Monday, June 12, 2006

So Long Scoble and Thanks For All the Links!

So long, Microsoft-infused Scobelizer! All the best. The amount of attention that this blog managed to conjure up was in no small part due to Scoble and his generous linking and discussion.

But I guess I better watch myself... I can't go and wag my finger when cornered by the blue-badge yanking, code-decoding geek-squad. I can no longer lecture them, "Uh, uh, uh no-firie! Or you lose Scoble in the deal!"

It will be interesting to see where the future of Microsoft blogging goes now. There's a certain amount of openness and honesty and vulnerability in the best writing, let alone blogging, that you just can't fake, and those that try are going to get ripped to shreds. Anyway, I learned a-lot about writing and a great deal about managing a balanced conversation thanks to Mr. Scoble. Thanks, Robert. I look forward to talking with you someday. Again.

In other news... MSFT at $21.71! Telling people I work at Microsoft used to lead to glowing investment stories and smiles, and then later troubled caution and mutters about, "Well, that Mr. Gates ain't no dummy." Now it leads to people lecturing me about dividends and Microsoft not able to figure out on its own if it's growth or value or whatever and them wondering just who the heck in charge. When grandfatherly Joe-the-Retired-Teacher you meet one weekend is calling for the CEO's head, you know we've used up all our credits and results are demanded soon, not six years or ten years from now.

(Psst. For best results: drop the company employee size by 10%.)

(Updated: fixed crazy syntax.)


39 comments:

Robert Scoble said...

Thanks, Mini. Hey, I'm doing my part to make Microsoft smaller! :-)

Your blog certainly has changed Microsoft more than mine has. I'll be cheering you guys on as you continue to help make Microsoft a more market-focused company.

Oh, and if you ever want to reveal yourself, I'd love to be the one to unmask you!

Lots of people think we're the same people. I think that's funny.

Anyway, I'm actually pretty bullish on what Microsoft is doing lately. What did my son do all day today? Played my Xbox 360. Last night I watched some videos that were distributed on it. That wasn't lost on me.

Windows Vista is starting to come together and I can see that'll change a lot of people's expectations around media.

And, we all know there's a portable media device underdevelopment too.

Add that all up (along with the Google vs. Microsoft competition) and I saw nothing but opportunity outside the company.

Not to mention my wife and I were tired of the twice-a-month flights to the Bay Area to see my son for a few hours.

I'm having a small party on July 2nd, I wish I could invite you to come along but we'll all have a drink in your honor anyway.

Anonymous said...

ballmer, please: we need you to leave.
msft = $21.71.
that means nobody believe you or respect you anymore. is no longer just a bunch of employees. now, people out there agree with us. we have to cut down the crap and bring a CEO that can really do something with our company. yes, i know, lisa is great; but she doesn't run msft.
please go away!

Anonymous said...

Sob, i wish i had sold all my ESPP when it was ~$28 !

Anonymous said...

I've been recruited to join Microsoft this October. I get the feeling people like yourself (gasp!) just don't want me there though.

If I promise to bring you a present from Africa, will you let me come anyway?

Anonymous said...

Scoble's leaving aint going to do any good; just another bad news to the company. Good luck Scoble. We will see if Microsoft will miss you or not.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance!

Have you ever endured listening to one of the Channel 9 interviews that he did? E-gads. If it wasn't for a the great technology/product as the subject matter, his inept questioning and commentary would ruin the show.

I'll give the idea kudos however. There are just tons of little things going on at the company that keep me so jazzed. Channel 9 is a great medium to expose this. However, my take is that Scoble thought he was Channel 9.

Finally, I've seen him post to many internal DLs. That is cool, problem is his message tagline is always promoting HIS BOOK. Ok, that is blatant self-promotion which sucks, but my real beef is that the damned thing is not even published by MS-PRESS, instead it's Wiley!!

Hmm, the "voice" of Microsoft, pumping his own self-interests. Mini, looks like we have a positive start to the workforce reduction.

Anonymous said...

Mini, you write:

It will be interesting to see where the future of Microsoft blogging goes now.

Into the blackhole of "The world as You're Better Off Not Knowing About", to judge fromn this...

http://blogs.msdn.com/philipsu/archive/category/6051.aspx

Curios, insn't it? 5 entries are listed under "software", but only four are showing up? What was that fifth article about, I wonder..?

Can someone in the know please reassure us that this is simply a coincidental aberation, and nothing to do with the fact that Philip's "Broken Windows Theory" was linked to from Digg hours before it vanished from Phil's site? I mean, it was a damn fine article (if you're not of the opinion that the truth should be "bent over an authoritative kneee and soundly spanked into submission").

