Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Arrogant in Redmond

So I snagged a copy of Redmond Magazine out of the recycle bin recently (bad habit) and it happened to be the one with the Microsoft Survey. Hmm. Interesting read, it's always good to have an outside take on Microsoft from our customers and partners. Be sure, if you read the article, to go to the end and download the PDF summary. I'm sure anyone who has taken a class in constructing surveys would sneer at the leading bias in some of the questions ("Would you like to see a thinner version of Office."). How about adding, "Would you like a milkshake with your thinner version of Office, too?" Anyway, some of the interesting bits:

  • We are arrogant.
  • Thinner client applications are desired.
  • We are good for the computing industry (Whuuu!?!)
  • Software Assurance program is Mr. Angsty pants.
  • Linux and Microsoft are perceived as Microsoft's biggest threats.
  • Our products are overpriced.
  • It would be swell if Microsoft applications ran on Linux and Solaris.
  • Barely no one owns Microsoft stock, but they think it's a good value (for, ah, someone else).
  • Folks wouldn't mind working for Microsoft.
  • Hegemony - gooood!

As I was thinking about the concern over arrogance, I was reading through comments in Ms. Gretchen's rant about hiring managers and then follow-up to the attention it gathered. Arrogance comes up left and right in the first post: Microsofties calling each other arrogant and folks being interviewed calling us arrogant. I like this comment:

Whoever said "arrogance" hit the nail on the head. I recently had a couple of interviews with Microsoft, and thought all the rumors about "arrogance" were just jealous people who'd been turned away. Then I hit interview number three... The oozing of machismo and 'my wee wee is bigger n' yours' pretty much left the foul taste in my mouth. I essentially realized that this wasn't the place for me since I eat arrogance for lunch, and began to toy with the interviewer, just for the sport of it.

So what do you think the action items are to deal with Microsoft's ever present arrogance problem is? Plus other customer's concerns? We do really well at listening, it seems, but then do nothing (kind of like talking about features, then cutting, and shipping nothing).

As for a couple of other things... my last comment here about Gretchen's rant concerns folks not wanting to come live in Redmond. I'd be interested in knowing how this breaks down between new college grads and experienced hires. For folks just out of college, my only insight is: if you're unattached and unencumbered by responsibilities the last thing you need to do is go work for a large, slow moving corporation in the 'burbs. Take risks and live the crazy big city life and blow your youthful energy laying down effort on the big pay-off opportunities. You will learn more and do more than you can possibly imagine, especially compared to being placed as a new shiny cog in the corporate machine (where all you can say during your first review is, "And what does this 3.0 mean?"). Then come knocking on the door of the corporate beast in the idyllic, moist, family friendly Pacific Northwest . Or, ideally - if you've really busted a fantastic trail for yourself - coyly answer the hungry calls of a groovy chick named Gretchen.

Lastly: no, I don't know what bad thing happened at http://microsophist.blogspot.com/ . Though I will say there's been more than a couple of times over the past year that I've stood up after a day of pulling weeds or other satisfyingly sweaty work and considered just deleting this blog outright (404 for me - poof!). Usually I think that way near mortgage payment time.

My conscience chides me, "Wha? You have it so good! Why you want make trouble?" (for some reason, my conscience sounds like Margaret Cho's grandmother from All-American Girl. Go figure.). There's bitching and complaining, and then there's making a difference... ah, well. Post.


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