Thursday, September 22, 2005

Microsoft Company Meeting 2005

(Updated: reposted with Post-Company Meeting immediate reactions.)

Pre Company Meeting

So I'm getting ready for the Microsoft Company Meeting, ready to get to campus early and jump on a bus and get my morning box lunch, feeling deep sympathy for all the admins who get to SafeCo field sometime after 7:00 am to guard spots for their groups.

Do something nice for your admin this next week. And if you're smart, do something nice for your admin every week.

So in your dream Company Meeting, what would you like to see? Here, I'll share a few:

Dates: I said it once, I'll say it again: I want some dates for all of these innovations stuffing our pipeline. But wait, aren't date-based releases bad? Look, Vista was no longer about being a feature-based release after the Longhorn Reset. If it's not making the date, it's got a "Cut!" fate. Plus, our customer pay us good money to license our software and we need to give them value for actually getting around to shipping something on occasion.

Review System Overhaul: we announce that the "rank and yank" stack rank review system and The Curve is a thing of the past, where it belongs in the industrial era. For 2006, we'll have a new, fair, review and compensation system that is appropriate for a 21st century company that endeavors to hire the best, smartest, "A+" people. (I said endeavors.)

Management Flattening: as part of the reorganization, each of the three new businesses were taking on the mandate to flatten their organizations to reduce bureaucratic middle management and get the decision makers close to the front-line contributors.

Mea-Frickin-Culpa: no, it's not always been this way. No, it's not just that we have a culture of criticism. Yes, something has reached a critical stage where the best of Microsoft is peeling away from the company, some severely disillusioned with what a lumbering, slow beast it has become. All I'd be happy to hear is, "There is something wrong. We know what it is (tell us). We're going to fix it and here is how."

Dissent: No, I have no grand plans of organized dissent. How many dissenters are even out there? Fifty? One-hundred and fifty? A few thousand? Beats me. All I can say is don't clap if you don't want to, throw in a boo or a hiss. If something outrageously false is said, kick in with a "eeeeenk!" wrong buzzer. I guess that's my dream: when all the bogus claims of success and everything being alright is echoed through SafeCo field, the audience goes "eeeeenk!"

Post Company Meeting

One word: Wow!

Short phrase: I think our customers are going to be delighted silly this coming year!

Wishes:

  • Investors realize that we can ship and what we are shipping is well worth investing in Microsoft. It's their way of saying, "More, please!"
  • We never forget that a lot of what we're shipping is a year or even years late and commit to never letting this happen again.

I love Microsoft and I especially love the Company Meeting. I am so thankful that it's back and hopefully will happen again every year. Any vestiges of doubt or ennui get blown away once you actually see what we are on the verge of shipping. My only worry now is that we're shipping so much that some really good stuff is going to die on the vine out of lack of attention.

As for my wishes above: zip. We have Vista's ship-ish date as: before the end of next year. There was a slide showing all the software being shipped this next year, and both Vista and Office 12 were emblazoned with "Beta." Beta than nothing.

There were lots of good words from Lisa and from Steve about adjusting and what to focus on (e.g., finding your own personal mid-year review that you can do without). Good words. Actions, of course, speak louder. However, those good words can be used to your advantage to cleave through useless process and meetings and to focus on the customer and on the code.

The software looks fantastic in my opinion and I was pretty impressed that given how much they showed not much at all went wrong (the main thing that seemed problematic was Steve's clicker to advance the PPT slidedeck). The XBox 360 makes my heart beat fast and my fingers quiver. And I understand it plays games, too.

I'm probably going to stop posting here for a while just so that I can start writing my own gadgets for Start.com and look forward to them working with Vista. I'm energized and cautiously optimistic.

And I hope all the folks who do the real work of Microsoft are energized, too, and feel empowered to start managing up and kicking bureaucracy's butt around the building and to focus where we can have the best impact. We don't ship process. We don't get "Ship Its" for process. We ship software products. If whatever you're doing or required to do isn't focused on that, it can go join the old mid-year review on the junk pile. But it's up to you to start heading it towards that junk pile.

(FYI: I'm preparing for some OOF-age so updates here might be on the light-side.)

Your Wishes and Reactions?

What do you hope happens at the Company Meeting? What are your post Company Meeting thoughts?

257 comments:

1 – 200 of 257   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

This management flattening - does it include canning 80% of the PMs and converting the rest to report to devs?

Anonymous said...

one team was told not to attend and to focus on working instead. after negative feedback, the VP changed his mind. but employees were still encouraged to keep working.

Anonymous said...

I want to see something other than corporate cheerleeding. For the sweet love of god, don't let SteveB jump around and yell; that shit might get salespeople fired up but for your average introverted dev it does nothing but promote ennui.

I want to see BillG outline an overarching technical vision for Microsoft. How do we align all the product teams to produce amazing products quickly? How do we remove the molasses surrounding every step of the development process in every part of the org? How do we eliminate the intractable web of dependencies so we can get some software out the door?

I'd love to see somebody stand up on stage and say, "we're having a tough time with morale, and our stock price sucks, but we're making a billion dollars a month. Something is broken and we can fix it, and we are committed to fixing it."

I would truly love to see somebody mention Mini on stage.

While I'm wishing, maybe every employee will get a pony.

Anonymous said...

As long as the upper level gets millions in bonuses while we don't even get enough for the gas increase and inflation, lemme tell ya that we aren't joining the death march.

Work the minimum possible not to get fired.
Surf more, ship nevah!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Dream announcements in the Company Meeting:
Dates!. Yes, I want dates, too!
Reorgs. Ballmer says the reorgs will not affect the P&Ls and how we report out. I think it should. I've seen some downstream reorg announcements in my division. This should be interesting...
New review system. To the heck with the bell curve.
And last but not least To the heck with Siebel!

Anonymous said...

Do something nice for your admin this next week. And if you're smart, do something nice for your admin every week.

You're a class act Mini and continue to impress me fwiw.

Plus, our customer pay us good money to license our software and we need to give them value for actually getting around to shipping something on occasion

Well said. Unearned revenue was given with the expectation of some deliverable - not to help MSFT smooth revenue recognition or fund its emerging businesses.

WRT the company meeting, I'm a shareholder. But if asked, I'd echo yours and add:

1) stock chart (you know, the one that used to be the highlight of the company/analyst/shareholder meeting and is now in storage somewhere getting dusty?. Put it up, acknowledge what a freakin disaster it's been (all Ballmer bs aside), and commit to being able to hold it up next year only with pride for a change. Even if that isn't accomplished, at least putting the chart up is a reminder and keeps the goal front and center

2) org chart. Put it up and commit to employees that they'll reduce one complete mgt level standing between regular employees and Ballmer himself by the next company meeting. And yes, I guess that means some of those 100+ VPs will actually have to go.

3) real scorecard. Put it up for each business unit showing key performance metrics vs main competitors not aggregated $ or % growth rates w/o context. For example, touting 22% MSN ad growth is meaningless when in reality both GOOG, YHOO and the market itself grew between 50-100%. Ditto Mobile's figures when in fact Sybian cleaned their clock this past year. Part of fixing a problem is correctly identifying where you're at and with this scorecard, there'd be no room for groups to fudge/hide. If you're kicking butt and taking names, you can put up your numbers with pride. If you're failing miserably to even maintain share far less grow it, there's no place to fudge or hide and you get to explain to 20-30K of your fellow emps why you f'd up and what you're going to do about it - or why you're leaving. BTW, where the competition is MSFT's own earlier products, show a metric for % of the base pentrated and % deployed (vs just $ or YOY sales growth). Pretty quickly, groups won't be able to hide behind the "tough comps" argument when it's obvious their penetration and deployment figures are a fraction of the base's potential. Maybe then, they'll have to actually figure out why and either build more compelling products and/or market them more effectively.

4) clean earnings calls. Commit to actually completing one earnings call w/o either a) missing top or bottom line growth numbers or both b)reporting the numbers in such way that analysts are confused for hours about whether you met/beat/missed c) turning the entire Q&A into one long excuse-fest punctuated with liberal sprinklings of the "tough comps" argument above or d)cancelling whatever small amount of good news is actually in the report by guiding down for the next Q, year, whathaveyou or otherwise leaving the audience with more concern about the future than when the call started.

fCh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fCh said...

From all incentive systems I've known, for large organizations, I had come to respect the most the one employed by McKinsey.

Consultants (at lower levels) rate their next-level-up manager/mentor anonimously, and are being rated by their manager. There is assumed flexibility for a junior consultant from a mentor to another. This inter-rating mechanism keeps most bastards honest, and people do actually get useful feedback for improvement.

For how long has this incentive system been in place at McKinsey? For as long as anybody at the Company remembers!

Now, incentive theory is really a chapter in the science of economics. Have you wondered why when you get in a cab, it starts with a few dollars on the meter as the driver turns the engine on? Relative to the cost per mile, the starting-fee is not trivial! They make it so a driver gets enough from such starting-fees that he's got an incentive not to drive you on the longest route to destination...

Enough said for the moment. Cheers, fCh Brain for Hire

Anonymous said...

I thought the meeting was OK. Luckily the weather wasn't freezing. I appreciated the fact that Ballmer addressed the dissent in the company, but I thought his answer was just more of the same corporate-speak. Obviously no firm dates given but what do you expect. And what was up with that one woman from "Microsoft Idol".

Anonymous said...

*snort* I love the time-travelling anonymous comment about that talks about the meeting in the past tense, 8 hours before it started. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know, everyone hates the review model.

Hey Mini-MSFT, put up or shut up time: what would you rather see? Don't hand-wave, don't talk about broad ideals like "make it fairer", no goofy peer-review sort of thing (you think there's politics NOW? hoo boy). Give me specifics. What SPECIFICALLY should we have instead of the current review model?

Anonymous said...

hey you might like to check out this post titled Dear Mr Gates, A suggestion to make the CLR Ubiquitous. it has nothing to do with the reorg etc. but the suggestion made there looks kinda cool. maybe it even needs a seperate article to discuss it on mini.

Anonymous said...

Over the last 3 days, the folks on my team have had a ton of interesting hallway and cafe conversations about "the curve" and overall MSFT comp and what changes we'd make if we were SteveB. After a lot of discussing, identifying problems, objectiions, complaints, etc. But we've pretty much failed to come up with anything that any of us is excited about as a replacement. Has anyone else been having similar conversations and come up with something interesting? S

o far the best we've come up with is 1.) Creating real transparency (where everyone knows how the system really works and it's openly discussed) 2.) Pushing managers to do a better job of objectively evalutating performance. 3.) Making it easy to fire low performers so that the 6.5% can myth can become reality.

Would love to hear what other people/teams are thinking.

Anonymous said...

re: your Mea-Frickin-Culpa: Yes, we do know the problem. We're too big. But I guess that's your whole premise, isn't it.

Seriously, this is an intractable problem as long as we stay as large as we are. I was in IBM while Akers was considering breaking up the company. Gerstner reversed that strategy. He wrote in "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?" that integration was IBM's most valuable asset. While I see the argument from a field perspective, in Microsoft's case, it's giving us a real case of "hardening of the arteries".

And yet I remain optimistic. It's always darkest before the dawn.

Signed, anonymous MSFTie with a WHI of 87.

Anonymous said...

I really like this blog. I used to work at MS but left and now I can see how other companies can compensate their employees on a fairer system (yes, I said fairer which translates to me being happier, more productive, and experiencing fewer God awful managers who couldn't give a damn). Someone should look into what else is out there and do a comparison and talk about it, it can't be that hard. I for one am very happy I left and am fully engaged and inspired where I'm at. Take care Mini. It's so refreshing to have read the BusinessWeek articles over the weekend and to hear how you're making them sit up and listen, at least a little. But I do suspect some of you may be suffering Stockholme Syndrome...

Anonymous said...

The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological state in which the victims of a kidnapping, or persons detained against their free will – prisoners – develop a relationship with their captor(s). This solidarity can sometimes become a real complicity, with prisoners actually helping the captors to achieve their goals or to escape police.

The syndrome develops out of the victim's attempts to relate to his or her captor or gain the kidnapper's sympathy.

The syndrome is named after the famous Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm which lasted from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims kept on defending their captors even after their six-day physical detention was over. They showed a reticent behaviour in the following legal procedures. The term was coined by the criminologist and psychologist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast. It was then picked up by many psychologists worldwide.

Other famous cases include those of airplane hostages and kidnapped people, such as Patty Hearst and Elizabeth Smart. After having been a hostage of a politically engaged military organisation (the Symbionese Liberation Army), Patty Hearst joined the group taking part in a bankrobbery. She did not recover for several months after she was arrested with some of her captors. The syndrome is related to bride capture and similar topics in cultural anthropology.

