Satya Nadella, MicrosoftSatya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, makes a very expensive emcee. And given his keynote at last week's Envision conference, the man who made $18.3 million for the year ended June 30 (which works out to slightly more than $2,000 an hour), hardly earned his keep. He talked about the use of video bots to mediate electronic communication, but his function was primarily what I call "Playing the acts on and off the stage".

Convergence needed changing and a high-level business conference is a good idea. But as someone pointed out, senior executives had calendars set before Microsoft went public with plans for a new event. What was Microsoft thinking when it also yanked the rug out from under all the Convergence attendees and exhibitors with its last minute change?—probably just "We're Microsoft. This will work." It was strikes me that it was bad staff advice and planning that put the CEO in an uncomfortable spot. The highlight was Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, who discussed making financial services more affordable to the non-affluent. The closest Microsoft got to vision was the many fortune-tellers around New Orleans' Jackson Square. And we are still trying to figure out where the 6,000-plus attendees were. One exhibitor said there were no more than 3,000 main hall seats.  And those in the bleachers seemed to show up from nowhere at the last minute before Nadella started and poured out of the stands when Schulman appeared. Vendors heading for the exhibit floor? I was at a Windows rollout once where it seemed pretty clear Microsoft had prepped a bunch of people to show up and make noise. Anyway, "Hey, Microsoft, you've just held a disappointing conference, what do you plan to do next year?" "We're going to Los Angeles." Attendees just can't wait to tell their spouses and kids.

Last modified on Friday, 08 April 2016
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Bob Scott

Bob Scott has been informing and entertaining the mid-market financial software community with his email newsletters for 10 years. And he has been covering this market through print publications for 18 years, first as technology editor of Accounting Today and then as the Editor of Accounting Technology from 1997 through 2009. He has covered the traditional tax and accounting profession during the same time and continues to address that as executive editor of the Progressive Accountant.

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