Friday, September 22, 2006

Moderation Problems - Administrivia

Update: comments are coming through again. Regarding my angst in inappropriately sharing enthusiasm about one feature or any feature, a commenter shares:

I am in field sales and went to the company meeting. I can tell you with absolute certainty that everything that was demonstrated has been shown to numerous customers and partners, both large and small, numerous times. Those that claim otherwise must have an alternative agenda.

I felt really bad and personally horrified for a bit that I might have shared something that I thought was well worn public knowledge - bubbled up on TechMeme and such - regarding exciting and competitive features that we're delivering. I feel better now and don't believe I hit that third rail.

And regarding the negative comments and such (and I plan to make this the last bit I talk about that and myself and get back to what matters): first, at least dial up your language to civil. At least some notch above the frothing lunatics I get from Slashdot. If you're a Microsoftie, you can write G-rated text and get your point across just as well, if not better. Second, I acknowledge that if enough reasonable people saying you're quacking, including people whose voice you've heard before and respect, then eventually you've got to stop and consider if you're a duck. Only fair. Third, I've always written as if I had an audience of a few dozen and never let it go beyond that in my mind. Notice no web metrics have ever been here. And I plan to continue writing to those few dozen people. I write what I would talk about in a small group about issues and struggles I see hampering Microsoft where we should obviously be excelling. Just one voice.

I'm going to start going through the incoming comments from the recent past and repost some stellar parts of the conversation here. That seems useful at this point.


Original bits of this post:

Sorry, I have comment moderation problems right now due to a service I use having some severe server symptoms. All that is working is the cutting room floor.

And that's okay, because I'm having some incoming comment problems. Somewhere along the way, my enthusiasm for what was shown at the Company Meeting has been twisted and misconstrued into (a) blathering criticism and (b) earth-stopping leaking of highly strategic and confidential information. Headline: "Microsoft Critic Enthused About Microsoft Products and Lambasted."

What the hell? There go the brakes on my evangelism engine and showing stuff off. My first reaction is that people are rather sensitive. My second reaction is that a new batch of people have shown up and are simply expressing themselves for the first time and have a very different reality calibration than I do. My third reaction is more chilling and I hope is wrong... because it foreshadows a coordinated effort to bring an end to public discourse about being a Microsoftie.

Anyway, if you'd like to comment on the topic feel free to do so. Link to it on your on blog if you have positive / critical insights to add. I hope that my service will be back in the green again soon so that I can pass comments through again. If you're really needing a comment fix, then at this point all I can suggest is reading last year's post on the Company Meeting and the comments there and think about how much has - and has not - changed.

Sorry about the comment problem. In multiple ways.


58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you truely being self-critical here? Don't get me wrong - You did a great service by starting this thing and maintaining it. I mostly enjoyed reading the information and more importantly how people felt about things. It's about the people anyway, right ;-) But that doesn't mean things can go wrong and get screwed up over time .. like what happens to big companies sometimes. It's probably a good idea to set a bar, not just for commentors, but the blog in general. It is one thing to discuss being a microsoftie. It is another thing to do it with care as to not damage the buisness. Plain and simple -

Best of luck!
Monk.E

microstiff said...

"Illigitimi non carborundum!" or..."don't let the bastards wear you down!"

Anonymous said...

Yes, the recent cries for you to stop blogging - and more importantly the vitriol used in doing that - don't seem random. I also find the comments about you doing this for fame or ego, comical. Give up a good chunk of your personal time and risk your job to become famous anonymously? Yeah, sign me up. Not! Most importantly, I love how these folks seem to miss the fact that nothing you or commenters say here would carry any weight whatsoever, were it not for MSFT's chronic misteps and general laggardly execution being externally obvious to all. Suggestion to detractors: focus on solving the myriad of problems (there's certainly shitloads of them to choose from) and asking your leadership to take some freaking accountability, instead of worrying about the whistle-blower. Mini, hang in there. I don't always agree and I guess you let one thing slip yesterday that was confidential, but on balance you're still doing a ton to force a reluctant management team to fix what's broken.

Anonymous said...

Mini - you are a victim of your own publicity. The demise of Mini is coming soon. I've been reading this blog for past year and more almost every week. I've noticed a decline in people posting (maybe you have the actual numbers but this is my feeling). I've also noticed that most of the comments have increasingly become nothing more than negative pitch - most folks either complaining or refuting someone else's comment. There are hardly any constructive comments.

