Back at the evangelism event I attended last December, a member of Microsoft’s evangelism team mentioned the company employs 800 full-time evangelists. My friend Michael Gartenberg (yes, THE Michael Gartenberg – you know, the one who understands consumer technology and convergence?) announced today (old blog, new blog) that he’s joining Microsoft as an “enthusiast evangelist.” I like that title, its quite appropriate for Michael, as both words describe him well.
For those wondering “why Microsoft?” (or the equivalent phrase, “why not Google?”), I think it’s a great opportunity. In my eyes, Microsoft (and Yahoo! for that matter) are getting further and further overlooked in today’s Google-dominated media world. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much either company can really do with regards to public perception until they show major innovations, technologies, products, and services. Michael’s the kind of guy who likes this kind of challenge (since he’s not known to actually sleep, ever).
But for Michael’s answer to “why Microsoft?”
There’s a revolution going on. A battle for the hearts and minds of consumers in terms of their digital lives. I firmly believe that Microsoft is the only company that will enable the seamless transition for users to move in and out of the different aspects of their lives. In short, no one else comes close to presenting a complete, unified and integrated view of the digital home of the 21st century.
I’m very happy for Michael, who I know fairly well. I think after 5 years of being on the edge looking in on the world of consumer technology, spending time looking out will be a good new challenge, and one that’s right up his alley. I’m also happy for Microsoft, who has seen numerous recent blunders in their approach to enthusiasts and bloggers (cough, Acer Ferrari, cough, Edelman, cough), and can learn a lot from Michael. I really hope they listen!
More congratulatory and welcome remarks from: Mary Jo Foley, Robert Scoble, James Kendrick, fellow evangelist (and today’s lunchmate) Thomas Hawk, Marshall Kirkpatrick, and Microsoft’s own Jeff Sandquist. The news was big enough to be top spot on TechMeme today. I guess when I left my job to, well, sit on my couch, that wasn’t as compelling?
Thanks for the kind words Jeremy. Look forward to working with you in the new role… as for thick skin? Well, hopefully years of getting beat up as an analyst have toughened me up 🙂