Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My Two Cents on Bungie Parting with Microsoft: simply: win-win-win-win.

  • A win for Microsoft because without this split, I'd imagine the heart of Bungie talent splitting off into either new game development companies or other game development companies, probably a lot less committed to Xbox. Bungie would have become marginalized and mediocre-ized.
  • A win for Bungie because it's a lot easier to hire top talent for Bungie now that the big huge corporation infrastructure is out of the way and their destiny is within their own hands.
  • A win for the local Puget Sound game development community given that a freed up Bungie can kick some more virtuous energy into the local market. It's strange, but more and more the non-Microsoft techies I meet as of late are in game development more often than not.
  • A win for me (yeah, I could use one!): less full-time blue badges! Yeah!

When I read about the rumor of the split from 8bitjoystick the first thing I thought of was BillG using Halo 3 as an attack poodle against Sony's Playstation 3. From Mr. Bishop's blog post on this:

Time described [Bill Gates] as "radiant with bloodlust" over the prospect of using the exclusive Microsoft game to foil the Xbox 360's rival.

"It's perfect," Gates was quoted as saying. "The day Sony launches, and they walk right into Halo 3."

Yeah, that didn't happen, now did it? And I imagine there wasn't joy in Bungieville of being seen as a tool of domination vs. a damn fine game. Oh, wait, they do have some stuff about world domination in their manifesto... well, anyway, to have Monty Burns -- er -- Bill Gates telling you when you're shipping is one less thing they have to worry about.

Now You're Cookin' With Gas: along comes a recent comment:

After reading your blog for a few years I have been inspired to do a bit of my own bloging. Hopefully I will get a few people discussing how to improve MSFT as well. I am focusing on my pet peeve, poor mgmt. I hope it can be a forum where other MSFTies can expose poor mgmt and try to improve their situation by exposing bad practices.

And what does that lead to? Snippet:

I would like to create a forum to expose both good and bad management within MSFT. When I first came in the door someone said "Working at MSFT can be the best job in the world or the worst, it all depends on who your manager is". This is probably one of the wisest things I was told as a newbe. I have now been around a few years and have lived both worlds many times over. Sadly now I am in the worst job, but looking hopefully for my next Best job in the world at MSFT.

Yowza! And anonymous comments are enabled.

Exit Softly: from comments about Microsoft exit interviews, it seems the recipe is something like:

  • Your boss asks why. If you're leaving because of your boss, stay quiet.
  • Your skip-level or about asks why. This is the only chance you'll have to share as to why you're leaving and hope that something will come of it.
  • HR exit interview happens. A rather perfunctory session.
  • A few months go by.
  • A survey to fill out more information about your exit arrives. Where it goes and what happens with it, no one knows.

Bubba writes about his real exit interview as well and it's along these lines. I'm amazed one of the commenters here said that their boss went to Crazy Town on them when they said they were leaving:

My first level manager simply threatened me and warned me not to bring him down lest he would blacklist me at Microsoft and "pull out the big guns". What a colossal waste of space that guy was... and he's still "managing" at Microsoft in spite of the fact that I informed his superiors of the threats he made. He was just asked to move elsewhere in the company.

Wow. Recycling the hazardous management waste.

Should Microsoft Buy Facebook? Nice comment I'd like to call out a bit of:

[...] Yahoo is actually lucky they could not buy Facebook (and we should not invest in Facebook unless there is a real clear, guaranteed payback). And we should avoid creating any new social network sites. But what we ought to do is look at this trend – social network sites – and figure out what it would mean to become the best platform for developing, hosting, and monetizing these things. I'd love to sell tools to people who want to make new social network sites. I'd love to make money from hosting these things. I'd love to make money from supporting advertising on them. "Microsoft provides the best platform and tools for creating, deploying, running, and profiting from, social networking sites." I would not like to own one!

Chat with some senior leadership in the next week and ask them, "Hey, what do you think about Microsoft buying Facebook?" I'm curious if your experience will be like mine lately: usually, a calm comes over the face and the senior leader is quite articulate in explaining all the reasons why it would be dumb to buy Facebook, how it won't happen, and how it's so wonderful to partner with Facebook for ads and to also ensure we're a great platform for people to develop Facebook applications on (along with being a platform for future social networking applications). Consensus and clarity seems to have been reached on high around this, a new page has been put in the strategy hymnal, and everyone is singing to it.

Of course, my love has totally left for Facebook. Well, they broke up with me first. And Baby, you don't even answer my email. Cold. I'm not gonna beg. Where can I find a new place?

Google's Orkut?

Mr. Scoble has the following teaser:

Now do you get why the world is going to pay attention to what Google releases on November 5?


Facebook has real competition coming. Competition they haven’t yet faced.

It’s going to be an interesting period to watch them go at it.

Orkut? Really? At least maybe I'll be able to make a friend with our award winning Best Manager in Brazil.

Other things going on: Departure central: Mr. Kniskem over at not only notes some recent departures:

Somewhat coincidentally, some notable Microsoft employees voted with their feet this week, as Erik Selberg from Live Search, Danny Thorpe from Windows Live Platform, Bubba Murarka from Windows Live, and Bungie all announced their intention to leave the company.

He also provides some interesting advice (directed more around Xbox Live and Windows Live). Topics with lots more text in the full post:

  • First: Develop a solid, deep-rooted, fast moving, and complete transition into Live Services.
  • Next: Put names and faces on the future of Microsoft: to gain trust, to show leadership, and to focus the vision.
  • Finally: Openly and honestly face the future.

Additional departures noted in a comment:

Speaking of departures...Tanya Clemons going to Pfizer and I hear that Susan Delbene also left. Maybe there is hope with execs leaving of some room near the top.

Another on Ms. Clemons:

It's a real shame that we are losing someone of Tanya's caliber.

Tanya has a distinquished background and joined Microsoft to lead change in our dysfunctional culture. Based on her presentations, she thought there was quite a bit of improvement needed and she was working with Steve to do this. Listening to Tanya, I was buoyed by the thought that at last here was an executive that "got it".

Change our culture? Talk about dashing yourself on the rocks. Looking at human nature, there has to be a benefit to the change realized on the "me" level. Mr. Ballmer wants us to be more bold? Reward those who are bold. Pretty simple stuff. In the meantime, I see more and more boring country-club types succeeding and I'll be damned if I could label a single one of them as bold. Loud. Obnoxious. But not bold.

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