I don't think this blog is going to last very long. It's time for you to just packup and leave MSFT. I don't think you have made any impact whatsoever to Microsoft. The review system is pretty much the same (I am a manager so I know) except like everything else, we've given it a nice frontend and hidden the curves. The partners are still thriving. A few hardworking people are still not getting what they deserve and a lot of not-so-hardworking employees are just raking in the money.

I think it is time for you to fold and retire. This blog gave you anonymous publicity, you had your day and now it's over.

-Another guy sick of building 18

Anonymous said...

You does service to Microsoft. Manager dont like you. HR manager dont like you. Shareholder likes you. Senior manager likes you.

Keep blog. Good job. Shareholder happy. You get SPSA.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you wrote that last part regarding a coordinated effort... now I am not a grassy knoll conspiracy type, but the way that these comments came in was unlike anything that I've seen in about 6-8 months of participating in this blog. I've also been around the company for almost 14 years and wouldn't doubt that the internal communications folks decided to put the full court press on mini. I'm sure that the objective is to step on the throat of this blog by doing an end around with the internal blog announce while also jamming in the negativity efforts on the public site. Not saying this is what happened, but I've seen efforts like this here and something does smell a bit different... If there is one thing that MSFT PR doesn't like, it's a situation that it can't control in terms of image and perception, and Mini has been exhibit A in that category for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Pls. visit packet storm at 255255255255.blogspot.com.

Anonymous said...

You really should promote the Frutiger thing from the cutting room floor. It's immoral business practices in a nutshell. I hadn't heard of it before and I have to say that it really encourages an external job search. My previous employers would never, ever have behaved that way and they weren't exactly angels.

Anonymous said...

I doubt there was a coordinated effort to post negative comments. I've been enjoying your blog since close to the beginning, but your blabbing in the last post did nothing but make me mad. It still contains info that should not be public. It really makes me wonder what your motivations are, because posts like that do not help Microsoft get better. And my criticism has nothing to do with "showing stuff off" or "enthusiasm for what was shown." If you think that was the problem then you just don't get it. (BTW, I realize that I don't have any way to prove that this post itself isn't part of a conspiracy!)

Anonymous said...

"The demise of Mini is coming soon. I've been reading this blog for past year and more almost every week. I've noticed a decline in people posting (maybe you have the actual numbers but this is my feeling). I've also noticed that most of the comments have increasingly become nothing more than negative pitch - most folks either complaining or refuting someone else's comment. There are hardly any constructive comments."

First, a constructive comment:

Ask yourself, if motivating 900 partners with $1 mil bonuses per, is really having the effect desired on the company. The more likely end result is what we see, endless customer and governmental complaints and sanctions about either a real or perceived dishonest corporate culture.

Second, if you think what makes it on Mini is negative, you should see what he cuts out, not even getting to the cutting room floor (CRF to confused newbies). Trust me, I know this from experience of using Mini to vent my anger now and then. Makes me feel better and it never gets put up. From my perspective, Mini is covering your sorry carcasses up there in building 18 more than you know.

Its not about the monopoly. Its about a rewards system driving management into a sort of ironclad system of guaranteed distorted and dishonest results. I wonder what would happen if Microsoft started hiring priests to be partners, running statistical studies to see if they too would suffer the same sort of corruption of soul as some of you up there have no doubt suffered..

Anonymous said...

HR Managers in the form of dementers are trying to suck the happiness out of the employees. Dont let the death eaters get to you Mini.

I vote Mini for president.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I admit that I too read the posts in the week of the 15th and reflected that they seemed very out-of-place. After weeks of people reporting unhappiness with the reviews, after learning that the result of the new review system is mostly that a few got bigger, better bonuses/raises/stock and the masses accomodated that by receiving less than they would have received under the old system, I was surprised to see so many GO TEAM! posts. I guess the people who did well might've been overjoyed at their 15th paychecks, but it just seemed to be such a radical change compared to the prior week.

I'm not looking for people to just attack Microsoft or complain. I only want honesty.

Sorry, maybe I'm nuts. There just seemed to be too much of a "MICROSOFT IS BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK!!" tone to that collection of posts to seem plausible outside of institutionalized medicine.

