Thursday, July 06, 2006

Online Anonymity is Good, But it Takes Work on Everyone's Part

Here I sit, in the same public space where two years ago, about this same time, connected to public wi-fi, I created http://minimsft.blogspot.com/ and shot out two initial posts and then a third noting the web feed URL. Whew, that July 2004 was a busy month! And it has been a hell of an uphill ride from there... I've learned a lot and I feel like a lot has been accomplished at Microsoft, along with sharing and discovering information in and about Microsoft that have helped countless Microsofties.

How's the score? Microsoft sure has gotten bigger, with no end to expansion in sight. Mini-Microsoft 0, Maxi-Microsoft 20,000.

Nevertheless, given that lots of good changes are emerging (first LisaB and now Sinofsky world), I've put away the pointy stick and have pushed the mental pause button here. It seemed, however, some kind of news event happened every week... so I put up a matching post for discussion: Scoble leaving, Gates 'retiring,' Vic leaving, etc etc. But between that and no mini-essays, the commenting sort of meandered along. And the comments got a bit nasty, not helped by my mis-approval ability.

So I've now cranked up the comment moderation quality gates.

Anonymity check. Is anonymous commenting a good thing? Is anonymous anything a good thing? Why is the EFF so passionate about anonymous rights? Hmm. It's a good discussion to have. My immediate answer is an affirming, "Yes, anonymous protection is a good thing. Judge the content on its own merits, not by the speaker." Other people's immediate answer is "No way! The message is ignorable without a person standing by it!"

While TDavid has been ragging on me for a while, recently Scoble flipped the bit and ripped through the commenting here, basically saying:

  • Anonymity is cowardly, especially backstabbing co-worker anonymous commenters.
  • No worthwhile content can come from unsigned, anonymous sources.
  • I'm being used by the commenters here with their anti-Microsoft agenda.
  • This blog is now harming Microsoft more than it's helping.
  • Non-Microsofties frequently pose as Microsofties to post as part of a subtle, intentional tear-down of Microsoft via Mini-Microsoft.

Surprise! It was as if I switched on the TV and saw Scoble's face pasted over Kanye West, saying, "Mini-Microsoft is bad for Microsoft!" Oh, and Dare jumped on that bad wagon, too, also hedging that this blog has jumped the shark again (third time's a charm, I guess).

Counter to this, Adam Barr also weighs in with Scoble vs. Mini (nice! reasonable!).

Now then, Scoble was coming off of a totally justified reaction to the harsh comments posted around his former team, Vic, and the newly designated leader. Doug Mahugh has a follow-up on that and anonymity: Doug’s World » Response to Robert Scoble. But, damn, when Scoble's bit gets flipped, it really gets flipped.

So he's in the very anti-anonymous world right now. Anonymity bad. Cowardly. Useless. And Scoble signs out of Mini-Microsoft land for good. Hmmph. Maybe he's pulling a Dvorak here, or this is an indoctrination into the crazy uncle club. On one hand, since I respect Scoble a super-great deal, it gives me a good bit to think about (and thus this post). On the other hand, it makes me want to proclaim Tuesday July 11th 2006 as "Be Robert Scoble Day" and sign your posts and comments across the web and blogosphere as Robert Scoble so that everything you write has a proper name associated with it. To quote Scoble, "Heh."

As for Microsoftie-posers contributing comments here: duh. Sorry I can issue forth anything more intellectual than that, but I'm sure it happens. Which posts, though? I have my suspicions, but I can't be 100% sure, so I break out the salt. Scoble quotes a reliable-kept-anonymous source as being quite in the know of all these posers here. The same source likes to spread similar FUD about how it's no more than thirty-some people rotating through various roles posting comments here. And how folks here are all a bunch of whiners. I know, we live in the age of saying it makes it so. I can't invoke divine wisdom on every Microsoftie post to clearly understand if it's blue-badged or not, though somehow this Agent Smith can. Take two grains of salt in search of your own opinion in the world of grey here.

One thing I can rely on is the community that's part of the conversation here to call B.S. on things that are suspicious, or when something gets through that shouldn't. Do you think a particular comment looks suspicious? Call B.S. on it an explain why. Your B.S. calling doesn't make it through my newly modified highly fortified comment filter? Link to that post in your own blog calling B.S.

As an anonymous blogger, it would be wrong for me not to extend the same to the commenters here. I have to. But I've heard everyone's feedback, too: the moderation quality has to be better. And please whip out the B.S. stamps and let me know when it's not.

Other commenters recent opinions on this topic (sorry if it seems like a love-fest - if you have differing opinions, submit them or link to this post):

(1) Until Mini came along, Microsoft thought their entire stack of management was super, and very well respected by employees. The reason they thought this is that detractors were tarred as traitors, whispering campaigns were started against them, and they were managed out. This summed up nicely with Ballmer's statement during the recent town hall: "if you're still using Google raise your hands." No, the first amendment is good for something, and nicely applied here.

(2) Not singling anyone out, but if there had been no way to anonymously post during the lengthy "stack ranking" discussion, is it likely the changes seen recently would have occurred at all?

(3) If it means anything, I think you're serving a valuable purpose for fellow employees. Without your forum, there's no sanity check for individual observations.

(4) Mini, if ever you were in doubt about the amount of good or bad that can happen through minimsft blog, I hope those have now evaporated. Although unelected by us and sometimes your posts are fluff:), your blog has provided an avenue for exchanges that were hitherto impossible.

Do not let this go to waste. Several times the site has jumped the shark with the unchecked or poorly checked comments but several times it has managed to come back to relevancy. Like Scoble or not, there is some truth in his remarks above. While I don't believe the era of Mini is over, I doubt my MS is being helped by some of the things you let through on a consistent basis.

(5) I'm an ex-employee and current shareholder. My experience then and now is that unfortunately, in more cases than not, MSFT's leadership responds to pressure vs proactively doing the right thing. When that pressure doesn't exist or can be easily ignored, MSFT often makes no course correction at all. We see this competitively, legally, internally and wrt customers/partners and especially shareholders. Dare's right that some unfortunate comments have made it through the filter and included "character assassination, racism, sexism, fear mongering, unfounded allegations of sexual misconduct, information leaking" etc, but that's not a whole lot different than many conversations over coffee at MSFT locations worldwide - or most other companies for that matter (regretably). More importantly, in my experience, comments like that have overwhlemingly been the exception vs the rule. Again as a shareholder, I think your site has done more than ANY to foster questioning of current management by both internal and external stakeholders and that's a GREAT thing given their penchant for ignoring the numerous and very obvious current concerns. When we get CONCRETE signs that senior leadership is willing and able to make the difficult course corrections (including changing the dysfunctional corporate culture) w/o external pressure, then your site's contribution may no longer be needed. Until then, I hope you'll keep at it and ignore the naysayers.

(6) The vast majority of us (who actually read lots of blogs every day) appreciate what you are doing. Not everyone realizes yet that this site is going to help mold the future of the company and maybe even bring it into the 21st century as far as how the tech world and how employees gather information and share thoughts and mature debate.

