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What Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition Teaches Us About Intrapreneurial Intensity

Microsoft’s move this week to buy LinkedIn offers a profound lesson most analysts lack the stamina to catch. On the surface it appears to be another potentially brilliant move in the chess game CEO Satya Nadella has been playing since he took the helm of Microsoft in 2014. You can see a transformed Microsoft emerging when you consider the assets they now have in play: a purely cloud-based Office 365, the most popular VoIP solution (Skype), two of the most active online gaming communities (Minecraft and Xbox/Halo), etc. The company looks radically different from the company that used an installed operating system to muscle companies into adopting its work productivity software. Now with LinkedIn, it buys itself a chance to move itself up from last place in the five-way race that now defines tech (Amazon v. Google v. Apple v. Facebook v. Microsoft).

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How To See Around The Corner

It is so easy to miss! When the future was lobbing softballs at you, you could hit the trends every time. But the future has upped its game. It’s throwing fastballs and curveballs now.

What software company would’ve thought five years ago that Amazon would be its biggest competitor in the cloud? What automobile manufacturer thought five years ago that a simple mobile app would force them to rethink their business?

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Why Lean Is Not Just For Startups

The world seems to have suddenly discovered a nirvana of agile prototyping. Some call it lean or lean start-up, some use human-centered design or design thinking, and you may even hear reference to agile or scrum. Whatever the name, the core message is the same: stop trying to build an idea (a business plan, product, marketing message) to perfection. Instead, conduct small experiments with your stakeholders to learn and improve.