Thursday, August 30, 2007

Brummel! Brummel! Brummel!

Wow, just in time to go into next week's Company Meeting with blushingly good PR. Much better than two years ago! From the upcoming BusinessWeek magazine:

(1) How To Make A Microserf Smile - profile on Ms. Brummel with some background about her contributions to HR since being appointed. Interesting snippet:

Nothing got people buzzing more than Brummel's overhaul of the performance review. Employees dreaded Microsoft's ranking system for all the usual reasons: It pitted co-workers against one another at a time when the company needed to be more collaborative; it was unfair; it made frank evaluations less likely.

Here Brummel faced a political third rail. Ballmer was the godfather of the forced curve, believing that differentiation—giving a few people the top grade, most a pass, and laggards failing marks—was the key to Microsoft's we-take-the-hills culture. And when Brummel broached ditching the curve, it was his turn to say "No way." More yelling ensued as they darted in and out of each other's adjacent offices.

(2) ONLINE EXTRA: Playbook: The New HR - I can has rewardzburger?

(3) ONLINE EXTRA: Q&A with Microsoft's Lisa Brummel - I'm sorry, but aren't there supposed to be questions and answers? Anyway, the Microsoft Office of the future (as in, where you're going to be planting your tocks during the day):

So HR chief Lisa Brummel is creating Microsoft's next-generation workspace: the elastic, meet-my-mood office. Here too she is going far beyond what most companies consider: open plan or not? Instead, she's creating a hybrid workplace of sliding doors, movable walls, and urban-loft-like spaces tailored to individual needs.

(4) ONLINE EXTRA: Reshaping Microsoft's HR Agenda - Q&A with Ballmer and Brummel. Lord, I'm still laughing from the below snippet: thumbs up, Mr. Ballmer, for the honesty:

She went on a listening tour to hear from employees. And one of the things she heard was frustration about Microsoft's forced ranking system. Did that resonate for you? Did that seem like something Microsoft needed to remake? Ballmer: No. No? Ballmer: Uh-uh. It wasn't top of mind for you? Ballmer: Uh-uh. But were you averse to changing it? Ballmer: Uh-huh.

More interesting nuggets in there about how our review system is still pretty much the same from Ballmer's POV, the potential for free-lunches like Google, and the $1,500 you get for buying a hybrid vehicle. And whether Ballmer would ever blog (sorry, secret Steves!).

(5) ONLINE EXTRA: Microsoft's Mini-Me Susses Brummel - interview with some dashingly good-looking loud-mouth blogger.

(6) Graphic: Chief Happiness Officer - well, graphic with interesting text. What, we're going to get a free bus service? With WiFi! OMG!1! P0n13s! I LOVE YOU LIS- ...ahem. That's swell.

What else do you find interesting in the articles that's either in there or not in there?


Meanwhile, back in RealityVille, Microsoft Extreme Makeover has a new post: Wanted Significant MSFT shareholder with a spine. Rock'em sock'em! The post mulls over the article Of Microsoft, china pigs and hungry bears Mixed Signals by Rupert Goodwins. Talk about a dash of cold water. Perhaps you should read that before diving into the feel-good Brummel articles.

This snippet looks at inflection points in Microsoft future:

This is the weather for a coup, whether by a posse of external shareholders with inside support or a rebel group of managers with help from the investors. The trigger point isn't far away – we're nearing the end of the multi-year transition period that's seeing Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie replace Bill Gates. By now, the changes in Microsoft should be visible – but it's not looking that good. The two big moves – into advertising, and into Net-delivered cloud services – look more like Google-chasing than anything else; neither address the many and extremely deeply ingrained reservations even Microsoft's closest partners have about dealing with Redmond. Neither properly answer the question of revenues in 2017.

Evokes this response:

The "rebel group of managers" willing to back away from the SPSA feeding trough long enough to finally do the right thing for the company and shareholders, sounds like a tall order. A "posse of external shareholders" seems a lot more likely, but right now there's no obvious sheriff - or posse. A third option would be a former MSFT manager with external shareholder backing. Someone like Brad Silverberg, for example, who was right about the web when Gates and Ballmer were wrong and is no longer there because of it. But lately he's been praising them. Or maybe he's just laying the groundwork for an impending return :-)

Hmm. Need to step back into HappyVille? Okay, here's a question: Hey, do you think they'll install Starbucks i-Cup machines in our new commuter busses? And what speed of WiFi do you think they'll provide?

(Oh, and I know I put up a new post in the middle of everyone sharing their review numbers; feel free to keep on adding to this one, along with anything new. Sorry that it all ends up being spread across three posts.)


80 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I missed your review numbers :-)

Anonymous said...

Under the Chief Happiness link:

"Nearly every Microserf gets a private office."

Umm...where did this totally out-of-date "fact" come from? Might be the way it's touted and the way people want it to be. But it ain't the way it is.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt research way underperforms. The amount of product impact from their work has decreased as our investments balloon.

Strange coincidence there are no review results from researchers in previous post?

Anonymous said...

I see your review time to zap a looser previous post got truncated in time on the boards in favor of review blame those nasty partners.

It does make sense, as it certainly does no one any good to kick the little guy just because he or she negated your goal of reducing Microsoft size.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you work but, where I am, even the new hires get a private office.