Natural selection has left us with psychological responses to capture as seen in the Kreditbanken robbery and the Patty Hearst kidnapping. Capture-bonding or social reorientation when captured from one warring tribe to another was an essential survival trait (especially for women) for at least a million years. Those who so reoriented often became our ancestors. Those who did not were often killed.

When captured and escape is not possible, giving up short of dying and adjusting to the new is good for genetic survival. Over evolutionary times genes would become more common if the genes built brains/minds able to dump previous emotional attachments when captured and forge new social bonds to the captors.

An evolutionary psychology explanation for Stockholm syndrome stresses the fact that our ancestors are those who gave up and joined the tribe that had captured them (and sometimes had killed most of their relatives). This selection of our ancestors accounts for the extreme forms of capture-bonding seen in the Kreditbanken robbery and the Patty Hearst capture/abuse.

Capture-bonding as an powerful evolved psychological trait in humans may account for the bonding in military basic training ("training is a mildly traumatic experience intended to produce a bond"), sexual bondage practices and fraternity hazing as well as battered wife syndrome, where beatings and abuse are observed to generate seemingly paradoxical bonds between the victim and the abuser.

Anonymous said...

o far the best we've come up with is 1.) Creating real transparency (where everyone knows how the system really works and it's openly discussed) 2.) Pushing managers to do a better job of objectively evalutating performance. 3.) Making it easy to fire low performers so that the 6.5% can myth can become reality

This presumes that you can spot a low performer. Most of the low performers are middle managers in our group, but they manage well upwards and fit the curve to the subordinates.

oadfji said...

Part of me wishes I could see myself back at MSFT company meeting, drinking free beer, and yet part of me realizes I have to move on. That MSFT of the 1990's we all hear about is part of a past that is fast becoming un-re-obtainable.

Yes, there still may be some viable products that make a lot of money for the next 5 to 10 years, and those will be good teams to work for. Otherwise, I can only feel sorry for those who have been or will be out-sourced over the years.

However, I'm really happier using open source GNU/Linux. Having to deal with software licenses, let alone pay money for them, is a completely unproductive use of my time. I'm far more productive using open-source now than ever before.

Anonymous said...

"So in your dream Company Meeting, what would you like to see?"

How about pink slips for every snr exec who's been selling this stock hand over fist while cutting back on supposed corporate extravagances like towels and telling us to be more bullish? That would also accomplish your flattening obj since it includes virtually everyone at the VP level and above. Oh well, guess we wouldn't have anyone to run those three new units either? Hmmm...here's a thought...how bout we hire people into the snr most roles who actually believe in the future and the stock as evidenced by their holding it for more than 1 quarter?

Anonymous said...

Dear fellow minis,

I really love this blog and I am a huge fan of the "Mini" himself. But please quit with the constant field sales bashing,e.g - that shit might get salespeople fired up but for your average introverted dev it does nothing but promote ennui.

We both love and fear for the company just like you do.

Signed,

Longtime EPG account rep (lowest of the low but I have served one of our biggest customers for 7 years and beleive me the software you develop (a) isn't easy to sell and (b) it's a total b***tch to deploy across an enterprise.

fCh said...

Sometimes, it takes an "EPG account rep" to see the gap between the coolest/innovative ideas and happy customers--some people call it "process." Other times, nothing does the trick but a higher stock-price.

Thinking more about the review process at MSFT, it looks like it encourages massive politicking due to its one-sidedness. I would be surprised if, in fact, there have not been executive drives to streamline middle management and increase accountability. But hey, everyone has got a friend, with a lower IQ, whom can be turned into a power base through the one-sided review process. In other words, a bad process may be as costly as no process...

Cheers, fCh http://chircu.com

Anonymous said...

Let me double super-emphasize the request above "Yes, I know, everyone hates the review model. Hey Mini-MSFT, put up or shut up time: what would you rather see?" It's easy to complain about the system but what would be better? People have talked about rewarding entire teams...that is so crack-addled that I can't even begin to laugh at it. OK can we just try to imagine what that would be like...you think people get upset now when executives mess up, imagine if an executive failure also tubed the reviews for the whole team, hoo boy.

Anonymous said...

Thinking more about the review process at MSFT, it looks like it encourages massive politicking due to its one-sidedness.

I saw two broad types of responses when I was there (left 01). The first was people who just focused on doing a great job and let the review system take care of itself. If they were excellent performers, it by and large did - although they rarely maxed out. If they were just good, it got dicey. Then there was a group (at that time more often the folks who'd be around longer)who figured they'd gamed the system through tenure and relationships. So rather than do much of anything that they were supposed to, they'd cut corners everywhere externally (we were a district sales office) and use the time saved keeping abreast of who's star was rising/falling, who they should therefore be sucking up to/shunning, keeping in contact and getting visibility up and down the hierarchy and of course spending hours chatting with their immediate boss who in this case, was doing the exact same thing. To show how ludicrous this could get, I recall one consulting mgr who for an entire year never once visited a customer despite in many cases being contractually obligated to do so. Instead, he came in late, left early and spent all day making sure he was perceived as a strong performer and (above all) team player by the folks who would be key in making those determinations. What happened? He got promoted to National responsibilities - I shit you not. So yes, while they are a lot of good things about MSFT, the culture was VERY political - you could ignore it, but there was no way you could deny its existence.

Anonymous said...

The review model is a problem, but not the problem. Ineffective middle management is the problem.

Fixing the compensation plan without fixing the management deficit will not solve anything. All it would do is make life a little better for folks in the trenches during the decline and fall.

Anonymous said...

You know, when the Titanic - a huge, expensive ship that could not sink - hit that iceberg, the smart people got on the boats and left.

Anonymous said...

Still not seeing any suggestions on an alternative to "the curve" - with so many smart folks on this blog, someone must have a better idea?

Anonymous said...

"You know, when the Titanic - a huge, expensive ship that could not sink - hit that iceberg, the smart people got on the boats and left."

The more Titanic references I read, the more I regret being among the first to use it and "rearranging deck chairs" on this blog. That said, I'm not really sure what your point is. Mini's goal is a better MSFT so clearly having the smart people leave wouldn't accomplish that now would it? BTW, many of the folks who got on the Titanic's lifeboats weren't necessarily smart - just rich and connected. We have that too. We call them executives and they lead the entire market in insider selling. So their lifeboats have already gone out.

Anonymous said...

Still not seeing any suggestions on an alternative to "the curve" - with so many smart folks on this blog, someone must have a better idea?




apparently, you haven't read this!

Anonymous said...

"How do we align all the product teams to produce amazing products quickly?"

Align the product teams? Isn't that pretty much exactly what the problem with Microsoft is? (that was linked here yesterday, and I agree with it). Microsoft's development should be partitioned and treated as separate, agile teams - the Office team should be able to target whatever they want, using whatever technologies they want, and they should evaluate and adopt other Microsoft technologies just like every ISV out there.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the WSJ article Battling Google, Microsoft
Changes How It Builds Software
(subscription required)

It appears to be the effort of management to reach out to the "friendly" press - the reporter has had deep access, almost "embedded". The party line is How Microsoft Overcame Adversity to Ship Longhorn and Beat Google & Apple ... lol

Why are you all complaining here? The problem has been solved, Longhorn (sorry, Vista) is shipping, the challenge from Google/Apple has been met head on.

Some excerpts:

Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates's office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows.

"It's not going to work," Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman. The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly.

The news got even worse: Longhorn was irredeemable because Microsoft engineers were building it just as they had always built software. Throughout its history, Microsoft had let thousands of programmers each produce their own piece of computer code, then stitched it together into one sprawling program. Now, Mr. Allchin argued, the jig was up. Microsoft needed to start over.

....

As engineers began cooperating and Mr. Srivastava's team worked overtime to refine the tools, the quality of the code flowing into Longhorn began to improve. The time to create a new "build" fell to just a few days, allowing a faster cycle of writing and testing new code. After the Windows group was able to install a workable version of the system on their PCs four days before Christmas, Mr. Srivastava says the group celebrated by not working over the holidays.

...

On July 27, Microsoft shipped the beta of Longhorn -- now named Windows Vista -- to 500,000 customers for testing. Experience had told the Windows team to expect tens of thousands of reported problems from customers. Instead, there were a couple thousand problem reports, says Mr. Rana, the team member.

And last month, Microsoft delivered a test version of Mr. Gates's WinFS idea -- not as a part of Longhorn but as a planned add-on feature. Microsoft this month said it would issue monthly test versions of Windows Vista, a first for the company and a sign of the group's improved agility.

Anonymous said...

The company meeting? A dry do over of the mgb presentations where brianv can't come up with anything better than 30 in 30 to convince large customers to license and deploy? oh joy.

I will be bringing my ipod.

Anonymous said...

Heh. As soon as I saw the WSJ article, the first thing that popped into my mind was "code brahmins".

Anonymous said...

"How do we align all the product teams to produce amazing products quickly?"

Align the product teams? Microsoft's development should be partitioned and treated as separate, agile teams.


I wrote the original comment, and I completely agree with you. I went on to mention the "intractable web of dependencies" and part of that is indeed Microsoft's own tools.

What I meant was to have an overarching philosophy, or vision -- some central "big goal" for the company to rally around. I think Apple has done well with this; their philosophy is "make beautiful consumer/design-oriented products" and they do it across dev tools (have you seen one of the original Inside Mac books? They're beautiful. XCode isn't up to snuff with Whidbey, IMO, but it's getting there) to their desktop computer hardware and obviously OS to the iPod etc.

Microsoft's "big idea" back in the 90s was features, features, features, and that worked great for a while. It's not working anymore, because we've won that battle and nobody cares, really, about another squiggly line in Word.

The problem space is enormous. We need strong leadership and a crisp goal that everyone in every division can look at and think "am I working towards that?" every day.

Also, I didn't mean to insult the sales force with my "ennui" comment; I do think there are cultural differences between sales & dev and SteveB's presentation favors a sales culture.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of hearing "smart people". How come such a concentration of "smart people" cant figure out how to "fix" the problems they are facing?

My feeling is that when you get a collection of smart people who care only about their own self and quick to blame their colleagues, managers etc., you get what you have now, a slow growing stupid organization.


Yeah we have a self critical nature. When was the last time you looked yourself in the mirror and told yourself "I screwed up". Everybody likes to point out who should be in the bottom 6.5%, except themselves of course.

Anonymous said...

I want to know who said what at the company meeting. I couldn't make it there today. Anyone care to do a quick synopsis of what Ballmer and Gates said today and what the mood was like?

Anonymous said...

Debate, a two way passionate conversation.

Anonymous said...

Here's my mindless list of meeting wishes.

Acknowledgement - So much of what I've read in these blogs comes from a sense of not be valued in the way that employees used to be or the way people feel they should be. Rather than our execs listing out statistics like "85% of employees are happy", I'd like to see some notion that they are treating us as individuals.

Return of Towels - Dammit, it still pisses me off that they cut this. Join my protest by not exercising regularly and driving SUVs to work by yourself.

Morale Money - Most groups only have $150/head per year for morale. Better than nothing, yes, but given that we have the money, it seems counter to the to the goal of valuing employees when we have trouble doing anything that costs money.

Cool Buildings - I've been here 12 years and one thing that caused me to come out was that MS had the coolest campus and buildings I'd ever seen. Green spaces, fountains, habitrails, bike paths, and beautifully complicated buildings like 1-8. Since then, we've moved to boring boxes that feel really bland, have almost no room for individualization (places for pool tables, etc...) and just scream for people to leave early. Why can't we have an invigorating place to work?

Memories - Granted, nostoglic wishes aren't always perfect, but nevertheless, all of my good moments from working with the company occurred from my first 5 years. (Going to my first BillG party, huge all-campus parties every friday, working 'til 4am to complete a project, etc..) It may have something to do with the fact that I was young and naive and software was my life then, but I'd like to think that we could be empowered to do the right things to get our mojo back.

I joined Microsoft out of college 12 years ago b/c it was the coolest company I could ever envision working for. I remember actually writing down lists of all the reasons I liked working at Microsoft so I could remember to tell my friends back at home about them. For us to succeed in the future, we need to recruit and retain the best, and this means to innovate in how we reward our employees and great a great work environment. My fear is that we've dropped the ball.

Anonymous said...

As long as the company meeting is held in a relatively public forum like Safeco Field, you shouldn't expect anything from it that strays too far from the established PR talking points.