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to the critics, Mini. MS employees need a forum to give voice to their doubts and grievances, legitimate or not, with the protection of anonymity.

LisaB, if you're reading this, I will never participate in the internal blogs without an externally-audited guarantee of both anonymity and non-retaliation.

Long live Mini-Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

"The partners are still thriving. A few hardworking people are still not getting what they deserve and a lot of not-so-hardworking employees are just raking in the money.

I think it is time for you to fold and retire. This blog gave you anonymous publicity, you had your day and now it's over."


More of the same "crapola". Mini, these guys are scared to death of you! Rudyard Kipling - "Ghunga Din" - "If you can keep your head about you while others are loosing theirs..."

Press on.

Anonymous said...

Mini,

I left MS about 6 months ago. I left because of bad management, lack of real career options (I was in the field), and general disgust with all the cosmetics that were promoted as real change.

Based on recent discussions with friends that remain at MS....nothing much has changed. Same managers are around, either still in the same jobs or rotated to another, similiar position. People still left after reviews/bonus/stock were announced last month because they were blind-sided.

Conclusion: your work is not done. LisaB and the other executives, who were so well compensated in August, have not delivered on the vision of a new, improved MS. I see neither creativity or boldness in the actions that have been taken to date.

Ignore those that want you to hang it up. At worse, they belong to the set of people that imagine themselves at the top of the game because their review/compensation/bonus/stock was great. In reality, these people have little sense of community or concept of the shape of the company as a whole or how their colleagues are being treated. As a matter of fact, they are the ones that hold MS back from becoming a truly great company. Only by turning the mirror back on itself, accepting criticism, and coming up with bold, creative actions, can MS even aspire to reinvent itself.

There is no way that an internal, executive-sponsored site will promote the free discussion needed to change MS culture. Just like the MSPoll, responses will be tailored to protect one's job, given the potential for breach of the anonymous guarantee.

I am really surprised that there have been so many calls lately urging you to tone it down or ship out. I have found you positively mellow for the last 3 or 4 months. If anything, your blog needs more intensity and focus on a few, specific issues that are the biggest thorns at MS today.

So I hope that you stay in the game, and keep shining (although brighter) light on the internal issues that are keeping MS from being truly great!

Anonymous said...

Seems you upset some people, Mini?

Probably some people who fear you make it harder for them to keep status Q and collecting money for nothing. Seems they try hard to find an excuse to make people turn against you. Sensitive stuff like leaking confidential infomation, risking buissness is hot stuff for that. You should whatch your comments carefully, don't give them an excuse.

Unfotunatily for MSFT i think their "Stop Mini now"-posts harm the company more than they think your blog does. Is MSFT next after HP to hit the press? MSFT should watch it's steps really carefully too.

Any management who don't believe that what they say on company meetings leaks (especially if they have concerns about some blogger) should have their heads examined. Maybe they wanted you to "leak" so they have an excuse for hunting you down? I don't know what that confidentional information was, but most (if not all) you talked about i have already seen on some video on the net demoed by BillG some month ago.


BillG Convergence 2006

Maybe the erlier poster is right about the internal communications, or maybe it's some pi**ed off managers/partners or maybe some people on the Zune team. By the quality and language of the posts you could think they hired some Mac or Linux fanatic trolls to post here. We'll see where this is going in a couple of days.

Keep on blogging!

tux said...

Hey, This is Beer28. Why don't you just quit for christ's sake. You're obviously not happy at Microsoft. Chances are if they hired you, you have skills to work somewhere else. I do just fine without microsoft and even selling services that take their customers away.

Just leave buddy. Things aren't going to get better.

Anonymous said...

I am in field sales and went to the company meeting. I can tell you with absolute certainty that everything that was demonstrated has been shown to numerous customers and partners, both large and small, numerous times. Those that claim otherwise must have an alternative agenda...like trying to make you doubt yourself. Don't fall for it.

For those of you who doubt my claim about these products being in the public eye, find a field sales person to talk to.

Go ahead, it won't hurt...much.

Anonymous said...

Geez! I may not be a great believer in the intelligence of Microsoft management, but even I don't think that they'd be such fools as to present their secret product development to a stadium full of people.

