t actually have to go to Tallahassee, there’s actually a room here at the Gaylord named that, so you’ll find those rooms for those great breakouts, and you’ll hear directly from those teams.
One of the things which I wanted to spend a little bit of time here in the remainder of my talk with you, sort of shift gears away from the traditional sort of business product technology keynote, and return to a tradition which has been part of the community of Convergence. And there are lots of community traditions. When I was a kid growing up in Arthur, North Dakota, this little small town on the prairie — really, I wouldn’t say a strong community tradition — but every year in the spring, there was always a sense of optimism when the first farmer from the area would be able to get back into the field. Not even necessarily for planting, but just get back in and turn some earth, dig the ground. There was a sense of, we’ve made it through the winter, and there’s a new year, a new start, and it would be the talk of the cafe. And my family was involved in farming in the grain elevator business, and it was always an important sort of time when we hear that Arnold Schonas or Bob Stephas or somebody was the first guy in the field each year. And so that was, again, sort of a sense of sort of reconnecting.
There’s others. Across the border in Minnesota where I grew up, there are other traditions that are more in the sense of Lake Woebegone. Like, one of the team members that I work with, in his hometown, they would drag an old car out onto the ice every spring, and then have a bet in the town on when it would melt and fall through the ice. So there are all kinds of quirky traditions. He assures me that they had a chain on it so they could drag it out, so the lake is not full of old cars.
But we’ve had our own sense of community traditions here, and one of those community traditions that we’ve had has been sort of taking a moment, even if it’s just a few minutes, to actually pull ourselves back away from the task of just thinking about business and our own thing and sort of suspending that focus on business, and thinking about something that’s larger. And sometimes that’s larger than ourselves, and sometimes that historical perspective has helped that.
And those of you, I know we have a number of people — Matt had people raising hands — who have been to a bunch of Convergences going back to ’98, where we sort of talked about the Tao of Convergence. We talked about Theodore Smith, an engineer with a vision that helped create the TransAtlantic Railroad across North America, which was really a story at that time about the death of distance, of shortening the time frame from the East Coast to the West Coast from six months to five days, the dramatic shortening of that. We talked about Marco Polo, and the connection there was that after this amazing journey from Europe to China, how he discovered a very sophisticated culture that had deep capabilities in communication and science.
Teddy Roosevelt, we talked about how an individual overcoming lots of personal difficulties, his wife dying in childbirth, and his mother dying on the same day shortly after he’d lost some elections, I mean, that he rebounded from that. And he was a sickly young child, he went to the West, actually went to what is Dakota, and sort of remade himself. And his remaking of himself helped shape the next century of the world.
We talked two years ago about William Smith, and the map that changed the world. One of the attendees last night mentioned that to me that they were still confused about that speech, but we talked again about someone who lacked formal education who fought against sort of the hierarchy of science that helped — through his own deep sense of curiosity — helped change the way we think about the world, and sort of form what we now think of the science of geology.
And then, last year, we talked about Watt and Bolton, the combination of sort of someone great in science, and the invention of the steam engine, someone who is great in organizing and business, sort of the R & D and marketing partnership, if you will, and how a deep sense of curiosity has helped drive stuff forward for us. And we all have benefited from these individuals or teams of people.
If you think about changing worlds, because these were all stories over the last years to sort of say, all the keynotes have been about individuals or small teams of people have changed the world, and how have they changed it? They’ve changed it with perseverance. These weren’t things that happened in one moment. These were things that happened sometimes over decades of investigation and work, and there was a common theme across all of these individuals, a deep, deep sense of curiosity, and openness to the new sort of that childlike approach to being able to think and learn anew.
And I think all of you are experts in your own business, you’re sent here to this conference because you’re the person who knows the most about the particular system or the implementation, or you’re a finance expert, or you’re an IT expert. Sometimes when you’re busy being an expert, it’s really hard to learn. And I think one of the things that I’ve always encouraged Convergence attendees is to take this opportunity to be more childlike. Ask more questions, admit that we don’t know it all, and therefore open ourselves up to more learning, and restore that sense of curiosity that we all see in our children.