I think SteveB already showed us what those talking points are, and I predict more of the same.

Anonymous said...

The Stack System should be replaced by a bell curve on a person's deliverables.

3 points: If a person delivered everything expected of him in resonable quality.

4 points: If a person delivered everything expected of him in excellent quality and also helped other team members to achieve better results

4.5 points: The person delivered way above expectation with very high quality. Also developed tools that helped greatly other team members and other teams.


This way everyone in a great team can get a 4/4.5 since a person is not competing against others but against his own deliverables.

Ofcourse in bad teams everyone can get 3.0/3.5

There is no harm in everyone getting great raises and bonuses in truly good teams and no need to give someone 3.0 just because u have to.

Anonymous said...

You know, change doesn't always have to come down from the top. How about a little grassroots effort to push the agenda before the Steves and Bills of the world sign on? I ran across this blog posting today, and the ideas there make a lot of sense to me:

http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/09/subvert_from_wi.html

Anonymous said...

I'm listening to / watching the meeting at work.

Has anyone else noticed that in the music they use in between speakers / segments, that the riff is almost directly taken from the opening riff of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell"? Please tell me I'm not dreaming! Someone look at the on-demand broadcast later and listen for it...

Anonymous said...

The review process is only "broken" because there is no accountability at the management level.

If every manager were truly held accountable for achieving the business results he was given budget to achieve -- i.e., if his own compensation was directly tied to his success and if he could get fired for failure, or at least miss out of some of the more lucrative perks -- then there wouldn't be any need for a company-wide "curve" or any other lame scheme. He would have an incentive to hire and retain employees who can get the job done, and to fire those who can't.

HR shouldn't be allowed to interfere or hobble him with counter-productive rules or a one-size-fits-all approach. Every business is different. If the manager's org is too large, his business results will suffer. If his org is too small, it will also affect his ability to deliver results. If his employees are overpaid or underpaid, this will also show up in the results. With correct incentives, and given the freedom to manage the business as they see fit, competent managers will optimize their org.

Nadim said...

Ok so it was my final year project presentation yesterday and i was sitting down listening to someone else present his project when my mind went off what he was talking about and switched to Microsoft. I have been reading alot on this blog and all the news about the problems that the company is facing. Well i sat there and looked around and realised that all the PC were XP Pro ( about 10 - 25) of them. Then i started thinking about all the articles I have been reading over the past few months. Let me share some of the flashes that went through my mind.

Google looking to dethrone Microsoft.

Microsoft not innovating.

We won the client, we won the server and we will win the web.

I then said to myself its due time someone brought out an OS other than what we have today.

Yes you guessed it. An OS exclusively for the Web. I can bet my last penny within the next 2 years someone would have released a OS for the web. Personally I think google are. I can see a google OS in stores soon in a black box with the google name on it..

All the signs say it. GoogleTalk, Google Search, G Mail, Google Maps...rumours of a Google Browser. to beat MS they need more than that.

Its inevitable...they are building the applications and a framework. They cant compete on the client or server..in terms of OS. so hey why not the Web.

Imagine this an OS designed and architectured for the Web.

I thought to myself who will want it.

Guess what, millions of people who switch on computers now a days just use it for browsing. Think of internet cafes. All users want is to connect to the web.

I think MS should take this seriously if they have not already. Its going to happen. If you dont do it someone else will. Users will want it. Shops will sell it. People will buy.

This is a chance to innovate something new.

As I am writing this I am getting more convinced that it will happen.

Anyone who reads this should send it around and get people to start thinking.

You guys should seriously think about it.

Not a windows version with just a web browser. A whole new idea man. Built from ground up.

Man the top dogs there should all sit on a round table on Monday and just make it happen. In fact yeah you guys should start building it.

Imaging apps like msn messenger, virtual earth, msn blogs, msn search all integrated into it.

thats a whole new market you will create. People just want a computer to connect to the web search chat, etc....

Man who ever reads this first should just send it to everone they know who works at MS.

Nadim.

fCh said...

Nadim,

Check this out for an idea on how Google can get to consumers direct, and

Check this out to see the theoretical framework around MSFT and an open source challenger

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with rating people along a curve. In fact, it's essential if you want to have fairness across the company. But MS good ditch the numerical review ranking system and just tell people where they fit in their roll-up stack rank - in other word - tell people what their PERCENTILE rank is in the company.

And I do think you want a non-linear compensation system. It is certainly true that the best performers are more than 10x as effective as the average performer (IMHO).

Compensation should be transparent and everyone should understand how the system works and where they fit it.

My ideal: compensation = company_performance * group_performance * individual_performance

Give every group a score (again, a PERCENTILE rank) and then weight team compensation accordingly. Let the numbers be public within the company. As an individual contributor, let me vote with my feet; if I no longer want to work in a group that has a 20% percentile score, let me shop around for a new higher-scoring group.

Anonymous said...

Here's another FREE idea for Microsoft - quit bundling all your products into big mega-releases. BUT - continue to sell subscriptions to collections of functionality.

So, as a customer, if I sign up to the "Windows" subscription, I have the right to download all "features" allocated to that bucket. But then let individual product teams decide which bucket their distribution will go in to. Maybe media-player, IE, etc. But let them release on their own schedule.

Most of the top-down -itis stems from the fact that Office and Windows have to ship a whole bunch of (unrelated) functionality together. Unbundle! Make Microsoft more like a commercial open-source development community. Let each team talk to and directly serve their own customer base. Let them release functionality on their own schedule.

Microsoft can still build integration points and sell collections of functionality that work well together. But we (customers) should be getting more software released to us like "service packs" and less like mega-releases.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with rating people along a curve. In fact, it's essential if you want to have fairness across the company.

Fairness be damned! It's because we started worrying about "fairness across the company" that we got into this mess.

Accountability should go all the way to the top. SteveB is (or should be) accountable for his allocation of the company's capital. The VP's are (or should be) accountable for what they do with the budget he gives them. They in turn allocate that money to their direct reports, along with a set of business goals. And so on, all the way down the management chain.

"Fairness" shouldn't mean anything more than an objective assessment of your success or failure in doing the job you were paid to do. How MUCH you get paid is a business decision your manager should own, based on his knowledge of the labor market, his business goals, his budget and his assessment of what it will take to convince you to stay (assuming he wants/needs you to stay.) If he wants/needs to pay you 3x as much as everyone else in his org, because you're that valuable to his business, then that's "fair". But if he decides to pay you the same as everyone else, because he doesn't agree with your assessment of your own importance, that's also "fair". If he's wrong, and if you leave in order to get more money, then he will pay for it when his team becomes less effective. That's "fair".

Someone else suggested a scheme where. among other things, 3.5's and 4.0's went to people who "helped other team members to achieve better results". I think I understand the idea behind that -- teamwork is usually a good thing -- but I'd be careful about laying that down as a requirement. It's language like that which led us to base review scores on things like "visibility". There's a place for the individual contributor who keeps his head down and tends to his own assignment. If he delivers outstanding results, I don't see why he should be automatically dinged for not being a "team player". I'd let his manager decide what value this talented misanthrope has to the business, and compensate him accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps what MS should do, is invite a reputable consultancy in specifically to review staff satisfaction and gripes.

I have seen this done, it is objective (80% of staff like their work, but 45% feel their input isn't valued - by way of example).

Many companies have done this and the metrics are extremely valuable, of course anonymity is essential.

Anonymous said...

As for all these ideas and theories about performance levels and the like, it is not rocket science.

Any manage worthy of the designation, should be able to follow company policy for both measuring performance and reporting it.

FCH is spot-on with his remarks, Citibank has a review scheme where staff review their manager, this is old stuff though, all MS need to do is decide, they have the cash to plan and execute this kind of thing!!

Anonymous said...

Nadim, the only problem, for example, with MSN Search is that nobody uses it. When people talk about web search they use a common word - googling. Look, MS has created environment where people simply don't like the company. People don't like MS. Even if Ballmer is able to push his stuff to corporations the war is over on the streets. We are talking about years of ignorance and no communication with simple people on the streets - I'm really surprised that Mini is not talking about this issue as well. It's not just about fixing it from inside - it's damaged from outside as well...

Anonymous said...

Microsoft has the wrong focus and this is what's hurting them. Not what their competitors are doing.

In The Science Of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles talks about how money is primarily made on the creative plane rather than the competitive plane; where the focus is on solving problems or adding real value to people's lives, not on knocking everyone else out of the race.

Microsoft's biggest problem in this regard is that everyone is seen as an enemy, and everything is seen as a threat. If Steve Ballmer actually had a brain in his head, he might realise a couple of things:-

1) Microsoft CAN'T be everywhere at once. It isn't possible. They can't be developing new operating systems, upgrading Office, creating development software, and conquering the Web all at once.

2) Because of 1, other companies are going to be in some computer-related niche somewhere.

3) While Microsoft are busy upgrading Windows or Office, if they want to have some kind of online service, what they could do is what I saw Yahoo doing a few years back. Instead of re-inventing the wheel with their own search, outsource to Google as a backend. Google are still going to have their own site, of course, but what this would mean is that Microsoft could market their own content (syndicated news and so on) on top of Google's search, and if Microsoft's extra content was good enough, they might find that MSN became more popular than Google's plain site anywayz.

4) In doing 3, Microsoft would still have a web presence, (which they want) people could keep using Google, (which they want) and both companies would make money. The reason why Steve Ballmer wouldn't accept an idea like this is because he is insistent on Microsoft completely cornering any and every market it enters, and if they keep doing this, eventually they will end up with nothing.

There are other reasons why Steve Ballmer should be fired, as I've said before...but the monopolistic attitude is the main one. If he is allowed to stay in charge and maintain it, it will eventually destroy the company, and possibly hurt a lot of other people in the process. The bottom line is that, contrary to the popular opinion on Slashdot, there was a time when Microsoft actually did do some genuine good...but with Ballmer at the helm, that is no longer possible. All he cares about is monopoly and economic self-preservation...not about providing a service.

by petrus4 (213815) on Friday September 23, @01:26PM (#13630452)
(slashdot)

Nadim said...

Ok for get the competition. How about doing it for the sake of creating somethign new.




Original Message....

Ok so it was my final year project presentation yesterday and i was sitting down listening to someone else present his project when my mind went off what he was talking about and switched to Microsoft. I have been reading alot on this blog and all the news about the problems that the company is facing. Well i sat there and looked around and realised that all the PC were XP Pro ( about 10 - 25) of them. Then i started thinking about all the articles I have been reading over the past few months. Let me share some of the flashes that went through my mind.

Google looking to dethrone Microsoft.

Microsoft not innovating.

We won the client, we won the server and we will win the web.

I then said to myself its due time someone brought out an OS other than what we have today.

Yes you guessed it. An OS exclusively for the Web. I can bet my last penny within the next 2 years someone would have released a OS for the web. Personally I think google are. I can see a google OS in stores soon in a black box with the google name on it..

All the signs say it. GoogleTalk, Google Search, G Mail, Google Maps...rumours of a Google Browser. to beat MS they need more than that.

Its inevitable...they are building the applications and a framework. They cant compete on the client or server..in terms of OS. so hey why not the Web.

Imagine this an OS designed and architectured for the Web.

I thought to myself who will want it.

Guess what, millions of people who switch on computers now a days just use it for browsing. Think of internet cafes. All users want is to connect to the web.

I think MS should take this seriously if they have not already. Its going to happen. If you dont do it someone else will. Users will want it. Shops will sell it. People will buy.

This is a chance to innovate something new.

As I am writing this I am getting more convinced that it will happen.

Anyone who reads this should send it around and get people to start thinking.

You guys should seriously think about it.

Not a windows version with just a web browser. A whole new idea man. Built from ground up.

Man the top dogs there should all sit on a round table on Monday and just make it happen. In fact yeah you guys should start building it.

Imaging apps like msn messenger, virtual earth, msn blogs, msn search all integrated into it.

thats a whole new market you will create. People just want a computer to connect to the web search chat, etc....

Man who ever reads this first should just send it to everone they know who works at MS.

Nadim.

Anonymous said...

Yes you guessed it. An OS exclusively for the Web. I can bet my last penny within the next 2 years someone would have released a OS for the web.

It's a fun idea, but really, the web already IS Google's operating system. The intriguing aspect of what Google does is that they leverage existing browsers and standard web technologies like JavaScript to deliver their apps. It's so simple and obvious, it's really telling that Microsoft never did it with MSN. Hotmail should have been the one offering 1GB of storage in a simplistic, search-oriented interface before anyone else could. Gmail did it, and now it's skyrocketing while Hotmail these days feels like little more than a complicated interface for deleting spam and a prerequisite for using Messenger.