As for the other fools that posted here and apparently do believe they witnessed secrets revealed in a stadium, they obviously possess a special idiot-savant talent for solving simple coding problems on a white board in under an hour, but are otherwise lacking in what most normal people would consider intelligence.

Microstiff said...

"Ignore those that want you to hang it up. At worse, they belong to the set of people that imagine themselves at the top of the game because their review/compensation/bonus/stock was great. In reality, these people have little sense of community or concept of the shape of the company as a whole or how their colleagues are being treated. As a matter of fact, they are the ones that hold MS back from becoming a truly great company. Only by turning the mirror back on itself, accepting criticism, and coming up with bold, creative actions, can MS even aspire to reinvent itself."

Mini, this poster says it all. Print it, cut it out, put it on your refrigerator and...when it gets tough again... as it invariably will from "the people of the lie", read it.

Anonymous said...

If the higher-ups are upset about this blog, that means it's working. Keep at it.

Anonymous said...

LCA folks gave a thumb rule. If anything is known to 50 or people then it is not a secret. If you are intentionally telling a secret to 50 or more people then your intention is to have it published on the front page of new york times.

Remember the Ozzie's leaked memo from last year. It was sent to 100 VPs with an intention of getting leaked. If these people did not leak then they are not serving Microsoft (hence did not deserve their millions, but they did and got their million!). Ozzie could have sent the memo to all 70K employees but then it won't have the required impact. For an example, I feel important to read a memo, which was written for 100 VIPs.

This 50 people secret rule is also a great marketing vehicle too. Both Origami and Zune used it. Just keep something secret and people show more interest. Release the information you want to release, such as Zune pictures, as leaked secret. People will show more curiosty.

Yes, Mini. If you do not leak things then you are not serving Microsoft properly. But since you leak things, you deserved your just gotten millions as a partner.

People who thinks a secret has been shared with a stadium full of people with the intention that it remains with that set of people, I can guarantee you, you will never become a partner. You lack basic IQ. Feel lucky that you have a job!

Anonymous said...

Just another point to add on my previous comment starting with the word LCA.

Well a company is not allowed to share a secret with internal employees which may have business implications, unless the company puts its employees on stock-trading restrictions which insiders such a executives have (such as reporting the stock trading or allow stock trading in quite periods only). For an example, Amazon follows tha latter. Amazon employees could trade in amzn in quite periods only. Trading at any other point requires reporting.

Anonymous said...

Guys, let's be rational here. Do you really believe that a secret will remain confidential if it was shown to 10,000 people in a public stadium? C'mon. Of course not! Therefore, those things that were presented are not secrets!

Anonymous said...

Hey, should Microsoft shareholders have a say in exec pay?

http://news.com.com/Sun+shareholders+We+want+say+in+exec+pay/2100-1014_3-6118731.html?tag=nefd.top

Anonymous said...

Hmmn, Mini-world is sounding more and more like the Karl Rove ochestrated George Bush townhall meetings with all the "Long Live Mini" posts.

Mini along the lines of "...if several people say you are quacking...", you need to take a deep introspective look into your soul and this Mini-blogging thing. Like every human endeavor, there have been highs and lows on your part and the parts of us, the commenters.

What you must remember is that you do not owe any community the duty of blogging, or raising issues etc. Yes Mini blog gave us the avenue to ask for certain things, some we got, others we are still asking for. Delusions of grandeur is the wrong phrase but you are taking this Ninja role too seriously. After the company meeting when several of us plopped in front of the TV to let the effects of the wine and beer fade away, you felt it was your duty to provide the commentary on the meeting. You didn't want to disappoint the faithful who would rush to your blog to see what the master thinks.

Nah, nothing is that important. You and the Mini blog are not that important. Your readers are not that important. Even Microsoft is not that important. We are using you. You are using yourself. It is past time you check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Get a life. Resume your hobbies. Stop rushing through 520 traffic every evening because you have to get home and approve comments. Stay late if you want to. Ignore the blog for a long time if you want to. Your life will become a total wreck if this moonlighting thing of yours takes over your being completely. And it will, if you let it.

Again think deeply, and reassess. Note that I am not coming from the lines of company secrets, or love of MS, or shark jumping. I just see an otherwise noble person quietly being consumed by the monster he created.

Anonymous said...

Lisa is a typical partner. She claims credit and gets promoted for other people's ideas.

A disgusted HR manager.

Anon Partner said...

