Monday, September 04, 2006

Kicking the SPSA Can Again, Raises, and the 66th Percentile

"Hey! Who do I have to <<fill in the blank>> around here to become a Partner?"

That's one bit of fallout landing on Microsoft employees from this past week's SPSA payout to Microsoft employees at level 68+ in the company ("Partner" pay scale level - I'm not talking about the third party folks who Microsoft partners with in technology deployment). Tut-tut, don't bedevil me with my underwater options and paltry stock awards, I want to be where the real compensation is: Level 68!

(Hmm... Level68... local band name maybe, or perhaps my alter-alter-persona nerd hip-hop name.)

I'm sure if Windows and Office had shipped by now that the SPSA would have been a begrudgingly accepted payout to all the Partner leaders in the company, even those who don't have a damn thing to do with Windows and Office. Instead, the chosen weak metrics still point solidly to resounding success using a financial ruler that no jester in any court could stop laughing about long enough to make witty comments.

Hey, I recognize that running a big organization is truly a lot of work... and those folks already get well compensated for that. This redistribution of shareholder wealth to those that the shareholders rely on for exceptional performance - you know, shipping on time, increasing adoption rates, avoiding part supply problems, not surprising Wall Street, and not letting process and hiring binges saddle down Microsoft - just seems wrong and out of whack.

The big disappointment is that it's not a one time payoff but designed to keep the old guard around for two more payoffs. Damn.

And Microsoft is now officially a two-tiered company. There is Level 67 and below and then the Partners lording above us, throwing us the occasional coin. I certainly hate writing that. The SPSA, however, doesn't follow any rules related to the awards we receive. Does it take a year until some of the stock is available? Nope. Does it take five years to vest. Nope. Is it tied to personal performance and contributions? Nope.

The Partners are different from you and me.

One comment reflecting on this:

3 points I want to make:

  1. Why execs have 1/3 vested right away?
  2. Why are execs selling them if they believe in the company?
  3. Why other employees have to wait for 12 months and span across 5 years?

Following in that, and the ongoing discussion if any Microsoftie consciously cares about providing shareholder value or if doing so is even in alignment with their career, we have this comment:

So many people have attacked the person who questioned whether his first priority should be shareholder value. I've read this with curious amusement, especially in the wake of our top 900 or so executive leaders effectively ordering that they all receive buckets of money. There is no plausible justification for this action, and it has clearly been done at the expense of the shareholders. The next email from an Exec that I read that stresses how we all hold great responsibility to the shareholders will leave me laughing.

'Do as I say, not as I do.'

And so it is.

In reflection of all of this SPSA pocket-stuffing, a big tip of our collective hat to Jay Greene at BusinessWeek for the original article long ago last year that brought up this pending compensation program (hey, that's a great article to re-read). Some things have changed for the better. Some deck chairs have just been re-arranged. And some bad ideas have hit the fan. A snippet from Mr. Greene's article regarding that:

Microsoft's compensation moves have created a haves-vs.-have-nots culture. Newbies work for comfortable but not overly generous wages, while veterans have a lucrative treasure chest of stock options. Now a new pay scheme, scheduled to go into effect this fall, threatens to make the gulf even wider. If they meet incentive goals, the 120 or so vice-presidents will receive an eye-popping $1 million in salary a year, and general managers, the next level down, will get $350,000 to $550,000, according to a high-ranking source. But the rest of the staff is paid at market rates.

Only now we know it is 900-some recipients and close to $1,000,000,000 in payout. I think from now on we no longer brag about "growing our business one Yahoo!" or "...one eBay" but rather "...one SPSA." It's interesting thinking back to some of the comment conversations in the past about our huge thirty-something billion dollar war chest. People would often ask: "Hey, why can't we dip in and give out bigger bonuses or salaries to everyone from this?" and the back-of-the-hand retort was "That's the shareholder's money, not ours. We can't just do what we want with it."

Various stories on this from the past week:

Right before all this, Mr. Todd Bishop at the Seattle P-I took a side-trip to the recent 10-K filing: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/789019/000119312506180008/d10k.htm to revisit the recent hiring binge by Microsoft and how it breaks out for our 10-K hiring. MSN +44%? And while we're putting on the pounds, Intel might very well be looking at some severe cuts after an efficiency report (how do we get one of those?). Part of this is to make up for past sins of (dramatic pause) over-hiring.

I'm all for right-sizing Microsoft to be smaller by cleaning out the ineffective and the dead-wood. But it sucks beyond measure to have to reduce by 10,000 or 20,000 people all at once. That's the result of exceptionally bad leadership and I hope our Partners pause long enough over their new brochures of Italian villas to consider leading an exceptionally top-heavy Microsoft efficiently so that a few years from now we're not giving out tens-of-thousands Ooopsie! pink-slips.

If you're not a comment reader, then allow me to suggest dropping by the last post (Mini-Microsoft Looking Forward - Reviews, The Company Meeting, and Then Some...) and reading through what people have shared about their review numbers so far, along with their impression of the MyMicrosoft changes so far and the usual harsh real-world how it works way of getting by and getting the hell out of your current group if they've flipped the bit on you. One comment that folks liked in particular starts as such:

Hey! Welcome to the club. Pull up a chair and let me explain how this all works to you.

Random things around compensation so far as always includes discussion of the raise and whether it should at least match the local cost of living increases. Well? Within the mechanics of the HR-compensation beast, have to beat your compa-ratio first. Unless salaries are adjusted upwards and your ratio allows you more growth you're not going to be beating cost of living. And once you start talking about salaries, you start talking about the 66th percentile that Microsoft pegs compensation at.

Ah, the 66th percentile. Now, first of all, Microsoft does not intend to pay 2/3s the salary you could get anywhere else under this system. If you lined up thirty people who did exactly what you did from 30 different companies, you would be paid more than 20 of those individuals. Ten of them would make more than you. Maybe one or two of them a hell of a lot more. But in general you're earning more... at the moment in time that you got hired.

Where you're getting screwed is salary compression. The folks hired this year are coming in making a lot more than last year's folks, and getting a better taste of the stock sugar. Your recent raises certainly haven't let you, or the folks from the previous year and so on, catch up. And won't. So, if you've been at Microsoft (or any corporation) and want a fat raise then your best course of action is to switch companies and decompress yourself. And then work to get acquired by Microsoft so that you can come in as a Partner. Sorry, Lisa ain't gonna do that for you.

Your only way to win at the salary game staying at Microsoft is to get promoted as often as possible. On your march to Level 68.

Do let us know how you filled in your blank along the way.


233 comments:

1 – 200 of 233   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Who do I have to "blow" to become a partner?

Let's face it, those of us under the 66 mark, just aren't going to make it. ALL of our best bets is to get out and then somehow come back (if you really want to). It's all about the money, yes it is. So you know what, why do we even bother. So my plan...stop saying no to all those people outside the company that want to pay me for a small slice of my time. I know that Microsoft certainly has told me in very certain terms (i.e. compensation-wise) that they're not really concerned about me being passionate about them anymore. The company isn't willing to commit to me the way that I have committed to this company in the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

I have been at the company for 12+ years, and never I have been more disgusted. The largesse of the rewards is so out of whack with the performance of our so called leaders the last three years. Why would any of them be incented to take risks and make the radical change necessary to improve the company's situation, when they can now just sit back and reap these kinds of benefits for doing nothing that helps the business and improve shareholder value. I'm angered and offended by these actions, it is likely the final straw for me. There ought to be a great deal of outrage in the rank and file over this.

Anonymous said...

I am a VP and I have been reading the comments on Mini with amusement and regret for most of the posters.

Yes, I did get my million and I did invest that into buying property in Italy. Let me explain to everyone reading this why my executive colleagues deserve this compensation.

When the press and the world speaks about Microsoft, they identify you (Microsoft) with us (Execs). We provide a public face to the very successful company. Try wearing my shoes for a day when you have to go explain to Bill why we can't ship Vista on time. Leave Bill alone and try explaining to the world on why we can't ship Vista on time. I agree, I do not write software and I do not design or architect those complex processes and modules. You do. You write. You design. You architect. You test. It is you on whom I rely on to deliver my product. If you tell me you will deliver by a certain date and show me a solid plan and roadmap, it is my job to convince the world that we will. I have to stand in front of press, consultants, partners, researchers, consumers, et al and give them a roadmap and a blueprint of what you just promised me you will deliver. And it is I who gets quoted for every word I speak in public or in internal confidential emails (which some of you surprisingly have a talent of forwarding to the press). My colleagues and I were either hired or promoted to this level so we can lead the charge. Now, when you screw up and tell me that you can't make Vista on time, it is I who has to face world. I get blamed for not delivering Vista on time even when I trusted you to deliver on time. You screw up, nothing happens to you. You mearly get a bad review or not a bad review at all. No one gets fired at your level. You screw up, and I have to take that message to our partners who are betting their businesses (read: millions and millions of dollars) on getting Vista shipped on time. I get to convince them that they can still trust us - or YOU! You are just dealing with a few thousand lines of code or your part of testing a component. I am dealing with millions of dollars in business for Microsoft and it's partners and I am dealing with the world outside.

It is not easy being at my level. If you screw up, your manager forgives you and I never even know about that. However, everytime you screw up, I end up facing the wrath of hundreds of our partners, millions of consumers and the world in general. When Vista does not ship on time, no one blames the test team in building 40. The world blames me...and eventually Microsoft. I am Microsoft. I am your voice and Microsoft's face to the outside world. The CEO of Dell will not discuss the Vista delay and the resulting millions of dollars of impact on Dell's business with a Director or a Dev Manager or a Test Lead at Microsoft. I will hear at midnight from the press and I am the one doing damage control all night. I am flying (yes, on a private jet) to Austin to meet with Dell and convince them that all will still work out fine. It is not you - it is me and my colleagues who got paid the millions of dollars who have to make tough decisions - BECAUSE WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE AND TRUST IN YOU EVERYDAY TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS!

That is just one aspect of my job. When I read the comments on mini, I am really surprised at how narrowly focused most of you are. You have to learn to widen your thinking. I truly deserve my millions. Hey, if you think you can take my job, go ahead and take it if you can. If you didn't learn it by now - there is an aspect of career management that you all have to do at any company - not just Microsoft. I managed my career, hence I am a partner, hence I am where I am financially.

Having the millions in the bank still does not change anything. It still does not make me less responsible - it just makes me more responsible for THE MISTAKES YOU MAKE.

So, stop bitc***g and grow up and start managing your careers and start working hard. And when you make a committment to me that you will deliver by a milestone that you came up with - you better deliver or else I will start handing out pink slips to you all(which will happen once Vista ships anyway).

In conclusion, each of my illustrious colleagues deserves the reward and you have no right to question how much or why I make that much money. That is my market value and I worked darn hard to earn it.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those who has steadily been climbing the ladder for the last several years here in the belly of the beast, and am at the threshold of 68-Land. I have to tell you, though, given what I see and hear about the deal that Partners have been given and knowing about 20 of those partners, I am not really sure I want to join their ranks. There is an ethical limit to what I will do, and who I will do it with and to whom in order to advance my career. Most of the Partners that I know are well beyond the line that I draw in the sand when it comes to ethics, and unfortunately, some of them used to be pretty damn good people, even some formerly close friends. The articles that Mini point out are right on target when they talk about creating a new class of employee. It is indeed a sad day.

Charles said...

Hey, I recognize that running a big organization is truly a lot of work...

Well, no actually it isn't anymore work than a full day debugging, testing, presenting, whatever. 10-12 hours of solid productive performance is the same amount of intellectual effort at any level.

Running a big organization would certainly seem like more 'work' if you didn't know how, just like many executives are amazed at those "star" programmers who 'magically' solve high-priority bugs or otherwise seem to defy the laws of software physics.

It's just different work, albeit highly leveraged work.

The compensation is supposed to reflect not the amount of sweat expended in 10 hours laboring over a hot keyboard, but the experience and ability to 'see around corners' and make the right judgement calls that leverage the companies resources and market position to dramatically improve revenue and profitability, or avoid a pending catastrophe.

Without experience, good experience, any job is very difficult. Compensation should reflect track record, scarcity of needed skills, and the ROI leverage.

Making the wrong investment decision can be just as costly as the wrong architecture decision; both easy mistakes for the inexperienced.

There's a reason that proven executives make their jobs look easy - they have the experience and judgement of knowing what to do and not to do - working smarter, not harder.

Anonymous said...

Mini,
There were 2 posts relevant to any customer that reads this blog on your last entry.
The one about the Microsoft employee who was embarased at all the "me" post entries.
The other "pull up a chair".
Both are significant in the message your company sends to the public, thus effecting your stock price, profit, etc...
To the person who was embarassed at the comments on this blog.
I've met and corresponded with many absolutely fantasic Microsoft employees who listen to their customers. Most of the posters here may have had a passing glance at someone picking up a box of Office software in Best Buy while on their way to pick out a great lcd or plasma tv.
"Pull up a chair" and let me tell you how things are done in the real world out here.
To get ahead in any job, your own company or as an employee you have to be better than everyone all the time until you get to the level you set your original goal for. Nothing less will do.
The "pull up a chair" post was very eloquently written (been there), but I personally feel sorry for this person because he/she will be the first person I will find and fire, speaking here as a business owner. This person will eventually cost me more money than he brings in.
Want to know where all the 10,000 new people will eventually go? To replace all the disgruntled people who take their "pull up a chair" interview as literal.

Customer

Anonymous said...

Who do I have to "sodomize" to become a partner?

Honestly there is a lot of hypocrisy going on here. We want to be partners so we can get the spsa awards but yet we are mad that the current partners are getting some mad loot.

The solution is not everyone becoming a partner. Making substantial changes to the salary scale and ranges is all that is needed.

Microsoft Salary Range

Look at the range for L68. It ain't much. If not for this spsa deal, those blokes aren't paid diddly squat.

Anonymous said...

To the VP that posted third in the queue. First, your comments seems to scream "troll", but even if not, you're just proving our point. There are TONS of people that are far below you that face customers and partners daily that don't get your pay. There are TONS of people below you that could have anticipated the Google, Salesforce.com, x-company threat and acted better. No, you're not doing anything fantastic. You're doing what any MSFT person is doing and doing it in MUCH more comfort. NOT FAIR. You're a nightmare and so are your ilk.

Anonymous said...

Mini - please delete the comments posted by the person who claims to be a VP. It is CLEARLY flame bait. Plop it on CRF.

Anonymous said...

Now, when you screw up and tell me that you can't make Vista on time, it is I who has to face world.Awwww. All of our hard work makes you have to talk to people about it? And when WE screw up (because it's the low level techs making all of the bad decisions), that causes you pain?

Good. Now go fuck yourself.

I get blamed for not delivering Vista on time even when I trusted you to deliver on time. You screw up, nothing happens to you.
Doesn't sound like you've been reading mini recently. Oh, and please go fuck yourself again.

You are just dealing with a few thousand lines of code or your part of testing a component. I am dealing with millions of dollars in business for Microsoft and it's partners and I am dealing with the world outside.
You wouldn't have shit to talk about if it wasn't for our ideas!! GFY++

I am your voice and Microsoft's face to the outside world.

No, you are not. You are an arrogant asshole who doesn't know anything about the business. GFY++

Anonymous said...

wtf?

Rich getting richer.. that's what my dad told me. It's true, look at the SPSA given to Partners. If you are partners, you already making much much more from the increase base pay for GM/PM etc.. In addition, these are the same group of people who have cashed in on the MSFT options program in the 90s.