It's hard to describe what Google would gain from releasing an operating system when all their products are web-based. Why not just let Microsoft and Apple deliver the medium while Google delivers the goods? Why waste man-power on an OS when they could be delivering more killer apps to put on everyone's browsers? The OS is irrelevant.

Speaking long-term, it's possible, but Windows would have to be in a more weakened position than it is today. Right now, I wouldn't expect a Google OS to happen at all. Five years from now? Maybe. But Google's medium is the browser, and it'd be much more likely that they'd release Google Browser first.

Anonymous said...

There are other reasons why Steve Ballmer should be fired, as I've said before...but the monopolistic attitude is the main one. If he is allowed to stay in charge and maintain it, it will eventually destroy the company, and possibly hurt a lot of other people in the process.

Good insights and I agree with most of it including your conclusion. And today's decision not to increase the dividend - even to bring it up to the S&P average - further shows that Ballmer is just totally out of touch with how this company is doing vs the competition, internally and for shareholders. The stock is already under pressure on this news and will no doubt soon go even lower as investors realize that MSFT's last carrot - the promise of a consistently increasing dividend - is now gone. This is really beyond ignorant. The troops must really be getting charged up at Safeco today after three years of a flat stock, watching the past two week's sickening slide and then seeing the company go out of its way today to provide more reasons for the stock to once again sell off. Before this is over, I would not be surprised to see MSFT take out its recent low, the March low and possible even break the all-time low. Shareholders should rip Ballmer a new one.

Anonymous said...

Look, MS has created environment where people simply don't like the company. People don't like MS. Even if Ballmer is able to push his stuff to corporations the war is over on the streets. We are talking about years of ignorance and no communication with simple people on the streets

I've noticed this too. It's particularly evident in the DRM space, where our current approach (at least as articulated in the media, where the consumer encounters such things) is entirely from the corporate standpoint. Given that the corporate idea of DRM is to treat their most loyal customers as if they were thieves, we have aligned ourselves with the most profoundly alienating stance in the market today.

Remember Apple's old tagline for iTunes: "Rip. Burn. Play."? That should have been ours. That's the sort of stance that gets consumers excited about your products (even if -- and sometimes because -- it pisses off the Hollywood CEOs). Ballmer sees more money potential in cozying up to big business, but in the long run it leaves us with a profound liability when we try to sell Office and Windows upgrades to consumers who regard our company with suspicion and distaste.

Nadim said...

Ok...when i say OS I am not talking something like windows or Linux or apple with a browser....

I am talkign a new medium that is exclusive for the web built from groud up...there are lots of ideas and creative things that this can bring.

And I want to forget about all this competition.

Think of it this way...theres the client, theres the server and there media center...all targeting different scenarios.

the web is a new scenario where something bigger than just a browser on the client can offer.

I can see lots of interesting things coming out of something like this.

Anonymous said...

This is a riot -- I worked with IBM in the OS/2 days of joint development with Microsoft and sued to think the world of Microsoft. I loved working with Microsoft because they were no BS performers, had great vision, no top-heavy management, and truly knew their stuff.

Now it appears Microsoft has become everything they rightly hated about IBM. Such a round world......

Anonymous said...

Nadim,

I fully understand what you are talking about - Google is not going to release any browser or apps/systems known today. IMHO, they are working on something really breakthru - releasing Talk and other minor apps is just a smoke to hide a real thing under the hood.
Look who they hired in the last 12 month - you think those guys work on some PHP scripts or AJAX stuff?

Anonymous said...

Sad.. we only flay.

Anonymous said...

How about pink slips for every snr exec who's been selling this stock hand over fist while cutting back on supposed corporate extravagances like towels

Jeromy,
Quit your bitching about the towels, already. Even if you post anonymously, everyone knows it's you.

Noone else really cares about the towels. Move on.

Anonymous said...

I think that Google might release a web os in a few years. It would be easy to do, just firefox on a stripped-down version of linux.

They could give it away. Give it to OEM's who would sell it pre-loaded. The goal would be to do some damage to Microsoft. If people could do all they wanted with a computer with Google's free web os, then they wouldn't need to buy Windows and Office, and that would cut Microsoft's income and control of the software world.

I think the top leadership Microsoft sees something like this coming, and is in a panic. Microsoft's success is based on control of a technology, the pc, that was the cutting edge starting in the 80's. Now the pc is stagnant, most of the real innovation is on the web, and Microsoft has no way to become the dominant player there.

Anonymous said...

Jeromy,
Quit your bitching about the towels, already. Even if you post anonymously, everyone knows it's you.

Noone else really cares about the towels. Move on.


This is probably the best comment I've read here so far...Hehe, that's hilarious ;-)

Anonymous said...

"This is probably the best comment I've read here so far...Hehe, that's hilarious ;-)"

Yup, a gut splitter - sort of like this:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=msft


or this:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=2y&s=MSFT&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=&c=%5EIXIC

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the company meeting. Cool thing is that our software enabled me to view it nicely over RAS and I can still take customer calls (I'm in enterprise sales). Puzzling thing is that I saw much of the product content at MGB. Someone commented that Sales would get jazzed by execs jumping around on stage but not devs - give us some credit please. I too was hoping for solid dates - I need new products to meet quota and help Microsoft achieve an 11% increase in revenue this fiscal year. Oh we'll likely pull through the revenue because we have a bunch of mid/senior managers who pound on us for Siebel updates and whip us to work 24x7 to convince customers to buy products (ending in 2000, 2002 and 2003 I might add). Contrary to Redmond belief, we sales people have to be technical to sell MS software to savvy enterprise customers. We also smooth ruffled feathers when viruses loom and email systems go down. All with lower T&E budgets and less Indians (more Chiefs though). And to add more pain, it's possible that my deals don't make it into the systems by deadlines due to data entry errors. I lost revenue based incentive bonus this review period because 2 deals didn't make it into Reno systems in time.

Ummm, Steve says we have to apply agility and speed to continuously improved Microsoft. So we have to do our work faster and deftly jump all the management barriers thrown at us?

Oh, more office space in Puget Sound. Sorry, but people in the field don't benefit from that one.

MidYear Reviews... SteveB mentioned this as an example of a time sucker. HELLO, we still have to do these! Is he suggesting these can be eliminated?

Innovate, innovate, innovate. Grow, grow, grow. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Grow Windows and Office (take more market share with current versions) - ummm we're not working our butts off to grab that share? We have very little new to sell, so guess what we're working on... Yet our sales budgets have been cut.

Steve says the analysts are wrong about our growth. Yet we collect our bazillion pipeline and sales spreadsheets every week to report up to the top that we're meeting Wall Street expectations. Just trust that the numbers will come - don't waste our time on PAINFUL reporting activities that cost us a lot of effort (money). Time I spend on Siebel/BIF/CompHot/BMO/etc. is opportunity lost in front of customers.

Hey everyone, don't you feel like heroes?!

Anonymous said...

"Just trust that the numbers will come - don't waste our time on PAINFUL reporting activities that cost us a lot of effort (money). Time I spend on Siebel/BIF/CompHot/BMO/etc. is opportunity lost in front of customers."

Ah, but see the time they're really concerned about not wasting is theirs not yours. By having you do that, they can pretend to be fully on top of things to the person responsible for their review w/o the burden of time, effort and potential unpleasantness that you no doubt face meeting real customers and getting direct feedback.

Anonymous said...

Google is not in competition with Microsoft. None of Google's products are even remotely a threat to Microsoft's core revenue generation stream.

Just keep telling yourselves Google looking to dethrone Microsoft if you want to get your ass kicked in another antitrust trial and feel the effects of an even greater bureaucracy imposed on your work than you already do today.

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer might have something personal against Eric Schmidt, or perhaps feel that Page and Brin got too rich too fast and deserve to be "killed", but it has nothing to do with Google taking share away from Windows or Office - which is what a competitor would do.

Every company you put out of business for Bill and Steve is one less employer for you to jump ship to.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think we introverted devs get more out of seeing Steve jump around on stage (than the sales folks). It's always a great performance! (It's my tenth company meeting.)

Seriously, it's one of the few times we see the full depth, breadth and strength of this company. Steve didn't disappoint; in fact, I think it was one of his best performances.

Anonymous said...

Towels.

Jeromy, you're not the only one. Let's face it, I can easily afford to buy a commuting towel and keep it in a locker. But towels were symbolic -- symbolic of Microsoft becoming a less progressive company. Made it just a tiny bit more inconvenient to commute by bike, use less fossil fuel, blah blah. Maybe there was abuse, maybe it was a no-brainer in a cost-cutting meeting. But it affected me personally as someone who makes it a point to try to commute the 11 miles by bike as often as possible.

Anonymous said...

Count me as one of the devs who cringes at Steve's antics. I've only been here two years and haven't had a chance to meet the man in person, so I can't assess the comments people make about him being very intelligent and perceptive, but the visible image he projects is terrible... jumping around, screaming, throwing chairs, using excessive profanity ("I f**king hate Eric..."), etc. In my personal life, I just don't know any truly intelligent people who act like pre-adolescents. It makes me ashamed, to be honest. This is a great company. It deserves to be led by someone who makes us proud.

Anonymous said...

"I thought the meeting was OK. Luckily the weather wasn't freezing. I appreciated the fact that Ballmer addressed the dissent in the company, but I thought his answer was just more of the same corporate-speak. Obviously no firm dates given but what do you expect."

That was spot on. Kudos to whoever posted it.

Anonymous said...

Huge disappointment. No content, no acknowledgement of our problems... Steve thanked us for all the late nights and weekends. Why, Steve, thank you! It just made me realize that any hopes of ever being paid like one of 400 people who create 9 billion dollars in wealth every year for the company isn't going to happen.

In conclusion, i am now motivated to update my resume and move on.

Anonymous said...

It deserves to be led by someone who makes us proud.

It deserves to be led by someone who after 5 years at the helm, doesn't have to engage in all sorts of ridiculous contortions to try and pretend the company is stronger and better poised for success. That that person should also be able to make us proud by conducting themselves is a professional and thoughtful manner, is a given. There's a reason Steve never appears on network TV unlike say GE's Jeff Immelt...

Anonymous said...

The web of dependencies we live with is a killer, and we think we help ourselves by taking them on first and beating competitors to trying to integrate with our products. Oops.

I've always thought that if MS products under development integrated with *released* MS products, we solve our two biggest problems - shipping and responding to customer needs. Of course, the stuff you integrate with would be able to ship more often, too, Crazy.

Of course, advocating this gets furniture thrown your way, but it's a dream I've had.

Anonymous said...

One way to improve the company would be to fire everyone above VP level, including directs of the VPs with no directs of their own. Two exceptions: Bill and Steve (those two have to stay because they own too much stock and someone has to do the firing).

This seems radical, but think: name all the decisions anyone of these people made that actually had a good impact on the company. Quick! Right, there are none. Our high level management acts completely reactive, they do not even stick with decisions (Office will not ship with Longhorn. Office will ship with Longhorn. Office will not ship with Longhorn.) I know of two cases now where a VP has promoted their significant other to work directly for them. Which explain what they are doing with their time, but not why the company pays them.

Anonymous said...

First company meeting here. I liked Steveb's speech, I'm going to reuse the talking points about "agility" and "enabling employees" when I'm talking to my manager about process impeding my work (which happens daily). Our "process" is new and can still be taken down by a few strong insiders.

Of course, it helps that I'm doing some fruitful informationals in other divisions.

Anonymous said...

I think MED is doomed. It was kind of pathetic watching them cheering for themselves while Windows Mobile 5.0 (which "shipped" in May) is called part of the "pipeline" and then swept under the rug. Um, is that team doing anything in the future? Not that was talked about. Maybe because it has no future.

Anonymous said...

This was my first meeting and I thought it was okay as well. My last two companies were small so i was impressed at how big and slick everything was b/c this is such a huge corporation. That said, it was too slick. It just didn't connect with me.

The most telling aspect of the whole thing for me was in the middle part when us folks in the cheap seats started making paper airplanes and flying them down to the lower levels.

Anonymous said...

So that was YOU who poked my eye out with a paper airplane??!?!? :-)

Anonymous said...

The first paperplane that made it into the front section got more applause than any of the execs :)

Anonymous said...

the office demo was cool

Anonymous said...

Still trying to understand wtf the MSN fireworks were for. Hooray, good work MSN.

Anonymous said...

maybe they were hooraying "we are being sold" ...

Anonymous said...

