Friday, September 03, 2004

Employee Growth Chart

Just a quickie: Todd Bishop at the Seattle-PI put together an informative post, Deciphering Job Numbers, which graphs out Microsoft's increasing employment numbers according to broad discipline.

Wow, what do you think?

Personally, I really don't know why "Sales, Marketing, and Support" needs to track "Product Research and Development."  Again, taking up the performance analogy, I'd start massive trimming there. 

Both of those curves need to start a downwards trend and need to be the focus of layoffs.  I'd also be really interested if we have awful products that require a greater amount of support / effort to sell and market, especially considering what's the comparable investment of that effort given the products' profits (or lack there-of).  If the ROI just isn't there for those guys then that's key data to push forward into deciding which groups to cut back in: if you're creating a messy-complex product that requires us to hire scads of people to sell, market, and support it, perhaps we need to get the hell out of here and cancel what we're doing.


Anonymous said...

Sure, let's cut back the sales people... those Fortune 500 companies don't like dealing face-to-face with actual human beings anyway (especially regarding the software their businesses depend on).

You seem surprised that we have products that are complex. News flash: setting up AD, SharePoint, ISA Server, etc. for real world use isn't "just add water". There is no one size fits all; requirements can vary wildly from one customer to the next. Our enterprise products are not solutions on their own; someone knowledgeable is needed to help implement and apply the technology appropriately.

One area I would like to see some change is in marketing. We put out some seriously lame advertising. (Your potential, our passion... gag me with a penguin.) They should have replaced that whole group after the "let's name everything .NET" fiasco when .NET first came out.

Anonymous said...

Sales and marketing is an essential part to even startups. Look at the typical aquisition that microsoft makes - some 50% of each of those companies would be considered executives, marketing, and sales.

Its the only way to pull in the $$$. If anything Micrososoft is understaffed in sales.... we need more 1:1 attention in the enterprise (i.e. big $$$$) space.

Just my opinion... and no, I'm not in sales and never have been.

Anonymous said...

Forget marketing, UA is where its at. If you really want to understand what I'm saying, take a walk down the hallway for your UA team around 4:30pm (Sure, ok some of them MAYBE show up before 9am). Hate to generalize but the different UA teams I've worked with appear to have a cushy <40hrs a week while the rest of the product team slogs away...

Anonymous said...

Cutting back on user assistance? Don't you realize that what users can't find, users won't use? So... you're fine with spending all of your time and energy implementing a feature that users can't even find.

Early in the product cycle, when 90% of the features were changing at the drop of a hat, sure... we had an easy job. But I'm here to tell you that over the past few months I've been putting in 80+ hour weeks to adequately cover all of the un-specced features that are slipping in at the last moment.

And we will not be done when the files are sent off to be localized, either. Nope... there are the "performance fixes" that are thinly-veiled features and pet projects, which will be added after our docs closed, requiring another specialized loc handoff and more overtime.

It would, indeed, be a cushy job if I didn't care so much about our customers.

MAH said...

I don't understand why it isn't clear that sales and marketing track the development of new products. Product production isn't a fixed-sum game, i.e. a company should be in the process of producing new, better products. Hence the increase over time in Research & Development.
And these days, espeically in vertical industries, products don't sell themselves. Microsoft is a long way from the days when it could ship a set of diskettes and expect the end user to install them and get it right. Our product complexity is growing because we are entering newer, more complex markets. Hence more people to market and sell more products.

Seems pretty striaght forward.