Please edit out the random trolls and potential planned posts that seem to be geared to distracting from and discrediting the mini focus.

(7) This blog is awesome simply because it IS anonymous, and people can post without fear of retalliation. Given the cloistered and clannish atmosphere at Microsoft, this is not cowardice or paranoia. It's common sense.

(8) Those in power to make a difference (LisaB?) who happen to read the blog will automatically ignore those items that don't happen to be true and posted anonymously and filter them away as noise. However, complaints that have an objective point and are posted anonymously will be considered on their merits because everyone who *really* works here knows its true. Therefore, ignoring the comment, because its anonymous, is illogical because employees can attest to its veracity and are able to contemplate the argument presented based on the content of the message itself. Moreover, upper management knows that impactful messages resonate strongly with the masses *despite* their anonymity (the discussion about stack rank is a representative example). As such, these anonymous discussions can certainly form the seeds of revolution. Ignore actual employees who post incorrectly because of their error; these are typically corrected later on by another employee and as such, the former's anonymous (incorrect) message has no impact.

So, damn me and cast aspersions upon me, but I'm going to keep keeping on.

Any other thoughts?

Oh, and finally: if some poor potential candidate came to Mini-Microsoft as part of their decision-making to join Microsoft and got scared away, well, great! Who would make such a judgment based on the radical content of a blog slavishly devoted to down-sizing Microsoft? Not someone I want on my team. Instead, I'd expect them to use it to have a challenging conversation with their recruiter and hiring manager so that they could start a job with eyes wide open and savvyness set to eleven.

Updated: corrected spelling of Doug Mahugh's last name. Sorry!


99 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. I think it's been doing more bad than good lately but that's mainly been because of the quality of the comments you've been letting in.

PS: I agree that LisaB and SteveSi are both good for the company. I saw both of them speak within a week or so of each other and I wanted to hug them both. The only question is whether they can revitalize the middle management layer. I bet they can but only time will tell.

PPS: Keep keeping on.

-- Dare

Robert Scoble said...

Starting early.....

Did I tell you about my cool new cell phone? It's so cool! But it's so hard to figure out whether to talk to my cool (but important) pals or do cool stuff with my avatar in Second Life. That's why I got this cool new wireless headset so I can do both! Cool!

Robert Scoble (arrrgh) said...

"Did I tell you about my cool new cell phone?"

Dang, and I was sure Mini had totally lost his sense of humor.

Bill Buchan said...

Right. Anonymous posts ? Are they bad ?

In my circumstances, where I'm fighting against MSFT FUD and trollers, yes it is. But.

Since my company consist of me (and usually a good bottle of Lagavullin), I dont pretend to be nice to any staff.

BillG and Mr Balmer, on the other hand, have a huge (and getting bigger) headcount.

And it seems to me that you chaps just dont have representation within MSFT thats worth a damn.

So how do you respond ? Anonomously, of course. Why on earth endanger the
wife+kid+cat+dog+mortgage slagging off incompetent pointy haired bosses ? Right.

So - horses for courses.

Scoble, is of course, "super" (See, I can pretend to downsize my english
language skills and be a softie too!) pissed off that anonymous bloggers attacked him and his bosses. He didnt expect flak from inside MSFT.

(Mind you -reading todays waffle - that technology creators only exist in Sillicon Valley, and to a person dont smoke - was complete *bollocks* by the way!)

So you can see why he's pissed at anonymous blogging on his site.

However, is it valid in your context ? Hell. Yes.

And keep it up till there's a seachange in MSFT, such that you *can* stand up in town hall meetings and go "This is Shit!" without fear of reprisal.

You know, it sounds as if you chaps need a good old fashioned Union sticking up for yourselves in Seattle ?

The C# Teamsters ? Mmm.

Keep up the good work.

---* Bill
http://www.billbuchan.com

(Cos I dont work for MSFT, and I *can* sign my comments).

Pillsbury Doughboy said...

Ok, you were right. I decided it's better to use a pseudonym.

Anonymous said...

Mini,
An excellent topic, Anonymity.
Appreciate very much that you include purchasers/shareholders comments.

Customer

Anonymous said...

As a Microsoft employee of 5 years, part of the Great Plains acquisition, and a team member (yes I'll use that term) located in Fargo, I have learned more about Microsoft culture via this blog than through any other official means.

While I don't normally post and participate in the discussions on this blog, I find lurking here to be extremely educational. I also know that others in non-Redmond locations also read this blog and find the commentary educational.

While I wish that our dirty laundry didn't have to be aired in such a public forum (I know of several companies that have successfully managed an internal "rant board" for relieving stress), several of the valid discussions might have resulted in the squeaky wheels losing their jobs in mysterious ways.

-- ya
P.S. My commute on a bad day is 15m and and the median home price is about $170,000.

Anonymous said...

Mini, you were posting new while I was commenting on the previous.

The short of my recommendations are: (1) dont give up, (2) dont edit too much -- the editing thing is pc slippery slope; a core value to the blog is the unedited rants. Dont get too much into 'judging' comments; reading them are like TV commercials with Tivo --- "Ok, that's just crap. Fly over it" (3) comments are done mostly by current and ex-MSFT. They are the only ones that care. As noted, the odd imposter is very easy to spot and discount. (4) lets stop talking about Scoble. He's not a god. And by his little ditty comment on cell phones its clear he doesnt want to contribute any more. (5) dont apologise or be anxious about Thor's tool you have with this blog. Serious thought and change will occur.

Finally, be loud and proud of "become Death, the destroyer of worlds" for a better one will be built to replace.

Respectfully,
Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Please keep going on. You had the balls to see and call the emperors naked. Now every employee knows the corruption at higher levels.

Robert Scoble said...

No, I am Robert Scoble!

Robert Scoble said...

-- ya
P.S. My commute on a bad day is 15m and and the median home price is about $170,000.


And the average temperature is -42 degrees! '>)

No, I am Robert Scoble!

Just My 2¢ said...

Anonymity provides balance of power. It gives the person the power to use his right to speak. Without anonymity, who is going to say anything critical with a shotgun held to his/her head?

BTW, the use of a pseudonym is a well-respected means of protecting journalists. What is the practical difference between posting with a blogger identity (a pseudonym) and the identity of "anonymous". They both translate to "I'm not revealing who I am!"

Scobel can criticize anonymous posters all he wants. He was one of the handfull of Microsofties who was annointed/appointed to speak his mind in public without retaliation.
I bet that everybody else was expected to shut up and have him speak for them by proxy.

I wonder if he ever felt like he couldn't cross certain boundaries and self-censored his own comments?

Who da'Punk said...

Okay all you Robert Scobles: please save it for 7/11 if you're going to indulge in it.

Dat other punk said...

So there's two sets of retaliation against public speakers. one is the boot, the other is the repudiation. the repudiation is more subtle and worrisome, and invokes 'the policeman within.' Me, I've got a great PR guy who keeps telling me not to worry. So I send him stuff, he approves it. It's great.