And, in terms of changing the world, I mean, I sort of think of the power of the individual, but I really mean the power of you. Each of you have this great ability to change yourselves, your organizations and your capabilities. And sometimes what that takes is courage. And there was this author — I love this book that he wrote about 20 years ago, and it was Jean Servan-Schreiber, he’s a French author, and he talked about there being two kinds of courage, and one was sort of the courage to face death, which hopefully for most of us we only need that one time in our lives, some people who face a serious life-threatening illness have done it more than once and, therefore, have the wisdom of having gotten it out of the way and still get to live the rest of their life. And those people are often very special people, because of the wisdom they gain from that experience. Most of us just sort of defer it and don’t think about it.
But the other kind of courage you need is not the courage to face death, but the courage just to sort of get out of bed every day. The courage to get up when you’re tired and come to a keynote. The courage to ask a question when you’re afraid that some people might think that you might not know everything you should know. That’s the courage that is sometimes in short supply from each of us, but that’s the courage that really makes the difference between just sort of existing and living. The courage to live, the courage to have no fear, the courage to stand up in your own organizations when you think that something isn’t right — that kind of courage.
And, again, all of the people we’ve talked about over the years certainly had ample, ample amounts of that daily personal courage. Then, there’s one other thing which sort of, when we think about changing the world, all of the stories that I’ve described here for the most part, with the exception of Marco Polo, have been all things that have occurred in the last couple hundred years, which sort of supports my underpinning of what I’m trying to say — we’re living in a remarkable time.
When I talk about the optimism that I have about the ability of the world to be different, it’s not just a personal optimism, it’s an optimism that’s based on the observation that there is so much going on in so many different fields that collectively, there is an opportunity to sort of stand on the work that is being done by others to really help drive lots of change. We’ve shortened the differences that we have as humans when events are transported around the world instantly, and we can sort of see and feel and understand each other’s existence and pain and joy in a more immediate way. And the other is just the explosion of knowledge, the amount of pure knowledge that exists. And to be able to store and track and quantify that knowledge increasing all the time, and riding on the wave of IT technology gives us even more opportunities to be one of those individuals that can in some way, small or large, help change the world.
And when we think about our world, and our planet, I want to focus again today on an individual, an individual from science that had that effect, had some of the same characteristics of the folks that we’ve talked about in previous keynotes. And this is a picture which has sort of been added to our vocabulary in the last 30 years with the invention of satellites, with the first explorers being able to travel to the moon, we literally have a picture of ourselves that no generation has been able to see before. And this is just common place, and we just sort of expect that we would say, yes, that’s our planet, that’s where we live. We can see sort of the swirls of the clouds, we can see the shape of Africa. It’s probably all very familiar to us.
You can even see a bit of Antarctica down there in the southern pole at the bottom of the slide. And we all have a basic understanding that this is not, unlike the picture, that this is not a stationary object, this is a planet in motion. We all understand that the planet revolves around the sun. By definition, if we’re going to make one lap around the sun per year, means that we’re going about 67,000 miles per hour, even as we sit here. OK, we don’t feel that motion, but we’re going 67,000 miles an hour whether we’re asleep, whether we’re awake, that’s based on the traveling around the sun.
We also know, as we sit here, that the Earth is spinning, it’s rotating on its axis, and we understand that that axis runs through the North Pole and the South Pole, and the Earth spins, and we understand roughly that the Earth spins about once every 24 hours, about 24 hours and 1 minute. It’s not precisely 24 hours, because that’s why we have leap years, right, we have to catch up. So we catch up about one minute a day, 360-some-plus days in a year, so that’s like six hours a year, that’s why every four years we do a little catch up. But, as you guys probably all know, that doesn’t work out that way exactly, because that’s why at the end of every century, like in 1700, 1800, and 1900, there’s no leap year. You guys knew that, I’m sure. And then, in the year 2000 there was one because every time you have a century that’s divisible by 4, you add back a leap year. All this is to make up for the fact that we just don’t spin quite every 24 hours. So, if you ever wished there was more than 24 hours in a day, there actually is. It’s just like a minute, but sometimes we all wish we had that. But my watch doesn’t accommodate that sometimes.
