​Nihao, Namaste, Konnichiwa, & Sawatdee Ka, MPN Partner Community! My name is Caroline Goles, and I have the good fortune to be the Partner Strategy & Programs Lead for the Asia Time Zone, covering India, China, Japan and our Asia Pacific Region. This is the first of, what I hope will be, a series of posts sharing noteworthy events, trends and joint successes of the Microsoft team and our partners in Asia, and a few bits and bobs about my peripatetic travels about the region.

"May you live all the days of your life." After a month in flight & on the road, driving workshops with partners and our teams across the region, I took a weekend visit to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal. As a traveler and avid collector of experience, I was excited to see the Taj Mahal and delighted at the notion of ticking off yet another of the World Heritage Sites.  If you’ve not been, the Taj Mahal defies explanation and is one of the few sites in the world that even the most experienced adventurer will admit to the Taj exceeding his/her expectations. It is ethereal and shape-shifting, seeming to float above the frenetic metropolis below, and evolves in size, shape and color at even the slightest shift of vantage.  It is a truly magical place and a restorative tonic for a road-weary business traveler.
The story of the founding and construction of the Taj Mahal is quite an inspirational tale. Built from love and grief, by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, as an eternal monument to his beloved wife, it is a marvel of architecture. It is an architectural feat,​​ a masterful blending of the best styles of the time – Indian, Persian, Ottoman.  The Taj was constructed using materials from all over India, Asia and Europe.  The translucent white marble for which it is famed, was brought from Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, and the ethereal jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from sourced Tibet, the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, sapphire from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. For the onyx, the architect sourced all the way to modern day Belgium to ensure he had the best in the world. It took over 21 years to complete, 1,000 elephants to transport the materials and thousands of men to bring it to life. Shah Jahan would not settle for what was close to hand to deliver on his dreams.
Remarking on this amazing accomplishment, it occurred to me how relevant the story of the Taj is to our world today. The Mughal had a vision that no one thought could be achieved, much like many leading our industry today. To deliver on his dream, he was forced to go beyond borders for the necessary people and resources. The Mughal was a global entrepreneur, in a time when dallying with one’s boundaries was fraught with intrigue and risk, not to mention the frustration arising from the lack global logistics. Given the challenges of our modern global commerce, I find this measure of boldness and determination more than a little inspiring. The emperor and his architect had to invent new models and processes to achieve the elaborate construct. The construction of the Taj Mahal conveyed one of the first global networks and introduced a new way of doing business that set a new standard.
Today’s hyperglobal world, where amorphous borders & emerging technologies rapidly increase the scale of competition, has compelled us all to evaluate our businesses. Technologies like Kinect, the emerging interactive social fabric, and new cloud solutions offer great opportunities to those who dare to dream. To deliver, one mustn’t settle for common stock, but demand the best resources the world has to offer. In today’s global economy, successful businesses will source the best talent from across the globe, stitch together business networks that span borders and construct business models that delight customers across the globe.  
What is your dream for your business? If you are drafting a new blueprint, investing in a new solution, or expanding into new markets, think like Shah Jahan – go global and go big. And, to source the materials or inspiration for your dreams, I can think of no better marketplace than the global village that assembles once a year at Worldwide Partner Conference. Partners big and small, spanning every business sector and technology solution, from 32 countries across the globe will assemble in Toronto this year to network, dream and define new strategies for success. We, at Microsoft, are delighted to host this worldwide exchange and honored to help support the business dreams of 640,000 partners across the globe.  I look forward to seeing you in Toronto.
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