But I post anonymously here because that might change. Anonymity is good, because it lets us speak without courage. So Scoble's right, Cowards. The lot of us. But if speaking isn't worth the costs, and fuck knows they can be high, then should we accept anonymity or silence? I say anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Mini - you are a kick in the pants! People like you are also a reason why I would consider coming back to Msft to once again be able to work on software without the current process glut...but then again you don't want me there ;)

Mr. Sinofsky should be a breath of fresh air for Windows, though without sacrifices..heh. He is tight with $$$. PMs in Office I recall had to wait until late last year to get LCDs bigger than 15 inch...

As far as Scoble goes...for me he is just a human version of interesting link aggregator :p

-- exMsftie of 5 years

Anonymous said...

But if speaking isn't worth the costs, and fuck knows they can be high, then should we accept anonymity or silence? I say anonymity.

True, so true.

NeoCapitalist said...

I have been a google search user for all these years and only now I have moved to live search. No matter what you people believe I think microsoft is still an awesome company which makes great products. I am very confident about microsoft future and this is why I have invested recently in microsoft stock. All you guys who have found this blog as a platform to bitch about microsoft and executives, I think either you should show a little more positive attitude or find another job and that applies to executives too. Microsoft has so many talented people but just like a bad apple rots the whole lot, some of the disgruntled employees vitiate the whole environment. I do not deny that inefficiency and beurocrecy are creeping in microsoft but you shouldnt just bitch about them. Do something or get out of the way and let things take their own course.

Robert Scoble said...

Stop using my name you cowards! Why? 'cause I'm the real one...am I?

dead wood said...

1) Anonymous is good.
Pseudonymns are good too.

2) Scoble lives in a fantasy world where he has some immunity to being sued for saying the wrong thing in public. Most of us can't afford even the remote chance of loosing our job, house, financials over a possibly futile attempt to make things better. Without some form of masquerading, the risk is too great.

3) Some of us still want Microsoft to be a good place again even though we are ex-msft or even RIFed. Occasionally customers care enough to tell us what they think too.

4) With all of the ex-msfties moving to google, maybe there are ex-msft-current-googlers who actually care about Microsoft.

5) If the ABMers can articulate something more specific than "MS SuX" "Mac is Sexy", it still might be useful. I don't blame mini for filtering it, but maybe product groups should review that hatred and think about the reasons for it in post-mortems.

In fact, a focused ABMer might give you your best feedback if they can articulate specifics.

6) Mini, you are doing a good job. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughin out cryin with all the Scoble-dooby doo's running around.

But seriously, pls keep the blog going! I also have had much ammunition to use during 1:1s. The blog and the MS community who posts have educated me far more than any other internal resource.

Anonymous said...

I find this discussion surprising. Questioning anonymity? I understand the arguments about external influences attempting to do intentional damage, but they're a small price to pay for the ability to speak truthfully.

Not picking out any one person: You feel that it's cowardly to post your thoughts anonymously? I experienced situations at our employer where speaking the truth was severely punished (the person punished was me, so I have a first-hand view). My gosh, so many people cite that we have layer upon layer of management, all of whom are afraid to tell the truth to their bosses completely due to fear of reprisal. If we're a company that shoots the messenger, what makes anyone think that you could speak publicly and not be punished as a result?
Am I naive? Should I speak my mind, and if fired, accept it, and if punished but not fired, quit as a matter of principle? I don't have the notoriety to speak publicly without danger. Generally, and not due to my own choice, I'm invisible in the company (visibility is coveted by the political monsters climbing the ladders in the company; to be visible today, you need to compete with those people). I certainly wouldn't earn a position without someone wanting to see my resume. With that in mind, I can't conceive of willingly harming myself, or more importantly, my family.

Ask yourself "Did I face a tremendous risk?" If the answer is "no", then I would argue that you were not brave. If the answer is "yes", then I would suggest that you consider whether a fine line truly lies between bravery and stupidity, and determine which side of that line you're currently on.

Anonymous said...

I agree that ... SteveSi are both good for the company... The only question is whether they can revitalize the middle management layer.

Better yet, as anyone who's seen the recent shuffling in the Windows org knows, SteveSi seems to be getting rid of much of the middle management layer. I think this is a great sign for a stronger Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Mini, please “keep keeping on”. Anonymous or not, we always apply some sense of reality to each comment. Reading this blog helps to realize a difference between “silly me for being upset with my work” and “there are others, so maybe it’s not just me”...

You know what’s great about this blog? The Management at Microsoft is definitely reading it. Some get really p*** off, some are trying to explain the rumors posted here, and some really acknowledge these problems and working on solving them (just read the long note Sinofsky sent a couple of days ago). So, maybe these are just baby steps, but at least in the right direction. So let’s keep pushing.

And another thing... Can we please forget about Scoble? He’s gone, gone. All the motion around this person is getting really annoying!

Anonymous said...

Just a simple thought on anonymity...When you go to vote for the next president, would you prefer a secret ballot or would you prefer that political activists can see how you are voting and can ensure that you will vote the 'sensible' way?

Anonymous said...

IN any case, even if a Slashdotter suddenly suffers a moment of clarity, guesses something about Microsoft, guersses it right, and then posts it on here, and you're fooled into thinking "Damn! That guy's right!", and approve it.... Does it make it any less rigth?

Signed
NO! I'm Da Punk!

(Sorry, couldn't help myself)

Anonymous said...

By the way, you can feel free to edit that last one to correct my appaling spelling (I try to type fast, but I'm no Scoble!)

Anonymous said...

I made complaints to HR about a borderline psychotic manager, which were never followed up... UNTIL ... I put in a comment in the Employee satisfaction survey, and magically something was done about him (perhaps others complained at the same time).

There ARE managers who like to get any sort of petty revenge they can muster. Microsoft HR doesn't protect employees against them.

One reason for posting anonymously is that those people do exist in MS, and frankly some of them are very scary. I still have nightmares about them 6 years down the track, even after months of (Microsoft-paid) counselling.

Anonymous said...

Acting like a bunch of kids.

Anonymous said...

Is annonymity bad or useless?

Just recall that Microsoft relies on anonymous sources when conducting MSPOLL

Anonymous said...

"Okay all you Robert Scobles: please save it for 7/11 if you're going to indulge in it."

Reflecting on some ideas posited on Mini's last post, I wonder as I ponder as I contemplate...maybe mini IS Scoble. Wouldn't that be a KIA (kick n'ass)? Just to extrapolate on poteniated rumors, examine Scoble's banner. Note that you are looking up as a guy who looks like he's keeping a huge hilarious secret, plus he kind of looks like the real mini-me from the movie.

Is 7-11 (another stab at mini-humor) the big day Mini? Heh?

Ok, rumor, yer lit now, go and spread your fame us flame.

Doug Mahugh said...

There's nothing wrong with anonymity in itself. Democratic elections are based on the principle, as one of many examples: we'd elect quite different leaders if everyone's vote had their name publicly signed to it. (Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing, but I won't digress into that topic here.)