Anonymous said...

If you consider sharing with 4 or 5 other people "private", than yes, Microserfs get private offices.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous article. Company is dying and they tout how funny the clown they hired is. Classic Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, what is all this nonsense about there being no curve? Tell that to the two people we were forced to underperform at the "calibration" meeting and to the one guy who deserved "exceeded" but couldn't have it.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked, but I probably shouldn't be. Now MS has taken it's own problems (crappy morale, crummy hr) and spun them in true "Thank You for Smoking" style into a feel-good story about Lisa Brummel.

The BusinessWeek article is full of half-truths spun as cute anecdotes. Great storytelling, but makes it sound like the world is all rosy.

What about Sr. VPs who place their own system on the reviewmodel so they can effectively re-implement the stack ranking of old? What about the fact that ratings are still about tearing your team-mates down to make sure your review is good? What is she doing to improve trust of HR? What is this transparency she claims has made HR such a beloved part of Microsoft?

Again, great article for the masses... nice spin to turn it into a nice story for the shareholders out there. Why does it not seem like anything has happened here?

Anonymous said...

I'm not totally bought into the Brummel "fan boy" mentality. I just concluded a multi-month email interaction with her on the subject line of some strategies that she can/should be facilitating within her scope of executive leadership. I was VERY disappointed with her lack of vision, short sightedness and in the end flat out cowardess for doing the right thing. I'm back in the non-fan camp.

Anonymous said...

I see your review time to zap a looser previous post got truncated in time on the boards in favor of review blame those nasty partners.

These are all English words, but the sentence construction makes it impossible to understand what you're trying to say. Can you rephrase please? If anyone else has any guesses, feel free to chime in. I haven't a clue. (And yes, I'm a native English speaker.)

Anonymous said...

Microsoft stepped in it again?

It's about the vote for the OOXML standard in Sweden. Seems that MSFT showed up with some helpful buddies at the day of voting.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote:

"I don't know where you work but, where I am, even the new hires get a private office."

(Am I first?) Please name the group!

In my area, 6 years is the minimum time as FTE for an IC to get a private office. And yes, we're an engineering group.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when Brummel will "leak" an Eric Rudderesque "I'm next in line for CEO!" story.

Anonymous said...

from the businessweek article, it says that Lisa/Chris Lidell are seriously considering free lunches on campus.

OMG, i will be SO happy when we start doing that. I'm SICK of goog friends telling me to join them and how I'm a sucker for staying at MS. Lisa, if you are reading this, PLEASE do it!!! i will be your biggest fan EVER.

Anonymous said...

For me, this year's review is the fairest of all the years I've been here. But again, I have a new, fairer boss too.

Anonymous said...

I saw a paper on current thinkweek titled something like Unmanaging xxxx Heads. It's pretty naively presented idea and author could have done better job in spell checking but what I REALLY liked about this paper is the thought about replacing 14 levels of hierarchy with simple natural selection. THAT WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING! I think it would ALSO solve the forced curve (which IMHO still exist after all these promises)... BTW, I think the author of this paper has ripped off the idea from Google because as far as I know the management model there is very similar...

Anonymous said...

MSFT salary structure is flawed with too much moolah for the partners. Didnt see this BW. The stack and other problems can be fixed by fixing partner compensation.

Anonymous said...

I am a partner. I do not think I have been fully compensated. I am at least equal to two 67s on my team. I got both of them about 550K. My VP screwed me and gave me only 650K.

We give too much money to low levels. They are replaceble. But we anyway make them cross 100K. We compensate them above market and we get them in bunch. Superstars and partners are less compensated here. No surprise they join Google.

The kind of talent we get in opening positions are not worth 100K. They are no better than an average worker at mcdonalds.

My recommendation to fix the company is the same as mini. Cut the crap. Show a mcdonald to mcdonaldis employees. Money saved can go to the bottom line and raise the stock price. In this case superstars can get atleast some respectable compensation. My 450K stock are way below my market value. By cutting the crap these stocks will be worth at least double. My compensation then cross a million. I can say to google recruiters to look somewhere else. Google, please take half of my team.

Anonymous said...

Give 2/3 vote for leader of the year to lisab and 1/3 to Mini for driving the agenda. West coast technology companies are percolators for inspiration/innovation. Ideas bubble from the bottom up and those who have the ideas are included in the credit. At Microsoft, ideas go up and are apparently “appropriated by the incumbents”. A recipe for stasis if ever there was one. Think west coast. Think innovation. Think teamwork. Think fun.

D. Canucklehead Dooright said...

>"These are all English words, but the sentence construction makes it impossible to understand. . ."

D. C. Dooright here;
I noted your comment eh, and with oat a doat, the person cooked it. I think I can add some positive interpretation of the writer's intent. Clearly this person was intoxicated probably having consumed a 2,4 blue or was tired and therefore failed to properly construct a sentence in the famous correct prose of Charlotte's Web, e.g., E. B. White. The most likely explanation however is that the writer was preoccupied with his puck at halftime, or perhaps Beck's puck. But in true Microsoft fashion, I suggest you forgive this person as a as there seems to be a hidden desire to speak code in english letters, whatever that may mean.

here is my interpretation of the writer's intent, eh, and followed by some links for those with difficulty in proper use of he english language. Additions to the prose are [bracketed].

