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Cleanup on Aisle 7
Lessons from the Grocery, applied to Office
I don't know how you approach buying a new major item for your house. Some folks are quick-turn shoppers - make the decision to buy (this step is optional), head out to the electronics store, look around, and go home with something. Me, I like to do research.
My two biggest tips for shopping with OneNote (1) use the screen clipping tool and (2) print your online receipts to OneNote.
Last week, the Martha Stewart show featured Microsoft Word in a television segment about how to make personal holiday cards quickly and easily. As the product guy responsible for most of the Office apps, of course I was tickled by the fact that Word was going to be on TV. Word doesn't get much stage time, you understand.
I firmly believe that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. But I am always looking for ways to make doing it right, easier. So I fully employ AutoCorrect whenever I can to help me get it right with a minimum of effort. Just like we discussed last time, AutoCorrect is a handy feature to help you correct your frequent mistakes while your fingers are flying across the keyboard. It can even come in handy when you aren't making a mistake.
I recently received email from a customer who works for the National Institutes of Health, and she was getting ready to throw her machine, her desk, her monitor, and possibly even an unwitting co-worker or two out of the nearest window because of Word's insistance that she couldn't possibly mean to type "EHR" in a document. Clearly what she meant to type was "HER" and Word's AutoCorrect function has plenty of patience for left-hand-faster-than-right-hand letter juxtaposition. It will happily fix "ehr" to "her" all day long with nary a complaint.
Except she knew exactly what she was doing.
The point of this story is that technology can significantly lessen mistakes - if we choose to use it. English is a tricky language, trickier than typing on those 10-keys in the checkout lane. We know how to say "you're welcome" but we sometimes write "your welcome." We know the difference between trying to "loose" a knot and trying not to "lose" our car keys, but we sometimes type loose anyway.
Thankfully, Word can help you get it right, even if your fingers write it wrong.
The title of this blog, Cleanup on Aisle 7 (partly inspired by Mr. Mom) is actually something I never uttered in my time as a store employee. I did however perform many such cleanups. There is nothing like trying to use a mop and a bucket to clean up three jars of chunky tomato pasta sauce from a linoleum floor.
I plan to use this column to periodically feature some of my favorite tomato sauce spills on the web. If you are a writer, and you are not using Word, you are driving a shopping cart around the store haphazardly. You may hit the grapefruits or the jars of pasta sauce. If you do, I'll try not to stare at you as I grab the mop.
Last week we announced Office 365 - always-on productivity that spans your desktop and the cloud. I couldn't resist the urge to tell everyone what this means to me.
If Office is your productivity supermarket, then Office 365 is like a productivity superstore.
Living in Kansas, and especially learning to drive in Kansas, you gain a certain appreciation for open space. There were these "mile roads" - a perfect grid laid out across the prairie with one-mile squares primarily of farmland in between. You could tick off distances between towns on the mile roads. You could literally drive for hours and not see another vehicle on the road, short of maybe a tractor or a buggy.
In the last blog post we talked about Office as a supermarket. The features you use are not the same as your neighbor's. Seldom-used features are still extremely valuable to those that use them, and also for the option of using them when you need to. The same is true for roads.
Office is your productivity supermarket. Everything you could want for your productivity table is on the shelf. With all of the available functionality, we sometimes hear people say "I only use 20% of the features in Office." (That darn Pareto principle rears its ugly head.) Likely, that's actually not far from the truth. But you are shopping the same aisles as your neighbor, your colleague, your tax man. Each of you wants different things. And if the store didn't deliver in a pinch when you needed it most, you'd shop somewhere else.
I grew up a child of the grocery business. Now I'm at Microsoft. My perspectives on Office and product management are dramatically colored by my experiences seeing the retail world. Now I'm sharing those perspectives and experiences with you. My name is Chris. This is my story.