Fortune Small Business writes about Microsoft dispatching anthropologists into the field to study small businesses.
Microsoft divides entrepreneurs into four broad groups, based on their degree of comfort with information technology. Each segment is represented by its own individual persona. At the Luddite end of the spectrum we find “Jerry,” a construction contractor for the past 20 years. Jerry is a lean, fortysomething white guy with close-cropped hair and a tight smile that may reflect his discomfort with computers (or with his new briefs.) Jerry uses e-mail because his customers demand it, but he’d rather just call them on the phone or meet up in person. He owns two elderly PCs, one for himself and another for his secretary. Jerry’s business is suffering from his lack of basic digital literacy. His secretary complains that her computer is slow, and Jerry is falling behind on billing and scheduling tasks.
At the opposite end of the tech spectrum, “William” maintains six brand-new PCs at his fast-growing financial services practice, all networked on a server. William is an owlish, amiable-looking accountant who bears a passing resemblance to the actor Bill Cosby. William organizes all his sales and marketing contacts in Business Contact Manager, and he employs a part-time IT whiz who prepares reports for him using Access, a Microsoft database application. But William still wants to boost his Internet presence and marketing capabilities in order to compete with local financial services chains.