I see your [']review time['] rant dedicted to zap a looser [i.e., dedicated to removing dead wood at Microsoft] [from the] previous post got truncated [to just a few days] on the boards in favor of [a] review [to] blame those nasty partners [e.g., 'Brummel! Brummel! Brummel!' which references the double-B good cop bad cop team of Brummel-keener-cougar and Balmer].

The Elements of Style:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strunk_and_White
E.B.White's Contribution to the English Language:
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/putting_the_str

Apostrophe:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe#Singular_nouns_ending_in_s.2C_z.2C_or_x

Parenthesis (rhetoric):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parenthesis_%28rhetoric%29

Independent clause:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_clause

Comma splice:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_splice

e.g. vs. i.e.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.g._vs._i.e.

May I also suggest that Mr. Bill take the original Elements of Style book and make it a free online program to correct prose and writing as a part of Live. The book is long since out of copyright, and both authors are dead and any claim of ownership of the copyright would only reference copies recently printed.

Anonymous said...

The company meeting is next week. Want to send a message? Wear a paper bag over your head! That would actually make it worth attending -- thousands of mini's dotting the stadium... Probably give Steve nightmares!

Anonymous said...

>>I am a partner. I do not think I have been fully compensated. I am at least equal to two 67s on my team. I got both of them about 550K. My VP screwed me and gave me only 650K.

Tee hee - now back under your bridge. (Mini - are you moderating)?

Anonymous said...

>>The company meeting is next week. Want to send a message? Wear a paper bag over your head! That would actually make it worth attending -- thousands of mini's dotting the stadium... Probably give Steve nightmares!

In an interview (purportedly) with Mini a couple of years ago he claimed that even his wife didn't know his identity. I would have thought that the bag must raise questions, however. (Actually, one would hope that after all this time it has been several bags).

Anonymous said...

I am a partner. I do not think I have been fully compensated.

Troll!

Learn english.
Learn to spell.
Go Away!

Anonymous said...

This is the same partner above. That was not a troll. That was a satire. You may treat it as a troll at your own risk. Or Mini can moderate it if he thinks the numbers lie. My team has two 67s who both got 550K. If I had more money I would have given them even more without any regret. But I hate to give 100K to 59 or even 60 level. The work they do is worth not even 20K. Why should somebody get five times more money for being in america. The work of level 59 and 60 can easily be done in another country for the fifth of its cost here. Or even a mcdonaldi can do it after a six months training at half the price.

I think I got screwed at 650K. My work can't be done cheaper in another country. China and India do not have the enough skilled workers. There is no premium I am getting for being in America. Partners in China and India also get the same as partners here.

Why should we give a 59 or 60 level employee five times for being in America and not do the same for 68 level. Why partners are underpaid for their skill level and 59 and 60 are overpaid for their skill level. Answer me? You think I am a troll but I know more than you. Regarding my English, I am sure my team member might have noticed my authenticity. They can speak up here.

Anonymous said...

We give too much money to low levels. They are replaceble. But we anyway make them cross 100K. We compensate them above market and we get them in bunch. Superstars and partners are less compensated here.

-
Amen, well said. There are more new people at Microsoft than potatoes in Safeway. The quality is not even close.

Anonymous said...

m, goin ta canada eh, and summr's ovr tuesday. sigh.

These are all English words, sort of:

cooked it--mangled the code or whatever else you screwed up.
2,4 (uh) blue--a case of 24 bottles of Lablatts Blue or real beer, please.
Puck--a hockey player's girlfriend.
Beck's puck-- http://theinsideronline.com/tags/victoria-beckham.html
keener--not brown fingers, but a brown nose.
cougar--An older woman trying to attract a younger man (by levitating pretending to play a guitar with a side split).
Timmies--coffee or coffee house or Microsoft, Canada, eh.
Canucklehead--stupid Vancouver Canucks fan. http://www.canucklehead.ca/ Thinks the pickle-cutter joke is funny.

Anonymous said...

There is no premium I am getting for being in America. Partners in China and India also get the same as partners here.

From another POV, you can say that partners in China and India are way overpaid. But that level of pay is justified by the much larger future potential of their contributions.

The US economy is in long term decline relative to China and India. To illustrate - as recently as 2000, the US economy was 8 times and 22 times the size of the Chinese and Indian economies. Fast forward to 2006, and the US economy was 5 times and 15 times the size of the Chinese and Indian economies.

This relative decline and the implied realization of potential is the long term trend and what justifies the relatively higher payout to partners in China and India.

Anonymous said...

"This is the same partner above. That was not a troll."

Well, at least you bothered to spell check this time. Do it in advance next time around and maybe somebody will take the bait.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to Microsoft and don't know what a partner is. But what I have seen is that the senior developers are not worth their weight. Our team is mostly made up of senior developers. I don't know what level they are.

Our application takes 30 seconds to do our main operation. If more than a couple end users use the system at once it starts to deadlock. The database gets hit over 2000 times. I'm not knocking the seniors, but they over engineer, undercommit, and take the safest path of least resistance.

I recently demoed doing the same operation in 2000 milliseconds and it scales out to thousands of end users at once but I'm still gathering the performance metrics.