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft last November and focused on a pet project of mine--a search utility for developers:

http://www.mottosearch.com/

I've learned a lot about things that wouldn't have come up at Microsoft, like business licenses, stock photography, EULAs, patent and trademark law, etc. So far it's been a valuable and rewarding experience.

Anonymous said...

I find it telling, that one of Scoble's last comments, was along the lines of "What a nice guy Jonathan Schwartz is, and what courage he has, to undertake a major layoff, like that, in order to help Sun's longterm fortunes".

So, today, I will be trying to imagine what it would feel like to write the words:
A) "What a nice guy Steve Balmer is"
B) "What courage Steve Balmer has, to undertake a major layoff, in order to help his company's longterm fortunes"

I'm not going to add any obligatory "kick Steve" comments about the kinds of things Steve thinks are "courageous".

I'll just leave you with that thought: all of you, just imagine what it would feel like, to write the words: "What a nice, sincere guy Steve Balmer is, and what courage he has, to undertake a major RIF, like that"

Anonymous said...

When I was first at Microsoft I was proud to work there. I had a loud blue Microsoft tag on my briefcase with my business card inserted into it. I indeed got many comments about stock price and my millionaire status (not even close).

A year before I left, I took the tag off as I was getting tired of the derogatory comments by obviously pissed off investors.

I stopped telling people on planes who I worked for.

Isn't that just sad?

Gianni said...

I sold @32 I believe - I felt frustrated because I bought a couple of years before at around 33 - now I feel a hero !

Anonymous said...

Interesting, so mini is admiting that Scobie and others in MSFT know his true Bruce Wayne identity.

That pretty much ruins the chance of seeing anymore good posts here that are not tainted by the company line and a serious amount of CYA doesn't it?

So long mini and thanks for all the fish!

Anonymous said...

I'll see your 10% and raise you.

After five good years in services and sales, I have accepted an offer...from a competitor. Before the howls of "treason!" or "where's your loyalty?" ask yourself how loyal you are to the big money machine and how loyal is it to you. Answer = unless you are a partner you are a bug on a windshield.

Anyways, every software company on Earth is a competitor to MS because our corporate obsession with competition drives us to constantly attack new market segments rather than execute flawlessly on the ones we already own. Result = increasing mediocrity across a widening spectrum of technology along with a bloated company swelling with profit-sucking bureaucracy.

The equation for me is simple. Much better salary and revenue-based bonus potential for slightly poores benefits. Loads of stock options where their insiders are buying and their share price has steadily risen for the last five years. An industry-leading suite of products and services along with compelling solution offerings to sell plus a market that needs them.

So this is probably bad attrition, and it's the tip of the iceberg. Just wait for the wave of sales folk leaving when the numbers are final and revenue based bonuses aren't what folks were expecting.

As for those in Redmond who think it's all about developing and think sales and marketing do nothing for the company, go sell the products yourselves...but wait, you keep failing to ship our flagship products on time, thus there is nothing to sell except the tired old "the next version is going to be great!" song. Except for the management and security folks...y'all got potential, keep it up!

Hasta la Vista, folks.

22070 said...

Now we have to wonder if Scoble is Mini. The timing of Mini withdrawing from active blogging about Microsoft is suspiciously close to Scoble's departure.

Anonymous said...

Psst. For best results: drop the company employee size by 10%

You're right Mini - but it's not the 10% that you're thinking of. I'm tired of reading all the fire 3.0 rhetoric. Let's face it, the impact of a dozen so called bad employees is nothing compared to the damage that a single bad manager can inflict. I use the term "so called" because in most cases bad employees are either the direct result of bad managers too lazy or incompetent to do their job or are actually good employees who have been labeled bad as result of stack ranking cronyism. If there's one thing we can agree on it's that there are way too many bad managers at Microsoft - no doubt the result of years of in-breeding. We're long overdue for new blood and new results in management.

So yes, let's mini-size Microsoft but let's first make sure the axe falls where it will actually do some good - namely among the managers who have led us into this mess and don't have a clue as to how to get us out.

Who da'Punk said...

Just to say it and be done with it (at least for June): I'm not Scoble and Scoble is not me. And while Mr. Scoble has met me, it was part of my everyday kind of role, not with me whipping off the paper bag over my head that I usually wear while skulking around campus in "Mini" mode.

Anonymous said...

Is Mini Scoble? Who knows. But I find it most odd and telling that both Mini and Scoble never used a Microsoft product to blog with - Wordpress for Scoble, Blogger for Mini.

