Friday, October 20, 2006


Soon: Thursday October the 26th we announce our quarterly financials.

  • Apple: ba-da-bing!
  • Google: ba-da-boom!
  • Microsoft? ba... da... ????.

I can only hope that both Windows Vista and Office 2007 are in such an obvious state of RTM doneness come Thursday that we officially announce the release dates as part of showing some level of confidence, versus letting the releases slip out the door once we've convinced ourselves that no further fixes should be made (it's okay... fiddle-dee-dee, I'll think about that issue come another service-pack).

Now: I dropped by a colleague's office while he was reading through the new internal InsideMS blog put up by our HR-leadership. Off-hand comments I remember us making:

  • Whoa, this looks like a readers-digest version of Mini-Microsoft.
  • It's amazingly surprising how many people are posting anonymously.
  • That's a lot of comments for the first couple of days, even excluding the duplicate comments.
  • What? Who thinks stack ranking is gone? Eeeenk!
  • Looks like a hit.

And rather sheepishly at the end, looking at the clock on the screen:

  • Uh, how much time did we just waste reading all of these comments?

Mr. Barr over at Proudly Serving provides his point of view of this blog and its conversation vs. the internal blog and the conversation that will happen there. A recent comment on the InsideMS internal blog:

Only one topic post up there, but a huge amount of comments. And I am STUNNED at the candor in the comments. Nobody is pulling any punches. I don't see double posts from here, but I do see similar themes. It's sort of like Mini is shaking a champagne bottle and aiming at the internal blog before popping the cork. Funny stuff.

Re-org Me: a recent comment regarding what's going on in SteveSi's and JonDe's org:

You get what you wished for. A flat and leaner organization in many places. GMs, PUMs and [Directors] all got reassigned (read "demoted") to take on "real world" roles. They were kicked but not fired. Most of the managers stepped down to be a lead or IC. Dev leads turn into tech leads or ICs. [...] You never expect that St***Si will be so determined and insensitive, right?

(Leaving out the bit about me.) Go Steven! You folks in those orgs are undergoing a good bit of change all at once. And dealing with the rumor of a grand RIF coming post Vista (I don't believe it). You know, most PUMs found a position aligned with an appropriate triad. I believe it will all be worked out and everyone will find that they have greater responsibility and impact than before. And a chance to shine. Or not. And I've determined that my favorite phrase-nugget for the month of October is: "get the executives out of the engine room." Yes.

And, to follow-up on Mary Jo Foley's observation: heck, no, I don't want a hierarchy free Microsoft. That would be chaos, followed by Lord of the Flies-esque passive-aggressive tribal warfare. But I and others do want an efficient structure that prevents fiefdoms and allows aligned autonomy with obvious accountability.

And as for Googley envy: I don't think hi-tech toilets will be on myMicrosoft's radar anytime soon. Just look how long it's taking to get friggin' coffee makers put in.

Anonymity: other anonymous goings on:

  • MSFTExtremeMakeover ponders news leading up to the Microsoft quarterly financial report.
  • Collision Domain provides some post-Company Meeting thoughts.
  • Apple gets their own Masked Blogger and the world takes quick notice. Well, the blogitty-blog-blog echo-chamber world takes quick notice. Everyone has their own agenda for blogging, doubly so for anonymous bloggers. Unlike some bloggers out there, I think there's value in anonymity because the message becomes what's important, not the messenger. It's an equalizer. My only advice is to do your damndest to keep the messenger out of the picture, because things here stumble the most when it's about me as Mini vs. the conversation.
  • Both the Unofficial Intel Blog and Intel Perspective blog clarify their position on comments.
  • Doh Symantec has a few posts up looking into Symantec, including the latest on performance reviews. Hmm, Symantec managers, in order to qualify for a great review, need to take a certain amount of training every year. Hmm.

Oh, and mentioning Symantec above makes me think of McAfee and this whole public tantrum breakdown over Vista.

McAfee: listen, you're turning into that wonderfully cool person I dated that went all creepy on me after I got my act together. It's like you liked me more when I had issues and you defined yourself by supporting me when I was troubled and untrustworthy. Now you're all clingy and suffocating me and spreading nasty things around about me. I've reformed myself and moved on. You need to, too.

Or I'm getting a restraining order. As defined by an ever narrowing-API documentation pipe. And that's going to be lose-lose for everyone. Adapt and evolve.

Man, next thing I know you'll probably be loading worms on iPods or something just to get back at me...

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