Thats 35 times performance boost for one end user and it goes to thousands and infinity rapidly.

I only make 71k.

For years back before Google came out with their search appliance, I dominated the market for search appliances and developers used my product to quickly develop search solutions for vertical markets, not just corporate intranets. And I have alot of experience shipping software.


My point being that I am disputting the partners statements that he's worth more than he is, and that the lower level developers are over paid and that our work can be done offshore.

Because at 71k, I outperform 6 seniors, and not only outperform, I do what they can't do, to get an appliation working for the end user. And getting 'operation aborted' and 'transaction in doubt' errors is acceptable to them because the end user can try again.



So the partner struck a nerve with me, because from what I've seen, the more money that you make, and the higher your rank, the less you do. And the bigger your ego. And a degree from MIT can actually be a huge detriment to the company. And us low wage developers, I know theres more like me, we'll gracefully cut through the ocean of slow moving seniors by innovating and creating customer value, and silently create the future of this company.

Now maybe that partner is worth 8 times me. Today. but I'm worth 1000 times you tommorrow. (or tommorrow + a year or two).
I always dreamed of working for microsoft because of the entry level developers I would hear about, the crazy applications they would write. Wasn't the guy who invented asp.net lower in the ranks? All of my biggest heros were probably under 6 figures.

Then again, I don't even know what a parter is. If they're senior developers, then I'm shaking my head at the partner who posted that and just saying 'oh god' and 'oh well'.


p.s. To the Partner - I innovated and delivered a great product before Google came out with theirs. I'm doing it all over again but at Microsoft and in Advertising. By a little extra effort I'm creating a technology before Google has even thought about it and I'm single handedly revolutionizing the ad industry. Are you creating new and innovative technology that end users are going to be thrilled about (I have). Are you going to create technology that will change the world of software? The answer is most likely 'no'. and then, you are replaceable, your existance doesn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things, and you'd make a great team mate most likely even if your surely and irritable with a huge ego. But if you answer 'yes', then I look up to you.


I look forward to outperforming you soon!

Anonymous said...

Interesting to learn that Ballmer's incompetence is at the root of MS's personnel management troubles. Of course, by his own criteria, he should have gotten the axe many years ago. The company hasn't even matched the performance of the S&P 500 since he got the Big Chair.

Anonymous said...

If ANYONE at Microsoft has been paid half a million bucks in a year, that's a horrible waste of the shareholder's money. After the Vista debacle, there should have been a 30% reduction in head count, and a 50% reduction in salaries across the board.

Anonymous said...

In my area, 6 years is the minimum time as FTE for an IC to get a private office. And yes, we're an engineering group.

I can't believe this is serious, with all of the space we've bought out over the last few years.

What group? Something like search, which has brought on too many people too quickly?

Anonymous said...

http://www.businessweek.com/playbook/07/0830_1.htm

"Don't believe employee engagement surveys and polls"

Does this mean we've seen the last of the MS Poll?

Anonymous said...

Since when does microsoft provide a discount on hybrid cars?

Anonymous said...

"I think I got screwed at 650K. My work can't be done cheaper in another country."

So Mr. or Ms. Partner, what is it you actually do to earn approximately six times more than I a lowly 62 SDE? You don't have to get too specific. What is it that you do indivdually or with your minions that merits compensation costs of (does the math, carry the one) approximately 1.75 million U.S. dollars not including SPSA, 401k, health benefits, etc.?

SDE/62/Exceeded/20/4.5/12/$32k

Anonymous said...

Principal Researcher, achieved, 70%.

Researcher goals are different than product team goals. We enhance Microsoft image world wide, attract talent and contribute to the body of knowledge.

Salary 200K
Bonus 175K
Stock 350K
SPSA 250K

Anonymous said...

I am making a very straight forward point. 59 to 61 level employees are available elsewhere for fifth the expense but 68 level employees are not.

It is an evidence that 59 to 61 level employees are replaceable. 68 levels are not. I know friends who joined at 59 with no knowledge of computers. They gained the knowledge on the job. The first year they did not produce anything but only learnt. Sort of free tution. Why pay 75K salary plus stock plus bonus to these employees. Why not pick one at Walmart and trained him. He would be happy to get even 50K.

68 level employee even at Walmart makes a million. If Microsoft does not pay, it risks losing the stars to Google. This is already happening. We are getting lower to middle of a graduating class whereas Google is getting top of the class.

Either cut the salary of low level employees by 25% or as mini said cut the number of them by 25%. Let the cost saving go through the walstreet. Stock will rise and the worthy partners take home will also rise.

This company is for investors not a charity organization for low level employees. No other company pays this high amount to replaceable employees as Microsoft does. No other companies pay this low to its strategic employees (top 1%) as Microsoft does.

The worst thing is the employees who are already overpaid bought houses, sometimes even expensive, and have started a rant at mini's blog. Why is it a birth right of a Microsoftee employee to buy a house and not a Walmart's employee. If you can't pay a mortgage then a logical thing is to either rent nearby or drive long distances.

The rant by low level employees on this blog is not understandable. The goal of this blog is to get you fired. It is advocating to show you an exit gate.