Thses are the group of people that will least likely leave the company. As opposed people around L62-L65 are much more likely to go somewhere or start their own startup etc...

But think about it, the approval of these SPSA are like a bunch of partners. So why not approve it and get more cash.

Charles said...

anonymous VP writes:

Try wearing my shoes for a day when you have to go explain to Bill why we can't ship Vista on time. ... It is you on whom I rely on to deliver my product. If you tell me you will deliver by a certain date and show me a solid plan and roadmap, it is my job to convince the world that we will.

Your anger ought to be directed at the VP's in charge of Vista, not the line people. If you are in charge of Vista, then direct your anger at the VP's who mandated the impossible Longhorn feature set and ludicrous (read doomed to fail) architecture. If you're actually in charge of both of those, then look in a mirror.

You screw up, nothing happens to you. You mearly get a bad review or not a bad review at all. No one gets fired at your level.

And what VP's have been fired for the delays and feature reduction of Vista? Does the phrase "day late and a dollar short" ring any bells?

I end up facing the wrath of hundreds of our partners, millions of consumers and the world in general. ... The CEO of Dell will not discuss the Vista delay and the resulting millions of dollars of impact on Dell's business with a Director or a Dev Manager or a Test Lead at Microsoft. ... I am flying (yes, on a private jet) to Austin to meet with Dell and convince them that all will still work out fine.

To put it charitably, I doubt you interface directly both with the Dell CEO and "hundreds of partners", let alone "millions of consumers" as well. I also find it doubtful that Dell is in the same "channel" with a hundred other partners.

I truly deserve my millions. ... I managed my career, hence I am a partner, hence I am where I am financially.

And "executives" who get where they are by managing their careers, as opposed to Microsoft's business, are exactly the problem and why it won't change.

Anonymous said...

11 year Microsoft veteran and a God-fearing man. Today is the darkest day of my life. I joined Microsoft thinking I was joining a revolution, yeah, back then, it felt like a revolution.

With the payout to those 900 partners, this company is bleeding. I am at a loss to understand why these 900 people were paid so handsomely? This is corporate slavery. These 900 monkeys made me a corporate slave.

I've been "raped" by the company I trusted and put in a decade of life. Taking time away from my kids, wife, family, parents, and life. I feel betrayed. I'm sure a lot of you also feel the same.

Bill and Steve, if you are reading this, you betrayed me. LisaB, you betrayed me too.

This is as far as I go with Microsoft. I will be leaving within a week. Good luck to you and your 900 monkeys.

May the Lord have mercy on your souls. Amen.

Anonymous said...

VP,

{whether you truly are a VP or not}

1. Thank you for describing your role at MSFT, as you see it. Let me summarize your verbosity: we do all the work, you get all the attention. Ch-ching.

2. Note - even though "we" screwed up and didn't deliver Vista, you are still employed and collecting your millions. You didn't get fired. No, you received 101% of your SPSA target even though billions of shareholder dollars evaporated during your tenure.

3. "My colleagues and I were either hired or promoted to this level so we can lead the charge."

Ok, so when are you going to start doing the job you were hired for and lead a charge, any charge?

4. "BECAUSE WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE AND TRUST IN YOU EVERYDAY TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS!"

Wait, whatever happened to you being hired to "lead the charge"? Sounds like you're back to following... following for dollars? Ch-ching.

5. "it just makes me more responsible for THE MISTAKES YOU MAKE."

You lead, you follow, you lead, you follow - make up your mind? Oh wait, the answer must simply be that you're going in circles.

6. "Hey, if you think you can take my job, go ahead and take it if you can."

I will. I'm coming for you. I'm almost at your door. So are the rest of my peers who won't let trash like you run the company and the people into the ground just to line your wallet.

I'll fill in mini's madlib for you:

"Who do I have to 'ride' to become a parasite, erm, partner?"

Anonymous said...

In conclusion, each of my illustrious colleagues deserves the reward and you have no right to question how much or why I make that much money. That is my market value and I worked darn hard to earn it.

You might think that this is your market value, BUT you have a seriously distorted view of reality. Everytime I interview one of you "Microsoft Partners" I wonder if you are going to tell me, "You Know, I am a Microsoft Partner"... Then you go on to say how you like to "build teams, strategize, incubate, etc." NEVER do I hear, "I want to crank code and build great products, get my hands dirty leading by example, etc." You got lucky and won the lottery. Get over it. You are not worth anything remotely like what Microsoft is willing to pay you to keep you off the market. You are a Microsoft pawn, a highly paid one, but still just a pawn. If you still have your left nut attached, then come on over to my shop and lets see if you can still think, create, and ship code. If you can, I'll pay you what your worth, but I'm guessing that if I asked you to actually produce something, your eyes would just glaze over. Have fun in Tuscany a&$#%hole!

-ex microsoft partner now working elsewhere

Anonymous said...

"I am a VP and I have been reading the comments on Mini with amusement and regret for most of the posters."

First, by reading your comment you are not a VP. Even if you are it seems like somewhere somebody did a major mistake to make you one. You do not even know how to write.

Now about the accountability? Tell me how you are taking any blame for Vista delay? Did not you get your millions? If you are taking blame by words then I am included in those words as you are. People are saying Microsoft missed Vista deadline. I am as much a Microsoft as you are.

The blame is finally coming down to me. Major layoffs could be announced. Our stock is worth less than they should be. Sir, you are not taking any extra blame than I am but yes you are taking an extra reward which I am not. I do not see why I am not a part of SPSA? If you are making millions by SPSA I deserved at least 1 percent of it.

If you are taking more blame than me then you should stand first in line to take a pink slip. Threatening us by a pink-slip means that you are willing to hand over the blame to us.

That's great. Rewards are for you. Pink slips are for us. Still you are taking more blame!

Anonymous said...

Airbus axes another exec. Will this level of accountability ever happen at MS? Keep dreaming...

--> Airbus, the European plane-maker, dismissed the executive in charge of its flagship A380 programme yesterday because of the problems that have put back deliveries by a year and provoked a €2bn (£1.35bn) hit on earnings over the next three years.

Charles Champion, once touted as a potential chief executive, paid the price for failing to inform the Airbus board on time of the superjumbo's mounting technical difficulties, and for allowing severe production bottlenecks to continue unchecked for months, rather than fix them immediately, insiders said.

Christian Streiff, the chief executive who took over two months ago, chose the day of the A380's first passenger flight - carrying 474 employees - to axe Mr Champion and replace him with Mario Heinen, a proven expert in production.

Anonymous said...

"In conclusion, each of my illustrious colleagues deserves the reward and you have no right to question how much or why I make that much money. That is my market value and I worked darn hard to earn it."

Please tell me this is a plant, a troll, a joke.

Steve/Bill, do you read this blog? Does this truly represent the attitude of upper management?

I've been here off-on for nearly 15 years. The one time I sat in a meeting with Steve I came away impressed with the respect he expressed towards all of us in the room. I may not agree with all the decisions he's made since, but I find it hard to believe he would stomach this kind of crap.

Anyone recall the old joke: What's the difference between Microsoft and the Boy Scouts? The Boy Scouts have adult supervision.

If you are for real, please RTM to Italy asap. I want to work with and for adults.

Anyone ever hear of the notion of servant-leader? Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

"Shipping on time" is "exceptional performance"!? Nice try. Shipping on time is expected performance. Shipping early is exceptional.

Who da'Punk said...

Mini - please delete the comments posted by the person who claims to be a VP. It is CLEARLY flame bait. Plop it on CRF.

If folks have their Troll-Meter going off reading that: don't feed the troll.

I hesitated bouncing it.

Anonymous said...

The review system seems to be a game which you can win if you play well. I had been working on a two year product which was just released. In the first year I was passionate about the product and took up multiple deliverables. I spent almost all my weekends working but at review time I got a 3.0 which I though I did not deserve. My lead held me responsible for some of the delays. After that review I convinced my lead to hire a contractor and dumped all my work on the poor guy. With whatever little work I had I did a very lousy job and even left in some bugs which I was not motivated to fix.I only fixed bugs which testers identified leaving some of them in there simply because I became too lazy. I spent a lot of my time with my family and did things which I never could do the year that I worked hard. Guess what. Last week I got my numbers. I got an Exceeded/Strong and even got a promo for doing nothing.
Moral of the story: Hard work does not mean better rewards.

Anonymous said...

Dear friends, I do not work Microsoft. Recently I am seeking employment in Microsoft and after long interview I receive my offer letter last Thursday and now I am scared for employment at Microsoft upon reading this blog.

I am from Brazil on work visa and Microsoft offer me level of 59 for SDE position.

My question for you are respectively:

1) How many years it take to become partner?

2) Have anybody become partner starting from level 59?

3) What is your friendly guidance for myself on employment with Microsoft?

On the moment I am very happy with Volt but Microsoft a big name in Brazil and have respect if I work in Microsoft.

Many thanks to you for guidance.

Anonymous said...

>> Shipping on time is expected performance.
>> Shipping early is exceptional.

Not if you pull schedules out of your lower torso, like our managers do.

Anonymous said...

New Teldar Paper (Wall Street 1984)
MS is becoming a bloated version of Teldar Paper. To rephrase Gordon Gekko
"Microsoft has over 100 different VPs earning more than 1M a year. I have spent the last two years analyzing what all these guys do and I still can't figure it out ..."

(Teldar Paper has over 33 Vice Presidents, each earning over 200k a year ...)
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechwallstreet.html

Anonymous said...

I have a simple advice for all of you not satisfied with how Msft is treating you...LEAVE! First thing tomorrow put up your resume and interview outside. See what you can get and if it is better then get out. Don't think twice. VOTE WITH YOUR FEET! This is not about unions or 900 partners rewarding themselves. This is about free market and the simple laws of supply and demand. As long as you are willing to work for the salary you are getting and below COLA raises, Microsoft will continue to pay as much. If you are truly not satisfied, go look elsewhere. Trust me for Msft you are just 1 out (70,000-900) pions and they have NO LOYALTY for you.

I left about 6 months ago after 5 years with Msft. Haven't looked back yet. Got a substantial raise. Not only that...I actually got done more in these 6 months than I did in more than a year at Msft. I don't have to spend time on various processes or people/partners telling me "This is how we have been successfuly doing things for x years, so it must be right...". I actually get to challenge silly/crusty assumptions like this in my new environment. This is why many competitors have been running circles around the old/arrogant Msft...

So stop feeling mad and realize we all live in a free market. If you are good then I can almost guarantee you that there is a job out there for you...and again if you are good there will always be an open position for you to get back to Msft at 'uncompressed' salary - this probably applies mostly to 3-7 year employees that have lived with the 2-4% raises and should realize that Msft is paying L59 college hires more than some of you in L60/61 salary compressed positions. You can always come back as a 'free agent' and renegotiate a higher pay...

If you decide to stay, then please stop complaining about the compensation levels, because this is a free market and YOU are part of it! Trust me Msft will hire you back in a year or two at a level much higher then if you had stayed (well, unless you are at the top of the rankings then by all means keep climbing that ladder). Constant complaining and doing nothing about it is for sissy boys :)

Anonymous said...

How to detect a troll:

you better deliver or else I will start handing out pink slips to you all(which will happen once Vista ships anyway).

No executive (in their right mind) would ever 1) use threatening language like this, or 2) would disclose RIFs prematurely.

Anonymous said...

>If folks have their Troll-Meter going off reading that: don't feed the troll.

Oh, come on, Mini. The "In conclusion, each of my illustrious colleagues deserves the reward and you have no right to question how much or why I make that much money." was a dead giveaway.

Still, the post does highlight a curious double standard: many were bitching that MS does not pay well enough to keep good ICs here yet they also call for MS to not pay well enough to keep good execs here.

Not to say certain execs shouldn't be sacked, but we are still holding our own. MS could be sliding much worse *cough*Sun*cough*.

Anonymous said...

Shipping on time is expected performance. Shipping early is exceptional.

That only applies at places where schedule chicken isn't the norm, i.e. nowhere.

Alyosha` said...

I am not a VP, but I claim to be one on Mini. Let me explain how a real VP would post a comment on this blog, should he have a few moments in his busy schedule to do so.

First of all, I wouldn't talk about my millions or my villa in Italy. Why wave a red flag in front of a charging bull? It's so not called for.

Secondly, I wouldn't take it personally when people question my value to this company. Sure, some people don't think I'm worth my salt. But what does it say about my emotional maturity to get defensive in front of such anonymous people? Clearly I've got to do a better job marketing myself ... after all, it was a combination of talent and good marketing that I got myself where I am today.

Third, I'd gently remind them that I do perform a valuable function for this company -- not only do I deal with the biggest customers, and a few misspoken words could directly cost this company hundreds of millions in revenue, but I'm also in charge of laying out the strategic map, choosing key investments for the company, and keeping my organization accountable to the commitments we've set out. There's a reason why the market looks to me as the public face of Microsoft -- my responsibility for my organization's performance is not an illusion, it's reality. I'm not just a parrot only capable of repeating what people tell me. If I don't perform my due dilligence and I let my organization launch a half-baked, overly ambitious, poorly implemented initiative -- the blame lands on me. I can't set expectations that I know my people can't deliver.

Lastly, I'd recognize the valid comments being made here. The SPSA is a *performance* grant. If my organization did not perform, by all reasonable metrics, I don't have a claim to that money. Yes, my job is super stressful even on a good day, but that doesn't mean I should fuck up more, get stressed more, and then demand more compensation because of all the stress.

Anonymous said...

..sigh, we all have different experiences at the company. Some good some bad. I have seen people "managed out" for good reasons and for bad. I have seen people get promoted who were quite simply dumb and difficult to work with, but I have also seen those hi level managers who fit that description eliminated as well. (Though honestly it saddens me to see a certain SVP pushed out. No one can teach passion.) My personal experiences have been mixed. I have some good years and some bad. But I have been promoted every year and have usually seen double digit merit and bonus each year as well. I am ok with that, and can't complain too much. (By no means am I a partner though, just a regular old working employee.)

However, the job is demanding as well. Years upon years of 6-7 days a week and 9-12 hours a day. (Sometimes its months on end without a break, sometimes not. Just call it 300 days a year or so.) Constant email contact, your home and email numbers available 24 hours a day (and trust me they get used). This is the environment I thrive in though. Give me a deadline and pressure any day over no guidance and an unknown schedule.

I was somewhat offended by the "VP"s comments though. I worry that they (meaning the commenter) don't understand sometimes what its like in the trenches. I can sense that some VPs know and some don't. The way I make the call is based on what they are willing to do for their employees. That can really go a long way if they go out of their way to do all they can for their employees.

At the same time though, I get somewhat offended by the normal commenters here as well. Sure I agree with a lot of the sentiments here. I still am waiting for good coffee, and was not really affected by any other "my" benefits. I think we are probably too big and could use to shrink a little. But not all groups are created equal, so some need the axe more than others. But many of the type of complaints that I see here point to simply poor performance. Based on my experiences and also those I have talked to, if you have brains and work hard then you will be rewarded well. Otherwise, maybe you should look inward and find somewhere that is a better fit. Just a thought.

Any way you look at it though thought and discussion, even the discussions on this site is important. Just make sure you know what is normal and what is not. (Sometimes I get worried that those who like the company, their job, and their compensation never post here....and thus don't provided needed balance for those on the outside.)

Anonymous said...

