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Spring 2001

Vol. 01, No. 2


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Doug Burgum



Doug Burgum is a senior vice president at Microsoft and president of the Microsoft Great Plains division in Fargo. He joined Great Plains in March 1983 and was named president in 1984. Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions was created through Microsoft's April 2001 acquisition of Great Plains.

Among many honors, Burgum has been named to Accounting Today magazine's The Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting list for the past five years.

A native of Arthur, N.D., he earned his bachelor of university studies degree from North Dakota State University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from NDSU.

I'm from a family of great cooks.

I am a very eclectic reader. I got stuck in the airport on Monday and read an entire book on Feng Shui. I've read a lot about explorers and great adventurers because I've been on a journey theme for quite a few years. Life's a journey and business is a journey and we need to think about the journey.

We need to have a purpose far beyond making money. There's intrinsic value in building great products. In software it's a combination of art and engineering.

I got some good lessons growing up from my dad out there in farm country. You learn early on you can't control the weather, you can't control commodity prices, and those are the two major determinants of your family's income.

You can spend, as a leader, 15 hours a day and 7 days a week trying to control people or you can spend a few hours a day trying to inspire people.

I probably have a running head start on most people my age because of my mom, understanding the challenge of being a working mother from having a working mother.

It's easy to get up and come to work every day if you really see yourself as helping to make other people's dreams come true.

I think there are a lot of great examples in history where ordinary people come together and do extraordinary things.

I truly believe that we're at the beginning of a very transformational time for the planet. We're at the beginning of a transformational time in terms of our industry because of these underlying foundational changes that keep happening with computers and communication.

Ideas are not limited by geography. Great ideas can come from anywhere.

If you have an ability to dream of stuff that's never happened before, that's a really good skill to have.

There's a lot of capacity in the economic system for people to create new and interesting things that can improve the lives of lots of people and improve life on this planet. I think the next century's going to be a very interesting time. There are times when I wish I was younger because I think it's going to be fascinating.

People have a chance to reshape even some of the basic assumptions that have guided the planet for all of its history, or really have a chance for the first time ever to be questioned in a different way.

All of economic theory didn't count on the fact that you can just make more chips.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.