Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Other Mini-Like Sites and The Broken Windows Theory - Links

Some of the Mini-Microsoft-like sites I've noticed recently (are there more)?

MSFTextrememakeover at - posts so far:

Mini-Microsoft France at - posts so far (hmm, I could have swore there were two posts...):

Nothing really new from what was looking like an encouraging blog a while back: Next Microsoft.

Other interesting links:

  • Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - There Goes the Down Payment on My First House - pictures are worth a thousand words, or in this case: billions upon billions of shareholder dollars.
  • Microsoft Monitor Microsoft Blogs - Joe Wilcox musing over Microsoft blogging in the upcoming post-Scoble era. It's interesting that Mr. Wilcox has flipped the bit on Brian Jones' blog from personal technology blog to controlled corporate mouth-piece.
  • Plugged in A kinder, gentler Microsoft - Financial News - Yahoo! Finance - "I have a confession to make: I like the new Microsoft." this is where I have to give leadership credit for not getting in the way as individuals and groups take the initiative to rebuild positive relationships with doubtful developers, spurned partners, and leery customers.
  • Windows Vista Buggy, Testers Say - Financial News - Yahoo! Finance - so many issues, so little time. Personally, I'm resigned to Vista slipping again and invigorated leaders pontificating that it's okay to slip because we won't ship sh*t. You know, about two years ago that reasoning held. Everything today is a clustered-coupling and the senior leadership hiding behind that reasoning are the ones that need to take their SPSA grant and scoot out the exit.
  • Broken Windows Theory by philipsu - reposted back on MSDN. Just to be clear: it was down for editing, not due to pressure from The Man, according to the author. Thanks for letting me know.
  • Old now: Broken Windows Theory philipsu - Google Search - from here you can look into the Google cache and find the yanked essay about Vista and the culture around its woes. Very nicely written and now 404 from The World As Best As I Remember It. You can also read it if you add the blog's feed to your BlogLines subscription. Philip, perhaps you and Dare can talk about dealing with internal grief for your blog posts.

My favorite snippet from that last one:

When a vice president in Windows asks you whether your team will ship on time, they might well have asked you whether they look fat in their new Armani suit. The answer to the question is deeply meaningful to them. It’s certainly true in some sense that they genuinely want to know. But in a very important other sense, in a sense that you’ll come to regret night after night if you get it wrong, there’s really only one answer you can give.

(Updated: the post Broken Windows Theory is back.)


carmilevy said...

Ah, but will they be as interesting to read as your site has been?

Somehow, I doubt that.

Anonymous said...

Mini -- I actually removed the post on my own, without any pressure from leaders at Microsoft. To be honest, I felt that my post wasn't as constructive as I'd like. Felt a bit more like complaining than like being helpful, so I pulled it.

Glad you enjoyed it while it lasted, though.

Anonymous said...

Mini -- I've now put the post back online, after much (incorrect) speculation at it being supposedly pulled by The Man. No such thing happened.

You can now link directly to the posting.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and reject this comment - I guess this is more of a private message anyway. I have had a hunch who Mini is for a few months, and I think Scoble just sent mail to an internal alias with Mini on the "To" line asking Mini to "out himself"!

Let me first say that I am a Mini fan. I'm a reasonably high level IC in a discipline that doesn't have many others, and really don't have anything to complain about, but providing this forum has been the best thing to happen to Microsoft in at least 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini, I just got a survey from MSFT basically asking what it would take to get me to come back. Here's a package they pitched in the survey. Thought you might like to come out of retirement to comment on it. :-)

On-Ramping at Microsoft Survey

Candid feedback is appreciated so that Microsoft can make the right improvements to its systems and processes.

Please read the following overview of an "on-ramping" program and its list of components. Please note that this is a project in an early stage of evaluation.

Microsoft is evaluating on an "On-Ramping" program designed to stay connected with ex-Microsoft employees who have left the company for personal or family reasons, to facilitate their re-entry process and potential rehiring.

Sometimes the pressures of work and life make it difficult to handle it all. People who choose to leave the corporate world for those reasons may have a difficult time to come back to it. "On-Ramping", just like a ramp onto a highway, is a way to alleviate the obstacles to corporate life re-entry. From Microsoft's perspective, rehiring good performing former employees is good business sense.

Possible program components for ex-employees who wish to stay connected with Microsoft and potentially come back:

* Online community that allows you to customize what information you want to see (w/chat, newsgroups, job alerts (customized to find certain kind of jobs, flexible work arrangements), Matching with potential job share partner
* Microsoft email address (e.g.,
* Micro News online subscription
* Invitation to events on campus (speakers series, etc.)
* Access to the company store
* Access to volunteering opportunities
* Access to project based contracting jobs at Microsoft
* Invitations to on-campus job fairs for former employees
* Contact name inside MS for when ready to reconnect with Microsoft
* Information or presentation about the company strategy
* Access to online training/online career center
* Access to career coaching sessions
* Access to mentoring resources
* "Fast track" interview loops and recruiting process
* Access to flexible work arrangements for first 3 months back at Microsoft
* Regain original hire date for purposes of vacation accrual and office assignments
* Prime card - MS discount program
* Special Pro-Club discount
* Access to informational interviews

Anonymous said...