I'm the partner who ocassionally posts here.

Let me offer some support + clarity here

You have to wonder why after 1-1.5 years of MiniMSFT, why there is public chastisizing of Mini going on (incl at the eco meeting by LisaB very dramatically).

The turning point came when people started venting/sharing their review f/b, numbers in relation to partner compensation. That hit low and I think there is a sense of embarrassment in the upper ranks about this. It highlighted the culture at MS in a way that they didn't expect or want. This is why there is a renewed focus on flushing out the readers/posters etc.

This is communism at its worst.

Whodapunk, you provide a great service and you should continue it, internal blogs notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Mini,

You don't have to post this. Keep up the good work. Screw the rest of the Kool aid drinking, monkey dance loving, 5% raise hoping, SPSA dreaming softies.

I am a looooooong time shareholder sitting on more than 250,000 shares (thanks to all the stock splits) and love what you have done with this blog.

You care more about this company and have done more for the employees and shareholders than any partner or management team member.

If you ever plan to reveal your identity, make sure it is on pay-per-view and make some money out of it.

BTW, don't worry about getting caught or being fired. There are some very powerful people who occasionally read this blog and will come to your rescue. Ballmer sure needs their help especially against Aunt Nellie.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mr. Punk,

:-)

As long as you get satisfaction from your time spent here, keep doing it. Don't let others bully you or tell you what you should do with your time.

Congratulation with your success. I hope it continues.

Cheers,
Scott.

Anonymous said...

Obviously Mini shouldnt stop doing what he's been doing. However the constant US vs Management is getting quite unreasonable.

I think the main issue is not so much with managers but the way 'people management' has evolved.

I have seen real nice people whom i enjoyed working with so much become absolute nightmares the moment they became a lead. I am sure most of you have had similar experiences as well. I know a team with a bitter 'Lead vs Manager Vs team' standoff. Each of the three have very compelling seeminly vindicated reasons that implicate the other 2. The best part is that the Lead himself was part of the 'Team' till 4 months back and was a real nice guy to work with. Now he says he has his own problems and the rest simply are an impossible lot to work with. Funny!!!

P.S : I am as non-managerial as it can get. I am @ L60. Just that i happen to be good friends with the above 'team' and the 'lead'

Anonymous said...

Mini,

Don't give up,
Don't give in,
Don't let them discourage you.

There are serious problems that need to be fixed. By the sounds of it, an increasing number of people have already left Microsoft because of the problems that you are trying to highlight and fix.

I don't see many blogs praising Microsoft's leadership lately. If parties inside Microsoft don't want their dirty laundy aired, then they need to fix the problems and if the complaints are bogus, start your own kool-aid blog.

Even though I have left, I care about what happens because I have friends there and because Microsoft is such a big player in the area that I could end up there again.

The way Microsoft is these days, I would almost rather work anywhere else. Bad managers have left a really sour taste in my mouth but I am hopeful that Microsoft can change.

Good luck Mini. I have faith in you.

Anonymous said...

There's something wrong with the new rating system. In the past, we had to following rating system:

4.5 - You're a god!
4.0 - Exceptional work
3.5 - Above average work
3.0 - You did what was expected of you
2.5 - You did not meet up to the basic expectation

With the new rating system, upper management (with HR guidance/training) explained to us that:

Exceeded ~ 4.5
Achieved ~ 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
Underperformed ~ 2.5

If you're like me and you think that doing a 4.0 work will get you an "exceeded" rating, you're wrong. Na-ah! Management explained that "exceeded" is rare and it's equivalent to a 4.5.

It's unfair and demoralizing to categorize 4.0 and 3.5 employees along with 3.0's in a single label called "achieved".

Also, when employees discuss with management about their low review compensation, management can now easily say, "How can MS reward you more if you just achieved? You only did your job."

I have the feeling we got fooled by myMicrosoft.

Anonymous said...

> There's something wrong with the new rating system.

Yep, so the only differentiator between a 3.0 and a 4.0 is the non-public financial rewards package one gets.

It seems like there's actually more room for dishonesty in this new system.

Anonymous said...

Lisa is a typical partner. She claims credit and gets promoted for other people's ideas.

I thought she mentioned more than once that there was a team of smart people working on these problems?

I didn't hear her take all of the credit for anything, at least not at the company meeting.