I missed the Office demo because I took a call from a customer asking me to clarify SQL licensing.

As for the review process... People fundamentally want to perform well. We want our hard work to be recognized and solid direction on where to improve so we can achieve next levels/roles. The current process basically states that if you meet your objectives (which are designed to make you stretch your potential) you MIGHT be considered mid-range. Which we overachievers interpret as mediocre. And we get demotivated and wonder how we could work so hard and be so little valued. I think the process is broken for many reasons - one of which is that I never worked harder than I did this year and was handed a "mediocre" review that a few years ago I would have been happy to get (or give - I was once a manager and moved to a different role as contributor). I've put 6 earnest years into MS and honestly, I think many would think it a shame if I departed due to my experience and dedication (and knowledge of MS). Yet... my review indicated to me that it wouldn't be painful for MS to lose me. I really want to believe that MS didn't intend for me to feel this way.

So... I'd like to see MS implement a core time-based raise (make it 1%, but at least something). For time in company, you get something for the experience you've gathered. Then an additional merit raise based on performance. A performance panel reviews all group/division performance for merit raises (to replace the stack rank panel - which exists to anyone who would deny it). Then stock grant based on your future potential at MS. And keep the gold star grants for extra stellar one-time execution. Instead of one overall rating - get a rating for each of your objectives. Let the performance panel determine how these stack across the board. The performance panel should be made up like a jury - you have to serve when called, but you're not called to each review. Have a performance panel every quarter that reviews progress and provides feedback to employees so they have a chance to work on performance improvement before the yearly review. Leave gold star awards to the discretion of the manager and approving VP.

I think that MS brass just doesn't realize that many high performers are demoralized by feeling mediocre. This can be turned around by a few changes in the current process. And oh by the way, curb the controls on our deliverables - that's the bureacracy which is so maddening to us professionals who were hired because we supposedly know what we're doing!

Anonymous said...

It is great to hear we have a continuously improving whirling juggernaut of innovation that drives a flexible, agile pipeline of engine growth. Or something like that. God help us if it's copper cooled.

WTF does "We are committed to innovation in our people agenda" mean? I mean, I actually think Lisa Brummel is a great person to lead HR and will make a big difference over time, and I thought she did the best job speaking, but the phrase above was pretty content-free. OTOH, I look forward to seeing some change there.

The product fair was pretty cool, the Casual Games group has done some very interesting stuff that loks like it will translate into actual cash (not a lot in Windows terms, but something).

Xbox 360 is as good as the videos, which is sweet but why the hell can't they figure out how to allow employees to buy it (at full price) through the company store at launch? I'm not looking for a discount, just the ability to acutally get one. FFS, 65k or so consoles really shouldn't be that big a deal.

Jim and Kevin were disappointing. They were too earnest and over the top. Apparently, the more excited you pretend to be, the less believeable and interesting the content actually is. But, the demo of Vista was still really good. Like it or not, big fat clients on PCs will be dominate for some time and there are some very cool things in Vista. The window stacking and video in alt-tab is very cool, and the thing that shows is that the support of video and audio in the OS has truly evolved past what we had in XP.

The video of Napolean Dynamite and Bill was awesome, I'd seen the bootleg, but the scene of Napoleon slapping the world's richest man was priceless, as were the outtakes.

However, OMG the freaking Eye of the Tiger music was unbelieveable. Why why why?

Anonymous said...

It is my 2nd company meeting, not counting last year's caferia one, I wanted to swich all my 401K to msft when walking out the safeco stadium.

Though they do not say literally, they did imply the current situation:

stock sucks,
morale bottom low,
process/culture rots.

Anonymous said...

maybe the split into 3 companies will come true...

Anonymous said...

The only one who came across as honest and direct was Chris Lidell. Big huge points to Chris for delivering straight numbers and no fuzzy buzzwords.

Lisa Brummel was the biggest disapppointment - not because she was not earnest, but because I had high expectations of her and was looking forward to her statements about employee frustration and the new comp system. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

The stock isn't that bad - my first batch of options just expired, and I have nearly nothing in stock awards etc. The problem is that base comp for ICs sucks: it's mediocre pay for a high cost are like Seattle, and its not enough to merit doing overtime.

Anonymous said...

Mini,
If even you got energized by the Company Meeting, then, Jeez, man, I don't know what to say.
Well, actually I do.
We, folks at Sales, saw the essentially the same show/demos at MGB. Same thing, earlier builds perhaps.
The Company Meeting works for you in Redmond because it happens AFTER the review. It's like a quick CPR on the agonizing. Bring you back to life until the next review...

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea for reviews/compensation: let's tie it to company/product performance somehow. (!!)

This is what stock options/awards are for, but since the stock price isn't going anywhere, it makes no financial difference AT ALL to me if our products are good or bad.

I get annoyed when our execs tell me what a great product I made. If it's selling so great, how about you give me some of that extra money??? I did help make the product, after all.

It would be great if our compensation was mostly an annual bonus that correlated to how well MSFT is doing, how well your product is doing, and how well you're doing personally (probably in a stack rank). As long as I'm dreaming, it'd also be great if the exec bonuses were the same $ value as the peon bonuses. Then we could ALL be kinda rich, instead of a handful of us being super rich.

Anonymous said...

If SteveB knew just how much reviews can be manipulated by people who contribute less to the company and more to their manager's ego, he might tell HR to set the damn model on fire. The "competencies" are really just a smoke screen for managers to hide behind and make completely arbitrary decisions based on rumors, innuendo, and other nonsense that has NOTHING to do with the forward progress of this company. If my group could band together to root out the gossips, our operational efficiency and group morale would be exponentially higher. Having said that, guess who's changing groups?

Anonymous said...

Well, here's an interestingly timely story:

Bring back the dazzle

Anonymous said...

Wow. The attitudes between the initial blog post and the update are about as polarized as they can get. Perhaps there is sarcasm afoot? Perhaps a blogger has been bitten by the publicity bug? Perhaps the enthusiasm is justified? Only time will tell or perhaps future posts...

Anonymous said...

Mini mentioned start.com in his "super excited" post, so I wanted to mention that you can add the Mini-Microsoft feed to your personal start.com page.

Anonymous said...

Office12 -- beta1 in november, RTM in the fall. that's the schedule and they ship on time and we count on that.

Anonymous said...

Hm. I thought the meeting was a complete and utter bore.

Anonymous said...

O12 will rock

Anonymous said...

well, this is what i saw… making money with software is a 2 steps process: 1) ship it, 2) sell it.
let's say that, by a miracle, improved management efficiency, or whatever; we finally ship everything we promised today. now, step number 2; we actually have to sell all that stuff.
and, seriously, i didn't hear anything about what are we going to do to sell it. who’s going to train the people in the regions and subs. how are we going to hire the best tech pre-sales guys who can show all those cool features, and what they actually mean for a business (value, they call it). i didn’t hear anything about getting rid of the millions of reporting guys (those preparing slides to be presented at the former mid-year-review) we have in the subs, and hiring more account managers who can spend time building relationships with our customers. i didn’t hear anything about getting mcs and our partners ready for the challenge of deploying vista + office 12, or actually to increase the morale that devenuti has destroyed in that organization.
i’m sad, you know?. and i’m sad because i don’t see a winning story. i see killer features. i see impressive technology (2 years or so late, but still amazing). but NOBODY told me: “this is the full roadmap from spec to our customer’s desktop”. and, just BTW, those customers pay the bill.

one more comment on ballmer’s idea of “i believe things are this way, all the analysts in the world see them the other way around”. “i don’t care, i’m right”. grow up sr. you’re a CEO. you might be right, but is time to try being a bit more humble.

msnblue said...

Nice Vista demo, if only we hadn't seen it so many times in the last year. Stop showing the glass effect and ship the bloody thing!!
Office 12 is by a mile the most innovative product.
MSN? Kahuna (the new web mail) is very neat, ship it! Virtual Earth 3D is also promising, if only Google hadn't already released it a month ago as part of Google Earth.
Dear executive board: enough bs and enough demos, get stuff shipped!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (from Anonymous) :-) RE: the MED comment.

Did you not come to the product fair to see all the different phones? You do understand that 'shipping' software like this manifests itself in a device, right? We judge our success by how many devices our partners ship. It certainly isn't Symbian (yet) but it's a lot of phones. Three years ago we just had our first phone come out - now look

Anonymous said...

It became obvious to me during my last few years at MSFT that Ballmer considers software engineers to be a commodity. "Deveopers, developers, developers" my ass.

I think Ballmer is dead wrong, and that's why I left the company. Good software engineers (technical PMs and SDEs) are an extremely smart, creative, and free-thinking bunch. They do what they do because they love it. They are the one's who put products in the "pipeline" and make the company money. They know bullshit when they see it.

I have no doubt that this reality will eventually catch up with Ballmer. I really hope (for all the good folks still there and their families) that MSFT has the institutional smarts to acknowledge the problem before its too late and learn from Ballmer's mistakes. Even better if Ballmer proves that he can learn and leads the company back on track before tens of thousands of capable people lose their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Company Meeting:

1. 2 months spent on MY and they don't do it anymore

Holy S%^t! I spent 2 mos doing budget, am re-doing it now and will have to start midyear in a month. In addition, I spend at least half a night on MBRs, which I now have to do 2X (relatively same info, different format). Steve's comment about wasted time in the MY prep...can that apply to everyone and MBR?

2. We have to work harder this year to see the eye of the tiger.

Again, Holy S%^T! 60 -80 hours a week ain't enough?!

Anonymous said...

This is my 7th company meeting and I have to say it was one of the better one's that I have attended. I thinks this was one of Steve's better speeches. It is a lot more inspiring when there are actually blockbuster products in the pipe that are going to ship in the next 18 months. I got the sense that he is truly committed to winning and competing intensly in the next 5 years. I love the fact that our HR leader came out in shorts and talked about having a kind of wacky culture. I think a lot of that has been lost in the last few years. There has been gloom and doom thinking as well as Microsoft's quest to me a more "mature" company. We need to remain critical but having a negative and frustrated attitude will not get it done. For me money and stock price is the driver. Doing great work and being part of the making and SHIPPING of great products is the driver. Money, market share and higher comp is a bi-product of that. We need to have drive and passion. We need to compete with vigor while at the same time, have fun. But ultimately, we need to SHIP PRODUCT and WIN!

sanaz said...

glad you're excited about start.com :)

i'm very much pro a leaner microsoft, but i was still pretty excited at the company meeting... cause the technology is pretty damn cool. the reality is all that cool shit is done by a fraction of the employees, the ones that are actually passionate and get shit done. the execs are already aware of this whole over-bloated problem and i'm sure are working on addressing it.

btw, i was one of the 3 women in the bring back the dazzle article.

lastly - i'm at msn, and i even thought the fireworks were totally wierd and out of place :)

Anonymous said...

I think Mini has been found out - and has been asked to go positive...

oadfji said...

Mini found out? go positive? Who writes some of the most negative anonymous comments?

Anonymous said...

It certainly isn't Symbian (yet) but it's a lot of phones. Three years ago we just had our first phone come out - now look

Impressive. BTW, how much share did you take from Symbian this year? And how's profitability for your group? Any ETA on payback for the investment to date?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps what MS should do, is invite a reputable consultancy in specifically to review staff satisfaction and gripes.

This is exactly the kind of dumb "Office Space" idea Ballmer would go for. He's already blown millions on high-priced consultants who supposedly specialize in teaching us about our customers, but who's real talent is dazzling dumb-ass CEOs with flashy slides and walking off with bags of money.

All Ballmer or the Board needs to do is read this blog.

Microsophist said...

I think Mini has been found out - and has been asked to go positive...

No. On a blog like this, you need to balance things out with some positive comments every now and then. Otherwise, the discussion turns to flames pretty fast.

Anonymous said...

"I think Mini has been found out - and has been asked to go positive..."

If you post FUD like this put more context to support why this may be true .. otherwise keep the fud on slashdot.

Anonymous said...

The rating system is an essential portion of improving proccess for an individual, the group, and the company. In most of the time, only a couple genius stand out and contribute greatly. They should be rewarded well. How to you rank two good engineers who exceed their goal? Sometimes, it becomes a political issue if you really want to rank them while two people are performing different tasks.

Anonymous said...

Re an earlier comment on improving the review:

These are some good ideas. We should also make promotions across the level boundaries easier (62->63, 65->66). What about grading performance absolute instead of relative? Assign the bonuses and increases according to a formula that will make groups that have lots of 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 get better base bonuses to counter the effect that having more 3.5 and 4.0 performers will make more people share in the pie.