Re: "Onramping"

Sounds like something Scientology would have.

Anonymous said...

* Access to project based contracting jobs at Microsoft
* "Fast track" interview loops and recruiting process

These two items alone make it a great offer from MSFT. Why, it sounds like they want me to quit so I can come back as an a- and deal with less bullshit, have more fun, and work more useful hours!

To the "outing email" poster - you think Randy or Ben are targetted by Scoble as mini? One is in a completely different geographical location, and the other was part of the thread.

Anonymous said...

The broken windows article was great, although I thought it would be a reference to the thesis published by Henry Hazlitt many decades ago attempting to debunk the "multiplier effect" benefit an economy received from government spending:

What does the Hazlitt thesis have to do with Vista, or this blog? Dunno. I remembered gagging when I heard the original 20 LOC/day estimate for US programmers a long while back. 3 LOC/day for the Windows team! Well, I guess that's what you should expect for a mature operating system codebase. I doubt it's possible to improve productivity much when there's 50 dependency layers (presumably including external APIs that have to be kept compatible), although brilliant project management might work in the short term. Steve Jobs hoisting a pirate flag outside and bringing in a grand piano for inspiration, stuff like that. Bribes, such as options when the stock keeps going up, can be motivating too. Maybe that's the problem though - you guys keep paying for the project management heroics and market successes of past releases.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people blame Ballmer for poor stock price performance. You need to blame stupid investors who bought MSFT all these years when it was clearly overvalued. Ballmer warned investors back in '99 but they didn't listen.
Just take a look at this old headline:

Seattle, September 23, 1999—Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft Corp., told more than 60 technology journalists Thursday that technology stocks –including Microsoft’s shares—were overvalued.

Ballmer spoke at the third annual Technology Conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers at Cavanaughs on Fifth Ave. Hotel in Seattle. The conference ends Friday.

During a question-and-answer session after a speech on Microsoft’s vision for the future, Ballmer said technology stocks were overvalued compared with the stock market as a whole.

“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd,” said Ballmer. “I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”

When asked what the value of Microsoft’s stock should be, Ballmer answered, “Less."

Traded on Nasdaq, Microsoft’s stock opened at $96 7/8 and closed at $91 3/16, a 5.1 percent loss. At one point, the stock dropped to $90 1/64.

Because of Ballmer’s comments, the Nasdaq index, which is weighted with tech stocks, closed at 2749.83, down 108 points or 3.77 percent. The reverberations were felt across the entire stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,318.59, down 205.48 points on Thursday. Other indices fell as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, comments like that will help the stock price no end.

And it's good to hear that it was Philipsu, himself, who thought he'd give his truth a "good spanking". Well spanked, my man! In future, avoid getting caught spanking your truth in public (people have been arrested for less) ;).

Anonymous said...

Wait...why does Scoble want to out Mini??? I hate to jump to conclusions but I am beginning to wonder about Scoble's intentions here...

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people blame Ballmer for poor stock price performance. You need to blame stupid investors who bought MSFT all these years when it was clearly overvalued. Ballmer warned investors back in '99 but they didn't listen.

He who does not know what causes a stock to go up or down in price knows when a stock is overvalued??

Either you are a starry eyed newbie to MSFT or an oldtimer who has been drinking koolaid to death or most likely Monkey Boy (aka Furniture Man) himself...

Anonymous said...

Mini - is your vacation over??? I am tired of your sporadic posts now and then and we need you on a regular basis!

Kudos to ExtremeMakeover for making a sincere effort! Hopefully traffic will pick up there as well and we will soon have folks posting their comments on that blog as well.

Anonymous said...

I have had a hunch who Mini is for a few months, and I think Scoble just sent mail to an internal alias with Mini on the "To" line asking Mini to "out himself"!

OMG Scoble! If that's true that's way uncool! What alias was that and what did Scoble say?

Anonymous said...

OMG Scoble! If that's true that's way uncool! What alias was that and what did Scoble say?

If my hunch is right, I'm pretty sure Scoble didn't know that mini was on the to line. If my hunch is wrong, I'm just being a dope, and you can ignore me (so I won't answer about the alias - mini either knows I'm right, or he's laughing at me).

I think Scoble wants the public to see mini as a real person - it's a PR request really - and likely not Scoble being a jerk.

Anonymous said...

PhilipSu just got slashdotted, so he might have to do some explaining (given a recent internal comment I heard which I won't repeat here).

Anonymous said...

From "The Mythical Man Month" by Fred Brooks (paraphrased - not a direct quote):

A programmer working on a normal project can average 80 debugged lines of code a day. If it's an OS, it drops by a factor of 3. And if it's... I forget his term, but where you've got a series of programs that have to work together, it drops by another factor of 3.