Maybe Microsoft isn't needed? Maybe my Ubuntu 6.06 distro, Firefox 1.5 and OpenOffice are serving me just fine. It's 'Good enough'.

Ballmer needs to make things GREAT! - because good enough is free. Great is the only thing of value and Great ain't what Microsoft is about...

Good Luck, Robert, and Goodbye, Mini! Glad I got out when I did - too bad all those field sales and services personnel that drive the company are leaving in droves - if you make software and no one sells it, will anyone use it?

Anonymous said...

"I'll just leave you with that thought: all of you, just imagine what it would feel like, to write the words: "What a nice, sincere guy Steve Balmer is, and what courage he has, to undertake a major RIF, like that"

Steve made it clear in his now infamous Manhattan speech that he's not going to do RIFs in advance of the product launches. So my suggestion is we just lose him for now and then move on to the broader RIF next year.

Anonymous said...

"When grandfatherly Joe-the-Retired-Teacher you meet one weekend is calling for the CEO's head, you know we've used up all our credits and results are demanded soon, not six years or ten years from now."

MSFT management couldn't care less about investors and especially not individual ones. So while I agree that investors generally are fed up (duh, look at the volume and magnitude of the recent selloff), I don't expect to see any changes. Indeed, Ballmer's recent speech made that very clear - which is why the stock sold off more. Real change will only come with new leadership and that doesn't seem likely. So the stock will just continue its nosedive. $60, $50, $40, $30, $20 - do we hear $10?

Q said...

I can’t agree more particularly regarding the poor management in Microsoft. I don’t think that there are many bad employee’s certainly not the number that our review systems & managers in Microsoft lead us to believe. I think its down to bad managers. Let me explain. It’s much easier for a bad manager to class someone as a bad employee than make the investment in developing that employee. Everyone is somewhere on a development curve and has the potential to learn and grow. Bad managers find it impossible to assess where a employee is and work with them to develop their capabilities. In my view if an employee fails it’s their manager that is failing as he/she did not establish a realistic and achievable development plan and see it through to success. I am worried that we will see mass exodus from Microsoft in September after the bonus is paid.

Anonymous said...

"(Psst. For best results: drop the company employee size by 10%.)"

That would help especially if it included a large chunk of the top 800 who collectively are receiving some 30% of total compensation. The real head scratcher is reconciling why a company that bought back $35B of stock between $24-28 because they were so "confident in the future", now balks at buying it back at $21? Once again, there's a big disconnect between management's outwardly bullish posture and their actions.

MSFTextrememakeover said...

"In other news... MSFT at $21.71!"

You might need to link that to a live feed given how fast it's declining. $60B of shareholder value erased in a little over two months. If Ballmer isn't prepared to act, then the Board should. Clearly, Steve has lost all credibility with the street.

Robert Scoble said...

Wow, now I'm really intrigued! I wonder where I ran into Mini. Heheh. Man, to keep a secret like that must really be tough!

Robert Scoble said...

>Ok, that is blatant self-promotion which sucks, but my real beef is that the damned thing is not even published by MS-PRESS, instead it's Wiley!!

MSPress had a chance to publish our book but turned it down.

Anonymous said...

"...the paper bag over my head that I usually wear while skulking around campus in "Mini" mode." - Mini

Two words: New video. Somebody's got to make a video of this.

Pity that, as a non-MS employee, I'll never get to see it...

MSS

Anonymous said...

Make that $21.50 on the way to $19.00

Anonymous said...

Curios, insn't it? 5 entries are listed under "software", but only four are showing up? What was that fifth article about, I wonder..?

Yeah, I'd like to know what happened to that missing blog entry as well. If you look at philipsu's profile, you can see it still listed, but you get nothing if you click on it (while the rest of his posts sill work fine). You can still read the full post in the Google cache if you are at all curious (search for Broken Windows Theory philipsu).

Does anyone know what happened? Was it a change of heart or was Philip forced to remove it?

Anonymous said...

Phew, glad you finally posted Mini! Was starting to think you either got Hoffa'd or were Scoble :-) Given your desire to post less frequently, maybe you need to create a gadget for Live.com that blinks while your lifeforce is still with us? If we see it stop, we can at least call out the search party :-)

Anonymous said...

'drop the company employee size by 10%"

why only 10%, it does not look enough to change this company. perhaps a 30-40%, everyone under 3.0, could better create a new start.

Anonymous said...

"In other news... MSFT at $21.71!"

This should help:
Windows Vista Buggy, Testers Say

Not!

BP/CMB said...