Finally, some people complain about the politics of reviews. I have heart from people that do lots of very good work, but are "perceived" as not contributing (even though they drive shipping an above average set of features besides doing lots of evangelization) and thus do not get promotions, or they get bad scores because they happen to take a maternity/paternity leave at an inopportune moment. So there is certainly something about "having to do politics" that should not be necessary.

Having said that, I am still excited about the work and all the sweet stuff we are shipping and will be building and shipping in the future. I only hope that we can do it with less management overhead and better appreciation.

Anonymous said...

There are manager reviews. The problem is that while they can be done anonymously, they don't work well, since providing specific feedback can be easily tracked and so people don't do it because their review comes next...

Anonymous said...

Good Meeting – I still “Love this company” and there is likely a bright future ahead. However, in my 13th year at this great company - I'm not clear on my future for a few key reasons. One reason is that I can verify that the review model has hurt me more than helped me over the years and I'm growing tired it. In my 8 years in industry before Microsoft, I had always been highly rated and received great awards for “going the extra mile”, doing clever work, and being a positive, collaborative team player. Early on, I learned that you can't get a 4.0 or better in your first year in a position; then over the years, and especially when I went into management, I learned that your review scores and compensation do not map to your actual contribution; satisfaction level to customers; peers; subordinates; superiors and how well you’ve done cross group collaboration - They map to your political adeptness & image projection plus your ability to find a "review sponsor". Bottom line on the review model: You will come up short if someone is not looking-out for you in your stack rank, review and compensation numbers. The review model must lose the bellcurve (to no punish good members of great groups) and must be 360 degree input, including your customers & partners.

Anonymous said...

"one more comment on ballmer’s idea of “i believe things are this way, all the analysts in the world see them the other way around”. “i don’t care, i’m right”. grow up sr. you’re a CEO. you might be right, but is time to try being a bit more humble."

Translation: I've failed miserably in my duty to ensure the street understands and has confidence in the story. More importantly, I've alo failed in my duty of putting up impressive results vs just promising them, with the result that the street's "belief" is now critical to at least the short term plight of the stock. But aren't I a smart CEO? Oh, and for added measure, I decided to teach shareholders a lesson today too by not raising the dividend - not even to the S&P average. That'll teach them for not believing me as well. So what if they've been screwed over for 3+ years now, who do they think they are - the owners or something?

Anonymous said...

My math is fuzzy... what is 23% of $84 billion? Does that match our reported profit?

Even if stretching to redefine operating income, this is sleight of hand and Ballmer should be ashamed to rely on it as the hallmark of his acheivement.

Big kudos to Liddell for confronting the problem head-on. His was the most impactful speech. Grow the P/E by exceeding expectations. That's what has me wanting to achieve more.

Anonymous said...

Investors realize that we can ship and what we are shipping is well worth investing in Microsoft. It's their way of saying, "More, please!"

I'm encouraged that you came away impressed. Given your concerns, that says a lot. WRT investors, I think MSFT has burned them for too long and they'll likely wait until visible results are imminent before jumping back on board. As a result, and given the lag between product ship and broad scale adoption, I think you're talking a 2007 story minimum. Meanwhile, news today that the dividend will remain flat, was a seriously stupid move imo that will be very poorly recieved by shareholders and will only add to the stocks already substantial woes short-term. Even Goldman Sachs - typically a MSFT uber-supporter - called the news "dissapointing" and went on to question whether hording more cash was really consistent with mgt's contention that they believe the stock is undervalued. Not good.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it. Like some others have said, just seeing the breadth of cool stuff we are putting out soon was exciting. And as someone who's worked in MSN for six years, it's a good thing that they've invited us over to teach Windows how to ship :)

Even though there are some annoying things about the company (all the bland VPs congratulating each other on stage - who are they? who cares? we do the work! mini mini!) I wouldn't want to be anywhere else simply because we have the opportunity to affect millions of lives - more than any other company. Boggles my mind sometimes.

Yes, "google" is a verb but for how long? MSN has already developed just about everything Google has and a lot of our solutions are better like IM, toolbar, and soon even search. Wait and see how long those guys over there can last without burning out - they are in their early Microsoft sleeping on the floor phase and they'll grow out of it soon...

Anonymous said...

"And as someone who's worked in MSN for six years, it's a good thing that they've invited us over to teach Windows how to ship :)"

Now i know your smoking crack .. yes MSN does ship ... ALOT ... but whats the quality bar for half of that stuff .. really ... alot of the process that came into MSN came from Windows refugees ~w2k

Anonymous said...

Grow the P/E by exceeding expectations. That's what has me wanting to achieve more.

And he's getting paid how much for brilliant insights such as this? Kidding aside, just making expectations vs missing/delays/lowering forward guidance/etc would already be a huge improvement over current. A MSFT earnings conference call today is a truly mind-numbing experience filled with so many excuses and lipstick-adorned pigs that I often feel like a root canal would be preferable. What would be nice is a conference call where MSFT walks in, delivers the numbers, candidly acknowledges any areas that need improvement and says "any questions? cause if not, we got more butt to kick". Now that would be refreshing, result in more street confidence and likely a higher P/E being awarded.

Anonymous said...

This was my second company meeting (after the fake one last year).

Although it was exciting in some parts, I was mostly disappointed by the meeting.

Steveb's heros-riding-horses ending was mildly exciting. Ah! If only they earnestly addressed employee morale.

It's amazing how total BS can fool people!!

I am one of the many recent college grads working at MS and when I hear stories about friends at google sleeping under their desk, it just send my blood rushing. Something about the excitment which I am missing on!

We still dont have a 9-5 culture but we definitely have a 9-6 culture now. I have pulled a few all nighters at work (alone of course) with not so much as a thank you from my manager.

Maybe Google is my calling although i hate them :-)

Anonymous said...

"In The Science Of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles talks about how money is primarily made on the creative plane rather than the competitive plane..."

Who has more money, Steve Ballmer or Wallace Wattles?

Anonymous said...

Ok, who wrote the post-meeting update to this blog and what have you done with Mini?

Anonymous said...

Meh. I left at noon - my carpool partner needed to leave. Secretly (or not-so) I'm glad I didn't have to witness Steve B. jumping around like a fool. The dude just makes me feel vaguely embarrassed.

Some of it (esp. Xbox) was cool but a lot of the stuff that was demoed just left me wondering WTF? We actually think this represents a real customer need?

And that rugby clip gave me a bad case of testosterone poisoning [eyeroll]. But otherwise yeah, Liddell was good.

Meh.

Anonymous said...

This Company Meeting was still just a meeting, something Microsoft has a lot of now days.

What really counts is growing revenues and sales and being more responsible and effective managing all that cash. Meetings don't accomplish any of that.

Remember the Financial Analysts meeting? That got investors hot and bothered for about 2 days and now we're back down again.

Anonymous said...

And what about that MSN VP (Isn't is bad enough that ther are so many VPs I have no idea what his name is) trying to make us feel bad about using google!!

It's like those f***** stupid TV ads ... If you smoke marijuana you help Bin Laden OR if you drive an SUV you help Bin Laden

Anonymous said...

Hey MSN employees!
Compare MSN results and let me know if you satisfied...

I'd like for you to try this search:

Microsoft 30 Anniversary

...This is why you saw so many hands up.

Anonymous said...

in mostly entertaining meeting (more interesting than most I've been to) one think that stood out was... Lisa Brummel. It is the second time I saw her (first being introduction video to harrassment training). And both were very depressing.

I don't know what is it - but somehow I didn't buy her cheers but instead felt that she hates our guts and is there to fire people and cut benefits till we start running...

I've got no facts to prove Lisa is evil. It was just an impression. But it was depressing. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

I didn't attend the company meeting. I've never been to a meeting where Steve Ballmer says anything that leaves me feeling refreshed. In fact, I always think "what an idiot" when I listen to a Ballmer presentation. This is the leader of our company?

You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see Doug Burgum or Orlando Ayala step up to the CEO role. Both those men know the value of customer relationships. And they're sincere about it. No jumping up and down, no "Eye of the Tiger", just a lot of pride and poise and passion.

And that's what is missing at the leadership level.

Out with Ballmer. In with Burgum or Ayala. That's what I want to hear in order to feel good coming into work every morning.

Anonymous said...

Mini! Tell me you are alive and well...

It is time to pack my thing an leave.

And that is exactly what I am going to do next week. Is there life after Microsoft? I will know soon.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts:

- Lisa Brummel makes me wish we weren't allowed to wear shorts to work. *shudder*

- Sony is soooo dead (XBox 360 rocks)

- Napolean Dynamite with BillG was hilarious.

- I liked how it was BillG who opened the meeting instead of saving him for 2nd to last.

- I'm glad I didn't stay for SteveB.

- The dude from Lotus was a complete and utter dud. I was embarrassed for Bill for having to share the stage with him.

- The embedded guys need to get better demos. Showing us that plug-n-play works now for bar code readers was underwhelming.

- WTF was it with the Office guys in rain coats. The meeting was indoors.

- I thought the entertainment was great.

Anonymous said...

WTF was it with the Office guys in rain coats. The meeting was indoors.

The secret of Office: Office is cheap. Cheap building, no spending on morale, measly reviews, bad case of underleveling. And raincoats are cheap. See the connection?

Anonymous said...

"I think our customers are going to be delighted silly this coming year!"

SteveB's just hoping they'll stay silly. He'd like if our investors don't get too smart this year, either. Just everyone stay silly and keep buying what we ship, please!

And, yes, Lisa Brummel definitely puts the "down" into "dress down".

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm just too big a fan of the kool-aid, but I for one am psyched after the company meeting.

Yes there were elements that sucked: Big enormous cluster getting into the product fair; shivering cold in the stadium for hours, annoyed that the coffee ran out so early.

But that wasn't as chilling as Ray Ozzie's talk. Billg's intro for him built up my expectations, but he didn't say anything with content, or anything that connected on any level. Clearly he hasn't learned to speak Microsoftese.

Annoyances aside, there was a lot to be excited about that we saw today. Many of the demos knocked my socks off. And the product pipeline is just phenominal.

This is the seventh company meeting I've attended, and as I sat there today, I found myself reflecting on company meetings past. I was specifically thinking of Billg's speech from a few years ago, where he laid out the strategy of innovation + shipping technology over the whistler-longhorn-blackcomb product waves. It's exciting to see many of these ideas hitting the marketplace & coming to fruition. Finally.

Anonymous said...

I saw the MED phone demos, they're underwhelming. why?

first: how much are those devices selling for? did you ask? how does the device price and bill of materials compare to competitive devices?

second: MED was reorganized to the "entertainment and devices" division. note: they've dropped the "home" from that title over the last three days. the key thing that makes the blackberry work is the server backend for managing email and the end-to-end solution. however, MED was organized AWAY from the key components (LCS and Exchange) that drive acceptance of the devices in the business environment.

so, they've got a few devices ready to be commercialized. well. whoop-de-doo. how many units are they planning on shipping? which markets are they targeting? and how do they get the back end story to work? and what about securing a device that amounts to a mini-PC on a corporate network, how's that working?

MED was profitable for the first year ever, but just barely. if you ask around in MED, people think they are producing the wrong product for the wrong customer.

so four demo devices, while nice, doesn't really amount to a whole hill of beans. what PieterK doesn't say when he notes that MED is the fastest growing division is that the attrition rate basically matches the growth rate. the number of employees stays basically stagnant. wonder why that is.

Anonymous said...

All the excitment created at the meeting is the exact reason why things wont change at Microsoft.
Despite low morale, bad review model, management overhead, bureaucracy and so on , we still succeed in shipping nice stuff. And this is the only thing our execs see. And as long they see this, they wont change a thing.

Once the excitment is over, we may see the real mini back with his sharp comments on how to improve Microsoft. (hey Mini -- we miss you...) However dont expect anything from the execs.

Anonymous said...

i thought the demos were cool. but there was one thing that caught my attention - the display on the lid thing that jim demoed. anyone here know more about that?

Anonymous said...

Well, good luck to you, then. I wish you well.

But think: you're a company with +$60B in cash - and your own employees aren't compensated to the level that they're performing.

How long will that last? Eventually your smarter employees will wake up and say "Why work for peanuts so I can get a ship-in award, when Bill/Steve/Rick/Jeff get BILLIONS," and you'll be stuck with the 3.0's.

I mean, you're openly saying that your talented people are NOT being fairly compensated, and yet -- how can they be so smart when they haven't figured out that they're getting (insert appropriate verb here that implies unfairly treated)?

And how can your fellow employees be so smart when they haven't figured out a way to force change? Are you all that powerless?