We have to pay the execs millions or they will leave. The competition never looked so yummy. Like others here I have no problem with what we pay our "leaders". I echo the sentiment that the problem is that we are still paying them millions when many of them appear to perform so poorly. I guess Steve thinks they are the best he can find.

In more important matters, this blog http://www.buckleyplanet.typepad.com/cafetour/ on MSFT cafeteria food recently made headlines in various places. I must be frank, many of you Redmonders looked rather old and porky during my last visit. :-) You look 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier than the usual silicon valley crowd. Time to reverse the food service subsidy cutbacks?? Seems more important to our health than towels.

Anonymous said...

"There is an ethical limit to what I will do, and who I will do it with and to whom in order to advance my career. Most of the Partners that I know are well beyond the line that I draw in the sand when it comes to ethics, and unfortunately, some of them used to be pretty damn good people, even some formerly close friends."

As a friend of mine somewhat high up in the management food chain said to me, ". . . those Corporate Values we speak of so hightly are for you (underlings) to follow and obey. Most of the people at my level pay them lip service and then go on pillaging and burning."

"First, by reading your comment you are not a VP. Even if you are it seems like somewhere somebody did a major mistake to make you one. You do not even know how to write."

It is increasingly and distressingly apparent to me that having the ability to write or speak clearly, concisely and articulately are not predicative of advancement at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

It was the generals, the senators and the emperors who were responsible for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. You and I are witnessing the same with Microsoft.

The solution is to "split off" Live Services, X-Box and Zune into an Ozzie-driven, fast moving and capital-rich company with no partners. Do this and avoid the "Dark Ages" of Malthusian decline about to engulf this once proud entity.

It is over, Softies. Clean out your desks or talk to Ray.

MS-Military said...

Pay compression: tell me about it.

As a military reservist, I was called up for 2 years to go to Afghanistan. Never a 3.0 prior to going, but a 3.0 for the year I left. Of course, being overseas I had no opportunity to write my review, so it is just filled with the lies about my performance. Talking to other Guard/Reserve folks, it seems everyone claims to have taken a 3.0 on activation, then of course no review the second year. Upshot: 2 years, no raise.

LisaB, if you really read this, you might want to look into it. I'm guessing it could be a good target for a discrimination lawsuit should some skanky lawyer get ahold of it. Can you imagine if every woman who took maternity leave was rewarded with a 3.0/no raise? Of course now it will probably be called ACHIEVED.

Anonymous said...

The 66th percentile is a joke. Or lie, if you prefer. When I started at MS in 2000, SteveB made a big deal about the 66th, but the HR website also emphasized how stock options were a "significant portion" of our compensation; in other words, to get to the 66th required options with value. Since the stock dove from around $120+ ($60+ adjusted for subsequent split) to the ~$25 where it rests today, all of those options never saw the light of day. Therefore, we NEVER made the 66th percentile, and by maintaining the sub-CPI raises there is *no* *way* we ever came close, as a company, to making the 66th percentile.

Anonymous said...

The SPSA numbers are amazing. In my opinion, the only exec who deserves the big $$$ is LisaB. She took a company that was looking at 3-5% raises company-wide last year, had a 'listening tour', gave us towels and 3-5% raise company-wide, and people are THANKING HER!!!

Only thing is, with the new guidelines managers can heap the miniscule rewards on their favorites and give out a wider base of even lower raises. Gee, thanks LisaB. Enjoy Italy. We're still saving for Disneyland. Maybe next year kids...

Anonymous said...

the subject of partner compensation is quite possibly the best thread ever.

the "VP" posting above is either Will Poole or a troll, in either case it is great. i hope it is will poole...

1) the spsa performance targets were poorly set. the goals were important but somewhat arbitrary in the sense that they did not directly lead to wealth creation. some kind of revenue growth/roi matrix would have served shareholders better. you technically don't have to give the money back, but you should feel a more than a little guilty.

2) the pay scales are way out of whack. seems like a GM is making a mil a year with the spsa.

3) everybody else's variable comp is determined by formula (10% bonus/4% raise) and the whims of their manager on the new scales. Why not set some bold goals for the company and set everyone's pay accordingly? how about 15% revenue growth and the company drops $300M extra in the bonus pool? let's have everyone aligned to deliver great financial performance.

to the "vp" that had the vista discussion with bill (or the real ones) - the product is a generous 3 years late. hopefully you are doing something else now. windows is the most relevant and important technology product in the history of computing.

leadership is doing what is necessary for victory.

Anonymous said...

I got fed up with all the crap, back stabbing, watching the new hires start to wake up and see what they got into, etc so I left...

- for 50% more salary.

- for a 30% annual bonus.

- for options that aren't underwater and are worth more than my nearly 6 years of options at Microsoft were ever worth.

PLUS

I have a team of great people to work with. Know all the senior execs by first name in this 3K+ employee company and get to help build and release products that RTM in less than "ice age" like timeframes.

I agree, vote with your feet.

p.s. Your few years of Microsoft experience is easily worth a nice kick in base pay if you play your cards right...

Anonymous said...

"I have a simple advice for all of you not satisfied with how Msft is treating you...LEAVE!"

I agree. I spent 11 years at MSFT and left 6 months ago. I just didn't allow myself to take any more abuses. Just look around you - most VP's/GM's/PUM's don't deserve what they are getting. Some are on vacation/leave a few times a year. Most of them are waiting for the Vista payout and then leave and go somewhere.

Look at most of the people who have left. There are better lives after Microsoft. You can find a better job. You can start your own company. You can free yourself from all the bullshit. You deserve better.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Teldar Paper has over 33 Vice Presidents, each earning over 200k a year ..."

And now look who's CFO of Microsoft:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/liddell/default.mspx

Anonymous said...

Regarding the two-level compensation system: it would be nice if someone compiled some statistics on compensation at other big companies. As you move up the hierarchy at other places, is there a level with a big jump in compensation, or is it just steady increases up until you reach the very top?

Anonymous said...

Still, the post does highlight a curious double standard: many were bitching that MS does not pay well enough to keep good ICs here yet they also call for MS to not pay well enough to keep good execs here.

Aren't you making the assumption that the execs in question are good? Most of the posters here seem critical of our executive leadership.

Anonymous said...

My question for you are respectively:

1) How many years it take to become partner?


Possibly a few, most likely never. The absolute best thing you can do is somehow endear yourself to someone in a position of significant power. An Executive VP, for instance. Gaining the level of Partner at Microsoft and time are not necessarily linked at all.

2) Have anybody become partner starting from level 59?

I'm not a partner, so I couldn't say. Most Partners have been at Microsoft for a very long time, long before the numerical change in levels many years back. As a result, technically I don't think anyone can answer 'yes'. Without facts to back it up, I would guess the safest answer for you is "probably never".

3) What is your friendly guidance for myself on employment with Microsoft?

It depends on the person, but I've seen many people hired in the past five years that have come in with no understanding whatsoever of the level system, and have been saddled with a level # 2-4 points below where they should be. They get bitter quickly when they realize that they're very underleveled.

Ask your recruiter to disclose what the average level is among Microsoft employees for your discipline (developer, test, program management, etc.) with your number of years experience. They will very likely refuse to tell you. If you have any experience at all (ie not a new graduate), the odds are very good that it's above 59.

Anonymous said...

>and now I am scared for employment at Microsoft upon reading this blog.

Nearly all of my co-workers have never heard of this place and most of those who have don't read it. Mini-Microsoft does bring out common grievances and some of the most broken of our processes but I would not think of it as representing MS as a whole.

>1) How many years it take to become partner?

It depends: do you see yourself as capable of directing hundreds of people and leading a multi-million dollar division of our business? Most people at MS are not partners and never will be.

Alyosha` said...

Brazil guy: not everyone who comes to Microsoft should expect to become partner. There is no set timetable, and it really is a function of your talent, experience, and political acumen - not just the number of years you put in. I don't know if any L59s have gone all the way to L68, but I highly doubt it.

My friendly advice to working at Microsoft is, first of all, make sure you are in a group that believes in creating great software that people want to buy -- and has a realistic shot at accomplishing just that. Because if you aren't at least doing that, your job satisfaction is gonna suck.

Second, focus on doing your level best, always keep searching for ways to fine-tune your skills, and don't worry yourself too much with the clown show that is our performance evaluation system. In any given review, half the things they say about your will have merit, and the other half will be total bullshit. Take all the good advice you can get, but if someone ever tells you you did a bad job when you know you didn't, don't ever let it get to you. Some leads will teach you all about the details of how the review process works and how you can work the system to your benefit. If that sort of thing appeals to you, fine, go for it. But if you're like me, and you couldn't give a crap about how the sausage grinder operates, just ignore all of that; keep your head down and focus on making great software that people want to buy.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap - BrianV just left MSFT for Amazon. I... I don't know how to feel about this...

Anonymous said...

Disclaimer: I'm not a troll, and I'm not a VP.

I work in IT. Heads up to all posters on Mini!! Do not connect to Mini from CorpNet = Big mistake!!

I'm part of the team that's frequently asked to report on the sourceIP,loggedUser, and hostname of users visiting "certain" sites. Mini-Microsoft came up in that list very recently.

I dunno what happens after my team produces the report and hands it over to CorpSec. I'm just passing along what I know.

Be safe, live long and prosper.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care how much the partners get paid...

I'm a level 61 employee i'm also in my 40s. Make less that $90k/year.

All I want is just a decent raise... I don't claim to be worth millions like a VP/GM. But I am worth $120+ (that is what I was making in during the tech boom).

My complaint is still that MS puts more emphasis on the level than the persons skill...

I did an informational a few weeks ago and the GPM said...."well you are only a 61 now. I want to talk to your manageger and see how close you are to 62."

That really pissed me off. If he thinks I can do the job fuck the level number. Hell I should be a level 64. I don't deserve to be a partner but I should be at least a level 64. I still have not got my numbers back but I hope to get promoted 62. Who know money is so tight MS may not be able to afford to pay me the $400+ more a month. I mean that would equate to $4800 a year!!!!

God forbid if I get a decent raise. Last year I got 1.4%...Once again I don't claim to be a partner I just think MS could pay me a little better.

Anonymous said...

regarding the two-level compensations system. It would be helpful if someone could collect some statistics comparing Microsoft to other big companies. At other companies, is there a big jump in compensation at some point as you move up the hierarchy? Or is it a smooth progression all the way up, til you get to the very top?

Anonymous said...

We have to pay the execs millions or they will leave.

http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,2180,2012371,00.asp

Anonymous said...

"I am a VP and I have been reading the comments on Mini with amusement and regret for most of the posters.

Yes, I did get my million and I did invest that into buying property in Italy. Let me explain to everyone reading this why my executive colleagues deserve this compensation."

Then he goes on to explain what luuusers everyone below him is.

OK, so how many people at Microsoft meet this set of facts. Not many I'd guess. Who would feel sorry for him if he got the axe tomorrow? better yet, fire him (from a cannon) all the way over to his investment property. Other than cost savings on his compensation I bet there wouldn't even be a ripple in the bottom line, and Microsoft would be a much better place to work, particularly after the other similar jerks got the message that you can't blame your staff for bad estimates. If you are getting estimates that are that far off then either you don't have a process, or your process is broken. That process, extant or not, broken or not, is squarely the responsibility of you Italian land investors. I'd say there is plenty of evidence at this point that you should all be deported!

Anonymous said...

I think its time for those of us in the trenches to organize a 3 day work stopage. Lets pick a date and all simply not show up mon-wed 9/25 -9/27 in protest of this obscene SPSA payout. Let the partners run the company for a few days while we organize a high tech version of the "blue flu".

Anonymous said...

It's a toss up whether the "I am a VP" post comes from a clever troll or the actual VP of Windows Marketing.

59 SDE said...

Dear friends, I do not work Microsoft. Recently I am seeking employment in Microsoft and after long interview I receive my offer letter last Thursday and now I am scared for employment at Microsoft upon reading this blog.

Don't let the rest of the crowd scare you. The vast majority of people here are good people who just want to make great software. Sure, there's the occasional rotten apple, clueless management, or incompetent executive, but for the most part, "down in the trenches" is still quite a good place to be.

1) How many years it take to become partner?

Do you want to write great code, or do you want to be partner? If you want to write great code, then join up, write great code, and you'll be partner before you know it. If you want to be partner then please do us all a favor and seek your fortunes elsewhere. If your goal is only to make partner you'll either fail miserably and waste everyone's time in the process, or backstab far too many people on your way up.

2) Have anybody become partner starting from level 59?

AFAIK, both of the partners I know closely started at MSFT straight out of college, which would put them solidly on the lower ladder ranks. Maybe not 59, but definitely 61 or below.

3) What is your friendly guidance for myself on employment with Microsoft?

If you really want to work here, go for it. MS is a great place to work, and you'll be assured of basically not having to worry about money ever again.

Anonymous said...

To the military reservist who posted earlier. I know you probably have more personal integrity than to pursue this, but if I were you I would hire an attorney and get your millions that way. You have a great case. Make it class action and you'd get lots of mileage and money. Trust me, you're not going to get it through compensation or stock.

Who da'Punk said...

Do not connect to Mini from CorpNet = Big mistake!!

I'm part of the team that's frequently asked to report on the sourceIP,loggedUser, and hostname of users visiting "certain" sites. Mini-Microsoft came up in that list very recently.


Wow, just recently. Okay. Perhaps it was all the compensation sharing... if so, I'd be intersted if anyone gets a reminder to watch where they surf during the day.

I obviously only deal with this Mini stuff through a secure connection far, far away from CorpNet.

You might, too, unless (1) You're connecting through your own wireless internet while at work (BT + SmartPhone = Crazy Pernicious) or (2) You're railing against Mini and supporting the Maxi-Microsoft Manifesto. Polish that nose and have it logged, too!

An https: anonymizer might work as well, but they sure are slow...

Anonymous said...

The more it changes, the more it remains the same...

Last year I was extremelly disappointed with my performance appraisal.

My rating was 3.5, which is not so bad, but I delivered some breaktrhough stuff that really deserved a good 4.5 (I received awards, got extremelly positive feedback from peers and VPs around the world, published best practices that were actually adopted by other people...).

My manager was actually embarassed reciting the standard bulls**t to me, trying - and giving up in the middle of the conversation - to justify my rating, but we both knew better.

Well, this year I got an "exceeded". Good deal! Now I have the recognition that I deserve, I received the highest performance rating!

NOT!

Even though I also got a "strong" in the contribution rating, my numbers this year (bonus, merit increase, stock awards - the stuff that really matters) are amazingly similar to the last year's.

So, what has changed with all this noise promoted by LisaB?

Nothing for me.

My manager was at ease this year giving my assessment and feedback. He was the purveyor of the good news!

Wait a minute, he was actually giving me the same old news, only in a nice package with a pink ribbon on top...

Too bad I don't work at the Redmond campus. I don't even have the towels as a consolation prize.

Anonymous said...

"Lets pick a date and all simply not show up mon-wed 9/25 -9/27"

... and then everyone RASes in to check email and work from home. LOL

WashTech union trolls never learn... (sigh)

Anonymous said...

I got fed up with all the crap, back stabbing, watching the new hires start to wake up and see what they got into, etc so I left...

- for 50% more salary.

- for a 30% annual bonus.

- for options that aren't underwater and are worth more than my nearly 6 years of options at Microsoft were ever worth.


Can you share some details on which new company you moved to? How can I get in touch with you if I need a job in your company? Did you go through a recruiter?