So I say keep the moderation bar high and let 'em rip. One type of moderation that I think can help is just to shut down repetition: after somebody has said "X sucks" once or twice, that's probably enough repetition of that specific thought.

And for those who worry that the comments here are scaring off new hires, that's not a simple thing to predict. The existence of this site was one of the key things that led me to hire on at Microsoft last year. I read all the comments, and concluded that 1) Microsoft is quite dysfunctional in some ways, and 2) there's a public forum where employees feel free to discuss that dysfunction in all its messy glory. The former is common (all organizations have their dysfunction), but the latter, an open public forum for discussion of such things, is rare. Like many employees (apparently), I'm willing wade through some anonymous immaturity to find nuggets of information that aren't readily available anywhere else.

Hey, but accidental pseudonymity, that's another thing altogether, Mini ... it's "Mahugh" not "Magugh." :-)

Anonymous said...

First off let me add an "Amen" to the last paragraph. Anyone who can't filter information and motive effectvely is not someone I would want on my team. Additionally someone who makes a career decision like whether or not to work for a company based on such comments is in the same boat as far as I am concerned. Sure use it to drive or suggest some conversations to have when interviewing, but dont use it to be the sole point of information.

There is a story of a mongolian chieftan entertaining a visitor. He proclaims his son is a smart young man. He asks the son "What color is that horse over there?" The son replies "Father, the horse is brown. On this side"

If a candidate wont go look and see what color is on the other side, s/he's a no hire.

Let me also add a "Me too" to a previous poster in another thread in which he notes that the MSFT process started spiraling downward as soon as the focus became about managing your career rather than focusing on customers. Once it was made clear to me that career management was given more weight than the efforts I put into making customers happy, then that's when I started gazing at the door.

And I have spoken with a number of people who were considering MS positions. I have been, as always honest about my experience. And I make it clear that my experience is my own. Obviously several thousand others dont have the same perspective and remain. No big deal. I hold no ill will. Once it became clear that MSFT and I were no longer a good fit, one of us had to leave. And since it is rather problematic to move the entire redmond facilities and personnel, the choice was obvious.

But dont think I didnt ask :)

With regards to anonymity. There is a great long standing tradition of anonymous dissent. Unless you have forgotten your history, let me remind you that many of our country's founders issued anonymous and pseudonym authored pamphlets before and during the revolution that we just celebrated. Now I am not saying that posters on a blog are anything close to the founders, just that the act is older than we think. So in the end I have to say "It's the content, stupid". I'm a big boy, I can decide for myself if someone is talking through his hat.

It is an interesting edge that you tread Mini, and I will continue to see where it leads even though my horse is no longer hitched to the MSFT cart.

Anonymous said...

"Acting like a bunch of kids"

Heh, did you guys see the article in the WSJ about Sergey Brin and Larry Page's new Party Plane, a refitted 767-200 bought from Quantis and being refitted with hammocks and king size beds? I want one too.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB115222788536400097-i72SXBBTMX_EPvtfDIn9uNjtiss_20070707.html?mod=blogs

no evil intent there. BTW, all you softies from someone neither here nor there, loosen up. I have never laughed so hard as I read the Mini posts from the last couple of weeks. Great humor has to take great risks. Mini, you can still publish it, just tack on a tag line like "Warning: potential googler disinfo" or something like that.

Yaron Y. Goland said...

Anonymity has always been a problematic way to express one's opinion but it has also been recognized, since at least the age of enlightenment, as a critical tool for speaking truth to power and keeping society functioning.

It is our job to evaluate each comment's worth with its anonymity, if any, in mind but that does not disqualify the comment. As a Microsoft employee (sorry Mini, I joined last April, so much for downsizing) I find this blog very valuable and I used it extensively before I joined MS to make sure I had a clear idea of what I was getting into (having worked at MS many years ago I was also able to make a fair guess as to which comments were accurate).

I believe this blog makes an important contribution to Microsoft's success. It allows issues that everyone knows about and speaks about privately to be publicly aired and forces our management via the vehicle of the press to address the situation. Perhaps not the ideal way to fix a company but life isn't perfect. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

If you are so brave and hate anonymous posters, go get a job in WinSE and dare to speak up. That PUM and that other GM will give you what you deserve. Of course to be able to speak up in the first place, you must be a member of the WinSE minority, genetically speaking.

See how you can rant about people without mentioning names and still those in the know will get who?

Anonymous said...

I post anonymously. I don't tell you who I am. I don't tell you much about me.

But I don't pretend to be somebody I'm not. While I can appreciate the humor in tweaking Scoble (personally, I think he badly needs to get over himself), I still won't masquerade as him, even in fun.

MSS

The Nog said...

Perhaps Scoble doesn't like MiniMSFT because MiniMSFT has caused more change at Microsoft through blogging than Scoble has.

Rushabh Doshi said...

Mini: I do appreciate your blog a lot. It serves to bring out some of the not-so-great stuff about MSFT out in the open and it fosters open discussion around the same. This is great.

However, I'm not supportive of your attempt to scare away potential Microsoft hires. Given that we're going to continue expanding despite your attempts, it is in Microsoft's best interests to bring the best talent home. Mini doesn't serve to scare away those that have only one job offer from Microsoft, but it does scare away those talented folks that we're competing with startups and Google and other "hot" companies right now. We want that talent, we _need_ that talent. I agree that we may be a bit too big but the answer to that is not to freeze hiring or fire en masse. The answer to cull very carefully and increase the attrition rate for underperformers and improve our interview process (which I think frankly sucks).

So to sum up my point: make hiring much more strict, but _really_ go after the good guys. Continue hiring the best and start firing our worst. A hiring freeze is _not_ the answer.

Anonymous said...

If anonymity was good enough for Silence Dogood, it's good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Scoble said he stepped in it over on his blog: https://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/07/07/sometimes-i-step-in-it-and-did-over-at-minimicrosoft/

Anonymous said...

Damn. Ate my post.
Questions--about salary levels.
I'm not a "softie".
Difference between the highly sought after Level 59 and 60 for example. What about Levels 60 and above. Difference between 65 and 70?? That kind of thing. Money/Bennies.
I know it's a noob question. Please indulge me.

Anonymous said...

Scoble also talked about this (whether he was Mini-Microsoft, and about anonymity) on his Channel 9 exist interview. That section is at 13:45.

Anonymous said...

A retraction to vicg for the sound drubbing I gave him on MM this week. After some (painfully) honest consideration I would say that Vic’s ability to evangelize both internally and externally, and carry a crowd is exactly what Google needs at this point. Their gain is our loss. Sour grapes. (Now get outta here.)

El Kapitan said...

I have to say this entry is amongst the funniest things I've read in a long time. The last one was painful but this is great ...

Regarding Scoble, I have always thought he is an airhead. Frankly he was overpaid at MS for what he did - which I understand to be nothing more than serial networking with a video camera (which in most countries can get you arrested). I personally think the folks at Podtech will soon get tired of his preachy, pompous messages. MS is large enough to absorb Scoble's missteps but I don't think a small company can.