Anyway, we all know that this thing spins, right, spins around. But people didn’t always know that the Earth spun. Matter of fact is, most of recorded history, for most of the history that we grew up studying on the planet, there was no even belief, there was large organizations, in particular at the time the dominant Western religion was opposed to the idea that the Earth rotated on its axis, and it was also opposed to the idea that the Earth rotated around the sun. Now, when we think about that, we think that that’s actually pretty ridiculous, because if the Earth wasn’t rotating around the sun once a year, that meant the sun had to be rotating around the Earth once a day. OK, that’s crazy. Well, that thing is 93 million miles away. Think how fast the sun would have to go to be moving around us once a day. That was what was believed. And even if you go back to Plato, Aristotle, all the great thinkers in the early eras of Greek thinking, all believed, again, the Earth was flat and the Earth was the center of the universe. Therefore, humans, which is maybe part of our problem that we have, is we think we’re the center of the universe, and therefore everything rotates around us.
So, Copernicus was one of the first scientists to start understanding that the work that had been done centuries earlier was wrong, calculations were wrong, and he published some work that was describing the fact that he thought the Earth was not the center, and the Earth rotated, and that the Earth rotated around the sun. He published a book which then, because the printing press got widely spread, he was sort of pre-Inquisition, and so he did not suffer any fate for his belief that the Earth was, in fact, round, and the Earth was rotating.
Not so for Giordano Bruno, who was an Italian monk, whose life ended rather abruptly in 1600 at the age 52 — actually burned at the stake, burned at the stake for his belief that the Earth rotated on its axis. Yowzer. Hopefully that won’t be the outcome in my keynote evals, but Bruno suffered a horrible fate for that.
Galileo, who we all know and we all sort of think that that’s his first name, kind of like Cher or Madonna, but he actually had a last name, too. But Galileo was so famous, he just had to use that first name thing, but he was someone who believed this, but then was alive during the time when the church was prosecuting people who had these beliefs, and he sadly recanted his beliefs to save his own life. He basically said, ‘OK, I agree, I resign.’ He’d been imprisoned, and he said, ‘I agree the Earth is flat, you’re right,’ et cetera. But, he had done a lot of work, including dropping objects from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, et cetera, to try to demonstrate that the Earth actually moved. I think Newton was born in the year Galileo died, picked up that work, and with the advancement of a lot of mathematical concepts, again, pushed forward on this.
But, I’m not talking about any of these guys today, because none of these people were actually able to come up with a proof that the world actually turned. There was a well-known phenomena that came and Rene Descartes, the French mathematician — actually served in the military before he became a mathematician — he was one of the people that was able to uncover the fact that when you’re shooting a cannonball, north and south, if you’re shooting a cannonball it didn’t land where you thought it would. And if you were shooting the cannonball north it always landed east of where you thought it should be, if you were shooting a cannonball south it always landed west of where it would be. And this was an odd, odd thing, but they adjusted their mathematics, and they adjusted their ability to line up cannons and shoot.
What they were experiencing was the Coriolis Effect, but they didn’t understand what it was. There was another scientist called Coriolis who had done a job of sort of documenting and understanding what that effect was. If I think back, the best way to describe the Coriolis Effect, which is important to our story, is to think back to when I was a kid on the playground. There was a merry-go-round on the playground. That merry-go-round is not there anymore, because it was made of all metal, and it had these big heavy bars on it, underneath it had these sheets of metal that bent down at an angle that were completely unprotected. So if you ever fell underneath it, it was perfectly designed to smash a kid’s head open. So long since, with liability, this kind of great merry-go-round is long gone, and it’s hard to recount the number of injuries that occurred there, but I do remember when Ray broke his arm jumping off of it.
So you’ve got this merry-go-round which would spin and spin and spin And when you’re a little kid, because when you go into a small town, it’s like K through 12 all in the same place, and you’d be on there. And the little kids would be on there, and the old kids would spin it too fast, and the centrifugal force would be pulling you to the outside, and you’d just feel the weight of that centrifugal force. That’s one force, the centrifugal force, which we’ve all experienced, pushing you to the outside. But, if you think about that merry-go-round, if you’re on the outside edge, you’re actually traveling faster in terms of miles per hour than those smart little kids who would hang on to the little bar in the center, and they would stand on there, at the bar in the center, and it wouldn’t be moving as fast. The centrifugal force wouldn’t affect them as much.