Anonymous said...

"Pull up a chair" and let me tell you how things are done in the real world out here.
To get ahead in any job, your own company or as an employee you have to be better than everyone all the time until you get to the level you set your original goal for. Nothing less will do.


Hey. "Pull up a chair" here.

First off, great "VP" post. Pure comedy gold.

Second, normally I wouldn't acknowledge the existence of, let alone respond to, a troll such as yourself. However, you do raise some interesting points that I'd like to address.

As for "being better" than "everyone" "all the time", if you refer back to my comments you'll see that the point I was trying to make is that there are factors other than "being better" that come in to play during the Microsoft review process. You see, a lot of middle management at Microsoft think that the rewards they dole out to their directs come directly out of their own pockets. That is, some middle management uses their access to Microsoft shareholder wealth for their own career and personal gain. In my example, the group manager wielded the spectre of a 3.0 and the corresponding 0 merit 0 bonus 0 stock to satisfy his own ego and force a group of people to show up at young Timmy's little league game. Tell me, what the f does getting asses into seats to cheer for little Timmy and prop up Timmy's burgeoning ego have to do with handing out performance-based rewards at work?

"Being better" is subjective and the standard is applied inequitably across groups and divisions at Microsoft.

The "pull up a chair" post was very eloquently written (been there), but I personally feel sorry for this person because he/she will be the first person I will find and fire, speaking here as a business owner. This person will eventually cost me more money than he brings in.
Want to know where all the 10,000 new people will eventually go? To replace all the disgruntled people who take their "pull up a chair" interview as literal.


Well, for starters you would never "find and fire" me because I don't believe that someone who writes the sentence "most of the posters here may have had a passing glance at someone picking up a box of Office software in Best Buy while on their way to pick out a great lcd or plasma tv" is smart enough to "find and fire" me.

One thing that people such as yourself hate is that there is power in denying power to others. Yes, middle management would love nothing more than to make me put on a little suit and start dancing when the organ music starts for a few peanuts. You equate being "disgruntled" with being "unproductive" and that was not my point. My point is that you can spend all your time making sure you're "visible" - going to meetings and shouting down everyone else, standing in the hallway in front of your group manager's office loudly discussing nothing in particular just to make sure the group manager knows you're around, showing up unexpectedly at the Pro club at 6:00 am to join in a game of raquetball even though you've never played raquetball before - OR you can spend your time in your office being productive at your job. Then, after you've put in your 8 solid productive hours, you go out and you find your own rewards out in the real world.

Personally, I don't understand how Microsoft expects that people who may be good at managing software projects are all going to be good at objectively measuring and comparing relative performance. I mean, here we have people with college degrees in math, physics, computer science and suddenly once a year we expect them to have a similar level of education and experience in motivating people through financial rewards. What does an SDE Lead know about human resources, finance, and psychology? All too frequently it's not much and they fall back to what they know. And what they know seems to be their idealized fantasy version of the way high school should have been for them. You know, that fantasy where they had what everyone wanted and alternatively dished it out and held it back to manipulate the unwashed masses into worshipping them.

I don't want to make it sound like all middle management is this way, but it seems to be a recurring theme. There are some great managers in middle management at Microsoft and I've had the pleasure of working for them in the past. Unfortunately these great managers tend to be few and far between and tend to be the first people to walk into work one morning, be called into the group manager's office, and the have the group manager twirl them around to show them the set of ginsu knives stuck in their back.

Anonymous said...

I'll sign up for any class action lawsuit that is started. I hope someone from within HR goes to the Feds and gets this partner-ism busted!!

Anonymous said...

I have a team of great people to work with. Know all the senior execs by first name in this 3K+ employee company and get to help build and release products that RTM in less than "ice age" like timeframes.


Can you do us all a favor and post the name of the company you are working for. Thanks a bunch.

Anonymous said...

i think it's silly to expect everyone has the opportunity to become a partner. the point is twofold - and i hope that lisa is going to address this.

1) current pay is haves (GM and above ~$1M+ annually with spsa) and have nots (everybody else, pegged at 66% and still on the curve). a better tiering system would help here - maybe at 63&65 introduce meaningful changes and gradually improve the percentile.

2) i am totally fine with paying execs loads of cash - as long as their pay is tied to the right outcomes which in the long run means only one thing - delivering returns on equity.

please publish the spsa goals and fix the comp system.

Anonymous said...

[Has] anybody become partner starting from level 59?

I'm not a partner, so I couldn't say. Most Partners have been at Microsoft for a very long time, long before the numerical change in levels many years back. As a result, technically I don't think anyone can answer 'yes'. Without facts to back it up, I would guess the safest answer for you is "probably never".


I started at 59 and am within striking distance of 68. It's certainly possible. But the better question is, are you capable of it? I promise, if I achieve partner, not to be a petulent putz with a fork-tongued, shareholder pillaging, boot licking M.O. like the toady, cult-of-me garbage mini seems to attract for posters here. I'll continue to be more productive and relevant than ever.

Anonymous said...

The black helicopters are circling! Seriously though. mini isnt pornography (although the SPSA certainly IS pornographic) and as far as I can tell it isnt illegal.

Most of the regular readers of this blog have been around awhile and are bitter and jaded due to the screwing they have gotten and the mismanagement the company (and, by extension, shareholders) have been suffering.

What are they going to do to us if they see us surfing from corpnet? Give us an "achieve" and a 10/3? Got that already. Ensure that we never climb past L63? Check on that one also.

So what else is there? Fire us? To be honest, I would love to see the risk analysis discussion that would take place around the concept of firing people for visiting a blog on which employees openly discuss what is going wrong with the company.

That would make for GREAT press to go along with the "People Ready" campaign. Especially since there has been NO guidance that would indicate why we cant come here.

So Im sure many will keep visiting from corpnet and ITG can keep logging it.

Anonymous said...

Do not connect to Mini from CorpNet = Big mistake!!

I'm part of the team that's frequently asked to report on the sourceIP,loggedUser, and hostname of users visiting "certain" sites. Mini-Microsoft came up in that list very recently.


When was the report generated? Unless the report looked at POSTs versus GETs, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between leaving comments and just reading.

Anonymous said...

To the work stoppage suggester above - 3 days alone won't do it. That's barely enough time for the ripple of OOF messages to start creeping into overstuffed inboxes. You need a week. No email, no voice mail, pagers off, cell phones ignored, etc.

Leave a very vague OOF, let your team know you have a private and mildly disgusting health issue that requires bedrest and being near a toilet.

Last week of September sure would be lousy timing in a couple divisions I can think of...

Of course, the only problem with a blue flu is, how long will it take you to dig out from under the work you have waiting for you? It's not like the bosses and partners you complain about will do it for you. And you really don't want what you do to be able to be done by "scabs", be they local or international. Think about the last time you took significant time off while others didn't (a vacation during a non-holiday). How long did it take you to really get back into things? Wasn't it a pain?

If you're going to vote with your feet, you have to do it permanently. Anything else (strike, union, etc.) is not going to work.

Anonymous said...

"I have a simple advice for all of you not satisfied with how Msft is treating you...LEAVE"

If possible can you guys also post the names of suitable companies in and around seattle area.

Anonymous said...

BrianV left very abruptly, which makes me think his interest in leaving wasn't received well.

On the flip side we have JimAll with his "that's a good job guys, thanks for cleaning up after my mess" RC1 congrats emails.

Why didn't we boot JimAll out when we realised this was Cairo/Neptune all over again? Letting him piss around until his options aren't underwater anymore isn't really fair to everyone who has had to clean up after his mess.

Anonymous said...

This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Valentine, it will soon see the end of Windows.

Anonymous said...

A few comments:

Ozzie-driven, fast moving and capital-rich company with no partners

Take a quick look at Ray Ozzie's new world. It is mainly partner+ level people and growing. A LARGE % of the partners from Windows are heading over there and I can't blame them. The grass looks much greener than what has been going on for the past few years in the land that has been razzed by JoePe, WillP, BrianV, etc.

the spsa performance targets were poorly set

I would bet that the partner+ folks would argue otherwise. Hitting targets at 101% three years out (versus coming in at 20% or 200%) is some pretty good predicting. Not that they measured anything meaningful, but that is another story...

Have anybody become partner starting from level 59

Not that I know of, but I do know of two level 9s that have become partner! From the time comp2000 came about in 1999 and now would mean going 9 levels in 7 years - not a very likely feat in recent MS times.

Anonymous said...

As an employee, I don't care if a VP gets a huge bonus, because they have to deal with all kinds of things I don't. Even a GM has stress and responsibility far exceeding mine. Technical Fellows and Distinguished Engineers are rare and valued. They can all keep their big piles of cash.

What makes me (and I think many employees) wonder is the people who are level 68 because they were around long enough ago that promotion to the old level 14 wasn't nearly as hard, but they are currently just dev leads/managers; and the people who are brought in from outside the company as architects or similar jobs and given level 68 on entry. They don't seem to have earned the same rewards as the VPs/GMs, but they still get them. And there are other people doing the exact same work who happen to be level 66 or 67 (or lower) who don't get the big payoff.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are jealous. It is the market condition that requires MSFT to pay partners at a different rate. If you don't get this, no wonder you are not a partner yet. You have ways to go to learn how to run a biz!

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Why would I care if corpsec knows I read mini-microsoft at work? Who DOESN'T read mini-microsoft at work? Hell, LisaB admitted she read mini. I mean, I can understand Mini himself not connecting from work but come on.

Anonymous said...

When was the report generated? Unless the report looked at POSTs versus GETs, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between leaving comments and just reading.

We don't filter on either GETs or POSTs. We simply group by LastLoggedUser/SourceIP/HostName. Request came in to generate this DAILY starting 08-31-2006 and escalate via MSE to CorpSec with all the raw data (that includes GET/POST info, source building, source TAP/Switch, etc.). Whatever happens after that is beyond me. My guys work on the ticket and escalate up to CorpSec. I could post the SR# here but that might put one of my guys working on the ticket in jeopardy.

I'll let ya all know if anything else pops up.

Be safe, live long and prosper.

Anonymous said...

I am still bullish on LISAB. I shorted BRIANV before the delisting.

Without data, ROZZIE continues to be a hold. Early reports indicate STEVESI is long-term attractive but hold for now.

Short everyone else.

Anonymous said...

MS-military - Why do you think you deserve a raise after 2 years WHEN YOU DIDN'T DO ANY WORK?? Haven't you been reading the blog? Most of us who have been here have barely gotten a raise!

I think the law requires that MS keep a job for you while you're serving. Does it also require you to get raises/bonuses during that time? That's not really fair to the rest of us.

It can't really be compared to a woman on maternity leave, since she would be gone for a much shorter period of time.

But I'm sure none of this logic will stop a lawyer from picking this up if you're interested in pursuing it. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This blog and this thread in particular reveal a lot about us, and it's not very flattering.

How pathetic are our lives when all we can think about is money? I've known several multi-millionaires, and their lives are a shambles and their character is worse. We focus on this number that is our salary, or our bonus, or our "level", and we measure our worth by it.

Come on folks. You're smarter than that. You're more valuable than that.

The idea that some of us are "haves" and some are "have nots" shows you just how shallow you are. Anyone who shows up to work at Microsoft and regularly collects a paycheck should consider themselves blessed. We're *all* "haves", and to suggest anything less merely shows how elitist you are... and hypocritical for that matter.

I fear the day will come (and I don't think it's that far off) when you'll realize what fools you were for taking what you have for granted. It can all be taken away over night, and with the current focus on shipping as much stuff overseas as possible to save a few bucks, that day may come sooner than you think.

As far as BrianV leaving, let Amazon have him. Maybe he'll ship *their* jobs to India/China instead of ours now.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a partner, so I couldn't say. Most Partners have been at Microsoft for a very long time, long before the numerical change in levels many years back. As a result, technically I don't think anyone can answer 'yes'. Without facts to back it up, I would guess the safest answer for you is "probably never".

I started at 59 and am within striking distance of 68. It's certainly possible. But the better question is, are you capable of it? I promise, if I achieve partner, not to be a petulent putz with a fork-tongued, shareholder pillaging, boot licking M.O. like the toady, cult-of-me garbage mini seems to attract for posters here. I'll continue to be more productive and relevant than ever.


If you granted that kind of promotion, I can see that you'll foster open discussion and lead by example. Wow. You're either a troll or a self-aggrandizing narcissist.

PS - You are not representative of any of the partners I know. I disagree with the SPSA payouts, and the partners I know are certainly not going to say "no! get it away from me!" to money pushed in their direction, but none of them have ever demonstrated an attitude like yours in my presence.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Why would I care if corpsec knows I read mini-microsoft at work? Who DOESN'T read mini-microsoft at work? Hell, LisaB admitted she read mini. I mean, I can understand Mini himself not connecting from work but come on.
Since the only person that does not access mini-Microsoft from corp-net is Mini himself, suddently this becomes a way to identify Mini. You will be safe as long as you access from corp-net :-)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Valentine has left the building.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003244652_.html

Anonymous said...

Mr. Valentine has left the building !!

He is joining amazon.com

finance girl said...

Who do I have to "play golf with" to make partner?

Look at these guys. (mostly guys, btw).

They all have their hair (if any) up in a pompadour and a fake FY smile (a certain Games VP and a certain Windows VP come to mind).

It's like this: It's Christmas. You get a bike. Cool! Then your brothers get their presents. They get cars.

I still don't know what those 900 execs did to earn so much stock awards.

How is this company better than it was 3 years ago?

Anonymous said...

Brian Valentine has left MS.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if anybody is actually going to pursue people if they post from corpnet. I would be amazed if this happened, but just to check I am doing it now.

Anonymous said...

"The idea that some of us are "haves" and some are "have nots" shows you just how shallow you are. Anyone who shows up to work at Microsoft and regularly collects a paycheck should consider themselves blessed. We're *all* "haves", and to suggest anything less merely shows how elitist you are... and hypocritical for that matter."

That depression-era mentality might have worked along with saving tin foil from gum wrappers and building balls of string but, it doesn't apply here. In fact, MSFT is a perfect example of hedonism and the capricious spending of a glutonous 21st century Roman emperor.

And, the "Nerdy 900" spearhead that notion with their perks and priviledges that truly make them the elitists, if not in their own minds.

The Boy-Wonder-Freckled-One started these 900 snowballs toward hell and only he...can stop them...before they cause too much damage in Live Services!

Anonymous said...

How pathetic are our lives when all we can think about is money?

You're not giving money enough credit. It's a great tool for quantifying many different issues. At Microsoft, money indicates the relative value of employees, their work, and their popularity. Who doesn't want to feel valued and popular?

Microsoft is telling us that it values its executives at least 10x more than the average rank-and-file employee. Executives seem to do less work, have less responsibility, and they just don't seem to be doing a very good job lately. Money aside, how is it good for the company, its investors, its customers, and the morale of its employees when these screw-ups are paid as much as 10 hardworking employees who are good at their jobs?

Yes, I said it, Microsoft's execs do less work and have less responsibility. I'm sick of walking by their offices and never seeing them there. I'm sick of hearing about how they "had" to go to China or Brazil or Germany to do "planning" or recruiting or to attend a conference where they "had" to present a very important PowerPoint deck [that their assistants probably made for them]. They may THINK they're working really hard while they amuse themselves in fun foreign countries with the corporate credit card, but they're not the ones stuck in the office fixing high-pri bugs in actual products at 3 AM.