Still I wish the old gasbag all the best.

Who Da' Punk, don't stop - I'm at MS and you really give me a lot of things to think about. The blog gets me thinking about how I want to improve things around here in subtle ways.

P.S. I'll be back on the 11th as my favorite (not) windbag

Alan Smithee said...

I think Scoble has a reasonable point that making ad hominem attacks while anonymous is very lame. Throwing that grenade over the wall while hidden doesn't give the person being attacked any ability to protect himself.

However, using anonymity to speak out about something that's not right about the organization, while refraining from these ad hom attacks, is perfectly fine especially since you are likely to be ostracized or black listed or managed out by pointing out these organizational problems in our punitive environment.

I think Scoble got pissed about the former and in his rage was blinded about the benefits of the latter.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a 'Softie and have included that fact in each of the few comments I've left.

As for mini-microsoft hurting MS more than helping MS, phul-ease.

All blogs and comments therein should be read with critical facilities turned on high. Anyone complaining about mini's moderation level needs to keep these things in mind:

A} This blog, like all other blogs, doesn't belong to the posters, it belongs to the blogger. Don't like how it's moderated? Run your own blog.

B} All comments, whether anonymous or not, should be taken with a salt block. If the you, as the readers, can't be bothered to separate the wheat from the chaff, then please eliminate yourselves from the gene pool.

C} No comment should be taken as gospel. See point B}.

D} Disinformation is a fact of life. Deal. See point B}.

In the comments posted here, I see whiners, smug jerks, rational thinkers, thoughtful insights etc. In other words, I see the whole gamut of the human condition from assinine/arrogant/arbitrary to moribund/myopic/motivated to zany/zesty/zoos. That's life.

Trying to dictate to mini-ms to dissallow anonymous posters or to more strictly moderate posters because your sensibilities are offended is a rejection of the real world.

Moderate? Yes. Block out everything that offends you? Stupid.

See a BS comment? Refute it.

Personally, you couldn't pay me enough to work at MS. Well, maybe. So long as I wouldn't have to show up and still get paid.

Whether mini-ms hurts MS or not is the very _least_ of MS's problems. So mini-ms airs some of MS's dirty laundry. So some commenters attempt to sow disinformation. {Personally, I think some people's tin-foil hats are a tad snug.}

So what.

How MS is dealing with ODF is an example of something much more damaging to MS than _anything_ appearing here either as blogged or as commented. WGA is another example of something _much_ more damaging to MS as well. MS's own EULA is garnering more and more anger as people begin to see just how presumptuous MS is of it's customers.

Your customers are getting totally pissed with MS. The MS way of doing business is becoming more and more unacceptable as more and more customers discover just how arrogant MS can be.

That's one prong of the anger I see builing in MS customers. Another prong is the simple fact that MS just isn't delivering what customers really need.

Anyone who thinks that mini-ms is damaging to MS needs to stop sweating the small stuff and concentrate on the bigger picture.

No Tellin

Anonymous said...

On the question about salary levels:
If you are a softie, ask your manager or HR rep, if you are not a softie, it is none of your business.

On Sergey & Larry's airplane:
Such cheapskates, buying a used Quantas plane. Quantas is one of the most unsafe airlines and only God knows the maintenance record of this piece of trash S&L are taking on. With all that moolah they squirreled away a coupla years ago, I expected better.

On the Google deconstruction article:
Nice piece. I am watching with interest. I was around during the dot com bomb and I know how the 'Street' reacts when the love affair goes sour.

New article for those that complain about MS mistakes (you know WinFS, etc) read this Business Week article, learn and comment:
How Failure Breeds Success

Anonymous said...

Mini, you speak the truth even if it is unpopular. (Perhaps you saw this line recently in a poll of some sort, lol). You are like what Michael Savage has done to talk radio and the media, except for within MSFT and the anonymity(whether you agree or not).

When one voice shakes the tree like that, we have to take notice and I'm sure the changes are better than nothing. Thank you for giving us the big picture for those who are not necessarily in touch with it.

There will be haters and non believers. Be proud of what you have done.

Anonymous said...

However, I'm not supportive of your attempt to scare away potential Microsoft hires.

Actually, Mini Microsoft is one of things that younger hires identify with, a unique attribute to Microsoft that makes this corporation cool to work for. So try again.

Jeff C said...

I'm an FTE and I'm happy to not only sign my name but say that your existence is a blessing. My only request is that you enlist someone to police your comments a little better, if you can't or won't do it yourself.

Anonymous said...

On Scoble:

One thing I know for sure is that Scoble is smarter than lots of posters here. The impact he made for MS, his team and himself in a couple of years, is something that several people are jealous of. Most folks here are not known beyond their hallways. Yet here's this guy armed with a video camera getting access to every top exec and becoming world reknowned for his PR work.

The reaction here is the typical PhD syndrome (Pull Him Down) although I would expect it more from Scoble's colleagues and managers who may be unhappy with the amount of spotlight that shone on that one person - Scoble. Maybe they are behind some of the posts here.

I don't know Scoble personally. I just visited Channel 9 for the first time this weekend amidst all the Scoble hoopla (me - 9 yrs @ MS). I don't care for all that stuff - my work keeps me too busy to worry about non-critical stuff.

Why do I think Scoble is smarter than those anti-Scoble posters here? He raised his profile, did solid work for MS, translated this to a better gig for himself, created relationships that will give him another solid chance should his new gig not work out.

I give Scoble a 4.5. Those of you buried in anonymity in tiny cubicles/offices will disagree but that's your problem. Scoble is now a VP - beat that or go back to your prefix bugs

Anonymous said...

Do you have underwater options expiring this month?

On 7/24, a week before they expire, go to your SSB account and exercise 1 option. Pay the difference between fair market value and your strike price(this will be somewhere between $0 and $40). Microsoft will handle the paperwork, the volume will remind management that we options holders are still here, and the cash you pay to exercise the stock will go to Microsoft (as non-negotiable options, Microsoft must broker the exercise). Win-win, as they love to say.

Who da'Punk said...

He raised his profile, did solid work for MS, translated this to a better gig for himself, created relationships that will give him another solid chance should his new gig not work out.

I give Scoble a 4.5.


And with that reasonably upbeat note, I'd like to bring a close to all the Scoble bashing.

I didn't put this up to rage against Scoble but rather to affirm anonymity having its positive side.

Anonymous said...

Whoda:

In all your spare time and zeal for this blog, may I ask that you or one of the softies submit for sidebar reference, an acronym dictionary for all us non-softies and for the newbies who just want to know what the f if going on. I'll start by suggessting XS for ex softie, NAS for not a softie, and NXS for not an ex softie either.

