Ballmer at VC Summit

Dan''l Lewin kicked off Microsoft's Annual Venture Capital Summit at our campus in Mountain View, CA today. Dan'l spoke about the Strategic and Emerging Business Team (SEBT), our Innovation Centers worldwide and our work with Students with programs like Imagine Cup and DreamSpark. The Microsoft Startup Accelerator Program is one that the SEBT launched in Oct 2007. The program touts 161 companies worldwide, over $100m in software licenses granted, about 2100 hours in workshops in 80 Architectural Guidance sessions and 107 industry events.

The main attraction was of course, Ballmer. I loved it that Ballmer was communicating in "valley speak". He emphasized heavily on Cloud Computing, Mobile, Online Advertising, and "Consumer this and Consumer that"... Ballmer started off by discussing how he thinks the bar is set really high for us - that people always expect something different, something new and something innovative. But he believes in this natural steady progression to a Software + Services world.

(stating the obvious a bit) Ballmer is a seasoned veteran, the CEO of one of the most popular countries in the world - that said, I was looking for "sound-bites" accompanied with words of wisdom. Here's what I caught:

  • People screw up more by giving up than doubling-down.
  • Build from the present and embrace the future.
  • The Mobile market is where the PC market was back in 1984-85.
  • The PC market is growing in double-digits.
  • (in reference to Windows Mobile and the Mobile strategy) How do you provide choice without compromise?
  • (in reference to the state of the economy) "... feels like technology and telecom may be living in a different world from the CNBC crowd"

I liked that he was really having an open dialogue, and posed many rhetorical questions that would raise eyebrows. That said, I think a lot of the questions he raised will get answered at PDC this year. Who's going?