Complexity Personified: International Standards Negotiations from a Microsoft Manager’s Perspective

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Complexity Personified: International Standards Negotiations from a Microsoft Manager’s Perspective

On April 3, 2013, the Program on Negotiation hosted Jason Matusow, General Manager of International Standards at Microsoft, for a lunch seminar. His talk, titled “Complexity Personified: International Standards Negotiations from a Microsoft Manager’s Perspective,” covered the myriad of challenges that can arise when managing both negotiators and negotiations in international business settings. Matusow spoke from the perspective of someone working in the technology field, but a discussion following the lecture broadened the discourse to include environmental businesses and airlines. Joining Matusow in the discussion were Lawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT, and Samuel “Mooly” Dinnar, Director of Negotiation at MWI. The stimulating panel conversation was moderated by Joshua Weiss, Managing Director of the Abraham’s Path Initiative and Co-Founder of the Global Negotiation Initiative at the Harvard Negotiation Project.

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Lecture Prospectus:

Industrial standards are a fundamental underpinning of modern commerce. A standard is a specification that describes a specific technology, process or practice in such a way that many parties can implement it and thus create a consistency of behavior or performance. Standards are mechanisms for creating markets and leveling playing fields—there are standards for everything from food safety to bungee cords. In the technology world, standards are legion, with tens of thousands of standards that cover communications, security, management practices and an endless scope of other domains.

To create technology standards, issue experts gather in fora designed to encourage and enable the contribution of ideas and the collaboration necessary to produce complex engineering documents. For the engineers involved, the art of negotiation is at the heart of their ability to succeed in producing a standard that represents the interests of their employer or particular technology adoption requirement. There is no such thing as an accidental standard; all participants are invested in the process and must act within the context of a highly complex set of rules and cultural norms. Multi-party, coalition-driven negotiations with substantial power asymmetries are the norm rather than the exception.

Microsoft’s General Manager of International Standards, Jason Matusow, will present his view of the dynamics of technology standards creation and what it means to lead a team of professional technology diplomats who focus on the 100+ country international standards environment. Mr. Matusow’s team is globally distributed and engaged in a broad spectrum of technology subjects such as cloud computing and cyber security. The discussion will focus on the practical implications of negotiation skills and practices that have a direct impact on the results of his team’s work.


About the Speaker:

Jason Matusow is responsible for a globally distributed team of National and Regional Standards Officers who represent Microsoft as members of international standards organizations.

Since 2005, Matusow has been a leading strategist on the broad spectrum of issues that make up Microsoft’s global commitment to standards and interoperability. He focuses on topics that span technology, public policy, and business strategy. He works closely with product teams and the executive staff of Microsoft as the company continues to address all facets of interoperability. He also maintains extensive contacts throughout the software industry and academia to facilitate the flow of ideas and information between Microsoft and others as the global community continues to wrestle with the implications of new business, development, and legal models.

He has been in the software industry since the early 1990s. During his tenure at Microsoft, he has had roles involved in enterprise infrastructure software, the Year 2000, information security and open source software. Before joining Microsoft in 1995, he co-founded a PC and networking business. Matusow is a graduate of Boston University. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children.

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