Oh and to Brian V and all the other people on this blog who were fragged last week, no one knows you outside, no one inside believes any of it and those who do are OTL (out to lunch). Further, y'all just have to put this thing in perspective. An anon blog means you can be anybody representing to be anybody saying anything you want about anybody you want without repercussion. If I want, I can sign my name as robert scoble, link it to his site and no one would know. Just think about that for a minute. It should void every ounce of weight one might place in the validitity of what is said here. You have to use `the force' Luke, use the force, feel the truth. Know there are evil characters in the world who for better or worse ride a dark horse and they like it. You will know the difference.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when the discussion on this forum will focus back on MSFT, which it is originally supposed to be about, and stop being the fight b/w the pro-Scoble and anti-Scoble camps.

Scoble has quit the company, and therefore he is now largely irrelevant to anything that might concern the company or its employees.

But his relevance is artificially kept alive by 1) Scoble haters who just can't stop talking, 2) himself, who after several declarations of "this is my last post here, see you in second life..." still keeps posting here.

I don't hate him, and I don't like him... I just don't want to hear about him HERE because he is no longer relevant HERE. He should look for publicity elsewhere, and keep his previous word about last posts on minimsft.

Also MINI: why don't you do the right thing and steer the conversation to more relevant topics? Such as your original post above?

Anonymous said...

Not to pick on Scoble unnecessarily, but some of his rage can be attributed to a bad conscience. After all, what will hurt Steve Cellini worse, being called a name? Or having two of his peers abandon him (Robert and Vic, Vic for Google)? I think we know the answer to that one. Mini Microsoft is, after all, a Microsoft blog. Scoble made his decision to part ways with Microsoft. Its fitting he doesn't post here.

Anonymous said...

Well, Scoble apparently agrees anonymity is great. Otherwise, he would have to disclose his "reliable-kept-anonymous source", would not he?

Don't you think it is hypocrisy to bash anonymity using anonymous "reliable" source? Why should we trust this "reliable" source any more than any other anonymous comment in MiniMsft blog?

Anonymous said...

"Actually, Mini Microsoft is one of things that younger hires identify with, a unique attribute to Microsoft that makes this corporation cool to work for. So try again."

I'm not sure if this could be more wrong, I hope you're being saracastic. I'm an intern and had serious worries about Microsoft after I started reading this blog (after I already had accepted the internship). See his post about how we should TURN DOWN the FT offer. That's not very encouraging at all.

While the experience is great and I would certainly do it again, working here actually confirms what Mini has been saying all-along. There is hope that the re-org will help things out but frankly this place looks like a disaster right now.

Anonymous said...

Posting anonymously is part and parcel of our right to free speech. Who mini is makes no difference at all to the question of whether what he writes is useful and informative. The sad thing is that Microsoft is a place where frank criticism isn't tolerated. In a better company, he could speak right up and sign his name.

Mini, keep up the good work. You're making a difference, and the feedback you're giving is critical to snapping MS's management out of its fantasy world. Longhorn was a complete disaster, but to hear Ballmer and Alchin tell it, SIX YEARS OF FAILURE is nothing more than a normal slip in a project.

Anonymous said...

I took a couple of cheap shots at Scoble from time to time, but the people who really shredded him didn't bother with anonymity. At any rate, now that he's no longer the public face of the Evil Empire, I can't imagine why I'd bother reading his blog at all.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Scoble doesn't like MiniMSFT because MiniMSFT has caused more change at Microsoft through blogging than Scoble has.

Scoble is one of, if not the, respected name(s) in blogging. Mini is like a union ombudsman that stuck his neck out and won a victory for his adherents. I made the mistake once of suggesting that Mini actually changed things while Scoble only blogged. That was a wrong statement. They both effected big changes in the way Microsoft works and the way that Microsoft looks at itself. One worked within the system to effect change, the other without. They both had the right idea and they both put their careers at risk because they thought they were doing the right thing. Our lives at Microsoft are better for both their contributions. A big part of what Scoble is going to do now is go into the Valley and convince companies that Microsoft is no longer an evil empire. If Microsoft persists in showing contempt for the industry and its employees then Mini is here to re-set the scales. They both have plenty of road ahead of them.

Anonymous said...

Holy stock options Batman, did you see how many VP's Microsoft has? I counted 104, which is more than most operating systems companies have as the total number of employees.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/default.mspx?group=A-D

NAS

RobertScoble@google.com (just kidding) said...

Also MINI: why don't you do the right thing and steer the conversation to more relevant topics?

Yeah, how about we discuss those huge partner grants that payout the first slug in ~4 weeks. Look around you... Do the partners in your group, your vp's, your GM's, your PUM's, your senior vp's deserve a > $1m payday in a few weeks?

How many of them plan on cashing the check and then calling Google looking for a job? (hint, I know the answer, or at least I know of several that have already started this shameful process of raping Microsoft with no intention of staying to help fix the company).

At least Vic had the ethics to leave Microsoft before accepting this payout...

fCh said...

Mini, let's look, for a short moment, into a couple of the possible reasons Robert Scoble was being so harsh on this blog:

1) While at Microsoft, he had to dance around many of the issues that came up here. Understandable, that was his job...
2) Now, he doesn't want to scare away Microsoft-like customers who may think they need his (PR-)services. Indeed, what company out there wants to hear the other truths from some anonymous employee with internet access?

Mini, as far as it's gone, I would not have it any other way. Except for the folks at Google who need so much to implement threaded comments...

Non-anonymous cheers, fCh

Anonymous said...

At least Vic had the ethics to leave Microsoft before accepting this payout...

Think so do you? How about: Vic gets to see his SPSA grant vest within 90 days of his last day on payroll (that's last day in office plus payrolled vacation time).

Anonymous said...

Scoble - I hope you read this...no need to respond though.

Here is a question: How many of you folks use Google?
Answer: My guess is that more than 90% of the people who read this blog are using Google and would respond saying so.

Now, when SteveB asked the same question in one of the meetings recently, how many people raised their hands? Not one!

You have to admit that anonymity brings out truth. Yes, it does have a negative side and you have mentioned that in your post.

I dont think that we should worry that this blog will scare way potential college recruits/folks interested in seeking employment at Microsoft. The way I see it, it really reflects something positive on Microsoft that they have not aggressively gone after Mini and tried to shut down this blog. Atleast, I hope that is the case!

And one last thing...please stop discussing whether this blog is useful or not! Its like asking whether water is useful or not. If anyone brings that again, just ignore that question. We have come a long way and have moved far beyond examining the usefulness of this blog.

Someone who interviewed by Scoble for a Channel 9 interview.

Anonymous said...

I dont think that we should worry that this blog will scare way potential college recruits/folks interested in seeking employment at Microsoft. The way I see it, it really reflects something positive on Microsoft that they have not aggressively gone after Mini and tried to shut down this blog. Atleast, I hope that is the case!

I totally agree. Mini is part of the corrective process and the healing process. New recruits may have reservations about joining Microsoft, but if they think they have a voice in getting things changed they will sign up for that. Its unique among large corporations. Mini is cool.

Anonymous said...

Think so do you? How about: Vic gets to see his SPSA grant vest within 90 days of his last day on payroll (that's last day in office plus payrolled vacation time).

Sorry guys, not true. I left MS recently. Vesting stops the INSTANT you walk out the door. You have 90 days to excercise vested options, but thats it.

