Magic. You know…the old fashioned Abracadabra; Shazzam; Riddikulus…wand waving; wizardly-type magic. And no, despite the big global news about Harry Potter, he is not the subject of this note – but he will be as soon as I finish the book…
Rather, Bill Gates is my focus. The Bill Gates of Microsoft. The Bill Gates whose software sits on a billion plus computers around the world. But Magic is the topic.

Last week I had the opportunity to hear Bill address MGX, Microsoft Global Exchange, the yearly sales/marketing/evangelism conference that brings together some 12,000 Microsoft employees from all over the world, along with a few of their partners (we had a team of four – one of the largest partner groups invited), for three days of sharing, learning, bonding, team building, sheer unabashed cheerleading and occasionally, flashes of pure genius.

This year was particularly poignant as Bill enters his last active full-time year as chairman (they operate on a July to June fiscal), and this was his last address to this group and the forum he founded in that capacity.

Truth told, I heard him at a customer event a couple of months ago, and I was disappointed. He was on autopilot. He pandered for the sales force and gave a practiced, easy-to-swallow presentation that no doubt thrilled the potential customer – it was Bill Gates live after all, but had no great substance or message.

Needless to say – given my cynical bent – I was expecting more of the same.


That is how he began. Magic. He spoke about the magic of computers. The sheer unadulterated wonder of the digital world. Magic. He was a like a little kid re-telling the story of Harry Potter or Merlin or Aladdin for the first time. Magic.

After the wild ovation you could have heard a pin drop in the stadium. Had he whispered from the stage without amplification, he would have been heard.

His eyes lit up; he spoke softly in comparison to the hyped and hyper presentations of others, but we hung on every word. And he spoke about Magic.

About not taking for granted the marvels we see and use and about not limiting our imaginations to what has yet to come.

He presented and demonstrated a new technology that has already been released, but when demoed by him, took on new meaning and depth – check it out…

Bottom line he made me pause. He caused my cynical, jaded, seen-that-before veneer to crumble a bit and caused me to stop and think about our business as well.

We too are in the business of Magic, and clients still respond to the wonder of a brilliant insight and the marvel of an inspired idea. More importantly than our clients – their clients/customers/consumers/users/buyers – whatever – respond to Magic. And by Magic I mean magical ideas and executions.

All of which leads me to this quote from a great technology/futurist/visionary who had the innocence to believe in Magic…

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
~Arthur C. Clarke

Any sufficiently insightful idea and brilliant execution is indistinguishable from magic…

So think Harry Potter and start casting spells…

What does your inner wizard say????

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