About my new gig

May 20, 2008

A Microsoft VP once told me, "In the world of business, there are Pioneers and there are Settlers.  Microsoft needs both."  I’ve always gravitated toward the startup opportunities within Microsoft.  A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to help take a fledgling technology called, "WPF/E", name it, brand it, and launch it as "Silverlight", with my team.  The response has been phenomenal, with over 1M downloads/day and a developed balance of features for RIA-focused and Media-focused features. 

A number of months ago, I learned of a new opportunity that what right in my wheelhouse of consumer-focused digital media as a steward of user experiences in the Entertainment and Devices Division as Director of Product Planning for Ad-funded Experiences.  Looking back on the most personally rewarding times of my career so far, I’ve most enjoyed building teams that focus on the user experience, and deliver "free stuff" for consumers. One could argue my first attempt there was developing the original XP Digital Media Fun Pack and Powertoys, many of which included a small sponsorship message.  Following the acquisitions of aQuantive, ScreenTonic, and Massive Inc., it became clear to me where opportunity intersects with my personal interests.  Put another way, working on the Silverlight platform and seeing so many cool apps developed helped me to realize I missed having a hand in building consumer products myself.  It/s hard to leave the amazing leadership of Scott Guthrie, Soma and so many friends, but I’m not going far.

So what does the job involve?   It starts with working with many of the teams in Entertainment & Devices – Zune, Mobile, Xbox, and more to identify market opportunities where the consumer wins and brand advertisers get impressions.  This is a new area and we’re going to step lightly and take feedback as we did with over 10M enthusiasts on Xbox Live who regularly download free add-ons for their games – Map packs, cars, tracks, and even feature-length movies sponsored by brand-name companies like McDonald’s, Frito-Lay, Nissan, Ford, Nike, and many others.  The question is can we do the same thing for more media types and devices.  In a nutshell, that’s my job – to put the fun in ad-funded entertainment experiences.

And I’m hiring. More on that later πŸ™‚

7 responses to About my new gig

  1. 

    Congrats, sounds like a interesting roll. One request please consider international markets, all to often interesting services roll out for US only (like Internet TV in Media Center)

  2. 

    Nice to see the progression in your career at Microsoft, Sean. There’s no doubt that you’ll be a phenomenal leader in the Entertainment & Devices division. The potential for free ad-supported content through Microsoft’s various entertainment platforms seems huge. Best of luck!

  3. 

    Thanks for the kind words!

  4. 

    Great to finally get the low-down on what you’ve been up too lately! Congrats on the position and REALLY look forward to what you get out the door in the future πŸ™‚

  5. 

    Oha… I have one major wish which would make customers happy… add dvd streaming to the xbox360… specially if you have kids then you know the problem with scratched dvds…

    that would be nice.
    christian

  6. 

    … and not a bad "opening" with Advance08 πŸ˜‰

    Onwards and upwards….

  7. 

    Good luck in your new role, but don’t forget home automation (lights, locks, remote monitoring, etc), all from the comfort of my TV with a remote…