Anonymous said...

We recently got our new "CSP" titles and it looks like higher ups have managed to cover their tracks wrt who's partner and who's not. They've invented titles for themselves that are not on hrweb. My guess is this was done solely to hide who's getting a million dollar bonus (as opposed to $3-5K "stfu" bonuses for the grunts in the trenches who do the real, actual work).

Anonymous said...

On Sergey & Larry's airplane:
Such cheapskates, buying a used Quantas plane. Quantas is one of the most unsafe airlines and only God knows the maintenance record of this piece of trash S&L are taking on.


1) learn to spell. Qantas is an acronym - it stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.
2) Qantas has never had an accident since their inception in 1951 http://www.planecrashinfo.com/rates.htm

at least get your facts right.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that Microsoft is a place where frank criticism isn't tolerated. In a better company, he could speak right up and sign his name.

At Microsoft loyalty is valued more than truth. The rule is loyalty first and then the truth (and with lots of sugar)

Anonymous said...

"I totally agree. Mini is part of the corrective process and the healing process. . .Its unique among large corporations. Mini is cool."

I nearly choked on my coffee and toast this morning observing the Mini love fest here. Looks to me like HR found ya Whoda, bit ya in the ass and told you how its going to be from here on.

C'mon, after last week, this blog is yaaaawwwnnn over. I can understand it: MassiveSoft is under a lot of stress these days, expensive legal stress, which seems to be building and there are a lot of emperors running around without any clothes trying to find someone, anyone to blame. That part of what Mini USED to do is neutered. Affects stock price, I would bet.

anon said...

Not MS but stumbled on the following suggestions for steveB

http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com/get_a_life_blog/2006/05/open_letter_to_.html

Anonymous said...

"I wonder when the discussion on this forum will focus back on MSFT, which it is originally supposed to be about, and stop being the fight b/w the pro-Scoble and anti-Scoble camps."
Aparently when someone somewhere there has the cajones to do what he did.
Speaking of getting back to business, found an interesting article today:
http://www.playfuls.com/news_03358_Office_2007_and_Vista_delayed_due_to_open_source_interoperability.html

Customer

Anonymous said...

Yeah, how about we discuss those huge partner grants that payout the first slug in ~4 weeks. Look around you... Do the partners in your group, your vp's, your GM's, your PUM's, your senior vp's deserve a > $1m payday in a few weeks?

How many of them plan on cashing the check and then calling Google looking for a job?


Well, I know a lot of partners are pissed at Allchin for slipping Vista because they're all waiting for the profit sharing from selling Vista. Now, they'll have to wait until next year to get the profit sharing. A lot of these partners will likely leave MS after taking the vista bonus. They're just pissed that they now need to wait longer. How do I know this? A partner told me about it.

Anonymous said...

There ARE managers who like to get any sort of petty revenge they can muster. Microsoft HR doesn't protect employees against them.

Of course they don't.

Friend, Human Resources exists for the protection of the corporation and its representatives: management. For those in the trenches, HR is not your friend.

Don't confuse HR's purpose with their attempts to appear warm and friendly.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, as anyone who's seen the recent shuffling in the Windows org knows, SteveSi seems to be getting rid of much of the middle management layer. I think this is a great sign for a stronger Microsoft.

What middle managers are getting axed? It looks more like he's ADDING layers, not
removing them.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of people raise the "hiring" issue..

Well, I think MSFT has two issues:

1. Hiring too fast, which means low grade.

2. Retain top talent and don't stuck them in a no-hope position.

Anonymous said...

This might not be the correct forum to discuss this, but I have a serious problem with entire issue of EU’s fines. Why should MSFT, a company that funded and developed the operating system let other companies piggy back on their operating system. This is why the U.S. has been extremely successful. People were willing to take risk, invest their time and energy and in the end reap the rewards of their hard work.

Now here comes the Euro-weenie-ians with their 6 week vacations, lifetime job guarantee, a social system which takes care of all its needs and they have an unmotivated workforce with a stagnant economy. Why should MSFT allow other people to access their operating system, the same way Apple should not allow access to its Ipod. Other companies like IBM with deep pockets could have developed their own operating system, but didn’t. Whose fault is that?

What’s next for the EU? Are they planning to go after Japanese carmakers to give up their hybrid engine technology because it does not work with the existing European automobile engine?

Anonymous said...

"Why should MSFT, a company that funded and developed the operating system let other companies piggy back on their operating system."
And:
"Why should MSFT allow other people to access their operating system, the same way Apple should not allow access to its Ipod."
And:
"What’s next for the EU? Are they planning to go after Japanese carmakers to give up their hybrid engine technology. . ."

A customer here: Short sarcastic answer? Because there are more people in Europe than employees of Microsoft. So far anyway.

Actually, may I suggest that Apple and Microsoft just pull out of those markets. Please please please, just walk away with that attitude. How long before the void is filled? Short sarcastic answer, what void? I.e., I doubt it would take more than a month to find altenatives.

Sorry, but the old ways are gone, and Microsoft participates in a networked community. Legacy data alone should be reason enough to justify tripling those fines. Kick MS butt EU, vive, La France, les Ipoders.

I can't wait to have lots of choices right here in the USofA too. All working well together, all getting better within a unified social framework. Note I said social framework, not Socialist framework. You guys will figure it out.

Ogman said...

"No way! The message is ignorable without a person standing by it!"

The people who think that are often the people looking to bully, bribe, fire, or otherwise harm the poster. After all, if you threaten someone with their job and they recant, the claim was never true in the first place, right? WRONG!

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, not true. I left MS recently. Vesting stops the INSTANT you walk out the door. You have 90 days to excercise vested options, but thats it.
Are you (or were you) an executive? Most companies have entirely different rules for executive level employees, which I presume VicG would be. It's all in the contract they signed. If you're really interested, look up the SEC filings and find his contract.

When the company I worked for went public, we had great fun reading the employment contracts for our CEO, COO, CTO, etc. 4 men controlled 90% of the stock, and the other 100 employees shared the rest. All kinds of nice benefits, like getting a full year's salary if they were laid off. Our CTO ended up taking full advantage of this, and got a year's vacation, with salary.

It's good to be the King!

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it, don't work in EU.

Sory for the offtopic.

Anonymous said...

Apple allows just as much access to iPod as Microsoft allows access to Xbox 360. More, even.

If you want to write a game for Xbox 360, Microsoft will be happy to charge you $10 a copy (or something) and give you the tools to do it.

If you (as an artist) want to get a song onto iPod, you can put it out on CD, or as MP3, or on the iTunes store. The first two don't even require any help from Apple.

As the manufacturer of the iPod hardware, Apple has every right to decide how it should function and what it should interoperate with. As does Microsoft with Xbox360.

Microsoft is under no obligation to support competing firms with online downloadable game stores for Xbox360. Apple is in a similar position with iPod.

Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps on mentioning people at partner levels and what they get.

Is every PUM a partner?
Is every Director a partner?

Anonymous said...

Why should MSFT, a company that funded and developed the operating system let other companies piggy back on their operating system.

