Guest Blog: Steve Ballmer’s lecture to the London School of Economics and Political Science
Imogen Sorrell, one of Microsoft UK’s FY11 MACH graduates, blogs about the key takeaways and highlights from Steve Ballmer’s speech to the London School of Economics and Political Science on the subject of: “Seizing the Opportunity of the Cloud: the Next Wave of Business Growth”.
Steve Ballmer at LSE – 05/10/10
Steve Ballmer LIVE -‘Seizing the Opportunity of the Cloud: the Next Wave of Business Growth’
The audience, a refreshing mix of all ages, races and professions, were quite literally bursting through the doors of the Sheikh Zayed Theatre, LSE; I couldn’t help but wonder if we were queuing to see Microsoft’s CEO talk about Cloud Computing or for a celebrity CD-signing!? I hate to liken the atmosphere to that of the Michael Bublé gig that I attended at the weekend, but it wasn’t too dissimilar; people were quite literally pushing and shoving their way into the auditorium in order to get the best seat to see the Harvard University Graduate, once the first business manager of Microsoft, and now our CEO, Steve Ballmer.
As a new recruit here at Microsoft having joined as a Graduate via the MACH Scheme almost four weeks ago to the day, I can’t deny that I too was eager to see the man famed for his energetic presentations and inspirational speeches - so when I almost missed his subdued entrance into the lecture theatre, I was pretty surprised to say the least. However, Steve’s piercing voice and unexpected emphasis of words sliced across the auditorium as he opened with an amusing story of his past experience of LSE and got the audience laughing instantaneously.
Steve Ballmer described the move to the Cloud as ‘a major wave in our industry’ and after a brief history of the way in which IT has both developed and enabled development he began to emphasise the importance of understanding and moving forward alongside IT innovation for businesses in the UK, Europe and beyond IT – describing it as ‘good business and good practice’. When explaining the concept of the shift to the Cloud and its significance some key points to note were;
- There is no end in sight when it comes to the IT revolution and the Cloud is only propelling this further – the pace of IT development is like no other industry
- The transformation in the computing world is happening through both hardware and software and is using the internet AND smart devices in new and different ways, from the PC and the smart phone to the data centre and on the internet – ‘the cloud wants smarter devices, that connect with the cloud in intelligent ways’ *Hint hint* - Windows Phone 7!
- Whilst the Cloud does offer cost saving capabilities it offers much more than this – it is also the new capabilities offered in the way you design, build and develop new kinds of applications that you couldn't have built in a world without the cloud
- Security and responsibility is a hot topic - the issues around who owns, controls and uses data as ‘the cloud will bring a new set of responsibilities’
- The cloud gives us the ability to enhance social and professional interaction securely thorough the internet (so that’s you lot watching his speech online and reading this blog!)
- Think about the value of the cloud to both consumers and business – it is important to embrace both worlds and with our offerings, Microsoft is in the position to do this with BPOS and Azure
- The cloud drives server advancements which therefore drives the cloud – turning physical data centres into what they should be and cutting cost, time, complexity and environmental waste
How would I summarise Steve B’s speech in three words? Relevant, comical, accessible. As a ‘newbie’ to the company I left the LSE auditorium invigorated by the energy of the CEO of my new employer and in no doubt that the Microsoft offerings for the Cloud is unique, comprehensive and innovative; I will readily relay that fully to my customers (and anyone else who will listen!). As Steve Ballmer said, ‘our future is up to our good work’ and I look forward to working hard and playing my part within Microsoft to realise our future in the Cloud.
References to the tube strike, amusing anecdotes, and quirky habits; Steve Ballmer is a unique and inspirational man. So…Bublé vs. Ballmer – well I’ve not heard too much about his singing capabilities and am not sure that Ballmer's version of 'Come Fly With Me' would be quite as superb as Bublé's, but when it comes to the cloud…I know that we’ll all be flying high here at Microsoft alongside Steve Ballmer– when it comes to the cloud, as they say, ‘we’re all in’!