Friday, September 03, 2004

Dangerous Transitions

Good OOF and back in town catching up on the news: good grief! Big changes that a lot of us saw inevitable for Longhorn. Furthermore, an interesting movement to detangle future client development from previous blind adherence to all things CLR / .NET.

Anyway, Technorati'ing came up with Danger ous Thoughts on articulate.babble.  Super well written.  An interesting snippet:

Microsoft should do some big layoffs right away rather than small benefit cuts here and there.

The reason is about the quality of people who will stay in the former situation versus the latter. When a company like Microsoft starts signalling its intention to scale back employee benefits, it is a green light for its good and great employees to go seek out the new hotness.

Right after I read that, I saw via Dare's Transitions post that Joe Beda is leaving Microsoft for Google.  So totally inline with Dangerous Thoughts. Joe's post explaining this is appropriately named Microsoft-- ; Google++. But realize the real fun is in the comments in most of these posts - In Joe's you have the discussion back to Dangerous Thoughts and its strong direct relevance to what's happening REAL TIME.  Joe posts in Dare's Transitions comments and Dare makes some insightful comments about the folks primed and ready for attrition.

Attrition. There's Good Attrition. This was "Bad Attrition." I'm holding to my guns and saying right now I'll take any attrition that leads to a smaller company.  A lot of Bad Attrition variety eventually leads to "We had to destroy the village to save it" results for what remains of Microsoft.  When enough A quality people leave you start starving those left behind without strong technical leadership and innovation. Then when products and features are cancelled and folks bring up the internal career site they discover that the lack of innovation has resulted in: dang, there's no where to go.  Oh crap, there's no where to go!  Hey, what's this pink-slip thingie?

This is reaching a smaller company through a regressive set of results similar to, oh, frost-bite amputation.  Much damn better right here and now to say: we have some of the absolute smartest, passionate, talented software people in the world.  We value them. We value them more than Google or any other damn company.  This can be an excellent environment for them to excel in, with changes.  Scale back in mediocre intentions and product and, most importantly, staff.  Get into 2005 with 10% less people.  To those in this small Microsoft: tell them, "You are the best.  We're getting out of your way and letting you rip.  Go make fantastic products that will innovate and make us all tons of cash."


Anonymous said...

One downside to bringing out the axe--the good people hear the axe grinding, too, and often have no desire to hand around and get splattered with the blood.

Anonymous said...

I complete agree with idea of minimsft, keep it lean & hungry, now msft is gaining too much fat.

Anonymous said...

I guessed MS is doing it slowly. You can already see it at You can see MS in the list from time to time.

I think this is a good approach, not to freak out everyone. Besides, by bringing the axe - how do you know whom to layoff? The newly grads? The 3.0 in core product group? There's no full-proof way to do this.

I know this could mean a jump in MS stock price for short term - because Wall Street likes layoff but it won't be positive as more employees will start applying somewhere else fearing they are next on the list.

What would that do to the property market IF they are suddenly 3000 high-tech worker without job??