Anonymous said...

It's unfair and demoralizing to categorize 4.0 and 3.5 employees along with 3.0's in a single label called "achieved".

Amen to that!!

Anonymous said...

In Mini We Trust!

Anonymous said...

(Long time reader, first time poster). It is interesting to me the number of “hang it up, mini” posts that have popped up here in the last week. Each pretty much contains the same talking points.
What they all miss is that this blog isn’t about mini – If he/she got hit by a bus this afternoon, someone (not anyone, but someone) could step in and maintain a very similar public forum. Most (but not all) of the “pro-mini” commenters say something along the lines of “we need this”, not “we need you mini” (“…and we love you, and are naming our first born son after you…”). This is not a cult of mini personality, folks…it’s a cult of people who want to see Microsoft get on its feet again.

Anonymous said...

Exceeded ~ 4.5
Achieved ~ 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
Underperformed ~ 2.5

Also, when employees discuss with management about their low review compensation, management can now easily say, "How can MS reward you more if you just achieved? You only did your job."


The depressing part of this is that the result of the review model changes (which resulted in the masses receiving less, and a few receiving more) will play to human nature. For the same reason that true communism doesn't work, this will cause all the people who continually get the middle rating to just do 3.0 work instead of 3.5 or 4.0 work. More than just lumping 4.0 performers in with 3.0 receivers, it encourages 4.0 performers to do no more than the 3.0 receivers.

I'm sure not what HR planned, but give this a few years and MS will be more polarized than it is today (hard to believe, but I'll take odds on it).

Anonymous said...

Mini, don't worry about "surface computing". Anyone who knows how to use Google (which potty mouthed dimwits who yell at you obviously don't) would find this link as the first hit for "playtable":

http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/01/04/bill-gates-keynote-at-ces-just-started/

Someone, report this BillG dude to LCA, I think we need to take action here.

Anonymous said...

Mini, keep it up. I am a long term employee of Microsoft and I have read your comments for several years.

I will post on the internal blog and make my comments known. If they wish to track me down, so be it. I can afford legal representation.

There is a sickness in Microsoft and it is pure greed. LisaB condones this attitude and pushes this through the HR hierarchy.

Keep working at Microsoft, keep highlighting the issues and most importantly keep this site up as it tells many truths about Microsoft that senior management would prefer to keep hidden.

At least you haven't reached the lows of placing a "Google AdWorks Rocks" mat in the urinals for the Microsoft employees to piss on. How sad is that?

Keep up the SUPER work.

Anonymous said...

Lisa is a typical partner. She claims credit and gets promoted for other people's ideas.

I thought she mentioned more than once that there was a team of smart people working on these problems?

--
Err.. you mean smart consultants? Who took 4million SPSA for the work of consultants and HRIT?

Anonymous said...

For people worried about Mini posting information about soon to be released products see this link

http://ia.rediff.com/news/2006/sep/24leak.htm?q=tp&file=.htm

Microsoft hired a person who has been arrested for selling national secrets and jeopardising the interests of the nation. From the contents of the article it looks like the hiring team was aware of the person's deeds but still hired her. Seems like a big hiring scandal.

Anonymous said...

>> Don't listen to the critics, Mini.

This is the type of advice one can expect from someone pretending to be a friend. Subscribing to this line of thinking *is* a surefire way to lose your credibility and any potential future impact. Be careful, sir.

I've been with Microsoft 8 years and have enjoyed every company meeting to-date. I'm not based in Seattle so I've had to watch most of them remotely, save one which I attended in person with my wife who also works for Microsoft, and another MS friend. We all took 2 vacation days, bought plane tickets with our own money, and made the pilgrimage to the company meeting. So, yes, I am one of the many MSofties who love the company meeting and are energized by it each year!!

In my opinion, this year's meeting was better than most. We saw how we're all very concretely making a difference in people's lives through our technology and through our charitable contributions. It also highlighted a great set of forward-looking products, and set the tone for a great release cycle in FY07 with Vista, Zune, and Office 2007 leading the way.

I take issue with those comments blasting the "People-Ready" theme. Have these people seen the new commercials, yet?!? If they have, I can't help but sense a bit of short-sightedness. Personally, the "People-Ready" theme resonates with business decision makers more than saying "Your Potential, Our Passion" which really did not concretely show how.

