Tuesday, March 7, 2006


Quick kudos (imagine flying around the campus in your favorite PGIII vehicle, stopping by each one of these notes, letting the kudos roll-up):

Kudos to Dr. Eric Brechner's last two I.M. Wright columns on agility and scrum. Pretty reasonable, though perhaps a little bit like throwing cold water on everyone enthused about agile techniques. At the end of the day... you need to focus on getting rid of waste and not being bound to the linear waterfall model of no-one moves unless the spec and the list of meetings is complete.

Kudos to the whole Origami buzz. What a surprise! Not masterfully pulled off, but still a surprise. If we're going to hide anything in the HTML comments, how-about something interesting that serves as a ephemeral real-puzzle-hunt vs. just admitting what it is? But it's nice to have some buzz. I can only hope that when it's all done and revealed, we pull a Jobs and say, "And you can buy it today!" If it's something like, "And you can buy it come Fall 2007" then I've got some un-kudo'ing to do.

Kudos to MSR Tech-Fest. It's the first time I didn't leave burning mad. Well, I purposefully avoided the Dance-Dance Spam'o'lution display (there's a CS student at some Podunk university looking for his senior user-interface project). And sorry, Kevin, any press - good, bad, misunderstood - was all deserved. The StepUI was something that the reporters could easily understand (and, it appears, misunderstand). That and the Starbucks coffee compass. Too bad everything else was a bit too heady or not understood in a way that got Microsoft better press out of the event. I was especially interested in seeing all the mapping technology and digital photo technology. I made lots of notes to check in next year and see where all these demonstrations are. Integrated and actually used (like a much better and improved Streets and Trips for desktop and mobile) or wasted away again in MSR-avittaville?

Kudos to that iPod packaging viral video made by Microsoft and leaked out. What a lot of people outside of Microsoft don't know is that we make some excellent parody videos. But due to copyright concerns, we don't release them. This is such a big huge incredibly bad idea. I think if we made them all legal and released some of our fun videos, every couple of weeks, between now and Vista-launch, there'd be a major shift towards popular consumer appreciation of Microsoft. While I'm no big BrianV fan, I loved him playing Christopher Walken's character in the Weapon of Choice video send-up. The "Da-da-da" VW bug send-up with BillG and SteveB is still my all-time favorite. And BillG dressed up as Austin Powers (and SteveB as Dr. Evil) letting loose the line, "I put the syn in syntax, baby!" is a classic. I hope the success of the iPod video opens the door to our fine video facilities letting loose a bit more creativity that can change popular opinion. Cause baby, we need a little bit of color in our blue-chip complexion.

Kudos to Jim Hugunin for doing very quick IronPython releases while fixing bunches of bugs. What a great hire (a little devil just popped onto my shoulder to poke me with his pitchfork for admiring any hire). Jim is showing us how to quickly iterate on software, increase the quality, and build community, while aligning this with strategic justification around .NET (not even my favorite sandbox).

Kudos to Ray Ozzie for his eTech 2006 presentation. Maybe Geoffrey Moore has an excellent point: in order for innovation to succeed, you need to get yourself some great hires / superstars / leaders and let them direct the innovation and build up a harmonic within the company. There are plenty of external kudos out there for what Ray presented (with requisite contrition of demo'ing with Firefox) but more than a few end with, "...but can we trust Microsoft not to embrace and extend this?" Sounds like our My Name is Earl karmic adjustment is still in progress. What would our karma list look like, anyways?

Any kudos you'd like to extend?

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