Monday, May 23, 2005

When did Jeff Raikes run over Steve Gillmor's dog?

Jeff Raikes must have surely ran over Steve Gillmor's dog last week.

First in Do No Simple Steve just plain wants to fire JeffR for not having an Office 12 RSS story (though I don't think any of the features in O12 have really been officially covered yet - only with some analysts [esp. those without the initials S.G., it seems]).

Steve then follows up shortly thereafter with 60 Days, noting how both Google and Apple will have RSS improvements in about 60 days. Nothing related to RSS from JeffR in 60 days? Fire him, Steve figures.

First, firing JeffR would just result in two JeffR clones springing up in his temporary void. These people have succeeded following JeffR's vision and will keep that IT supplicating finger-lickin'-good vision going. Complete with befuddled end-users donning dino-heads (hmm, I'd love to see a subservient dinosaur anti-campaign...).

No, you need to fire a whole bunch of people and do a disruptive re-org and say to them: your job is to make end-users clamor for Office. Or Windows. Or MSN. Or mobile OS. Or XBo-, er, or business solutions. Have customers passionately emailing us and blogging, constantly asking us for new features and being delighted when we deliver (plus, you know, security and stability). And maybe, if you follow Joe Wilcox' line of thinking today, you put Kevin Kelly in charge.

When it comes to RSS and quick innovation that makes a difference to end-users, I think you really need to look towards MSN. Information Worker is lost. I'm sure some sort of RSS story will come out of building 36, but you know, that was the target last year. By 2006, RSS will be old news. Important infrastructure, sure, but the consequences of RSS everywhere will be more important in 2006 than RSS itself.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Still here... thinking about hiring people.

Why are things so slow here? Hmm, is it:

  1. I got canned (and brought some sense of ironic justice to this world), or
  2. I'm just plain lazy.

It's #2 (the usual safe bet), though tomorrow is another day for #1. Given the recent crappy Redmond weather I find myself with some spare time.

I got a bit flummoxed by the latest bug in Google's BlogSpot Mail2Blogger that no longer deals well with the way I post (ergo, the nice HTML decorated posting I haven't gotten around to cleaning up). So I said "to heck with that!" for a while. I've got enough gadgets giving me grief I don't want to try to debug Google's Blogger through a double-blind system.

So now I'm going to post by just sending missives directly from Outlook as an HTML message, which is going to look awful because you're not going to get your default reading font anymore and Word / Outlook are going to conspire together to gunk up the HTML with a bunch of style crap. Sorry. We're all just getting what we paid for here.

Okay, any interesting random things here... one comment asks:

I'm interested to find out, if I quit MS right before Sept 1st, say, mid Aug (suppose all ranking, reviewing is done by this time), will I still get my annual performance bonus?

I truly don't know. You should figure out a way to ask your HR generalist (that will be quite the challenge). But of course you have to look at the benefits of starting with a new company sooner vs. hanging around doing something you know you're leaving. I have a feeling, though, if you're not getting your paycheck the day the bonus gets deposited, you're not getting your bonus.

Lots of back and forth commenting in the Sugar Daddies Going Sour. Pretty good to scan through if you haven't already.

Redmond has said "Okay!" to Microsoft's expansion plan. (Slap to ample forehead.)

Okay. Let me play Devil's Advocate here and say, for a moment, that I was really behind Microsoft growing by 12,000 individuals and super-motivated to get those people hired over some kind of timeframe, while at the same time back-filling any attrition. Suppose I have an Excel graph projecting these hires and their assignments and all that good stuff. Just one thing:

Where's the genetic-research pharm where we are growing all of these incoming new hires? Because if you've been even tangentially involved in trying to hire a high-quality person, you've got to realize it's nearly impossible. What I'm seeing (this is dev focused):

  • High quality people don't want to work for Microsoft.
  • Low quality people are swelling our interview loops to the degree I'm really worried some of them are slopping up on deck and joining the crew.
  • The good quality people we do give offers to get hired elsewhere for much better pay (just pay, not benefits - I don't think anyone on this green earth can do much better than Microsoft's benefits).
  • Some colleges produce graduates who don't know what a pointer is let alone how to use one.
  • H1B visas aren't going to be unfettered anytime soon.

Anyway. If you want to bulldoze over the athletic field and plop some new mega-building monstrosity there, you'd better at least start addressing some of those points above if you want to occupy it with anything more than clumping mouth-breathers.

What else, what else... that Microsophist appeared and got all sorts of online recognition! And then *poof* no more posts. Well, who am I to throw black rocks. One thing that impressed me, though, is that folks out there are interested in hearing what Microsofties think about the company and what's going right and what's going wrong.

Okay, enough for now. I do have notes about other topics, it's just a matter of avoiding getting whacked by the lazy stick so much..


Saturday, May 07, 2005

You mean you just have to say what you want?

Well thank goodness that seems to be over. Though a bit late, and we shuffle to the grave of HB 1515 to praise it rather than bury it, the whole bumbling I think had one fantastic result: when enough pissed off employees express their displeasure, executive management does take notice and act.

I can only hope that this new bit of realized empowerment can be channeled into something just as effective from the point of view of employee owners being concerned about the direction of Microsoft and the lack of accountability for those unable to ship. Speak up!

Now if you find yourself on the other side of the issue and being pissed off about Microsoft's support and feeling this isn't the company for you, well, sit right down. All that advice I gave to pro HB 1515s applies just as well to you. If you feel this company's actions are out of line enough with your values and what you define as important in living your life, there are plenty of other places I'm sure that'd be willing to hire you onto your staff and not trouble you with such political theater.

Rather than just cursing about it, follow Jeff Koertzen's example of living his values and submit your resignation and move on.

Other than that, things will be slowing down here as the weather gets nice and I find myself enjoying biking into the late sunny hours. Unless I get a flash of brilliant insight I just have to share (which I'm sure you know the odds-on favorite for laying your money down on the likelihood there), I'll be happy to post once a week. There's certainly a lot happening to type about: the major review, upcoming re-laddering for PM and Dev, welcoming our new HR chief, and decoding Bob Herbold's advice to Microsoft. But right now, the road is flat and wide and dry, and I have many miles to peddle pedal before I type.

Updated: just finally got around to fixing this HTML-escaped post. Closure. Ah. Plus going through wiping out the usual naught comment-spams.