But, if you were ever on the outside and you tried to walk to the middle, could you walk from the outside of the merry-go-round to the middle in a straight line? No, you can’t. You can’t do it, because you feel like you’re being pushed to one side. What’s that force? People have a good understanding, but the fact is that, if I’m on the outside edge my body is going 15 miles an hour, and in the middle I’m going zero, if I try to go from the edge to the middle, I’m actually bringing my 15 mile an hour body to the center of that circle, but it’s 15 an hour going in this direction, so I’m having to sort of slow my body down. So I don’t move in a straight line, I physically can’t move in a straight line.
In the same way, when we think about that picture of the earth spinning on its axis every day, if I’m standing on the North Pole, I’m in the center of the merry-go-round, and I’m really not moving at all in the center of the merry-go-round. If I’m on the equator I’m traveling 1,042 miles an hour to travel around the outside of that merry-go-round in one day, 1,042 miles at the equator. We’re here at the — sort of halfway in between, sort of at a Fargo latitude, it’s roughly half that speed that you would experience at the equator versus at the North Pole.
So what was happening with these cannonballs, if you launch a cannon ball straight north from an area that’s closer to the equator to a place that’s less close to the equator, the cannon ball is actually moving sideways in the cannon, so when you fire it, it’s disconnected from the earth, but it still holds onto that sideways movement at the faster miles per hour. So, if the cannon shot is long enough then you would detect a difference.
These guys didn’t have airplanes, but today in an airplane, if I’m going to fly from someplace southern to someplace northern, I can’t fly in a straight line. I have to adjust for the Coriolis Effect in my airplane flight, because I’m taking off at a place where the earth is spinning faster than the place where I’m landing. And if I flew in a straight line I’d miss — just like the cannonball — I’d miss the place where I wanted to land at.
So a lot of brilliant people working on this, it turns out none of them figured it out. But, there’s this guy, Leon Foucault, who was a French individual. And like some of the other characters we’ve taken a look at, his father died when he was young. He moved from the countryside into Paris, lived with his mother. And here he is shown in this etching as sort of a dashing individual.
As it turns out, when you read about him in his biography, he had eye problems, one eye didn’t focus very well, one was sort of focused off in a different direction. He was shy. He was not a good student. He was slight. He had sort of an unhealthy childhood. He was not able to in some ways really assert himself. And he did, in some cases, very, very poorly in school. And while he longed for sort of acceptance by the scientific community at the time, which in Paris where he had moved to, was very strong. Paris had had strong universities for hundreds of years by the time we got to the 1850s, the best that Leon could sort of accomplish for himself was to become sort of a reporter for the Academy of Sciences. He had a chance, sort of being affiliated with the community there, to get exposed to a lot of the great scientists, and he had a chance to get involved in some scientific work.
But, Leon had one capability that he was very good at. He was terrifically good with his hands, he had amazing dexterity, and he had the ability to design some very neat engineering capabilities. So early in his career, in his 20s, he had done some advancements in photography, and he was involved in one of the first photographs taken of the sun, which was controversial in itself, because it showed sun spots, and it was the first time anybody had seen a sun spot, and people said, ‘This can’t be, the sun is perfect.’ So, they sort of rejected some of that. He just could never quite achieve that. Again, he did not have the strong mathematical background.
Leon knew that there had been work done on pendulums, and he knew that there was a big problem that no one had ever been able to solve, which was to prove that the earth actually rotated on its axis. So he conceived of — in 1851, he was 32 years old — he conceived an experiment which he was doing in the basement of his house, with very little money, with no scientific support. He had a little sort of two-meter long wire, and a little small bob at the end of this pendulum, and he set it up, and he set this pendulum in motion. And as he knew from Newton’s laws, if you set a pendulum in motion it will maintain that same plane of motion, back and forth, back and forth. And if there’s no wind pressure, or air pressure, or human touch on it, as long as there is momentum it will maintain, through inertia out, and through gravity back, exactly the same plane of motion.