Anonymous said...

Review System Overhaul

The review is actually a piece of cake to exploit, if you were so inclined. If you have the technical ability that is in the, say, top 10% of your peers, you'll always do ok with the reviews. But if you really want to get ahead, just talk about the stuff that no one thinks, or wants to think about.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe some of you here are actually posting about the products that you saw in the company meeting.

I hope guys realize that competitors are reading this blog too.

Get more cautious.

Anonymous said...

I think that anything that is presented to thousands of people, in a stadium no less, is pretty much fair game for talking about in public.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mini-MS: The review system is already fixed. There is no stack rank and there is no curve.

Microsoft testified as much in a court of law
:

Ms. Willingham also said the company did not ask its managers to give a fixed percentage of their employees any given score. "We don't force that curve to look any certain way," she said.

Microsoft has no formal "stack rank" policy, she said.

Surely Microsoft wouldn't lie in court would it?

Anonymous said...

I think that anything that is presented to thousands of people, in a stadium no less, is pretty much fair game for talking about in public.

It has a cost. On the way over, a uppity-up manager said he expected very little of significance to be presented because of this blog in particular. The more people go and blather in public about everything they see and hear, the more relectant presenters will be to discuss it. So, as the blog here says, be cool. Think. Don't go marginalizing us more than this blog has already managed to.

It has become ammunition to not discuss things in front of employees. What do you think of that?

Anonymous said...

What we got here is a failure to communicate.

Anonymous said...

"Don't go marginalizing us more than this blog has already managed to.

It has become ammunition to not discuss things in front of employees. What do you think of that?"


Wow, way to shoot the messenger.

Anonymous said...

"Out with Ballmer. In with Burgum or Ayala. That's what I want to hear in order to feel good coming into work every morning."

Burgum? Are you on crack? So we can go from Ballmer's anemic 8% growth to Burgum's 0%?

Anonymous said...

The only good demo they could have done at the Company Meeting is if they showed us what Microsoft would look like without Ballmer. Now that is something we could all get excited about.

Anonymous said...

You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see Doug Burgum or Orlando Ayala step up to the CEO role.

Doug Burgum?!? Are you kidding me? The guy is mediocre, at best. He is a failure. Look at the poor performance of MBS. Look at all the wasted money in worthless acquisitions.

If Doug Burgum became CEO, this company would really be done for.

Besides, with the re-org, it's clear that Steve and the other execs have finally measured his worth, as well. He's on his way out. I would be shocked if he's still at Microsoft a year from now.

Anonymous said...

"Don't go marginalizing us more than this blog has already managed to."

What a joke. Mini's blog hasn't marginalized MSFT, it's merely shined a spotlight on how marginalized MSFT has become. Take a look at the stock chart - the market saw major problems years before Mini penned his first comment.

Anonymous said...

Solving microsofts problems is easy: pay IC devs 30% more to match market rates, give everybody 20% time to do what they want. Provide food 24/7 for free and return towel service (not because its really important, just because everybody is bitching about it). Demolish building 36.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mini-MS: The review system is already fixed. There is no stack rank and there is no curve.

Microsoft testified as much in a court of law:

Ms. Willingham also said the company did not ask its managers to give a fixed percentage of their employees any given score. "We don't force that curve to look any certain way," she said.

Microsoft has no formal "stack rank" policy, she said.

Surely Microsoft wouldn't lie in court would it?


This is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh. My group openly stack ranks people all year long. And the practice has been openly applauded by HR. In my group, if you aren't rubbing up to all the managers at all times, you will be forgotten during the review process.

You want the mob off your back? Be prepared to pay for the protection. Pride yourself on your integrity? That's nice, but integrity won't help you come review time.

It's not so much a human process as it is a budget process. Each group is told they can give out this much stock and this much bonus. If anyone tries to convince you that the review process is about your performance over the year, they are only about 25% correct.

Anonymous said...

"I think that anything that is presented to thousands of people, in a stadium no less, is pretty much fair game for talking about in public."

They are not just any "people", they are employees. Employees need to responsible to ensure that they are not hurting their company.

Anonymous said...

Employees need to responsible to ensure that they are not hurting their company.

So what's your point?

Anonymous said...

Don't go marginalizing us more than this blog has already managed to. It has become ammunition to not discuss things in front of employees. What do you think of that?

Here's what I think of that: Living in fear of management isn't going to help us make meaningful changes to the company's culture. As anyone who has sat through a meeting with a VP can attest, it's a rare day when dissenting or even contrary opinions are welcomed at this company. That's why so many people huddle together in offices and on IM and bitch about each other and the organization (a practice I abhor).

At least in this forum we can provide honest feedback and BEG to be heard. If any of us were to make most of these comments openly, it would be the beginning of the end of our career here. I love this company. I come here to add to the chorus of voices that also loves this company.

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple.

Don't discuss any of the demos or product details on a public blog.

Do it on an internal Wiki/blog/DL.

Anonymous said...

Employees need to responsible to ensure that they are not hurting their company.

There's some management speak for you. Welcome to Mini-Microsoft, management friend! While you are here, why don't you let us know how you would change the review model that you are required to enforce every year?

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple.

How long have you worked at Microsoft? A week?

Anonymous said...

"There's some management speak for you. Welcome to Mini-Microsoft, management friend! While you are here, why don't you let us know how you would change the review model that you are required to enforce every year?"

I'm not even an employee at MS. Yet, some of the comments here are doing more bad to it, than good.

All I'm saying is don't discuss the details of future products on this PUBLIC blog. As much I would like to know what's in the Microsoft pipeline, it is just crazy that some employees would leak information, (sometimes indirectly), on a public forum.

Anonymous said...

when I hear stories about friends at google sleeping under their desk, it just send my blood rushing
You can go to Google and sleep with your friends under the desk or use the opportunity to GET A LIFE!

Anonymous said...

To everybody who's stoked with the company meeting and our upcoming products: why? You're still going to get the same crappy raise and bonus next year, while your VP gets a multi-million dollar bonus for making such great software. Think about that while you're paying your co-pay at the doctor's office.

Anonymous said...

As much I would like to know what's in the Microsoft pipeline, it is just crazy that some employees would leak information

Like what? What are they leaking? How do you know they are leaking anything if you don't even work for the company? Do you know what you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

I hope guys realize that competitors are reading this blog too.

Yes, we are reading this blog. It makes great reading! Not so much for the leaks of products that will possibly, maybe, hit the market in a year or two, be widely deployed a year or two after that...

We also read about the poor morale of the troops, the infighting, the internal politics, the calls for King Ballmer to resign, etc.

We read how some of you would like a more stimulating environment, a chance to work on small teams, in an environment where the engineers are in charge, an environment where you work on state of the art, web based solutions, and where you are free and encouraged to pursue your own ideas 20% of your time...

You want free food, 24/7, you want towels, you want a results oriented, technology driven work environment?

Come visit us at Google...

Google Jobs

Anonymous said...

"All I'm saying is don't discuss the details of future products on this PUBLIC blog. As much I would like to know what's in the Microsoft pipeline, it is just crazy that some employees would leak information, (sometimes indirectly), on a public forum."

Good point, but no one is revealing much more than what's been announced publicly, such as at PDC or through press releases. We actually need to evangelize our products in order to generate excitement with our customers. Oh, and I believe that some press was invited to the Company Meeting?

As for being critical... many of the devices mentioned are actually built by OEMs, and run released or soon to be released MS software. I agree with one comment regarding the challenge with back-end integration of mobile devices with messaging, directory and collaboration software. However, I've seen evidence that integration has been thought through pretty well. My customers are interested in Smartphones because they will be easier to manage in their infrastructures than other non-MS software driven devices. The blocker (for now) is expense of the OEM devices. However, I think as mobile devices become more feasible for working "untethered" and prices (inevitably) drop, we'll see this area grow.

Anonymous said...

I'm not in software, I'm in political organizing, and what you've created here with this forum is remarkable and game-changing. I'm curious, have you considered forming a union to express these concerns, formally? Does Microsoft have a policy on unions?

I may be way off-base here, since I'm an outsider and I don't know very much about how Microsoft works.

Anonymous said...

Come visit us at Google...Google Jobs

How does the Google resume review process work? Does it do any good to submit resumes to the database? Or is it like Microsoft in that you have to know someone already at Google to have a shot? (I submitted my resume last week.)

Anonymous said...

Like what? What are they leaking? How do you know they are leaking anything if you don't even work for the company? Do you know what you are talking about?

If you read some of the posts, and extrapolate, then there is certainly a lot of information and insight that can be gained on what was demoed.

Since you didn't identify what some of these things were, I'm not going to spill it for you.

Regards.

Anonymous said...

We also read about the poor morale of the troops

What company does not have poor morale among the troupers? I am certain that even people in the Google troup are not smiling and skipping on their commute to work.

Anonymous said...

If you read some of the posts, and extrapolate, then there is certainly a lot of information and insight that can be gained on what was demoed.


Again, what is your point? That is their intention. They demo'd it to get people talking about it.

Anonymous said...

Again, what is your point? That is their intention. They demo'd it to get people talking about it.

Probably talking about it within the company or amongst company employees rather than with the whole world?

As far I understand, this was a closed event to employees only, although one the replies above mentioned that press were also invited.

To put it more bluntly, honor your NDA, and don't make everything that you saw public (unless it was already shown in the PDC or elsewhere).

Anonymous said...

Well, when I signed my NDA, I was told I was going to be promoted within a year, visit dev conferences and travel to customer sites.

fCh said...

I detect the tone of somebody in management who's got an interest in keeping the lid on the situation here:

Probably talking about it within the company or amongst company employees rather than with the whole world?

Who doesn't think these people whould have taken their conversation to closed fora if the environment had been conducive to that?

As far I understand, this was a closed event to employees only, although one the replies above mentioned that press were also invited.

How much of what changed/made history in this country was meant to remain closed event to employees only?

To put it more bluntly, honor your NDA, and don't make everything that you saw public (unless it was already shown in the PDC or elsewhere).

See above, please!


Cheers, fCh

fCh said...

Sanaz, Festina lente! There is time for everything in life, and everything should come within good measure. Keep doing well what you are doing at Start.com and let us see it a usable alternative to Google or Yahoo! I, as a customer, would welcome very much the ability to have choice among providers.

As for parting thoughts, I am sure you'll have your time with BillG, and so glad that the only thing that bothered you in the employee meeting were the fireworks!

Cheers from an intended future user of Start.com!

glad you're excited about start.com :)

i'm very much pro a leaner microsoft, but i was still pretty excited at the company meeting... cause the technology is pretty damn cool. the reality is all that cool shit is done by a fraction of the employees, the ones that are actually passionate and get shit done. the execs are already aware of this whole over-bloated problem and i'm sure are working on addressing it.

btw, i was one of the 3 women in the bring back the dazzle article.

lastly - i'm at msn, and i even thought the fireworks were totally wierd and out of place :

Anonymous said...

Not sure the press was at the company meeting, can anyone verify? But agree that much shown was a repeat of PDC and other publicity. We should be careful not to reveal NDA info, no matter how upset we may be with our "deal."

Anonymous said...

"You want free food, 24/7, you want towels, you want a results oriented, technology driven work environment?

Come visit us at Google... "

Don't forget to mention other "unspoken" google requirements

- if your new college hire or lessthan 5 years of experience
- if your over 30 with a PHD
- if your in a GM+ position with a technology company working on relative items of interest to google

Anonymous said...

>I saw two broad types of responses when I was there (left 01). The first was people who just focused on doing a great job and let the review system take care of itself. If they were excellent performers, it by and large did - although they rarely maxed out. If they were just good, it got dicey.

Bingo. I was a very introverted person so I hid in my office and did good but unspectacular work for many years. (At least, I think so. Perhaps I'm wrong.) I got not a single reward for it. No promotions, no raises, no options, nothing. That was okay, my focus was on shipping good software and da**it, I did.

Eventually, management noticed and started hinting "Is MS really the right place for you?" A friend took pity on me and taught me how the review system realy works. I became adept in the arts of visibility and brown-nosing and the rewards began flowing.

Shipping good software is still a priority and I put in the long hours to make it happen, but, now, it comes second to having enough visibility to get my piece of the pie. That's what management and the review process truly rewards after all.

I feel dirty for having to play the game, though. Is staying at MS worth my self-esteem?

Anonymous said...

"
Don't forget to mention other "unspoken" google requirements

- if your new college hire or lessthan 5 years of experience

"

Hmmm, interesting! Wonder why MS hires lot of college grads then?