So on this blog, if you accept Mini's statement then you are accepting that you are not needed. If you do not, then you should rant against Mini or at leats not post here.

Anonymous said...

I said: "In my area, 6 years is the minimum time as FTE for an IC to get a private office. And yes, we're an engineering group."

Someone else said: "I can't believe this is serious, with all of the space we've bought out over the last few years.

What group? Something like search, which has brought on too many people too quickly?"

No although it might be an issue there too, I heard that they got more space last year and the overcrowding eased. I hang my hat in a group in one of the two core profitable orgs (Windows or Office) who are being rewarded with belt-tightening and cost cutting, which apparently includes office space allocation. Other mini posters have mentioned the super-seniority 10 year guys entrenched in the Office org, and Windows has a large number of them too. What trickles down from that percentage of senior staff in some groups is that guys who have not been here a loooooong time are still newbies relative to others, and treated as such.

Could this apparent bug be instead "by design"? A way for some groups Windows and Office to clear out the somewhat well paid above-junior levels on a regular basis in favor of less expensive college hires? Consider this. Exec leadership knows that the guys who implemented features originally 8-10 years ago are collecting great pay at L65+ and therefore not looking to leave, shutting off the advancement path in some groups. Rather than pay experienced people more, simply because they've been around for a few years, to do around the same work they were doing 4 years ago: Why not incent them to apply their Office and Windows experience to other teams around the company?

Anonymous said...

On the topic of office space. This is the first time that I have seen Lisa mentioned as the one who came up with the idea of implementing the "open" space concept. If true, she should be terminated immediately based solely on that decision. If you haven't seen what "open" space looks like and are in the Seattle area, take an extended lunch and head to the new Lincoln Square offices in downtown Bellevue. 17th floor on up.

I gurantee, you will be shocked. Shocked at how there is no such thing as privacy. Shocked at how little space you will have. Shcocked at how easy it will be for everyone to know what brand of deoderant you do (or don't) use because you are all sitting ontopofeachother. Shocked at how amazingly difficult it is to book a conference room. Shocked at how hard it is to even find an available white board that is bigger than a paper towel.

How is that conducive to getting work done? I can see how it is conducive to the bottom line: less space for the same number of people. I can see how it is conducive to feeding the PR machine that Lisa seems to have become lately: "look at the shiney new pool table we bought for you". But I can't see how it is conducive to the "increased collaboration" that Lisa, Ozzie and other exec's tout as a major benefit.

100% of the people that I have interviewed who are either already in an open office, or who are scheduled to move to one within the next few weeks say they will be spending a LOT more time working from home. Not more time in the office engaged in face-to-face interactions collaborating with their peers or other teams. Working from home. Behind a keyboard and telephone. In their pajamas. With the TV, kids, pets, spouses, and other distractions going on around them.

This will go down as one of the biggest debacles in the company since...well, Vista.

Anonymous said...

This relative decline and the implied realization of potential is the long term trend and what justifies the relatively higher payout to partners in China and India.

>
This is nonsense. Payment schemes of this kind with no accountability for results have put this company in a downward path.

Take for example the case of XBox, Microsoft Dynamics or any myriad of divisions that dont contribute to company's profits. All these divisions are long on prospects but short on delivering profits. They are paid millions from the excess cash generated by windows and office.

This is a classic case of incentive scheme gone wrong. The share holders and employees will pay for this folly dearly.

Anonymous said...

Some insider info on the company meeting:

There's going to be a special reward announced. It has something to do with the number of years you've worked at Microsoft. Sort of a big "thank you" from Bill.

Anonymous said...

Well, it was only a matter of time anyway. Nice job, Robbie.

Wii Overtakes Xbox 360 For Top Lifetime Sales Honors

Anonymous said...

Mini--you are a real sell-out in that interview, saying that employees on average are happy with Brummel. Have you forgotten the hundreds of posts and months of bitterness when people found out that she "got rid of the curve" by simply obscuring it? Aside from various trivialities like bringing back towels, she's done zip. The review system still has no means of rewarding people or groups for contributing to the bottom line (only for sucking up better than their teammates), it certainly doesn't provide a mechanism for holding executives accountable, and there's still the old-boys-club partner system. What do you think is going on that's so great?

Anonymous said...

MSN and Live have 4 - 6 year minimums for an IC to get a single office in RedWest.

It is absolutely true

Anonymous said...

Some insider info on the company meeting:

There's going to be a special reward announced. It has something to do with the number of years you've worked at Microsoft. Sort of a big "thank you" from Bill.


Cool... instead of one black fleece we will get one in blue too.

Anonymous said...

Look at the principal researcher few comments above. He or she is touching am million. You can't say how much a reseracher contribute relative to an SDE. All you can say is that researchers are in short supply.

My 650K compensation has shorted me. Whether my work is six times of yours is not an appropriate question. The appropriate question is whether you can do my work. The answer is no. Not you alone, not six of your kind, and not six hundred of your kind. My work may be less important than yours. But it is important in its own right. There are not many people who can do my job. And no one will do it for less than a million. Myself neither. Next time Google calls, I will take them on their offer. People like me go there, people like you will follow.

Anonymous said...

who are some stars at Microsoft that deserve half a million a year? I haven't seen anything impressive out of redmond in quite some time. There is no innovation. Reimplementing Java (.Net, C#), Google (all of MSN search)...