He invented, at the time, a frictionless, little, simple device that allowed that, if you will, no the pendulum to turn, but allowed the building to turn within the pendulum, because the pendulum is going to stay the same. So he starts the pendulum, he lets it run for a long time, and lo and behold, he demonstrates that the earth is turning, because the path of the pendulum being etched across the ground in front of him appears to be moving, but in fact he’s able to prove that it’s the building that’s turning and not the pendulum.
So he’s got the first scientific proof that the Earth is actually turning. He’s a non-scientist, he’s not part of the whole thing. So he sends out to all the top scientists, he’s got one sort of sponsor, a gentleman named Mirago who is involved with the Paris Observatory. This is the Paris observatory, which had been around for centuries by the time he got there. It was one of the centers of scientific knowledge in the world. He simply had a handwritten invitation, he said, you’re invited to come see the Earth turn tomorrow from 3 to 5 at Meridian Hall of the Paris Observatory.
Meridian Hall is a hall inside the Paris Observatory where the Meridian line — think of it like Greenwich, England, which won the battle between the French and English, so Greenwich is the zero meridian. These are artificial lines of longitude, which are carved into our globes. There was also a Paris meridian, which goes from pole to pole, and runs true north and south, right through the Paris Observatory. So in that meridian, which everybody knew was true north and south, he brought all the scientists, he set up a pendulum, it was over 30-feet tall, the cable that he set up. He had one of the great designers of the day develop this 28-kilogram bob at the bottom. It was the largest pendulum the world had ever seen. And to make sure that no human hand affected it they had it tied with a little thread, the struck safety match, which had recently been invented, burned the threat, set the pendulum in motion, and all the scientific community watched in awe as, slowly but surely, the pendulum kept tracking its path, but as the earth was turning, the building was turning, and over a course of time it traced it.
Again, if you go back, you shouldn’t say, I’m not sure I understand what he’s saying. Pretend you’re at the North Pole, pretend that pendulum is going back and forth. In exactly a 24-hour period it would etch the entire circle of that little merry-go-round on the top of the planet, if you follow what I’m saying. And to help make his point even more clearly, he had a little wire on the bottom of the pendulum that just brushed through some wet sand, so you could see the path was changing ever so slightly as the building turned.
So this basically set the scientific community on its head around the whole world. People were scrambling to dig through the mathematical equations which had occurred over the last couple of centuries, wondering why no one had proven this out mathematically. And there were the experts of the day, with this uneducated lab assistant, if you will, who had suddenly sort of shown every one this experiment that the great minds of Copernicus and Galileo and others had not come up with. So he was — there was a bit of a backlash, and Foucault was not warmly greeted by the scientific community.
However, at the time, the emperor-president, later to become emperor again in a coup, Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was in a bit of a battle for sort of church versus state. So he invited Foucault to set up the world’s largest — just months later — the world’s largest pendulum at the Pantheon in Paris, and invited thousands and thousands of people, the public, to come and see. And again, they had the ability to sort of drag through the etched sand, and you could see the bob going back and forth, and children there, and people all in amazement as we basically had this fundamental widespread belief that the earth was the center of the universe, and that everything evolved around us. It was all shattered through this simple experiment from this one individual who worked with perseverance and overcame all of these issues. And the effects of this were profound.
He went even further — he was invited, this is a picture, a drawing, from Saint Ignatius church. He was invited to come to Rome, near the Vatican, and set up an example there. Churches were often used for this, because they had the high vaulted ceilings, and it was a great example for the — to show the pendulum. And again, even in that one year, just shattering around the world. There was an exhibit up in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, by some people that had heard of the experiment. And as Foucault had predicted, because the time it takes to go around the circle depends on your latitude, depends on your distance between the North Pole and the equator, and in the Southern Hemisphere, it scribes the circle the other way — just like we have weather patterns turn one direction in the Southern Hemisphere, versus the opposite direction in the Northern Hemisphere — the same way the pendulum scribes differently, based on the rotating Earth. So he predicted all that. They proved it in Rio, they proved it in Italy. And so again, in one short period of time, in six months, there was sort of irrefutable proof that disrupted centuries, or thousands of years of thinking.