As for responsibility, what's on the line? Are they going to lose their jobs if they don't deliver their products on-time? Are they going to get bad reviews? Are they going to be berated publicly? Hahahaha! The worst that ever happens is that they're quietly shuffled off to some other group and still make 10x more than Joe Employee. Again, I'm sure they THINK they have the most stressful job ever, but compared to any other job it must be a day at the beach.

Anonymous said...

For those asking for local companies list. Here is one: Seattle Web2.0 start up list - have at it:
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/venture/archives/105713.asp?source=rss

Anonymous said...

"It depends: do you see yourself as capable of directing hundreds of people and leading a multi-million dollar division of our business? Most people at MS are not partners and never will be."

Sure, by definition most employees probably don't have what it takes to become a partner. On the other hand, based on results, most partners don't appear to have what it should take to be a partner either. Earning in excess of $1M/year ought to signify more than simply an ability to build/direct an empire of reports and blow through multi-millions in the process. It should indicate a level of business acumen and execution ability that makes those investments worthwhile and therefore profitable within some reasonable timeframe. The reality is that a large number of MSFT partners are running failed businesses that are chewing up hundreds of millions (and in some cases $B's), taking armies of people (which is dramatically raising operating costs) and losing money which is actually detracting from earnings (again, in some cases multi-B's). How much intelligence and ability does that take? I have no problem with partners earning multiple millions - just so long as there's some accountability for shareholder-focused results. However, the current situation whereby partners win while shareholders actually lose significantly, is an embarassment and the Board should be ashamed for signing off on it.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, Mini, in the past did not you give clues hinting that you yourself are a partner too.

This adds a whole new meaning, mostly positive, to your post. At least you are not like your other 899 peers.

Anonymous said...

No, no, it's "Who do I have to let sodomize me?" to become a partner. There's the notion of having to give up something to make that mark...ethics, free time, self-respect?

While there are a lot of over-the-top posts recently, what I can offer is:

Can we who man the ship of Microsoft deny it is somewhat out of control (sic)?

Every company suffers from some sort of cronyism, poor performers, and unfair compensation. Why would we be an exception? Get over ourselves...we are not as unique as we'd like to think.

Many of the folks I know here are passionate, smart, and work very hard, but it is a job, not their life. Can better management make us want to make this job our life? Maybe...

Are things better elsewhere? Maybe...but mostly they're just different.

It is a free market and other places in Seattle area pay better (Adobe, for example), but the other places I've been are just as offensive, but for different reasons. Or as the Eagles so eloquently put it, "Every form of refuge has its price."

What we see here is just what happens in companies. We all want the nirvana where we are charged when we come to work and where hard work and being a team player pays off. Earth to me: it doesn't always happen that way.

Anonymous said...

How to be a partner someone asks? As a former long term employee I recommend the following:
--come up with a innovation whether it works or not.Be articulate in selling its benefits and sell high. No need to share with subordinates for feedback on applicability and efficiency. You just want to show execs you can create..execs don't have enough time to investigate its viability. They like articulate, smooth talkers who can be nasty
--show them you can be mean and nasty eg You can easily fire people.You can intimidate people. With the customer you reserve your eloquent and charming behavior
--do not spend time helping subordinates in executing in their job or in sharing best practices with them to strenthen their skills. You simply will not get credit nor have the time to sell yourself and manage your career.Spend your time garnering visibility through email, reports, business plans, meetings with execs.Just send off executive aires to your reports so they can fear and respect you.
--get industry colleagues to put you up for awards
--get with the guys in seattle..demonstrate sense of humour, you too can be part of the boys club
--try to insulate yourself from accountability..do this by delegating work (if you are now a boss) and then keep your subordinates in check by pitting them against each other .Keep them scared basically.
--do not give bad news or rock the boat. If a subordinate has a great new idea just listen to them.If it is good steal it. But do not inspire them to think so that you have to make waves.
--be succinct in talking..crisp as they say..Show them the polish
--do not overwork. That will drain you and you will not look the part.Do not get so passionate about your job that you lose that tightness they like to award.

Mihir Gandhi said...

Brian Valentine leaves MSFT
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2003245359_microsoft06.html

Anonymous said...

So, stop bitc***g and grow up and start managing your careers and start working hard. And when you make a committment to me that you will deliver by a milestone that you came up with - you better deliver or else I will start handing out pink slips to you all(which will happen once Vista ships anyway).


This plus the spelling merely as "mearly" convinces one that this is a troll.

Anonymous said...

"Hey! Who do I have to -fill in the blank- around here to become a Partner?"

Wrong, pathetic question Whoda.

I wonder in the scheme things in this world and the next, how many of you will ever figure it out.

"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar"

TS Eliot, 1925

Anonymous said...

I fear the day will come (and I don't think it's that far off) when you'll realize what fools you were for taking what you have for granted. It can all be taken away over night, and with the current focus on shipping as much stuff overseas as possible to save a few bucks, that day may come sooner than you think.


I don't post here because I want to make Partner-type bucks. On the contrary, I am very happy just pulling in low (very low) 6 figures for the rest of my life.

What upsets me is the fact that it is nearly impossible to get anything done around here because those that are making 7 figures want to do my job without really doing it. They want to micro-manage without realy managing. They want to innovate without providing any creative IP whatsoever. They want to ship on time without adhering to any kind of disciplined approach to scope management, change management, etc.

So it's not the so much the pay deferential that's upsetting. As a stockholder I'd gladly pay my VP 7 or 8 figures if I thought he was worth it and was adding and not detracting value from the overall equation.

What I keep reading here, hearing in the halls, seeing in the results are all indicators that the majority of partner-level folks at MSFT are not worth the buck they are being paid and worse yet, they are preventing real work, real innovation from taking place.

I don't think Mini advocates the complete elimination of all partners. But with 900 (that number still shocks me every single time), you have to wonder how anything gets done around here if each major project, innovation has to pass through someone (or more than one by the looks of it) that has no true incentive to make it work.

Sad, but I think the next true innovation at Microsoft will be something that slips through this beauracracy.

Anonymous said...

The idea that some of us are "haves" and some are "have nots" shows you just how shallow you are. Anyone who shows up to work at Microsoft and regularly collects a paycheck should consider themselves blessed.

Maybe for you.

I would personally like to kick ass and take names. I don't come to work here for the fluffy stuff, I come here because I think this is a great business that generates a tremendous amount of value.

We have to get the comp and hr systems right if we want that to continue, at the end of the day all of our assets are people-based.

This board is great because everyone reads it includng MS HR. Sure we have internal tools (MS Poll etc.) but they kind of suck.

comp systems and hr tools are competitive advantages (or weaknesses) and they need to be the most optimal (rewarding value creation and aligning incentives)


1. Most of the people here still have the microsoft religion
2. we need more exec accountability
3. people appreciate the hr changes but we are not done yet

Anonymous said...

Top Microsoft exec leaving for Amazon.com

AMZN
Last Trade: 30.80
Change: 1.43 DOWN 4.44%

Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

[Has] anybody become partner starting from level 59?

The new leveling system started when, in 1999? I was here when the swap went into effect from the old system (9, 10, 11, ...) to the new one (57, 58, 59, ...). In fact, it changed between my offer letter and acceptance.

For someone to have truly moved from 59 to 68, he or she would have needed to progress 9 promos in 7 review cycles.

Impossible? Maybe not. But any way you cut it, it's rare. Particularly for folks that haven't left the company since 1999. Remember, since that time, our stock has been less than flat, and we haven't had the growth through attrition (fyifv) that the 95-98 timeframe saw.

The highest potential folks I know who started in 99 are roughly at the "manager of managers" level dev manager, test manager, GPM... L64/65 stuff... That's still 6 Promotions in 7 years. Nothing to sneeze at.

But not partners... yet.

Anonymous said...

Another 12 year vet here, level 66 Dev Manager in an unnamed Windows org.

I used to aspire to Partnerhood. I used to be the most passionate 'softie around. No more.

The pitiful raises and bonuses I had to hand out to my kick-ass team so that the effups mismanaging the company could feather their nests with the SPSA bonanza are the last straw.

These bastards are looting the company and not doing a damn thing to earn their pay. The ratio of competent to clueless decisions made by my managment chain in the last three years is pathetic.

I'm done. Not sure where I'm going yet, but I'm going.

For all you out there wondering what you have to do to make Partner, forget it. You might make it, but by the time you get there, there ain't gonna be nothing let.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 2:33PM ( this post)

You are very, very evil, and unfortunately very, very correct. The problem you describe is not unique to Microsoft, but I suspect the incentive to sell out that say is unusually strong there.

Anonymous said...

By seeing how Microsoft works my filling of the blank is,

"Hey! Who do I have to IMPRESS around here to become a Partner?"

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to note that BrianV now works for a company that runs all of its servers (and quite a few dev desktops as well) on Linux and UNIX. And I don't see that changing with Brian's arrival, even if he truly believes in technical superiority of something like W2K3 for typical Amazon workloads.

This is truly an ironic fate for a former Windows cheerleader.

Anonymous said...

Guys, I left MS a few months ago to start my own company. It's not easy but I'm glad I'm doing what I'm doing. I know I won't have regrets when I'm 65.

I don't know what will happen in the future. What I do know is what would happen if I had stayed at MS. I would never be rich if I had stayed. That was my worst fear. Come on, take some risks when you're young, when you can afford to lose. Take charge. You won't regret it. Start something. It doesn't have to be software related. Most of you are smart or else MS wouldn't have hired you. Try something. If it fails, you'll still be able to find a job easily.

Good luck.

MS-Military said...

"MS-military - Why do you think you deserve a raise after 2 years WHEN YOU DIDN'T DO ANY WORK?? Haven't you been reading the blog? Most of us who have been here have barely gotten a raise!"

My comment was to illustrate the problem of pay compression and on the prevalance of activated military taking a 3.0 "for the team" because they weren't around to defend themselves in June, when reviews were written.

What do I expect? I think that a company that is not having profitability problems can afford to pay their employees a wage that keeps pace with inflation; I think a merit raise should be a raise, not a way to keep a select few in pace with inflation; and I think people who go off to foreign lands to fight (while the rest of their fellow employees enjoy the benefits of the freedom maintained at home) should at the very least not be screwed because of it.

MSFT's pay system is broken for so many reasons, and the effective double-3.0 that military folks receive is just a predictable side effect.

Anonymous said...

To the reservist-

You have to have heard about The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA). They preached it endlessly to me during my activation.

Brief explanation of the portions that apply- Re-employment is not the equivalent of resuming the employee’s former position under the same conditions as when the employee departed. Under the Act, an employee should be rehired in the job that the employee would have been promoted to had that employee never departed for military service. 38 U.S.C. § 4313 (a). Additionally, an employer must allocate a rehired employee the rights of seniority and associated benefits that the employee would have accrued had the employee never left for military service. 38 U.S.C. § 4316.

With the name of the act and the relevent USC numbers, you can find more information.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer makes another substantial bail (1.7M shares):

http://biz.yahoo.com/t/16/56.html

Guess the kids needed new shoes - or maybe a new jet. Or else, stay tuned for impending bad news...

Anonymous said...

Last Sunday's Dilbert seems amazingly relevant to a lot of this discussion.

MSS

Anonymous said...

The guy who left to start his own company had it right on the money: YOU PEOPLE ARE RISK AVERSE

Honestly, it should be obvious by now that MS is broken from top to bottom. To those who want to "stay here and help fix it" I ask "Why?"
You will not be rewarded for doing so. The only reason for a truly talented person to stay is that they are afraid of the world outside MS.

Anonymous said...

"Second, normally I wouldn't acknowledge the existence of, let alone respond to, a troll such as yourself. However, you do raise some interesting points that I'd like to address."
Thanks for the comments...
So facing reality in the world outside of corporate Microsoft, using your products and now public services makes me a troll. Interesting since I don't view myself in this way. Just running a small business out here in America. Kids are grown and 2 in college, 2 married and we have 2 grandkids. Paying for college for 2 (Hook em Horns!!!) and helping the others get started in life. If this makes me a troll here then so be it!!!
What you don't seem to easily understand is that we USE your products everyday to make money with.
Currently we are testing most all your new product line from Vista, Office to "Live" services.
Why in hell do these not all work together NOW!!!
Testers of your future to be released software can see the potential, it just seems that someone somewhere there has lost track, or is distracted by company, team infighting and not servicing their customers.
Your Problem to solve using our $$$

Customer

Anonymous said...

Ballmer makes another substantial bail (1.7M shares):


Er, that's what, half a percent of the shares that he owns? Let us know when real news occurs.

Anonymous said...

This is truly an ironic fate for a former Windows cheerleader.

Totally agree. This incident and similar incidents in the past have totally eroded my confidence in the words that come out of our executives mouths. I mean, how can you trust them if their actions dont follow their words? At this point, I guess it is common knowledge that these are execs are liars...Call me naive but I never realized that for a long time! And when I look at the crowds cheering at our execs words during the company meeting, I am mostly wonderstruck.

Anyway, even now, I believe in one exec though - Steven Sinofsky. Somehow from what I have seen of him (after he came to the Windows org), he seems like a great leader! At the very least he seems like a honest guy, is much more transparent than others, and has a very useful blog. The only disappointment from him so far is the announcement of the Windows Experience reorg still been announced (it is already late by a month).

Anonymous said...

I don't know what will happen in the future. What I do know is what would happen if I had stayed at MS. I would never be rich if I had stayed. That was my worst fear.

I might have been rich in perhaps 5 years, but I realized that I coudnt buy back those 5 years with the money I would make after pimping myself from one manager to another. If you want to change the world Microsoft is not it

Anonymous said...

Guys I submitted my resignation today. Tomorrow is my last day here at Microsoft. Friday evening 5PM is when my badge will stop working - a big part of my life will end, a new one will begin. For once, I am not constantly worried, or stressed, or paranoid, or frustrated. I can say the decision was very difficult, almost like leaving a family. I have so many wonderful friends here whom I will miss. At the same time, the negativity and the hatred for the system, the pay, the partners was eating inside me and pulling me down constantly.

I am leaving at 62, PM in WEMD division. My review numbers in case you are interested were depressing - 2.0 merit/3.0 bonus/300 stock.

I don't think I can continue to feed my family well at a 2% merit raise and I have decided to donate all of my 3% bonus to the "Deaf-Blind Service Center" in Seattle.

Good luck to everyone here on Mini.

Anonymous said...

OK. A lot of talk from a very small sample of the total population here. Fine. Everyone here could be right. Then again, might the comments here just be a tail end of the bell curve? If EVERYONE really feels this way, I expect the next MSPOLL to SHOW this in an ALARMING way.

I want to see W01 and W04 in the 50's, not 82% like the 06 results. W12 at 88%! Right. M10 was even at 75% and a lot of the L series were much higher than I would expect from reading the last couple of weeks here. So either the people that post here are a small microcosm that are the disenfranchised few (meaning quit bitching 'cause nothing will ever change) or everyone else is just BS'ing the survey. Mini, tell me which?

Anonymous said...

Here is a FUN way to protest - with all due respect to to Gandhi's & MLK's civil disobedience to cause effective public shaming.

We should go to a site like cafepress and reserve shirts with the slogan

"Each Microsoft VP/GM looted $1M but all I got was this lousy shirt"

Then we pick a common day, preferably a Saturday so it doesn't conflict with duties at MS, that we call it a day of protest and all of us wear those shirts all day and go about our day to day lives on the outside.

