2. Taking Audiences Seriously

For Barry Mike it was a defining moment. He was a youngish chief speechwriter for the world’s second-largest computer company, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Only IBM was bigger. It was 1992, the era of mainframe computers, and hardware companies were on top of the world. For the moment.

But a rising force in the computer business was a software company run by a dynamic young leader. Microsoft was beginning to flex its muscles, and key to its success would be persuading those who ran computer networks in big companies and governments to prefer Microsoft’s operating system and computer applications over more corporate-focused rivals’. It wasn’t an easy sell. Most companies’ centralized computer systems and data ...

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