I'm not trying to be a troll. I work for Microsoft. I just don't get this partner, because I haven't seen anyone who is worth that much. A couple hundred, yes. But just copying what other companies do is easy, maybe All of Microsoft can be outsourced. Just fire all of the US employees and tell India and China their requirements are to copy everything google does.

Any channel9 videos anyone can point me to of an all star that is worth more than 250k?

Anonymous said...


There's going to be a special reward announced. It has something to do with the number of years you've worked at Microsoft. Sort of a big "thank you" from Bill.


hmm.. let me guess. $100 per year of service? There are 40k US-based employees. Let's say avg 4.5 years per employee. That is equivalent to $18 million. Maybe $500/year of service == 90 million. Certainly affordable at the company level.

Anonymous said...

To the last commentator, look at the principal researcher above. He or she is touching a million. So there is your super star.

Anonymous said...

> Next time Google calls, I will take them on their offer.

I sure hope we aren't that stupid. As long as you and your types are strolling around Msft kicking tyres and contributing nothing, sucking 1mil+ in comps all the while, we'll have no problem kicking your arrogant asses around. I wish Msft paid you even more so you stay firmly where you are, that's the best you can do for Google :)

Anonymous said...

It is an evidence that 59 to 61 level employees are replaceable.Why pay 75K salary plus stock plus bonus to these employees.

If Microsoft does not pay, it risks losing the stars to Google. This is already happening. We are getting lower to middle of a graduating class whereas Google is getting top of the class.


You seem to be contradicting yourself here. Why would we want to hire the graduating class at all in the US? This is the population that staffs 59-61 and the people that can be shown the door. If they are needed at all, then we can hire the graduating class, ship them to India or China for a few years before tranferring them back to the US.

Perhaps you can start this program for your group.

Anonymous said...

>> Principal Researcher, achieved, 70%.

Go away, troll. You don't get SPSA unless you're a PARTNER. If you were a partner, you'd be Partner Researcher. I doubt you even work in MSR. Folks here don't get paid $1M a year, except for maybe VPs.

Anonymous said...

This is nonsense. Payment schemes of this kind with no accountability for results have put this company in a downward path.

Hardly nonsense. Partner caliber people are rarer in China and India than they are in the US. Now this may be because China and India have shorter histories of industrialization or because the boomer generation in the US is so large. Whatever the reason, Partner type people are just not that rare in the US. MSFT has 900 or more of them today and I suspect the L65-L67 band can yield lots more who can do the job. If the US is short on anything, it is young people who want and can do entry level jobs.

Buying some insurance for those markets is not a bad idea. We do not want to end up like Motorola who now find themselves with few products to sell to the #1 (China) and #3 (India) cell phone markets.

Anonymous said...

To the level 68 partner who thinks he/she is worth twice $650k...

Go... Please... and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Your attitude is more of an entitlement attitude than most highschoolers I see out there today. Want something for little to nothing. Do what my other partner-friends advise me, "if your boss doesn't like you (hence your lower comp), find another position and don't whine about it".

I'm waiting on your heels for your partner-position, so please just go. I'm sorry, I just don't believe that anyone, particularly many of the partners I've worked for, are irreplaceable.

Anonymous said...

"In my area, 6 years is the minimum time as FTE for an IC to get a private office. And yes, we're an engineering group."

"I can't believe this is serious, with all of the space we've bought out over the last few years."

Erm. Definitely hurting in Windows. Recently an 11 year was almost doubled.

Anonymous said...

Go away, troll. You don't get SPSA unless you're a PARTNER. If you were a partner, you'd be Partner Researcher.
-
Principal Researcher is L67 and above. You surely are the HR hack that has been posting random review numbers here.

Anonymous said...

Buying some insurance for those markets is not a bad idea. We do not want to end up like Motorola who now find themselves with few products to sell to the #1 (China) and #3 (India) cell phone markets.

>
You dont buy insurance by paying some people obscene salaries without tying it to performance - ala SPSA awards

Why do we need several thousand people in finance and HR.

No wonder Microsoft stock is in the dumps when we have to pay so many insurance policies.

Anonymous said...

FYI...there are Principal Researchers that get SPSA. Not sure if this is a grandfathering or something, but true. If you want to know if someone gets SPSA look for "DCP Eligible Partners and Execs" or those related to "TCN" aliases in their DL membership.

Anonymous said...

Most principal researchers are partners.

Anonymous said...

"I'm waiting on your heels for your partner-position, so please just go."

Mini, take note of that comment.

In the past couple of threads, there have been lower-level IC's whining about compensation, a partner whining about being worth many times a lower-level IC, the same partner whining that lower-level IC's are all replaceable, and IC's whining that promos are very difficult to get in some orgs.

Why, it's enough to give me GRAD SCHOOL flashbacks. Read the above again. Substitute teaching assistant or research assistant for lower-level IC. Substitute tenured full professor for partner.

