Warning: I’m a newbie. Potentially, a blogger in a china shop. I’ve been reading blogs – lots of them – for a long time (two of my favorites are Seth Godin and Merlin Mann; both have made me better at what I do and helped me to have more fun doing it.) I’ve believed wholeheartedly in the idea of the “market as a conversation” from the first time my mother (of all people!) insisted I read Cluetrain yea those many years ago, but until now, I’ve never gathered the gumption to jump into that conversation. My name is Sheridan Jones, and I’m a Lead Marketing Manager in the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft. Pleased to meet you – let me pull up a chair and get comfortable.

 

About me: like Brad (and a number of others here in the MacBU), I started out at Apple Computer – I took a couple of years off of college and worked at Apple in Cork, Ireland, then finished school and moved to Orange County, CA to take on the music biz (a different sort of circus than Brad joined. I’ll refrain from references to clowns, but I did have lovely magenta hair in those days.) I started a company which was a one-stop shop for independent musicians, with a recording studio, mastering facility, and a graphic design department. Macs were our bread AND our butter.

 

Success (not wild IPO-VC-dot.com driven success, but small biz I-can-keep-the-lights-on-and-hire-more-people type success) meant that I had to pay more attention to the business side of things. That meant I spent more time in spreadsheets and business plans. In fact, a Word 5.1 business plan template helped me to expand, then sell, my business, and ultimately led me to Microsoft.

 

Around 1993 or so, I needed a bank loan to cover all the growing the business had done and had yet to do. The bank required a complete business plan; like any self-respecting entrepreneur, I had none. Luckily, Word came with templates that made the job of writing one a lot less onerous, and the final result a lot more credible. I got the loan, followed the plan to build the business, and filed away my appreciation for the Word team’s attention to detail in providing not only a good looking template, but sensible directions on how to write an effective business plan.

 

When the time came to look for fun new ways to contribute to this world (I’d unleashed as many ska and punk bands as I dared), I remembered what a difference our software had made to me as a small business owner, and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to build things that would help people to be more productive, more successful, more satisfied. When I think about Office for Mac, I think about people growing their first business, writing their first novel, crafting PowerPoint digital operas. I’m looking forward to this blog as a way to hear more about the amazing things people are doing with Office for Mac, to share some of my own home-grown templates and passion for productivity, and to jump into the conversation.