Um, isn't that the definition of an OS or platform?

Not letting other companies put products on the OS would sort of make moot the chant of "developers, developers, developers, developers..."

BTW buddy, MSFT didn't fund the development of that OS, the users did.

Lazlo said...

Why should MSFT, a company that funded and developed the operating system let other companies piggy back on their operating system.

Because the European Commission believes that Microsoft has a legal responsibility to do so under European law. Remember, Microsoft thinks it's very important to abide by the laws, regulations and norms of each country in which it operates.

Anonymous said...

I'm a non-Microsoftie who's posted here three or four times. I think it helps add perspective when you allow outsiders to post, so long as they're not misrepresenting who they are and it's not the usual attacks you get from the Linux sites. I've never pretended to work for MS, referred to managers by their first names or name plus initial, used insider lingo like GAL, held forth on workplace issues I know nothing about such as the review curve etc.

Outsiders have a big stake here because Microsoft creates much of the environment for both customers and ISVs. The latter group are woed by Ballmer as "developers, developers, developers!" but then dismissed in the next breath as ineffective "competitors" dependent on government protection. If Microsoft could find a way to function effectively while moving away from the paranoid, reactive direction established 15-20 years ago by Gates when he was feuding with IBM over OS/2, that could benefit nearly everybody.

Scoble is a high profile blogger and accordingly his game is shoot first. He reasons that connecting with readers is more important than having good initial judgement, especially since he reserves his right to change his opinion tomorrow. His thinking process seems to consist of posting whatever pops into his head, then reacting to the responses he receives, not only online but also from his workplace colleagues and personal network.

In short, I think the anonymous postings are much of what makes this blog interesting and worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

P.S. My commute on a bad day is 15m and and the median home price is about $170,000.

I have found a solution to everything. Move everyone to Fargo. The salaries will go farther, there will be no traffic, houses will be affordable, and operating cost and office buildings will be dirt cheap.

Anonymous said...

"BTW buddy, MSFT didn't fund the development of that OS, the users did."

Also, don't forget, MS and IBM had an OS2 partnership to develop the OS when MS dumped the partnership and produced Windows, can't remember exactly which version. Anyway, OS2 Warp was a pretty good OS except MS beat them out on driver support, which I believe IBM was unprepared to provide third party vendors support for. That's my memory of it. Maybe one of you softies can clear it up. Any way you look at it, Microsoft really bought or copied most of the technology in windows to make it work anyway.

As a customer I would like to see MS lose the monopolistic attitude and take on a small company innovative attitude toward their products. Customers don't want one company to own 90% of the market. They want products that work across platforms, and the want choices and competition. If it takes government to force that to happen, so be it, but I think MS could do it itself if it were willing to do Mini's Mantra. Smaller, faster, better, cheaper, more choices. MS has really brought all this on itself. You can change in a fundamental way or governments and customers will do it for you.

end off topic.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft is under no obligation to support competing firms with online downloadable game stores for Xbox360. Apple is in a similar position with iPod."

Which is why I won't ever buy an XBOX or download an Apple or MS song for. I bought Half-Life 2 for my PC and can't get future versions for the PC because MS bought them and is using it as leverage to force us to buy an X-Box.

Same with Itunes and MS's version of that. You want to force me to use a proprietary format then have to buy the same song again for another proprietary format. Your free matching campaign is a gimmick. Won't buy it, people are waking up to this scheme.

There was a time when companies worked together to build universal platform standards so everybody could compete in the same arena. So I and millions of others are aware of this new forced-platform game. We are not playing and where governments will help with forcing interoperability and one purchase use for all platforms, we will support that. The only thing that will happen as a result of your greedy marketing scheme is you will like you always do, make more and more people dump Microsoft. The game is over dude, and you are stll playing and don't yet realize everybody went home.

Anonymous said...


Is every PUM a partner?
Is every Director a partner?


No, not every PUM or director is a partner - nor is every GM a partner. I knew directors who were 65s and 66s, PUMs who were 65-67 and GMs who were 65-68. I left over a year ago, so your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

>If you don't like it, don't work in EU.

When other governments want to pick foreign businesses' pockets, they will undoubtedly look to the European Union for setting the standard. Go EU!

Seriously, shouldn't we all be united in trying to keep governments from dipping into our wallets?

Anonymous said...

There was a time when companies worked together to build universal platform standards so everybody could compete in the same arena.

The PC clone explosion was an accident.

Hardware companies in that space grin and bear it (the race to the bottom on margins). It's plain that Microsoft has gotten into a nice position riding on their backs. There is no pressure to reduce margins on Microsoft OS products.

You don't see Microsoft trying to get lots of companies to build Xbox or Xbox 360 compatible hardware.

At the same time, non-iPod music player companies that bought into WMA/PlaysForSure (and essentially a re-creation of the Windows/PC-clone space in the form of dozens of me-too player products) can't be real pleased with the idea of Microsoft applying Xbox-style hardware-at-a-loss in this market.

Would you start a PC clone company today? Would you start an MP3 player company today?

Microsoft loves commoditization only when it's in the form of hardware to run their environment. But with WMA/PlaysForSure taking on water, they resort to a non-commoditization, non-standards, non-partners strategy (Argo). Sort of a bummer if you were one of those partners.

Anonymous said...

Sort of a bummer if you were one of those partners.

Yeah, because those partners were doing an outstanding job surpassing the iPod on features/functionality/sex appeal.

Oh, wait...

I think Microsoft has jumped in because it's become dead obvious that Larry, Curly, and Moe over at Rio, Creative, Sony just cannot get it together. Maybe Microsoft will fail too, but it takes an enormous volume of self-pity to not see why they are giving up on their "partners".

Anonymous said...

Prior to joining the company, I'd heard stories that we tried to go to hardware manufacturers with a spec for an Xbox that *they* would manufacturer.

The gossip I'd heard was that Dell, HP, et al, weren't interested. So, we got into the hardware business.

This isn't all that much different. The partner offerings are not iPod quality. I personally gave up and bought an ipod after *2* playsForSure devices crapped out on me in 6 months.

We need to get into this business. Based on track record, I'm sure we're doing something for these guys. Maybe base specs to build their own devices, maybe some revenue share, etc.

What Microsoft needs to do is this - come up with a design, release a first party product, rally support, and let partners drive V2.

Gianni said...

How can we even wonder about whether anonymity is good or bad?

Don't research companies guarantee anonymity when seeking honest feedback in surveys?

Methinks Scoble's POW is a bit slanted

Anonymous said...

http://www.emicrosoftinterview.com - Guide/Tips for Microsoft Interview Questions

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is very important to those who use it properly.

Services like Ultimate Anonymity http://www.ultimate-anonymity offer a valuable service allowing people to remain anonymous in all online protocols.

Remaining anonymous prevents SPAM, identity theft and general unwanted garbage from malicious people.

Ultimate Anonymity has been around for over 10 years and I have used them for the last 5 of those years and would recommend them to anyone the least bit concerned about their online privacy.