Here's a little secret about TAs and RAs, for those who haven't had the experience of being one. Numerous second year grad students could give at least the lower 50% of the dept faculty a run for the money, even with no allowances made for inexperience. Yet, for a few years, we're slaves because that is the way the system works. We pay our dues. Those of us in the academic track then go for associate professor (more dues), then assistant, then 5-7 years later, some win the tenure lottery and are... SET FOR LIFE UNLESS THEY MAKE A MAJOR POLITICAL SCREW UP. Is this ringing any bells?

When some lower-mid-level IC calls BS on a partner, don't be too quick to accept the partner's dismissal of the IC's comments. Similar to how it is in grad school, professional level and ability don't always line up. There are some truly great ICs at MSFT, waiting for a partner to decide it's time to enjoy that Tuscan Villa.

Many ICs in my network can do so much more for Microsoft than their current responsibilities permit. And many more are doing work that according to the CSPs is 2 levels higher than their current pay grade, but since they're in Office... you know the rest. If the lower 20% of the partners had to compete for their jobs again every year or even every other year, the politics might get vicious, but the talented mid-levels would have a significant incentive to push like hell for real innovation to get out the door.

(LisaB, are you reading today? If that won't work, maybe try to award some people "rotating" partner status for a year or two to get them visibility and impact opportunities to prove they have what it takes.)

Anonymous said...

Well, it was only a matter of time anyway. Nice job, Robbie.

Wii Overtakes Xbox 360 For Top Lifetime Sales Honors


Hmm... I predicted here a few weeks ago that once Nintendo took over the lead, it would never relinquish it.

Of course, at that time I didn't actually think the Wii would manage to take over first place before Halo 3 was due. In other words, they've managed to sell more consoles than Microsoft despite not even being in the market half as long. And they actually make money on their hardware.

I echo the previous poster: GREAT job, Robbie. Be thankful you work in the Accountability-Free Zone known as the Microsoft executive ranks. Anywhere else and you'd have been tossed out long ago. Or at least after the billion-dollar boondoggle known as the red ring of death.

But back to my original point: Considering the timing, I have to acknowledge there's a chance the 360 will rebound and take back the lead with Halo 3.

Briefly.

But even if they do, the next time they lose it - and that will occur no later than early 2008 - will be for good. There's nothing left in the chamber. Launching early and releasing Halo 3 are the only "sure bets" the 360 has.

And for all the execs over in Xboxland who are busy drafting their new spin on why it's good to be second after they spent so much of their time (and so much of our money) trying to be first, I should point out that the only reason that second's not a closer race right now is because of Sony's wrongheaded decision to include Blu-Ray. Not because of anything you've done.

If Sony had dropped Blu-Ray and come in at a competitive price point, then the writing would already be on the wall assuring the 360 of a third-place finish this generation.

Anonymous said...

You dont buy insurance by paying some people obscene salaries without tying it to performance

Agreed. But the situation is one of an imbalance between demand and supply. It can be fixed in the short term if a significant number of US located partners decide to relocate to China/India thereby increasing supply or by waiting for a number of years while the local resource pool grows.

Anonymous said...

to the anonymous "partner"
re:

But I hate to give 100K to 59 or even 60 level. The work they do is worth not even 20K.

I don't see how you made partner if you are hiring such low-performing 59s and 60s. Please go to google, I'm sure they will value you appropriately. I guess people are right about the abundance of under-performing partners. Or you are just a lying troll.

Anonymous said...

another gem:

68 level employee even at Walmart makes a million. If Microsoft does not pay, it risks losing the stars to Google. This is already happening. We are getting lower to middle of a graduating class whereas Google is getting top of the class.

The people I know who have left for Google:
1 former star who had not done much
2 who were never stars and whose last project just took a 1 billion dollar het
1 star who might still actually be a star
1 pretty decent guy

they are not gettingt the cream of the crop, trust me.

Anonymous said...

"In my area, 6 years is the minimum time as FTE for an IC to get a private office. And yes, we're an engineering group."

"Erm. Definitely hurting in Windows. Recently an 11 year was almost doubled."

I just doubled after 7 years. The 11 year guy has me beat. I feel better already. In some bldgs there simply is no space avail.

Anonymous said...

The Partner who is underpaid at 650K this year - is this your annual salary or your stock award value? If salary, I had no idea that we pay our GMs and above this kind of salary. (Partners are level 68 and above.)

(Note: I am a level 64 so not clear whether my posts are welcome here or not. From my view, upper management is so focused on internal politics, it's a rare senior person who is actually leading. Those in my division seem to be treading water to keep their reputations and grow their network to continue to ascend. I don't see anyone in the upper ranks that I want to emulate. To me this is a company that continues to be in decline, despite the new blood and intentions of LisaB.)

Anonymous said...

Zune group is an insurance policy against Apple.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why titles in JonDe's org are not reflecting levels? Wasnt this implemented across the company?

Anonymous said...

650K is the entire compensation. My team is performing really well. Two 67s in my team earned 550K this year. I get recruiting calls from google on regular basis. My VP screwed me. Next time google calls, I will take them on their offers. Two 67s will follow me. With them will follow other superstars.

Anonymous said...

Next time google calls, I will take them on their offers. Two 67s will follow me. With them will follow other superstars.

Why wait until Google calls? If you're such hot stuff, call them up and tell them you're available tomorrow. And you come with two freebie L67's, to boot. (And a gintzu knife? :-)

No one is indespensible. Not even (or maybe especially) someone who thinks he is.