It sends a strong message externally and there is the broader public shaming

Anonymous said...

For those who have access or who know where SteveSi's internal blog is, go take a read.

Anonymous said...

the appoval for the spsa give-aways now formally puts to company's board in the uncomfortable position of violating their fiduciary responsibilities to the owners of the company. I suspect the likes of tricinda corp and/or pension funds to start pushing on this on the proxy and legal front. there are more than enough disgruntled MS employees around that will reveals sufficient information on the goings on, that these guys will have no problem getting sufficient dirt to go after the board.

steve and company may think they are above this, but when money is involved wall street will be ruthless. Remember the arrogance of Gutfreund at Sally thinking he would never get canned -- and steve, keep in mind, John was never ever able to get another job after that. yeah, history will probably get the story straight.

I'm glad this forum exists... it's democracy, and it's unveiling the b/s from MS's management that destroys shareholder value.

Anonymous said...

I am a VP and I have been reading the comments on Mini with amusement and regret for most of the posters.

Boy this was one revealing rant. What a disconnected child you are revealing yourself to be, here.

Let's put it in perspective: the company doesn't make it's marks, then it is precisely you and your peers who should suffer - not the peons. the higher you are, the more your comp should be tied to company performance, adjusted for the systemic market performance.

YOU HAVE FAILED. PERIOD. and none of your self serving rantings will change that fact.

Let me think: Alchin worrying about whether Texas Holdem shiped in Vista was a good use of a Partner's time? C'mon... don't be so self serving.

DeVaan did say one good thing -- that he would never be involved in deciding what features shipped in the o/s -- that his team would be respondible for that.

Go home, go to italy, and do this corporation a favor and fuck off. MS is not failing for lack of talent; it's failing for lack of leadership and a culture your morons created.

This is the most pathetic post I've seen from a partner so far... laughable. buddy, you didn't make the chair, the chair made you -- and you broke the chair.

Anonymous said...

If SteveB owns 408,252,990 shares after the sale of the 1,725,000 on Sept 1, that would mean he sold a whopping 0.0042% of his holdings.

I'd like to know another public company where the CEO has:
1) As large a % of his own net worth in the company.
2) As small a number of sales over the life at the company.
3) Keeps as low a salary level vs job.

I guess he has to pay for that fancy new Range Rover, somehow. What happened to the only drive an American car?

On the subject of Steve, while he can be a relentless asshole especially if you are not making numbers. However, but the one thing you have to agree is there has never been a whisper of him doing a DiPeitrio or Taylor. Ever. I was in 3 field offices for 8 years before moving to campus 4 years ago & you hear the stories.

Anonymous said...

A few things.

1) Can you go from 59-->Partner? Sure. 59 is the typical level of a college hire, and college hires comprise a large chunk of partners & VP's. Now whether you are good enough (99th percentile) is a different question.

2) I'm not a partner, L64 actually, but I don't see the big problem. Most top performers I know want to be rich--we know that there are other opportunities our there to be mega-rich (by joining / founding the right start-up), or normal-rich (by going to an investment bank or consulting firm, which is a common path to riches from the ivy league colleges). Partnership is quite honestly the only thing that keeps me and most other top performers around.

3) I do think that Microsoft should seriously consider increasing the compensation of the high-level non-partners. Everybody knows that going from 67-->68 is a mystical process, and the truth is that compensation for L67 isn't that great. Anybody in MSFT can look at hrweb and see the target and maximum stock grant for L67. It is pretty tame, especially when you consider that L67 is generally a 10 year trek at least even for top performers coming out of college, excepting certain rare wunderkinden like ChrisJo. I mean, the kind of hard work and IQ that is generally required to get to L67 at Microsoft is pretty high, and somebody with those abilities could do a heck of a lot better by kicking around silicon valley for 10 years, let alone going the Goldman Sachs route for 10 years out of college.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer makes another substantial bail (1.7M shares):


Er, that's what, half a percent of the shares that he owns? Let us know when real news occurs.


I would argue that the "real news" is that all of the executives required to report their stock transactions are dumping MSFT. Not one has bought a single share, even with Ballmer's claim that the stock is undervalued. He could lead from the front and buy a significant chunk to motivate others. Instead, he says "do what I say, not what I do."

Ray Myers said...

"I don't know what will happen in the future. What I do know is what would happen if I had stayed at MS. I would never be rich if I had stayed. That was my worst fear. Come on, take some risks when you're young, when you can afford to lose. Take charge. You won't regret it. Start something. It doesn't have to be software related. Most of you are smart or else MS wouldn't have hired you. Try something. If it fails, you'll still be able to find a job easily."

Sage advice. And, I might add, the trip, although sometimes painful with failure, can be very rewarding.

This must be the "paying the dues" everyone talks about. It's true. I really believe the "road less traveled" meets up with "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger" to create a me...a you...that no amount of money can build.

Anonymous said...

Long time listener; first time poster...

If you follow the history of any large company, you'll find it follows a fairly predictable arc: energetic start-up, followed by a transition to a corporate management model, but still with a lot of the same founders who made the company successful on board, followed by the bailing of those founders for greener pastures. That last stage is marked by what we're seeing now: over-reward for some execs, under-reward for the ones who do the "blue-collar" work, and so on. We are clearly in that last phase.

I came to MS IT as an L63 after a 10+ year career in IT consulting. I can say I have NEVER worked alongside smarter, more energetic people than at MS, and that's saying a lot because I've worked on scores of IT projects at scores of IT shops. But I can also say I have never worked with LESS competent senior managers than at MS IT. They seem to be good at nothing other than micro-management, escaping accountability, re-organizing (which really helps with the escaping accountabilty thing), and confusing motion with progress. I wouldn't hire most of them to wash my car.

It's a truism at IT (and this is the first time I've seen this) that we consider our senior leaders an impediment to, as opposed to an enabler of, success. On an average day, you spend 40% of your time working on your project and 60% of your time figuring out how to "stay under the radar" so your GM or VP doesn't get involved. Because as the saying around here goes: "Nothing good can come from that." That these people are making several times more money than I am is a source of irritation, but it's sort of like aging: it's not fair, but it's inevitable, so why fight it?

My advice to you guys is to treat MS as a great opportunity to learn a lot and work with some great people, but if you have any ambition AND principles, you need to get out once the costs of working here outweigh the benefits. If what I've read here is any indication, most of you have long since reached that point. You're not going to change MS. It's being run badly and the financial markets obviously know that. The L63's wouldn't be able to change that even if they tried and the L68+'s are under no financial incentive to do so. Their incentive is to keep their jobs and stirring up trouble only has downside risk.

So the moral of the story is that MS is just another big company on the decline, albeit it one with two monopolies, which is masking the decline to some extent, and one with some incredibly smart/motivated people at the junior levels. I've been here about 3 1/2 years but I am way too unskilled at re-orgs, ducking accountability, creating motion to mask the lack of progress, spinning bad news, etc. to get much higher up in the org, so I'm actively looking for a job outside of MS where the company is earlier in that cycle I described above. It will be more risky, but there's no perfect situation, just better ones and worse ones. No regrets or whining. Just decided I'm going to take advantage of the situation rather than letting MS take advantage of me. THAT's the American Way!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading the posts here and can certainly relate. I left about a year ago due to the annual reorg at MS (This one was sarcastically title 'Tailspin'). Now MS is back to the old model in some cases, putting more people out of work and generally jerking them around.

My point is this: I needed to leave. I could've taken another role within MS, but after finishing #1 in the district in sales for the FY and still not being appreciated (meaning allowed to keep my job), it was time to go.

I was at MS for 8 years and very passionate about the company. I didn't always agree with mgmt (which probably sealed my fate), but my results should have spoken for themselves.

What I generally see in these posts is what amounts to, unfortunately, the traits of an abusive relationship where one party can't/won't leave, but should. You are all very smart and your worth on the open market would startle you.

It's been a year and I still struggle with getting over what happened. But at the same time, I work for a company where the main thing that attracted me was that people were really thrilled to be there (kinda like when I joined MS in '97).

There are companies out there that wouldn't overtly create a caste system as badly as MS does. This 900 partner thing is appalling and there are better companies out there.

Anonymous said...

On the overall topic of MISmanagement at companies like Microsoft:

It is not the Old Boys' Club but the Little Boys' Club:

My team of under 100 people has had layoffs recently - 8 people. Yet we have nearly 20 open heads. My team has also had 6 other people in 5 consecutive weeks quit. two left the team, the others, the company.
My last day is coming in the next month. Most of the managers on my team are biased and political. One of the leaders has a clique of boys he invites over and goes out with... people in his reporting chain, and people who get promotions by threatening "If I don't get what I want I will leave" when we just lost two of our stellar engineers because they got shafted in reviews since they kept calling b.s. on the politics.

This behavior is rampant across this company and it's why we lose hard working smart people.

Folks, wake up and go do something you are excited about! That is what I plan to do. With Encarta being outsourced, with MSPress being ousourced, shakeups in Windows, with Brian Valentine leaving...it's time to do what you want to do!

Anonymous said...

"If SteveB owns 408,252,990 shares after the sale of the 1,725,000 on Sept 1, that would mean he sold a whopping 0.0042% of his holdings.

I'd like to know another public company where the CEO has:
1) As large a % of his own net worth in the company.
2) As small a number of sales over the life at the company.
3) Keeps as low a salary level vs job."

Yes he still holds a large part of his net worth in the company, versus say Raikes. I respect that. Yes, he has been an infrequent seller, versus say Raikes, Gates and most of the rest of the senior management team. I respect that too. Yes, the recent amount is a tiny fraction of his holdings. No, it is not insignificant; It's a whopping 1.75M shares worth some $45M, more than twice the size of his previous bail last year (a disturbing trend), comes weeks after saying he was keeping his "wallet on his hip" (meaning not selling), follows the company bragging that executives weren't going to participate in the tender (no, just bail right after it - guess even they figured $24.75 was too low), and comes with the stock precariously perched just above its 200 day ma after finally breaking through it. WRT his salary, yup it's low relative to industry, but based on performance for shareholders over the past 3-5 years, far too high.

Anonymous said...

"I'm glad this forum exists... it's democracy, and it's unveiling the b/s from MS's management that destroys shareholder value."

Current management has long since given up on growing the company and/or growing shareholder value. Instead, they're focused on treating themselves and their chosen 900 lieutenants while maintaining a facade that everything is as it should be. Success to them is now measured by how slowly they can let the air out of MSFT's market cap w/o getting kicked out of office by shareholders. That allows them to maintain the lifestyle they got used to in the 90's back when the company performed, but which current results no longer justify.

Anonymous said...

Well Mini,

WELCOME TO CORPORATE AMERICA!

This is how "workers" compensation has statically kept up with inflation. Didn't you know that Level 68+ are "workers"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Time to wake up folks the party's over. Perhap now you'll consider a UNION!

Anonymous said...

"On the subject of Steve, while he can be a relentless asshole especially if you are not making numbers."

Huh? That's half the businesses at MSFT - unless you're talking losses. And he just gave most of them nearly $1B in bonuses.

"However, but the one thing you have to agree is there has never been a whisper of him doing a DiPeitrio or Taylor. Ever. I was in 3 field offices for 8 years before moving to campus 4 years ago & you hear the stories."

Excellent. So he can't make intelligent investment decisions that payoff at all far less on normal, industry-accepted timeframes, or drive the stock, but at least he's not breaking his marital vows and nailing his reports? That's some endorsement.

Anonymous said...

Why are shares being sold? Um, this, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

You are all very smart and your worth on the open market would startle you.

From reading Mini, it seems the opportunties are limited to Dev, IT and Sales.

I know of some PM/Test that have left and moved on to a handful of other companies, but really...how much of a market is there for the PM/Test disciplines for former MS employees?

Anonymous said...

Well Mini,

WELCOME TO CORPORATE AMERICA!

This is how "workers" compensation has statically kept up with inflation. Didn't you know that Level 68+ are "workers"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Time to wake up folks the party's over. Perhap now you'll consider a UNION!


Not if it's filled with people like you. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

I would argue that the "real news" is that all of the executives required to report their stock transactions are dumping MSFT. Not one has bought a single share, even with Ballmer's claim that the stock is undervalued.

To state the blindingly obvious:
1) Executives get a massive chunk of their compensation as stock already. Diversification, anyone?
2) Buying stock in a company as an executive opens up the potential for fun things like allegations of stock manipulations or insider trading, SEC investigations, and the like.

I'm starting to believe that other guy who said that the comments here were the tail end of the bell curve.

Anonymous said...

>It's interesting to note that BrianV now works for a company that runs all of its servers (and quite a few dev desktops as well) on Linux and UNIX. And I don't see that changing with Brian's arrival, even if he truly believes in technical superiority of something like W2K3 for typical Amazon workloads.

Big freaking deal. Unless Dave Cutler has started reading Mini, I doubt there's anybody here who wouldn't work with Linux if there was a more profitable business model there. The Linux-Windows war is mostly in the fevered imaginations of the fanboys.

Anonymous said...

"I was at MS for 8 years and very passionate about the company. I didn't always agree with mgmt (which probably sealed my fate), but my results should have spoken for themselves."

Been there/done that. MSFT is not a results-driven company. They say they are, but as anyone who has worked there knows, how you're perceived by mgt is often far more important to your career/pay than what you actually accomplish.

"It's been a year and I still struggle with getting over what happened."

Me too. But look at the list of high performers who've gotten gone and you'll see you're in pretty good company. The fault is with MSFT. Instead of a culture of accountability and results, it's a cult of personality not unlike high school with far too many weak, inexperienced managers who need yes men and average performers in order to feel adequate.

Anonymous said...

At this point, I guess it is common knowledge that these are execs are liars...Call me naive but I never realized that for a long time! And when I look at the crowds
cheering at our execs words during the company meeting, I am mostly wonderstruck.


Here's an idea mini - put up a post suggesting that people only provide a normal amount of polite applause at the meeting. If they see that they can't fire up the crowd, then it'll send a message. I don't know what the message is, but it sends it.

Make sure to really yell for the singers too, to make it even more obvious.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, even now, I believe in one exec though - Steven Sinofsky. Somehow from what I have seen of him (after he came to the Windows org),

What has this guy done in the Windows org???

Anonymous said...

I have a question for the person who received 5x the target. This means 4 others got 0 stock. If there were five like him, there must have been 20 of the "other" sort. What is the experience of working with 20 "limited" people?

Anonymous said...

If you aspire to become a partner - read the below.

The partner compensation is going to go down not up in the coming years. A billion for thousand people who are already over compensated aint gonna win any support. This is because the MSFT stock doesnt have much upside.

When you get to be partner, the benefits will go down significantly. Even the immunity from firing is not likely to remain the way it is.

Anonymous said...

MSFT is not a results-driven company. They say they are, but as anyone who has worked there knows, how you're perceived by mgt ... is more important than what you actually accomplish.

Microsoft runs counter to the way successful companies actually run. Microsoft has gone with the Ford/GM model. When times are good management awards itself gigantic payouts. When times are bad ... well, for Microsoft, times have never really been bad, but saying so won't keep Apple, Linux, Google et al. at bay forever. Right now - when times are relatively good - is a great time for Microsoft to 'soul search' and strike out on a new management/philosophy path. Microsoft doesn't have to be GM. It can be Honda, if it wants.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea mini - put up a post suggesting that people only provide a normal amount of polite applause at the meeting. If they see that they can't fire up the crowd, then it'll send a message. I don't know what the message is, but it sends it.

