By Bob Walsh
“Empowered” over at the Business of Software Forum today asked if micro-ISVs should join Microsoft’s Buddy Program – I feel so strongly that this is a Yes! I had to do this quick post.
Here’s how it works:

  • You get teamed up with a Microsoft Employee (not a contractor) based on a profile of interests you fill in. You can be as specific or general as you want – the wider the net, the more likely to get find a Buddy.
  • You talk with your Buddy at least once a month, or more, they help you.

Here’s what you get:

  • Your Microsoft Buddy can get you in touch with the right person or group within Microsoft, and because you’re working through a MS employee, you get to the front of the line.
  • Your Microsoft Buddy can get you access to information, vendor programs and more.
  • Depending on what your Buddy does for a living, they can mentor you in areas you need mentoring in. My Microsoft Buddy, Jason, has in his talks with me really helped me understand how marketing works. This person to person interaction is worth a dozen marketing books.

The price? It’s free.
If you’re worried about Microsoft “stealing your idea”: it’s up to you how much or how little you talk about specifics. Your Buddy is there to help, but not pry. What Microsoft gets out of the deal is twofold: If you fear and mistrust Microsoft, this experience is likely to change your opinion. And, Microsoft is such a world onto itself that having outside contact with ISVs (micro or not) breathes a little fresh air into Microsoft’s tightly sealed world.
You’ll find more info about the Microsoft Buddy Program here, and by the way, I go on at length about the program and interview the head of it in Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality.

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