Link: Bill Gates, anthropologist?

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The NY Times (2005.06.25) has a short article about Bill Gates as potential anthropologist:

Bill Gates as Anthropologist

MARGARET MEAD. Louis Leakey. Bill Gates?

Grouping the founder of Microsoft among great anthropologists is not as strange as it first sounds, according to the current issue of Fortune Small Business.

In an effort to grow ever closer to its customers, Microsoft has hired numerous social scientists, including anthropologists, to help it understand the natives, who in this case are the small-business owners who use its software.

The research is part of Microsoft's effort to produce its Office Small Business Accounting software, although this approach to understanding customers would seem applicable not only for other Microsoft products, but also for just about every other company that sells a product.

Microsoft's idea behind going into the field to study customers is simple, as Richard McGill Murphy writes in the article "Getting to Know You": the better you understand how your customers work, the easier it becomes to design products and services to meet their needs.

And the more you understand where the market is heading, the easier it is to get there first.

Once upon a time, all Microsoft would have needed to do to understand the small-business market would be to look inside its own offices in Redmond, Wash. No more. Microsoft is now a company with $37 billion in annual sales and 57,000 employees, and so the need to hire anthropologists.

Maybe Harrison Ford can play Mr. Gates in the movie.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on July 3, 2005 10:53 PM.

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