I have a better suggestion: everyone should blow off the company meeting. JUST DON'T GO! A half-empty stadium will send a big message, especially if that message is underscored here stating why the joint is half empty. A good thread title could revolve around the earlier suggestion of a labor action or the funny t-shirt suggestion.

I for one am not going... it's a culty, ass-licking, masturbation show, plus it's b-o-r-i-n-g.

-Backatcha Bandit!

Anonymous said...

Back to BrianV

One very dissapointing event occured around brian's departure.

For some reason some of his goodbye emails never made it to people. Perhaps Exchange isn't as robust as we say it is or perhaps his outgoing mail was snagged on the order of someone. I do know that his very broadly sent COSD fairwell email didn't make it to everyone...

Sad if that's the way we treat someone. Brian, if you're reading this, (a) keep up the hockey challenge (McNealy never answered the challenge, but the games were great) and (b) write a book or articles, annonomously (of course).

sigh

-BB!

Anonymous said...

Been there/done that. MSFT is not a results-driven company. They say they are, but as anyone who has worked there knows, how you're perceived by mgt is often far more important to your career/pay than what you actually accomplish.

What does that even mean? In essence you are saying that "how your ability to accomplish results is perceived by management is often far more important than what you actually accomplish".

If your management is misperceiving your accomplishments, that's a two way street. Managers do their best but they are busy and fallible, and the onus is largely on you to make sure that people know what you are doing, why it is hard and why it is important.

I just got my review, and it wasn't quite as glowing as I expected / hoped, and yes in this instance there was a specific area where I think my manager didn't evaluate me correctly. The lesson I learned is that I should do a better job of keeping my manager aware of my accomplishments in that regard.

Look, I recognize that you may have had a lousy manager(s), but you shouldn't extrapolate that too broadly. It's a big company and most (not all) of the managers I have worked for or observed indirectly do a very good job of evaluating their teams.

Anonymous said...

"The lesson I learned is that I should do a better job of keeping my manager aware of my accomplishments in that regard."

Good comment, but there's a very fine balance. When you need to do that ('keep your manager aware of what you're doing') too much, a culture of busy workers who are busy impressing their bosses instead of moving the business forward is created.

One question: Isn't it your manager's job to know what you're doing? Aren't they supposed to be leading the efforts? That is the inherent problem with your suggestion. They shift the blame from them needing to know what you're doing to you having to advertise it back to them.

Well, when you're busy doing that, you take your eye off the business. Just go post strong results, if they don't see it, then there are other companies out there who will.

Anonymous said...

Business Week this week has an article about the best places to start your career. Microsoft is no where on the list.

Anonymous said...

Steven Sinofsky. Somehow from what I have seen of him (after he came to the Windows org),

What has this guy done in the Windows org???
--
Nothing other than get his cronies from office.

Anonymous said...

When you get to be partner, the benefits will go down significantly. Even the immunity from firing is not likely to remain the way it is.
--
1 billion/year for many not achieved people make no sense

Anonymous said...

Been there/done that. MSFT is not a results-driven company. They say they are, but as anyone who has worked there knows, how you're perceived by mgt is often far more important to your career/pay than what you actually accomplish.

What does that even mean? In essence you are saying that "how your ability to accomplish results is perceived by management is often far more important than what you actually accomplish".

No - what it means is that whether you kiss up to your manager is more important than what you actually accomplish. Most managers apparently don't care if we are actually getting anything useful out the door to our customers. They care if they look good to their managers, and if the real (grunt) work has to suffer to facilitate doing the "bleeding edge" glory projects that have all the visibility, then so be it. If you're doing the grunt work, trying to actually help your customers, guess what kind of appreciation you get? That's right: ZERO.

Now if you change your priorities and start focusing on kiss-ass projects that are regarded as new and wonderful - AND you make sure you let your manager know at every opportunity how great their ideas are, never say anything contrary or use your own judgment about the wisdom of doing x-y-z (that's not why we professional grunts are employed, apparently) - then you MIGHT get the big rewards and the big bucks.

Too bad the customers aren't the priority and just get the lip service. Of course, that's not true across the board. There are some (a few) managers who actually care about doing solid work for the people we sell our products to. But those gems seem to be fewer and farther between the longer I work at MSFT.

Anonymous said...

What has this guy done in the Windows org???

You are right...he hasnt done anything significant yet. But I like the direction he is headed in...I like the fact that he has a transparent style...and I like his blog (both the fact that he has one and his posts).

I know that this isnt much but it is a good start anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for the person who received 5x the target. This means 4 others got 0 stock. If there were five like him, there must have been 20 of the "other" sort. What is the experience of working with 20 "limited" people?

Exactly the same thing happened in my team!! One person got a great review and everyone else in the team got really screwed (and yes, I was among the ones who got screwed) leaving the team morale down in the gutters.

Anonymous said...

I have a better suggestion: everyone should blow off the company meeting. JUST DON'T GO! A half-empty stadium will send a big message.

I for one am not going... it's a culty, ass-licking, masturbation show, plus it's b-o-r-i-n-g.


I agree! That will really give a strong message to management.

And besides, how can I applaud the execs when all they've been handing out are inflation-matching increases only?

I can't feel excited about their "vision" or the future of our company because I only received a couple hundred shares (while they received millions of shares!) I agree with Mini that MS is becoming a 2-tiered company.

Remember an earlier comment from an IT guy saying someone from up above is asking for stats on who's reading Mini's blog? It's unlikely they're hunting down the readers. I think they're trying to find out how the puny rewards is affecting morale across the company. I for one stopped reading Mini after My Microsoft was announced. But I'm back here. My Microsoft is a joke.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog and laugh... I left MS 6 years ago, and what have you done since? XP and server 2K3? What after that? What have you done to innovate? You've all been riding on income that was provided by the past. You bitch and complain about rewards.... Rewards for what? MS owes you a paycheck and benefits, that's it.

5 years on Vista? 5 years? 5 years and you came up with nothing that hasn't already been done.

MS has become a big giant behemoth that is eating itself from the inside.

Anonymous said...

I guess he[Ballmer] has to pay for that fancy new Range Rover, somehow. What happened to the only drive an American car?

Range Rover is part of the Ford Motor Company

Anonymous said...

BrianV, thanks for all the memories, and all the great work. Transition is a natural thing. Don't bear grudges. Many of us are forever indebted to you. Best of luck in everything you do from here on.

Here's wishing SteveSi the best too. Windows is a complex beast but we shall conquer.

Ex MSFT SDET (VS) said...

"The lesson I learned is that I should do a better job of keeping my manager aware of my accomplishments in that regard."

From what I understand of working at MSFT (granted my experience is 2 years out of date)..

With management, it's not a case of "if a tree falls in the forest, but nobody hears it - it didn't fall."

At MSFT - if the tree doesn't make a really really loud noise, there is no tree. In fact there is no forest.

I suspect this is the same with any large corporation, but I don't deal with that anymore at my startup.

People can see what I'm doing much better than they could at MSFT without me making a big deal about it.

Mark Lucovsky, Software Engineer said...

Mini,

Could you please make a minor change that will improve readability of the comment stream?

Please go to your blog settings, then select the comments tab, and then change the Comments Timestamp Format to one that includes the date and time.

My preference would be this mode:

Sun Sep 10, 08:14:22AM 2006

This will make it far easier for us to track where we left off.

Phil said...

"One question: Isn't it your manager's job to know what you're doing?"

Yes and no. A manager needs to be aware of the high-level deliverables from their reports. However, it is not possible for them to magically know everything you do. You drive your own career at Microsoft, and part of this is making sure people are aware of your accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

"If SteveB owns 408,252,990 shares after the sale of the 1,725,000 on Sept 1, that would mean he sold a whopping 0.0042% of his holdings."

Uh... You're off by two orders of magnitude. (1.75MM is ~.4% of Steve's holdings).

I'm just a Senior PM, but I can still handle basic math.

Who da'Punk said...

And comment readers rejoice:

Please go to your blog settings, then select the comments tab, and then change the Comments Timestamp Format to one that includes the date and time.

What do you know, when you spell it out for this Mini dude, things actually get done. Thanks MarkL. For some dumb reason I thought it as a template fragment I had to update and was waiting for Blogger.Next to change it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone read Antoine's mail about manager span in Office? Basically he said that a lot of our line level manager suck, and that we're getting rid of a bunch of them to get the average span of a manager up to at least 5 (from about 3 where it is today).

Having worked for an absolutely *abysmal* manager for Office12, I'm hoping this comes true. I do wonder how it will shake out though, for a few reasons.

1. I'm moving from PM --> Lead PM, but who's two Lead jobs am I taking away if the above is true?

2. Are we really going to demote every 3rd or so Lead to meet the management span goals?

3. One of the biggest complaints about Office is the lack of headroom (too many entrenched, senior managers). Despite what the new CSP's say, this is still the best proven way to advance in levels. How are we going to keep the people who are actually doing the work happy?

Anonymous said...

"Please go to your blog settings, then select the comments tab, and then change the Comments Timestamp Format to one that includes the date and time."



Yayyy!!

Adam Barr said...

Dood, you're like famous or something:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/10/business/yourmoney/10mgmt.html?_r=1&ref=business&oref=slogin

Interesting that right around the time that DukeObsrvr is mentioned in an article in "The New Yorker", Mini-Microsoft is mentioned in an article in "The New York Times".

- adam

Anonymous said...

The senior PM who can't work a calculator is great. It's .0042, not .04.

Anonymous said...

Let us start small but announce it big to have some effect on our middle management.

Make a goal of firing 100 middle managers including 2 dozens GM and a half dozen VP by the end of the financial year. The way we give them compensation, that's already a straight forward savings of 100 million dollars (adds 1 cent in our annual per share earning). Even more lateral benefit is the increased productivity of their reportees.

As the first volunteer, I nominate my own manager to get the process started.

Please nominate yours as appropriate! Let us save SPSA to get wasted. On top of that let us increase our chances to participate in this SPSA in the future wihout getting this greatest program in the history of corporate America diluted.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog and laugh... I left MS 6 years ago, and what have you done since? XP and server 2K3? What after that? What have you done to innovate? You've all been riding on income that was provided by the past.

From a strategic point of view, Microsoft has done some things right. They aren't entirely ignoring outside competitive challenges. They know where they have been beat. The one agonizingly painful aspect about Microsoft is that they don't know how to do "simple". If you show Microsoft how they can knock a bunch of steps out of design, development and production you are a penny-pinching loser. If you can vomit up a bunch of brilliant yet improbable features you are on your way to partner heaven. Microsoft has always done a fair job of "reading the future" only a monopoly has hidden their lousy execution (like sticking v1 products on the market for customers to iterate all the bugs of them.) Moving forward, in my opinion, Microsoft can either "think simple" or they can be a spectator to the success of others. This morning Microsoft announced their design of a virtual city school system. What a plump assignment for some partner(s) somewhere. (I thought.) A project where neither success or failure can be measured but it looks glowing at review.

Campy Boy said...

Re: Manager Span

I heard that probably, what, four years ago? I believe the number that was supposed to come down (company-wide or division-wide in VS, I don't recall) was a span of six. Haven't been at MSFT for the last two years, but AFAIK that still hasn't happened, though it's long overdue.

I mean really, at the time I was told this, what value was I adding by managing my empire of three reports?

Anonymous said...

Mini and Mark, time stamping etc is great. But I think we also neet that the comments are numbered.It has two benefit. One we could more easily pick up where we left (better than time stamping). And two, it allows us to refer to another comment if we are responding to. For an example, "@157 Mark suggested to change the time stamping format and @160 Mini did it. And in this comment I am suggesting to actually enables this @number system"

Anonymous said...

"No - what it means is that whether you kiss up to your manager is more important than what you actually accomplish..."

I was the orginal poster, but you answered the subsequent query as well as I could have if not better. And to his question about it being an isolated incident and one bad manager, puhlease. I saw it EVERYWHERE and that included Corp, US field and a foreign sub. Also, to his comment about keeping your manager informed, duh. That's not at all what I was talking about it (as you cleary articulated in your response).

Anonymous said...

""The lesson I learned is that I should do a better job of keeping my manager aware of my accomplishments in that regard."

When someone is hired at Microsoft, is it explained to them that they need to tell their manager about their accomplishments? Or does the corporation just hope the new employee will figure it out on his own? Ditto do managers tell their underlings about this, or again do they just assume they will figure it out themselves?

Anonymous said...

>> it is not possible for them to
>> magically know everything you do

That's a nice strawman, no doubt coming from a manager.

No "magic" is required here. The best manager I've had at Microsoft used to ask me what I was doing in the past week and he wrote it all down. He rarely told me what to do (so I did not perceive this as micromanagement). The reason why he wrote everything down is because he cared about the career of his reports. Come review time he was prepared. He could go on and on and on about what his reports did during the past year, and all other managers looked like mumbling idiots in comparison. We're still good friends with the guy, I miss working under him.

You see, there's little value in saying to your manager what you do right now and why he should like it. Chances are, he'll forget in the next 3 minutes (that's if it registers at all).

Personally, I'd rather my manager keep track of what I do and care about my achievements, so that I don't have to waste my bandwidth on keeping track of this shit myself while instead I could be writing code.

Anonymous said...

"Yes and no. A manager needs to be aware of the high-level deliverables from their reports. However, it is not possible for them to magically know everything you do. You drive your own career at Microsoft, and part of this is making sure people are aware of your accomplishments."

MSFT's span of control is something like 8 or less on average. If you have that few reports, you should have a pretty good handle on what they're accomplishing w/o them spending a lot of cycles itemizing it for you. Regardless, the post wasn't about managing your career basics - it just got taken on that tangent by someone who misread it. It was about the ridiculously strong role that politics plays vs actual results in that assessment.

Anonymous said...

(Note: I'm not the person who got 5x but I did get some value greater than 1.)

"I have a question for the person who received 5x the target. This means 4 others got 0 stock."

Not necessarily. (Also, the budget/band should have significantly more than 5 people.)

"Exactly the same thing happened in my team!! One person got a great review and everyone else in the team got really screwed (and yes, I was among the ones who got screwed) leaving the team morale down in the gutters."

How did you discover this? What's your definition of "screwed"? Would you consider yourself "screwed" if that person wasn't on your team? Was team morale that good to begin with?

Anyway, the last thing I want is for my manager to worry about how "team morale" might be affected if he rewards me accurately. Mind your own business and get it done.

Meta-comment: the stock was noise in my financial planning until I got to L62; I really don't know why people worry so much about something that vests over five years and goes away if you decide to leave the company. (After all, smaller grants = less reason to stay.)

Anonymous said...

The senior PM who can't work a calculator is great. It's .0042, not .04.

The senior PM never said it's .04 or even .4, he said .4%, which is absolutely correct. You may be able to use a calculator but you either can't read or didn't pass 7th grade math.

Anonymous said...

The one agonizingly painful aspect about Microsoft is that they don't know how to do "simple".

Brilliant observation, and will likely explain why the Zune will end up being another one of J's "unlimited budget with no return" adventures.

Anonymous said...

...For an example, "@157 Mark suggested to change the time stamping format and @160 Mini did it. And in this comment I am suggesting to actually enables this @number system

Great idea. You must be an "innovator" at Microsoft? A guy that comes up with brilliant ideas like this one?

