Don Dodge is a business development and evangelist type for Microsoft as well as a respected technology blogger .
Device you would never give up?
My Motorola Q-Phone. It is my phone, my email, calendar, contacts, web browser, alarm, everything. I am a fanatic about responding to email quickly so my Smartphone keeps me sane.
Your Favorite Software Appli cation?
Microsoft Outlook. I live on email. I use Outlook online in the office, offline on the airplane, from a web browser on a public computer, and of course I get my email on my phone. Always connected wherever I am ... and it is always in synch so I don't need to read things twice.
Blog you read most frequently?
Lots. Blogs have replaced newspapers for me. I start with TechMeme for a good overview of what is happening. TechMeme also helps identify the hot stuff on TechCrunch, Scoble, Read/Write Web, GigaOm, and other big blogs. The big blogs generate too much content to read it all through RSS feeds, so I just cherry pick the good stuff from TechMeme.
There are other blogs that I read everyday...every post. These include Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, Paul Graham, Jeff Bussgang, Marc Andreessen, John Battelle, Mark Cuban, Henry Blodget, David Hornik, and Rick Segal. Basically they are all entrepreneurs or VCs...which is what I do. It is part of my job at Microsoft.
Social Media Tool you actually use?
LinkedIn and Facebook all the time. However, strangely, I only "friend" people I know, people I have worked with or met at conferences. On LinkedIn I have 746 connections. LinkedIn has been around longer and more business people tend to use it. On Facebook I have 261 friends...and hundreds of friend requests from people I don't know. I don't accept those. It is hard enough to stay current with all the friends and people I know. Scoble has accepted over 5,000 "friends" on Facebook. I don't really see the point in that.
Blogging ... I almost forgot ... is a form of social media too. I use Typepad hosted on their servers. I really enjoy blogging. It make me think clearly, makes me think deeper and more objectively, and satisfies my need to communicate.
Favorite Business Book(s)?
The Innovators Dilemma has lots of lessons. Crossing the Chasm was another fundamental lesson. The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun was insightful ... and fun to read. "It's Not The Big That Eat The Small ... It's The Fast That Eat The Slow" by Jennings and Haughton was a fun read too. Long title ... but the book was short and to the point.
USA Today. I travel a lot and the hotels all provide USA Today. Everything else I read online.
Person that inspires you?
Wow ... there are many. Steve Ballmer is an inspiration, and not just because I work for Microsoft. He is the hardest working, most passionate person I know. You would think that after 30 years at Microsoft and Billions in net worth he would just relax a little. No way. He comes to work every day inspired, passionate, and eager to learn more. He doesn't think he knows everything. He asks great questions, and you never see arrogance from him. Amazing guy.
Mark Cuban inspires me for many of the same reasons. Mark is passionate about everything he does. And he has done it all. He is a visionary who can see around corners. He has been successful in business, sports, entertainment, movies, and life. His blog is insightful, funny, and passionate. Look up passionate in the dictionary and you see pictures of Steve Ballmer and Mark Cuban.
Who Was Your Best Manager? Why?
I have been fortunate to work with lots of great people. Back in the early days at DEC (Digital Equipment) I worked closely with some amazing people like Jim Gray, Chuck Rozwat, Joanna Broder, Barry Rubinson, Peter Spiro, and many more. Chuck, Joanna, and Barry were my managers at various times, and they were the best. They believed in me, gave me big opportunities that I didn't deserve, and counseled me along the way. All of them are incredibly bright, passionate, and great at understanding people.
Your first "real" job?
Well, aside from summer jobs while I was in school, my first job was at a CPA firm in Portland Maine. I was a Business major, following in my father's footsteps. I got bored with accounting really fast. My switch over to technology came as a finance guy at DEC. I quickly moved from finance to product management, to business development, to actually managing an engineering group. But it all started with the basic understanding of business from my first job.
Where Do You Do Your Best Thinking?
Early in the morning in front of my computer. Writing email or writing my blog makes me think more clearly. I think I now understand song writers and musicians who say they just sit down and the words just come to them out of nowhere. Writing is like that for me. The words just flow ... and at the end it all kind of makes sense.
What Do You Most Value in Employees/Colleagues?
Passion, vision, hard work, and a great attitude. That is all it takes to be successful. I have been fortunate to work with hundreds of great people over the years. I have learned a lot from them ... and am still learning. When I stop learning, or stop having fun ... it is time to move on.
What I'd like to Be The World's Best at?
I would like to be the best basketball player or the best singer/songwriter, but that isn't going to happen. So, I would like to be the best friend to as many people as possible. At the end of the day, business and life is all about relationships. We can all help each other in some way. I get tremendous satisfaction out of helping people with all kinds of things. So, I would like to be the World's Best Friend!