Anonymous said...

650K is the entire compensation. My team is performing really well. Two 67s in my team earned 550K this year. I get recruiting calls from google on regular basis. My VP screwed me. Next time google calls, I will take them on their offers. Two 67s will follow me. With them will follow other superstars.

PLEASE ACCEPT THEIR NEXT OFFER!!!!! WE DON'T NEED YOUR KIND AROUND HERE!!!!! All you do is tell us "how important" your work is, yet you don't do squat. PLEASE take those other 67's with you (along with the rest of your fiefdom). We could use a few less paper-shufflers like yourself and the kiss-asses (er. Super Stars) that support your over-inflated ego.

But what do I know, I'm just an "interchangable cog" who actually does work around this company.

Anonymous said...

Next time google calls, I will take them on their offers. Two 67s will follow me. With them will follow other superstars.

I hope SteveB practices follows the Welch playbook over this and has replacements announced by EOD.

Anonymous said...

To the egotistic partner: I have worked with some SDEs and PMs (leads as well as ICs) who can give these partners a serious run for their money. They are all in Office and hence will probably not make partners in the next decade. It is true. Office does not promote its people very much. They go to the other extreme; just in order to prevent creating partners like this guy. Real smart people take a lot of pride in their work. They don't walk around with a halo around their head that they are indispensible. No wonder this guy's VP showed him his rightful place. Mr. Partner your VP is sending you a message that you suck.

Anonymous said...

How come when I said I am paid below market value created this angry response whereas if a level 62 SDE says he is paid below market value, everybody shows sympathy?

We are all paid way above the basic necessities of life. There is no question whether we are paid sufficient. The main question is whether we are paid below our worth. The situation between me and other SDEs is the same.

Why did two 67s in my team got 550K each. What would they felt if I had screwed them the same way as my VP did to me.

Suppose you are 65. Level 64 reports to you. Your team did really well. Level 64 in your team get the highest ratings. But your own manager at 66 screws you for the same high performance of the group.

Swap 64, 65, 66 to 67, 68, 69. or to 61, 62, 63. The unjustice remains the same. The fact that 61s can be hired cheaply in India and China and 69 can't be remain.

I realize this fact. I am 68. You deny this fact you are not becoming partner anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Interesting interview with Ballmer.

The two Steves (Jobs & Ballmer) each seem to have their own Reality Distortion Field around them. However, Ballmer seems to be the only one who believes anything that he says.

The perception of Microsoft, HR, and the company's general morale seem to be on different sides of the scale in regards to Ballmer vs. the MiniMSFT community. Ballmer wants to paint a rosy picture, but the masses are calling BS. But then again, he has billions and billions of dollars in his pocket, head of a company that can bleed tons of money and STILL pull a huge profit -- so from that perspective, what's wrong with that?

Eh.

Anonymous said...

I am/was a MS Partner. I resigned today.
new career opportunity. I like MS and may come back.
I was disappointed in the Partner SPSA's. As an employee, i was happy they lowered the bar after we didn't hit the 100% pay out - like the money. As a Shareholder I was PISSED. Then Ballmer went and made next years goal 'easier'. Easier? WTF? Make it tougher and put the whole company on the plan.
Everyone here is sitting around getting paid 'comfortably' and not working too hard, but hard enough to not lose the easy job.
traffic jams leaving campus at 5:05.
I suggest there be no more merit increases, and add HUGE performance pay outs. So we'd lose a few people - great. But we have people working harder for HUGE pay opportunities.

Say 200% pay out on 200% of goal. 500% on 500%
GO BIG or stay Home
Thanks and Goodby MSFT

Anonymous said...

"After the Vista debacle, there should have been a 30% reduction in head count, and a 50% reduction in salaries across the board"

The problem is not what it took to get there (although it's nothing to be proud of), but what the product accomplishes now that it's out there. It's an horror show: the new Window Me. That thing spins its wheels for minutes in spots where previous OS's flew: and don't start me about the constant freezes! I'm forced to use that crap every day and my productivity suffers. People around me affect to like it and we all smile around like people around an ugly baby because there is nothing we can do about it.

It's a rush job, regardless of the time that it took. The new features suck or are defective (defrag, partition resizing, backups are an immensely idiotic job that forces you to pay $50 for a real backup solution etc...). But the freezes, man. The freezes... They were there at testing time when you could barely boot the build. They are still here in the OS that we deliver to our customers. It messes up the experience with Office 07 too (right-click to change your cell properties and watch it freeze for over 5mns). We should be ashamed. The chicken will come home to roost on this one, you can bet on it.

Anonymous said...

"We should be ashamed. The chicken will come home to roost on this one, you can bet on it."

The server version suffers from the same flaws--as it should of course. I use it every day on MS network for heavy file work and it's a nightmare. It hiccups and/or fails on the simplest tasks, like its "consumer Vista" brother. The dreaded "Explorer has stopped working, please wait while we read the newspaper, have a cup of coffee and report the error to HQ when it pleases us". 10, 20 times a day!

Woes on the DBA who will decide to run SQL Server on it when even a low-life file jockey like me is driven up the walls. Just think about what will happen when pro's start upgrading (if they ever do: the word's getting around).