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Niall Kennedy leaving Microsoft : Can large corps retain the visionaries?

August 8, 2006

Niall Kennedy, an evangelist for collaboration through the world of weblog publishing and content syndication, is leaving Microsoft.

Per his post, the reasons for joining Microsoft in April, that being to change the world via RSS by building an Internet-scale feed platform to power the experience of Microsoft’s hundreds of millions of users, are gone with Microsoft’s shifting of priorities on portions of its Windows Live initiative. Doesn’t appear Niall holds a grudge as to Microsoft. He just sees better funding and innovation outside the company as to those things he believes are important.

Same thing happened to me at LexisNexis. When my last company was acquired by them in 2001 I was appointed a VP of Business Development for LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. The vision was to empower lawyers serving consumers and small business people with cost effective Internet marketing tools. By providing lawyers a forum to share practical information and interact with clients and those who influenced clients, the power of the Internet could truly be harnessed.

In time, much longer than Niall’s 4 months, it was apparent that the early vision could not be as easily funded and delivered upon inside the company as it would be outside the company.

Took surviving a year’s non-compete and tinkering around in my garage to figure out that blogs and RSS were the new medium to empower lawyers with an effective Internet marketing tool. Though LexisNexis does some things well, the funding and innovation would never be there to build a team focused on personal publishing and content syndication.

Founding LexBlog (no affiliation with LexisNexis) has proved the answer. We may bootstrap through revenue based and debt financing but the funding is there. And even with what is becoming a highly competitive market, talented people looking for opportunities to change the world are out there.

This country, as it always has, continues to be driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses.

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