I agree that this scheme is a great idea. Why don't you finish this innovative idea of yours and tell us all how it works, how mini turns on your idea, what code he should run to do this, what options to select, etc.

start soap box
Excuse me, but your comment sounds like a classic MS partner... I have a GREAT idea! Sell the idea all over the place. Convince everyone how smart you are for comming up with the idea. Self promote upwards to ensure your partner level $1m payout. All the while being completely and 100% out of touch with reality and giving your team absolutely no guidance on how to implement your brilliant idea.

Have you ever once looked at the underlying "code"? In this case, the "code" is blogger and its feature set for comment formatting? Are you a typical clueless partner? You know, the kind that says, "We should unify SQL and the Filesystem"? You know, the kind that has absolutely no idea how to do anything they preach, hasn't touched slm/sd in > 10 years, whose only computer is a useless, pos tablet pc, hasn't written a line of production code in 12+ years, hasn't debugged a deadlock EVER?

Its great that you had this idea, but guess what... Your idea is meaningless blather unless you also can propose the solution. What code to change, what systems to use, what the architecture is, a swag at the schedule, etc. You sound like an MS VP!

Did you read MarkL's "@157" post? Did you notice how he didn't just pull an idea out of his ass? How he proposed the idea AND the solution? And how mini could implement the solution on time and under budget?
end soap box

Sorry for the rant. It just seemed so typical Microsoft to propose the answer while being so completely clueless and out of touch with reality...

Anonymous said...

How did you discover this?
I asked around and everyone shared their review performance.

What's your definition of "screwed"?
Everyone on the team got between 200 and 400 shares and one person got 3500 shares. That is my definition of screwed. Not sure what yours is.

Would you consider yourself "screwed" if that person wasn't on your team?
No. And just so that you are clear, I am not blaming the person who got the good numbers but I think the guy who came up with this kind of distribution is an idiot.

Was team morale that good to begin with?
Yes...and going by your questions, one would think that you know more about my team than the people who have been in the team itself.


Anyway, the last thing I want is for my manager to worry about how "team morale" might be affected if he rewards me accurately. Mind your own business and get it done.
Why? Dont you think that the manager who handed out these ratings will have problem managing the same people in the future?? Do you think that the people who got less stocks will want to continue working for the same manager??

Meta-comment: the stock was noise in my financial planning until I got to L62; I really don't know why people worry so much about something that vests over five years and goes away if you decide to leave the company. (After all, smaller grants = less reason to stay.)
Stocks vest over a period of five years - thats true but if you get 3000 shares then that is 600 shares every year...roughly $15000 per annum. Dont know about you but for me that is a lot of money.

Smaller grants = less reason to stay; true but I want to stay in the company and voice my opinions to make changes where I feel necessary. Also, remember that not everyone can change companies even if they wanted to because they dont have green cards. Heck, they cant even change to a position that has a different title! Yes, welcome to the world of a resident alien.

Little bit of friendly advice for you...this whole thing about reviews and compensation is a sensitive thing for many people (esp. those with families and home mortgages etc). Just because you dont fall under that category, dont think everyone else is as casual about it as you are. You might have a good team or a good manager but dont think the whole of Microsoft is like that. And finally, as I mentioned before, dont think that everyone can change their jobs...even if they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant observation, and will likely explain why the Zune will end up being another one of J's "unlimited budget with no return" adventures.

I was excited about Zune until I saw it would be a Toshiba Gigabeat that isn't Plays for Sure (haha) compatible. Once again, Microsoft is going to deliver a product that is already beind the competitive curve and no fancy music store is going to make up for what will be a truly Microsoft v1 experience. Zune, another project where heads should roll but will instead be promoted for their vision and "innovation."

My hope for Zune would that it would be aesthetically stunning with incredible firmware to catalog and organize music on the player. I was hoping it would bring something to the table which Apple, Sandisk or Creative hadn't already done. Instead it's another "me too" in the universe of music players.

Additionally since it doesn't do PfS or iTunes I will be limited to the Zune service (most probably quite limited). It would take a lot to get me to subscribe to any service which serves up DRMed music.

Anonymous said...

To soap box:

Honestly, your rant was completely unnecessary. Sure, and idea+solution is nice, but sometimes you just don't have the info you need to know how to implement the solution. Even if that is the case, just stating an idea alone is valuable. Somebody else may know exactly how to implement it, but simply didn't say anything before because it never occurred to them to go and do it.
If you know why showing post numbers is impractical then simply say why. Everyone will be better off that way: the OP will know that his idea is infeasible, and maybe some developer will decide that they should add post numbering. Otoh, if you don't know that showing post numbers is impractical, then your rant is completely out of line. I just hope you don't go around shooting down ideas in your group because whoever proposed the idea didn't lay out the complete implementation plan. Because if people do that, that is certainly going to be Microsoft's #1 problem, and is exactly what'll keep the true innovators away from Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

When someone is hired at Microsoft, is it explained to them that they need to tell their manager about their accomplishments? Or does the corporation just hope the new employee will figure it out on his own? Ditto do managers tell their underlings about this, or again do they just assume they will figure it out themselves?

This boggles the mind. Are you *seriously* suggesting that this sort of thing is unique to Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

I was going over CEO pay, and came across: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/12/ZBED.html

Checkout how Ballmer's pay rank compares to some other big CEOs - 477!!. I think at least you should give him credit for taking just a million while Silicon Valley CEOs like Ellison and Chambers are pocketing upwards of 60 million with a LESSER efficiency than Ballmer.

Obviously, GOOG puts us to shame here since apparently Schmidt's salary is just 30,000?! WOW. He is the only IT CEO in the list earning less than Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

The best manager I've had at Microsoft used to ask me what I was doing in the past week and he wrote it all down.
...
You see, there's little value in saying to your manager what you do right now and why he should like it.


Care to try again?

Anonymous said...

What if your manager has flipped the bit on you? I get respect from everyone on my team, work with our architect to help develop new and elegant features, and get kudos from my peers and other senior devs. When I meet with my manager to help him about these things, he has a blank look on his face and isn't even listening, I don't think. Just does not take me seriously, even though everyone else around me does.

What do you do in his situation? How can I possibly make my manager aware of my on-going work and accomplishments when he doesn't even care? No matter what I do to own my career and take the initiative, there's only so much I can do. And no, I can't leave because he's screwed me for 2 years and I'm afraid no other team will take me now.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any confirmation by reviewers that the Zune isn't a PFS device? That should just be a firmware change.

Would we really make a device that sucked this much? It's like we're doing it on purpose so we don't piss off our PFS partners.

Anonymous said...

I did a summer internship at MS and have been an avid reader of Mini since I received the intern offer.

Most things on this blog and in the comments are DEAD ON.

The lack of technical knowledge of the "Senior PMs" and "Architects" on my team was simply staggering. The whole "let's dream a wonderful project who cares if it cannot be built" seems to still pervade MS even after the failure of Longhorn/Vista. Those that said plainly that the emperor had no clothes were lambasted for "not being enthusiastic"

I still think the internship program is great but MS is NOT a good place to start a career unless you are VERY risk averse. People in my group were more concerned about keeping their window offices during the re-org than about anything else. When 6pm rolled around the building was totally empty. Zero passion.
No thanks.

Anonymous said...

>>>>Great idea. You must be an "innovator" at Microsoft? A guy that comes up with brilliant ideas like this one?<<<<<

You got me right. I am an innovator. If you did not see, I did suggest a path to the solution. My comment did not open "Mini..", instead it open, "Mini and Mark...". Why? Because I know Mark is the way to make this happen. I do not work for Google. I work for Microsoft. I have no control what Google provides in blogger. But they would be very stupid if they do not even allow numbered comments.

Mark, who is representing Google here seems even more stupid to propose this date time solution, when he should have proposed a sequence number solution. If blogger does not have this functionality then he should have first proposed this number solution within Google.

May be Mark did not have the vision. May be you do not either. And yes I do have this vision. The rest of the talent is important and also rare but slightly less rares than visioning and innovating.

Hope this could calm you down.

Anonymous said...

Make a goal of firing 100 middle managers including 2 dozens GM and a half dozen VP by the end of the financial year. The way we give them compensation, that's already a straight forward savings of 100 million dollars (adds 1 cent in our annual per share earning). Even more lateral benefit is the increased productivity of their reportees.
---
Partners dont get fired stupid. It is the regular joe that gets the axe.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, GOOG puts us to shame here since apparently Schmidt's salary is just 30,000?! WOW. He is the only IT CEO in the list earning less than Ballmer."

Steve Jobs' salary is $0.00.

Anonymous said...

>I did a summer internship at MS ... When 6pm rolled around the building was totally empty. Zero passion.

Here's a free life lesson, kid: passion != overtime. Hope you absorb it before you burn out or get divorced.

Mark Lucovsky, Software Engineer said...

My comment did not open "Mini..", instead it open, "Mini and Mark...". Why? Because I know Mark is the way to make this happen.

Hey Lazy Boy, I did your job for you. Happy? Next time, do as Mr. Soap Box suggests and back up your idea with some code. Its really not that hard to do a small amount of research along with your idea.

Numbered Comments in Blogger

Mark, who is representing Google here seems even more stupid to propose this date time solution, when he should have proposed a sequence number solution.

And Lazy Boy, one more thing. Actually never mind. Those of you who know me also know what I was gonna say. Just don't forget to also include the horse he rode in on...

Anonymous said...

Has there been any confirmation by reviewers that the Zune isn't a PFS device?

Live.com - 620 hits
Google.com - 474 hits

I think Microsoft has confirmed that the device doesn't PfS.

Anonymous said...

When someone is hired at Microsoft, is it explained to them that they need to tell their manager about their accomplishments? Or does the corporation just hope the new employee will figure it out on his own? Ditto do managers tell their underlings about this, or again do they just assume they will figure it out themselves?

"This boggles the mind. Are you *seriously* suggesting that this sort of thing is unique to Microsoft?"

Well perhaps this is the new hire's first job, or perhaps he worked previously at a place where the managers regularly ask the people they supervise what they have accomplised lately.

There seems to an attitude among Microsoft management defenders that anything that is going wrong is always the fault of their underlings, and it never, ever could be because the managers themselves are screwing up, or because there is something wrong with the corporate procedures. Are you of that opinion?

Anonymous said...

"kid: passion != overtime. Hope you absorb it before you burn out or get divorced."

You aren't going to change the world working 10-6. There's a free life lesson.

Anonymous said...

>> Care to try again?

Sure. Here it goes for the dense. If your manager gives a shit about defending you in stack rank meeting, he will know what you're doing. He will ask, he will observe, he will write things down.

If he doesn't give a shit, then unless you live in his office (which some people do) he's unlikely to recall enough good stuff to sell you well enough to get you a promo or a good bonus.

Anonymous said...

MS is becoming a 2-tier company of haves and have-nots. While rewards to senior people are highly visible, accountabilities are not. The path from junior level to senior level is now more seniority based than merit based. Those two points remind me of the failed socialism/communism experiment of last century. Many disillusioned people left those countries for the U.S. for better opportunities. Maybe softies who felt they are being treated unjustly should do the same. In the end, it will work out better for the individuals and the company/country they leave behind. It has to get worse before it gets better.

As for company meeting, it is up to each individual to decide whether they want to show loyalty and support to the management which has led us to where we are today. Just don't expect to get any useful information from the meeting, it is not designed to do that.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone on the team got between 200 and 400 shares and one person got 3500 shares. That is my definition of screwed. Not sure what yours is."

I think "envy" might be a better word. To me, screwed is an absolute measure focused around a mismatch of expectations. If your manager implied that you were one of the best people on the team and then gave you 50% of target, then that's getting screwed. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Maybe you deserved 200 - 400 shares anyway... Ask your manager about it. If he won't give you an honest answer, then there are bigger issues involved...

"I asked around and everyone shared their review performance. [...] Was team morale that good to begin with? Yes...and going by your questions, one would think that you know more about my team than the people who have been in the team itself."

Well, I'm not a people manager but I know a little bit -- like enough to know when people are stirring up s**t. If team morale was good before and then someone started asking people what they got on their review and now morale is bad... well, what kind of impact is that having on the team?

"Why? Dont you think that the manager who handed out these ratings will have problem managing the same people in the future?? Do you think that the people who got less stocks will want to continue working for the same manager??"

If my manager ever says something like "You deserved a lot of stock but people on the team talk and they'd get upset if you got more than they did, so I'm going to give you X", I would probably walk. After all, if I wanted to work somewhere where everyone got the same bonus no matter what they did or where they were going in their career, then I would. Instead, I chose Microsoft.

"Also, remember that not everyone can change companies even if they wanted to because they dont have green cards. Heck, they cant even change to a position that has a different title! Yes, welcome to the world of a resident alien."

Good point. I forget about this sometimes.

"Smaller grants = less reason to stay; true but I want to stay in the company and voice my opinions to make changes where I feel necessary."

I don't understand what having an impact has to do with the size of your stock award. Do it anyway.

"Little bit of friendly advice for you...this whole thing about reviews and compensation is a sensitive thing for many people (esp. those with families and home mortgages etc). Just because you dont fall under that category, dont think everyone else is as casual about it as you are."

Oh, I'm not casual about it at all: I'm Chuck Norris with a blue badge when it comes to throwing down at work.

But I try not to worry about things I can't control: the stock price, what the stock budget is, how my manager chooses to reward me, how my teammates feel about what I got, and what that guy down the hall got. I can control my output, my attitude, my interactions with my teammates, and [to some degree] who my manager is.

Anyway, I think you should talk to your manager: no one should be this upset or unhappy over work. Take a few days off, interview somewhere else, spend more time with your kids, etc. Life's too short.

PS: if it makes you feel better, that person who got 3500 shares pretty much has nowhere to go but down next year -- you pretty much have nowhere to go but up.

Anonymous said...

Wow....

http://peterwright.blogspot.com/2006/09/good-bye-microsoft-pete-has-now-left.html

Anonymous said...

>You aren't going to change the world working 10-6. There's a free life lesson.

Could be. However, you aren't going to change the world if you're burnt out either. Youthful energy doesn't last forever.

In the meantime, 10-6 gets me a happy family and a pretty interesting life. And, who knows? Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get to change the world a bit anyway.

Another free life lesson, since we're swapping: the people I've met who did change the world didn't do it because of some grand mission, it happened because they love what they do more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

You aren't going to change the world working 10-6. There's a free life lesson.

You aren't going to change to world working at Microsoft (or most other companies) no matter what hours you spend. There's another free life lesson.

Anonymous said...

Peter Wrights article there is something I've read time and time again. In my opinion, that kind of reaction really has nothing to do with what we discuss on Mini and everything to do with, what I consider, weaknesses in his personality.

He's still dreaming of his days as a kid with an Amiga and wondering why *he* didnt end up a "rich and successful" radical, rather than a cog in the machine.

Well. We all have to work for a living. Guys like that hop from one bitter disillusionment to another in search of their Utopia. Eventually, your lifespan ends and its over.

Just look at his supports on that thread. People saying they feel "better as a person" for using the Mac. People saying that Microsoft has "destroyed computer science". People saying that "Apple is evil too because they make money".

People using..... M+dollar.... shudder.

If thats what he wants to throw his lot in with, then more power to him. Personally, I find this new wave of self-styled "techno Che's" trying to usher in a new-world order socialism from behind their Powerbook at Starbucks, nauseating.

I can't imagine that a guy that judgemental and ideologically driven could have lasted long in ANY large cooperative environment.

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