So MS shouldn't be hanging it's head in shame at being 1/9th the industry average. It should expect it. All it says is that doing OSes hasn't gotten easier since the 1960s.

And a question for philipsu: Did you factor the reset into your numbers? I mean, yes, it's been 5 years, but if I understand correctly, a bunch of code got thrown out a year or two ago, and started over on. That doesn't help the numbers much...


Anonymous said...

There were two folks on the TO line in Scoble's mail [if it is the one I'm thinking about] and neither of them would fit the bill. Someone has already pointed out that one of them was just someone on the thread and the other isn't a Redmond employee.

Then again, you could have meant me since I was on the CC line of that mail. In which you are wrong.

-- Dare

Anonymous said...

"I don't know why people blame Ballmer for poor stock price performance. You need to blame stupid investors who bought MSFT all these years when it was clearly overvalued. Ballmer warned investors back in '99 but they didn't listen."

Let's talk recent history:

1) 40% market underperformance over the past 3 years and a P/E multiple that lags almost all peers
2) Big bets that have cost more, taken longer, and still aren't profitable
3) The DOJ loss and resulting $B's in fines and lost credibility due in large part to Ballmer and Gates arrogant handling of the issue
4) The 3 year delay of MSFT's most important product Vista
5) The lack of executive accountability for screwups (Windows, MBS, MSN, etc)
6) $50B+ in buybacks using shareholder money that mostly went to senior insiders vs reducing shares outstanding
7) $35B of shareholder cash and lost income for all future periods blown in the one-time to provide traders with a nice pump and dump and LT holders with a $3 taxable gain in return for a $5 stock drop
8) Not leveraging MSFT's massive cash horde at the bottom of the 2001 bust to buy up the many companies with potential that were available then for pennies on the $
9) Missing virtually every big ooportunity that has come over the past 5 years (search, music, etc)
10) Still hording $35B earning just market interest while paying a dividend that is 2nd or 3rd to last among its DOW 30 peers - which of course it has underperformed badly for 3 years
11) A company that 5 years later, is slower, less efficient, less effective and less well thought of in virtually every dimension that it was when he took over

And most clearly of all, because every time he open his yap, the stock falls.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people blame Ballmer for poor stock price performance. You need to blame stupid investors who bought MSFT all these years when it was clearly overvalued. Ballmer warned investors back in '99 but they didn't listen.

In '99 it may have been overvalued at the height of the tech boom, but you can't use that excuse any longer. Scott McNeely at Sun used the same excuse when asked about his stock price. He was finally promoted to Chairman. Hopefully SteveB can get promoted as well.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's market cap is less than twice of Google's now. In other words, Google is bigger than at least one of Office and Windows.

Let us see whether in five years Google would be a more valuable company than Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Everyone check out Bill Gates' announcement...

Anonymous said...

Wow, thought someone would have run here and mentioned Gates leaving! Guess it was me!

Eduard said...

10% ? Well... it looks like at least one guy in particular, will be transitioning off the company around July 2008

Anonymous said...

I have suspected who Mini is for a long time. Unfortunately I cannot even hint how I came to that conclusion, without giving away important clues. I think he is doing a great job and I want him to succeed in what he is doing.

Thanks, Mini.

Anonymous said...

I've never met Ray Ozzie, and I was never very impressed with Lotus Notes, but he did ship it on a schedule.

What I see in MS's future is management finally getting a handle on ship dates, but they will do so by sticking to very minor increments. The Big Changes they promised for Vista were an utter failure, and they'd better not make those kinds of promises again.

For the industry as a whole, we'll benefit from the changes as MS becomes the new IBM: a behemoth, but with no further power to coerce anybody.

Anonymous said...

Billy is out Mini! 2008 is going to be a banner year for MSFT. What do y'all think of Ozzie?


Anonymous said...

Boy, that "Bill is leaving" press conference started off okay, but man did it turn into a koolaid fest quick.

Bill actually said, "Steve is the best CEO for Microsoft I could imagine."

The sad fact is, I think he was serious. After all, it's not like Bill's imagination has all that great a track record. Where would he be if he hadn't been able to buy the OS he licensed to IBM and been able to impose his demands on hardware manufacturers plus any other number of since-judged-illegal monopolist practices? What new revenue stream has his imagination brought MS since the antitrust suit took those tactics off the table?

And of course it got even worse once Monkey Boy took the stage. Though I did have to laugh out loud as he spoke about what an "emotional" moment this was for him, all the while sporting his classic "I'm gonna fuckin' KILL Google!" scowl.

Anonymous said...

On-Ramping at Microsoft Survey

Wow. Can you imagine the number of managers necessary for a stupid program like that?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mini is MSFT compromised?

There are at least two posted comments to his June 15 entry that were there at 10AM today but gone by 3PM today...and comments for that entry are turned off.

Doesnt seem like Mini is as independent as one might be led to believe. Are the tracks of Microsoft corporate running down his back?