A Cowboy and a Statesman


During my first year as the Student Lifestyle Marketing Manager at Microsoft, I felt akin to a cowboy guiding a “wagon train in the stars” much like Captain Kirk. Here I was on the frontier, pioneering new types of marketing to a market often neglected by the people back at headquarters. I had autonomy to run campaigns as I saw fit, I was the only one out here, and there was plenty of open range left to pioneer. There was no one micro-managing, no one asking for structures and plans and meetings – it was all about getting the job done.

I worked so hard to network with everyone across Microsoft, to build relationships, to get Student marketing on the map, to get resources, that now a year later there is attention being paid, there are people focusing on it. Now there are at least 5 other people in student-oriented roles. Now there are people second-guessing decisions I made – people with their own ideas on how things should be marketed to students. And much of my job will now be building consensus. At once I feel both relieved that finally I have some help and support, and also peeved that I am no longer the only one out here on the open range – that the West has finally been won – and there are no sheriffs & laws to abide. It is no longer the era of the cowboy. It is the era of the statesman. It is the era of Picard.

As the Student audience-owner, I am contemplating a series of internal planning meetings to get all of these people in a room together. Much of my next month will be spent in endless planning meetings – a cage of my own making – coordinating and talking and planning rather than going out there and lassoing a customer with a good idea. My initial reaction is to resent these new people. To want to go back to the simpler days of being a cowboy. But then I remember that I built this cage for myself. I saw the importance of settling this frontier, and because of my work they sent out more and more wagon trains, and now I must be the statesman that I wanted to be. I must build consensus – something that I was always good at but had forgotten somewhere along the way.


Comic courtesy of Danny deBruin


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