On Feb. 20, 2013, Bellevue College and BC’s Business Leadership Club, who sponsored this talk, welcomed Mike Koenig, a product unit manager from Microsoft, to campus. Room C-130 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. was packed to the brim; there were literally individuals streaming in and out of the presentation the whole time it was running and there were not close to enough seats. The Business Leadership Club’s events draw 800 to 2500 students annually. Koenig came to BC to share a little bit about his job and how he had got there along with educating the audience on many business strategies and methods.
One of the main topics Koenig touched on was, of course, Microsoft. Worldwide, Microsoft only employs 97,000 people, which is not that great of a number for such a monster of a corporation. Koenig introduced their products such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and spoke of how they made these products available to all countries and in 53 different languages.
Koenig also brought forth the issues that Microsoft had experienced over the years, claiming that everybody makes mistakes. He explained how a day after Microsoft released Windows 95, a big problem with the product was discovered. This problem was that not all countries agreed on borders and who owned what land, so there was a problem with the way the time zones and dates worked for those who had received the new software. For example, some countries would display time as 1:30, but others display it as 1.30. It was a big problem on their part.
One major part of working at Microsoft, Koenig explained, is being able to update all software to understand all dates and times so that it is user-friendly. Not only are times and dates applicable to different countries, but how they write their numbers also varies. The software also has to be able to understand this as well. For example, Asian countries have something Microsoft calls “The Letter 10.” What this means, is that for the numbers zero to nine it is written in numerals, but the number 10 is categorized as a letter. This is yet another thing that the software has to be able to recognize.
Another portion of Koenig’s presentation focused on a business method called the Take Share and Growth Share method. The example that Koenig used was Hello Kitty. Two years after the creation of Hello Kitty in 1976, they multiplied their profit by seven times. They did this by taking the fan base of other characters like Snoopy and making it their fan base. From here, they did nothing but grow in shares. After being a popular character for some time, Hello Kitty was given a Global Licensing Model, giving everybody the right to design whatever they wanted with Hello Kitty on it. From this, the company who owned Hello Kitty made money from all those capitalizing on the character.
Vicky Xuu, a BC student, stated, “The Hello Kitty example was my favorite part of the whole lecture. I love Hello Kitty!”
The lecture caught ahold of many BC students’ minds, including Rachid Boudadem, who said, “My favorite part of the lecture was just him talking about how he got the job and his job in general. When he was young he didn’t know he’d end up here, so it was his destiny that he got this job.”
“Microsoft is very good at thinking about the world at a global perspective,” Koenig said, closing the lecture.