Here is the picture today, this is just from 2001, but they actually set up a replica of Foucault’s pendulum in the Pantheon in Paris today. And now today, many of you may have seen this experiment. It’s commonplace. It’s in the United Nations lobby. It’s in the Smithsonian. There are over 60 museums around the world that have permanent exhibits and sort of testimony to Foucault.
So what’s the rest of the story? Well, he continued to be rejected by those people that were threatened by his presence in France, but he was elected to the Academy of Sciences in England. He was elected to the Academy of Sciences in Germany long before the French accepted him. He died at a relatively young age, probably from some progressive illness, they think sort of like Lou Gehrig’s disease, but it may have been associated with all the mercury and all the other elements that he worked with when he was doing his work with photography, and working on measuring the speed of light, which he also contributed to. But, in the exact same year that he did the pendulum experiment in 1851, 32 years old, he also invented the gyroscope. And you might say, why is this guy important to me?
Well, as I described earlier, you know, planes need to make an adjustment when they fly between any northern to southern thing. Planes and navigation systems from the start, in this century, since the beginning of aviation navigation systems, have all been built on gyroscopes, and the gyroscope is fundamentally the design that Foucault designed, which again sets a sort of a wheel in motion that maintains that motion, that allows a pilot to be able to fix on a particular point and maintain that, regardless of the turning of the earth. So, again, gyroscopes have played this sort of hidden, but very important part in all of our lives. And this young, sort of unsuspecting, 32-year-old individual from France, again, had this breakthrough in terms of driving that forward.
So Isaac Newton, who was one of the individuals that preceded him, had a great quote, and one of the things that he said was, ‘If I had been able to see farther, it was because I stood on the shoulder of giants.’ And it’s not clear — he might have said, if I had been able to see further. It’s an inside joke for some old timers. But, he said, if I had been able to see farther it was because I stood on the shoulder of giants, because he knew that mathematicians like Descartes, and Kepler, and Copernicus and others, that he was able to benefit from their work in the same way Foucault was able to benefit from the work of Isaac Newton, in the same way our industry today advances because of the work that’s being done across storage, across peripherals, across memory, across the core microchip, across all the work that all of you are doing.
So, again, we’re at this point where there seems to be a coming together of capability and a coming together of ideas, and a coming together of people that allows us to really be bold in our thinking about what is our potential, going forward. So when I think about realizing your potential, and I think about what are some of the elements that it takes to realize your human potential, I think some of it is the same elements that we talked about here in this individual, in terms of Leon Foucault, in terms of overcoming all the things that he had to overcome.
I mean, massive resistance from his society, from his lack of education, his lack of funding, all the things that would stop us in our tracks and say, ‘I give up, I can’t whatever, I’m not part of the club, I don’t have the resources, I don’t have the lab, I don’t have this stuff.’ He drove himself forward through the power of curiosity, by looking at the angle of rain coming down, and observing, why doesn’t rain fall straight down. It appears that it’s falling at an angle. Part of the reason it’s falling at an angle is because the Earth is turning. He was observant about natural phenomenon, had a curiosity about things, and just kept driving, and driving forward. And he had the courage to ask for, I want to do my demonstration in front of all of the elite, and I want to do it in the Paris Observatory, knowing the risk that he was taking. Could he replicate the experiment and actually have it work when the whole world — I mean, the body of knowledgeable, learned people who opposed his line of thinking. Tremendous courage, and again, I think a great example of the power of how an individual really matters.
So what I want to sort of leave with all of you as we close out today is an understanding that, as I said at the beginning, I believe that our mission that we have as an organization is purposeful. The heart of that is helping people realize their full potential. But, in the end, we can provide some enabling tools, and capabilities, and we can invest in software R & D to help unleash the human mind. But, in the end, that technological underpinning is only going to matter if on top of that there are individuals, people like yourselves, who have perseverance, who have curiosity, who have the personal courage, the daily courage, to stand up and try to make a difference, because with that, you really can help change the world.
And with that, I want to say thank you for your attention, and let’s take a look at realizing your potential.
Thank you very much.