Well, everything's headed south at the moment, but this chart draws a sharp distinction between the "safe" blue-chip money and the more daring investments. A one year old investment in Apple is still looking good. Ditto AMD, Google. But it definitely looks like some folks are in need of a new business plan (or at least a new excuse for the old one).

http://ichart.finance.yahoo.com/z?s=AAPL&t=1y&q=l&l=off&z=m&c=YHOO,AMD,INTC,GOOG,MSFT,IBM&a=v&p=s

Anonymous said...

I for one am glad Scoble is out of Microsoft. It was time someone manage out this annoying guy.

Anonymous said...

The more I know of the stock price and its continuous dive, the more excited I get with the super compensation changes being rolled out based on stock awards.

Ballmer thanks so much for the amazing leadership you’re showing, the fantastic results you’re getting and most of all, for being such a paradigm of the Microsoft values, especially when it comes to accountability. Keep up the great work!

butthead said...

"... drop the company size by 10% ..."

if Ballmer does that then I guess who is going to fix those security holes, the partners?

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060613/microsoft_security.html?.v=5

Puckske said...

Hi there,

maybe fun for you to know, but even in Dutch (yep, The Netherlands) newspapers it was written that you would say goodbye. Never been here before and the first time I have heard about it is exactly the same moment you need to say farewell.

A pity it is...

Anonymous said...

"Ok, that is blatant self-promotion which sucks, but my real beef is that the damned thing is not even published by MS-PRESS, instead it's Wiley!!

Hmm, the "voice" of Microsoft, pumping his own self-interests.


Can we please lay off with the "Scobles gonna sell us out to the IT press" conspiracy theories?

Disclaimer:

* I am not Scoble
* I am not Mini
* I am not even a publisher

But, first off, isn't "Microsoft Press" simply Pearson International, with the bragging right to "badge its books up" as being from "MS Press", just as (I believe) Pearson are the true face behind "Macromedia Press"? Would buying a Pearson book make you feel much more "loyal", than buying a Wiley book? If so, here, take this plane and crash it into that aircraft carrier, over there: we need more of your kind of unswerving loyalty, around here ;).

Here's an idea: maybe Wrox should publish it? Oh, no - hang on, Wrox are just a front for a load of old Wiley-generated content, these days, aren't they? (ever since the REAL Wrox Press went bankrupt, while waiting for .NET to come out of Beta, so that they could sell some of the books they'd written for us about it). (Does anyone else remember when the "in thing" was to be seen walking around campus with a copy of "An Introduction to ASP+"? Pity so few of them actually read it, eh?)

Anyways, in defense of Scoble, believe me - I know am not a publisher - but I can assure you: Robert Scoble is not about to get rich, and retire to a life of havana cigars and Napoleon brandy, off the sales of his book! He might as well be writing "Early Adopter hailstorm", if he wanted to get rich, that way.

Anonymous said...

<< I am worried that we will see mass exodus from Microsoft in September after the bonus is paid>>

Yes, we will see an exodus. Being in the field (and being one that is departing) I can say with confidence that there are very good people at all levels of the organization who have confided in me they are departing. I'm a 10+ year employee, have a lot of contacts throughout the company, and see a very difficult fiscal year coming up on both the financials as well as the personnel side... there are some smart people planning to go (or at least threatening) and the ones you would like to manage out will take their places... that's the slow trickle of more mediocrity seeping into the ranks. Sadly, had anyone listened two years ago to make investment in people and compensation plans rather than focus on cutting all operational costs, we would be in a better position.

A now departed Sr. Exec told me a couple years ago when the company made the stated desire to "trim 1 Billion Dollars from operational costs" that "the first billion won't hurt more than marketing budgets... it's the second billion that will be felt by employees"... I'm afraid that getting new food vendors on campus and towels in the lockerooms will not trickle down as benefits to the subs and field.

Anonymous said...

come review time and given the high expectations of performance for Microsoft what will Ballmers review be? His ultimate objective is shareholder value.

Im sure I'll get a very small pay raise. I recently got a promo +3%, after losing a good 6-7hrs extra of my life...

Ive recently looked at WHI results, and OH MY GAWD!!

Sorry this company will fade into irrevelance and be a good case study in graduate school 10years from now.

Title:

How the ship sank

Anonymous said...

The major problem with calling forthe CEO's head, is what to do with it after you've got it and discovered it's empty. Completely and utterly empty.

I must admit to thinking when I saw the comment with the words "Windows Vista Buggy, Testers Say", that this described some new form of motorized transport. Microsoft has played around with re-branding so often it isn't funny.

Mjinga Wawa