At first, when I read that Mark Penn would become responsible for strategy at Microsoft, I though this was crazy. I don’t know Mark Penn but I understand that he is brilliant if not a bit strange. But what would a 60 year old political advisor, that lives in Washington DC have to offer a technology company like Microsoft? Microsoft desperately needs to major strategic choices driven by changes in technology and customer behavior.
Then I realized that he was the perfect person. It is all about politics. It is about getting rid of Ballmer and Gates. So while the announcement from Microsoft said he would be looking at new product areas and M&A, we really know what he will be doing. It will not be easy for Mark to get rid of two of the worlds richest men, but I suspect he will find a way and make a lot of money in the process. This will have to happen pretty quickly because his next job will be running Hillary Clinton’s campaign. If that succeeds, maybe Mark will end up with a cabinet post.
Given Mark’s success, maybe we will be seeing a lot of political advisors and lobbyists looking for strategy jobs in tech. I am having fun in my mind matching CNN and MSNBC political advisors with tech companies.