Probably because they are stupid enough to be excitied about very little... atleast for a while.

Remember you can't fool all the people all the time.

The stock defence of MS is that we are still better than most. Try working at IBM. And my reply is .. Yeah, thanks for the adive. Point taken. I will never work for IBM. But what about google?

Anonymous said...

"Is staying at MS worth my self-esteem?"

Only you can answer that. For me, it wasn't and so I left.

Anonymous said...

"- if your new college hire or lessthan 5 years of experience

"

Hmmm, interesting! Wonder why MS hires lot of college grads then?"


same reason .. costs and trainability

Anonymous said...

"if your new college hire or less than 5 years of experience"

SO maybe you know to use "you're" instead of "your"???

Anonymous said...

Microsoft should do the following:

1) Sell Xbox to someone who can make money with it.
2) Sell MSN to someone who can make money with it (if that's even possible).
3) Focus on retaining and innovating on the desktop, pray that it stays popular.
4) Focus on retaining office software, pray that people don't try out Open Office.

The fact is, only about 10% of Microsoft's products are making any money and shareholders are paying the price for the shiftless layabouts who sit on useless MSN products for years without making a cent for the company.

Anonymous said...

Wow I know a lot. I have no real skills, except the uncanny ability to be negative and eventually run away rather than tough it out and help out my community. I like to comment on big business, even though I've only worked at Microsoft for 2 years and am a lowly piss ant underperforming, yet totally misunderstood for my great genius, paper monkey. I thought I'd make a lot of money at Microsoft but I didn't so I'm sabotaging the company from within to prove a point. But for 20,000 options I'd gladly service Eric Schmidt, if you know what I mean.

-Your Average Mini-Msft Commentor

Anonymous said...

Or is it like Microsoft in that you have to know someone already at Google to have a shot? (I submitted my resume last week.)

Don't know, BUT Check out Joe Beda's recent post. Looks like he is volunteering to accept your resumes . Send them to Joe at: eightypercent@bedafamily.com

Anonymous said...

I hope guys realize that competitors are reading this blog too.

You know, its not just your competitors that read this. We in the investment community are also big readers of this site. Thank you so much for opening up to us. It is fascinating to see Microsoft through the eyes of this blog...

Anonymous said...

Wow I know a lot. I have no real skills, except the uncanny ability to be negative and eventually run away rather than tough it out and help out my community. I like to comment on big business, even though I've only worked at Microsoft for 2 years and am a lowly piss ant underperforming, yet totally misunderstood for my great genius, paper monkey. I thought I'd make a lot of money at Microsoft but I didn't so I'm sabotaging the company from within to prove a point. But for 20,000 options I'd gladly service Eric Schmidt, if you know what I mean.

-Your Average Mini-Msft Commentor


"Ballmer: One of our core values is essentially a culture of self-criticism and self-improvement. And as Bill said, you take any time in history there have been folks — and there always will be, because we value it — [who question how can] we do better, how do we improve, what needs to change? We don't just cherish that, we promote it..." (from this Seattle Times article).

You can go ahead and criticize Mini-Microsoft, but by doing so you are essentially criticizing Steve Ballmer. Your pick.

Anonymous said...

What would be really funny would be to find out that most of these posts, and possibly even the owner's posts, are a well-orchestrated Google scam.

That would be brilliant.

Anonymous said...

"What would be really funny would be to find out that most of these posts, and possibly even the owner's posts, are a well-orchestrated Google scam.

That would be brilliant."

You know...in my history classes in school I could never comprehend how huge empires like (e.g. Rome) could ever collapse.

As i grow up :-) specially at MS now I understand more how that happens. Of course, in case of MS it will be much less grand then Rome but much faster too.

So, the way they collapse is...because by the time people move out of denial, it's too late

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest...

-Microsoft is the most succesfull company ever created.

-Microsoft keeps it success by doing 2 things; keeping its current products with relative innovation and crashing competitors; copying and improving what these do.

Google, as IBM, Sun, Netscape, Linux, Yahoo, Apple, etc. Will fall, you can already see how the G company is already hitting walls, let's wait a couple of years and see what happens, when was the last time you noticed some improvement on their search engine? Instead, I've been having more problems finding the results that I want. I remember that my first search engine was Yahoo, then I moved to Altavista; Search engines have a bigger history of change, as for platforms, we only know one.

Will Microsoft fall against Google?

My question is... How?
Are they going to create a new OS that can replace Windows? Mhmm... I wonder how much time it will take them to build a Windows 95. Unless they're thinking on making another linux distribution, then, they'll become nothing more than OTHER linux distribution.

Microsoft is changing, the whole world is, this blog is proof of it, if we see so many discussions here is because of this blog explosion. And this is also proof that in Microsoft everybody has its own opinion and that we have a public space to express it. This space was only a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

What does it all matter, if Google ships free software like Office sponsored by Adwords? That would hurt MSFT revenue fairly hard. Microsoft need to gain leadership within search, before this happens. The clock started ticking when Google launched sidebar..
http://investinsearch.blogspot.com/2005/09/will-google-hurt-microsoft-with-free.html

Anonymous said...

"What would be really funny would be to find out that most of these posts, and possibly even the owner's posts, are a well-orchestrated Google scam.

That would be brilliant."


More conspiricy theory fodder:

- The blog is hosted on blogger, a Google property rather than MSN Spaces

- The new rash of pro microsoft, its not that bad comments smell like the work of King Steve and his PR cronies

Anonymous said...

I thought the annual company meeting was very well conducted. Ballmer's entrance started off with the thousands of employees offering a standing applause. Do you really think all these thousands of employees who stood up to appluad were ALL brainwashed by some PR magic? I am sure no one forced them to stand up and applaud since I didnot hear anyone asking me to do so. If all these thousands were as disgruntled with the whole management as some of the folks here sound like ... do you think they would care to STAND and applaud? I think not. I think the comments here are posted by a few who simply are lazy, doesn't have any motivation to work and when they are struck with the low review scores, they come here to vent about it and complain about upper management. Please do Miscrosoft a service and leave instead of being a burden. Your low review scores is just an indirect way of requesting just that - leave for where ever you think is better.

I have worked for a couple of years at MSFT and I have encountered these types now and then. They think the company is a charity. They come late, go out for extra long smoking sessions, 2 hr lunches and leave before 5. Ofcourse they deserve a low review cuz they just aren't performing and when ppl are looking for them, they can't be found. No wonder they get low reviews.

For the hard core ICs who think the one or two meetings a day are extremely boring and prevents them from getting much work done - think about how much more boring it is for those who have to do it all day with their counterparts from our client companies and partners. The people doing this boring job are the senior management. I think we should be thankful that they do this and are content with whatever their pay is. Otherwise YOU - yes you Mr. hardcore ic - will have to sit in the meetings trying to communicate our plans, product features, etc. to the suits from other companies.

So for the cry-babies, suck it up and get to work and deliver on your deadlines and try to go beyond. Or else get your asses out of the company and stop being a drain on resources.

Anonymous said...

This guys has got to be one of the bigegst isiots at MS (indeed in general). See this comment..

" The people doing this boring job are the senior management. I think we should be thankful that they do this and are content with whatever their pay is. "

Thank god they are content with million dollar salaries from this year. I shudder to think what wuld happen if they were not content...

Maybe dick the employees and make money themselves..wait its already happening

Anonymous said...

"What would be really funny would be to find out that most of these posts, and possibly even the owner's posts, are a well-orchestrated Google scam.

That would be brilliant."


Hey Mini,

When are you going to sign up for AdSense? You would probably actually make some money given the popularity of this site!

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is much more fragile than anyone really lets on. Imagine if Apple suddenly decided to offer MAC OS 10 on standard Dell platforms, and when you called Dell, they asked which OS you wanted. This would take an immediate 20% of Microsoft revenues, which would cause immediate layoffs at the mighty M.

Follow this with a Google Office Online concept, and the deal is done, game over.

It doesn't take much.

Anonymous said...

The people doing this boring job are the senior management. I think we should be thankful that they do this and are content with whatever their pay is.

Do you have ANY idea what their pay is? Partners at Microsoft, you know, the senior "leaders" L68 and above are virtually garunteed nearly $1m/yr. Many of these guys have a long history with Microsoft and have cashed in between $30m and $100m of options over the years. The super elite, the jimall's, kevinjo's, ericr's, davidv's, etc. have raked in considerably more!

Do you really think we should be thankful that they are sitting in meetings all day long (hiding behind their laptops searching for vacation homes in tuscany)? Give me a break!

The senior leadership of this company pursued a failed strategey of integrated innovation. They had no idea how to execute on it, they overpromised with no clue how to deliver.

Meanwhile the world, our competitors, and our shareholders watched the countless delays... These guys are 100% responsible for our pathetic stock performance, they have opened the door for our competitors, and lets not forget Bill essentially flipping off a federal judge by giving him a version of windows that wouldn't boot, and steve effectively doing the same to the attorney general of the united states of america!

Why should these guys be paid $1m/yr to perform so pathetically?

Look at what Carly over at HP did to some of her executives simply for missing a sales projection!

If we are serious about accountability, heads should roll! These executives that have massively missed their deadlines, and that have over promised and under delivered should be dismissed and replaced with hungry young softies that will take their responsibilities seriously!

Who da'Punk said...

Hey Mini,

When are you going to sign up for AdSense? You would probably actually make some money given the popularity of this site!


If I knew I could easily sign up and have it easily go to charity and, in one click, have any visitor verify that it's going to a charity, I would.

I personally don't want to make money off of this. Perhaps I'll wait for that big book deal when I get fired (joking - I hope).

It also seems to... weaken? dirty? compromise? blur any message I might actually be making.

Anonymous said...

I guess Mini's surprise at the company meeting confirms some of the outside speculation: that he is a low-level flunky outside the main product groups. Otherwise explain how he didn't know the dates and didn't know this stuff was coming. Relax Mini and let the people who actually know stuff run the company.

Anonymous said...

"I guess Mini's surprise at the company meeting confirms some of the outside speculation: that he is a low-level flunky outside the main product groups. Otherwise explain how he didn't know the dates and didn't know this stuff was coming. Relax Mini and let the people who actually know stuff run the company."

Thats not necessarily true ... i find it unlikely even most mid-levels know all of what is going on at the company. This is a BIG company with alot of things going on ..

Anonymous said...

I have worked for a couple of years at MSFT and I have encountered these types now and then. They think the company is a charity. They come late, go out for extra long smoking sessions, 2 hr lunches and leave before 5. Ofcourse they deserve a low review cuz they just aren't performing and when ppl are looking for them, they can't be found. No wonder they get low reviews.

You sound like quite a star. And that would probably mean you are also a good leader. Why don't you have the courage to post your building and office number here, so we can set up time to discuss in person the secrets to your success at Microsoft? It sounds as if you could really teach us quite a lot. It might be easier to dismiss people who make you uncomfortable, but it would benefit the company most if you could mentor some of us to help us know how to improve our performance.

Anonymous said...

I guess Mini's surprise at the company meeting confirms some of the outside speculation: that he is a low-level flunky outside the main product groups. Otherwise explain how he didn't know the dates and didn't know this stuff was coming. Relax Mini and let the people who actually know stuff run the company.

One of the best ways to attempt to discredit people who disagree with you is to dismiss them with an attack on their character (Republicans and Democrats do this all the time). Even if this guy is a janitor at this company, give him some credit for starting a discussion that really had to happen--and should happen continually to ensure the success of this company.

Anonymous said...

Wow I know a lot. I have no real skills, except the uncanny ability to be negative and eventually run away rather than tough it out and help out my community. I like to comment on big business, even though I've only worked at Microsoft for 2 years and am a lowly piss ant underperforming, yet totally misunderstood for my great genius, paper monkey. I thought I'd make a lot of money at Microsoft but I didn't so I'm sabotaging the company from within to prove a point. But for 20,000 options I'd gladly service Eric Schmidt, if you know what I mean.

-Your Average Mini-Msft Commentor



Wow I know a lot. I have no real skills except my social skills which I use on my friend who got me the job and the manager I buy coffee for every day. I have the uncanny ability to be positive about whatever my manager tells me to be and to help out the company for less pay per hour worked which is more than made up for by those visibility stock grants awarded every year. I like to report to my manager on co-workers who I believe to be unworthy. The possibilities of blurring the lines between opinion and fact make my head spin and give me a tingly feeling all over. My great genius is underestimated and by undermining the reputation of those competing with me, I believe that I will one day rule a group of five or more direct reports who will compete to buy my coffee.

-Your Average Mini-Msft Commentor Critic

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