Anonymous said...

Here's a little tip for you Mini-Microsoft readers. If you tell your manager that you're leaving the team because of frustration with your review, and he responds with "but the next year on this team will provide much opportunity for you", what he means is that the next year on this team will provide much opportunity to do work on the team, not much opportunity to be rewarded on the team. Don't be fooled.

Anonymous said...

"I think the main issue is not so much with managers but the way 'people management' has evolved."

"I have seen real nice people whom i enjoyed working with so much become absolute nightmares the moment they became a lead."


You know, people are not born into managerhood. The skills necessary to motivate and nurture the daily lives of one's reports need to be taught.

What surprises me so, is that a company as big and bright as Microsoft may not understand this.

Each and every manager at MSFT should attend and pass an ongoing management course.

This course should teach that people are motivated mostly by recognition, fairness and a clear path to advancement; that they will be treated fairly, equally and with respect; that teamwork and cooperation are essential; that truth is highly regarded; that feedback is essential; that one will be provided with all of the tools necessary to complete one's tasks.

Oh, there are more but my point is that there should be a corporate management training program that is followed by all MSFT managers and embraced by top management that is continually upgraded and that measures the effectiveness of managers on a "people" level as well as a "project" level.

Then, and only then, can there be a way of developing trust, morale, fairness and job advancement among the rank and file.

Anonymous said...

"At least you haven't reached the lows of placing a "Google AdWorks Rocks" mat in the urinals for the Microsoft employees to piss on. How sad is that?"

Let's talk about those urinal ads.

WTF? It makes me embarrassed to be associated with this company. So immature and stupid. Unless, of course, the urinal ads are some new adCenter beta dogfood, in which case, I personally stand corrected on any criticism I may have offered that MS can't innovate.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't have a problem with the Apple parody ads. They're no more silly or immature than the original Apple ads they parody and those were broadcast to the public.

If anything, our advertising is too understated. Name the last MS ad that didn't make you think "bleah".

Anonymous said...

It's unfair and demoralizing to categorize 4.0 and 3.5 employees along with 3.0's in a single label called "achieved".


"Exceeded" is not what 4.5 used to be. I was proud to receive "exceeded" rating; I was not so proud when the payout was 3.5%/10%, no promo. Want to know about my motivation?

Anonymous said...

Regarding those urinal ads, there were a few days 4 or 5 years ago when building 40 had Sun Microsystem logo urinal mats.

This isn't high school, show some class. This sort of thing is incredibly amaturish and unprofessional. It is an embarassment.

Find the person who thinks that "pissing on the competition" is funny or in any way a good idea and fire the immature bastard.

Anonymous said...

9+ years here, first time poster etc.
Glad I never saw the google ad/sun whatever urinal mats. Embarrassing.
Mini, was a little worried after your company meeting (lack of) comments - SUPER-excited you're back! SUPER-EXCITED I tell you!
Heard some partner-wannabe bleating 'best company meeting ever'. Well, pay me a Grand and I'll say anything. I'll say it on the internal very-private blog.

Anonymous said...

Well, there's no denying it now, Mini. Your blog has a big influence over HR. I got the e-mail today announcing changes to the internal interview process, and it maps almost directly to your suggestions. Congratulations, and keep up the good work oh great "He Who Cannot Be Named"!

Anonymous said...

I recommend this blog to all potential MS employees that I meet. Having spent 7+ years there, I believe it to be an invaluable resource on the true interal life at Microsoft. Your insight and commitment to the company evidenced by your work on this blog has instituted true change. I am hopeful that you will continue in spite of the occasional misstep [I once had a boss outside of MS who told me that if I did not make mistakes it meant that I was not working effectively in his book] and in the face of inconsiderate criticism. I finally made my way out of a terrible situation at Microsoft and, to my regret, I had to leave the company to do so. This blog inspired me with the reassurance that my situation was not unique, that I was not crazy, and that, in spite of its failings in my case, Microsoft is a great company. These are not words that I use lightly: You are my hero and I deeply appreciate your continuing with this forum.

Anonymous said...

It was said: Well, there's no denying it now, Mini. Your blog has a big influence over HR. I got the e-mail today announcing changes to the internal interview process, and it maps almost directly to your suggestions.

Pray tell more, who sent this email and to which audience? Hopefully this is not a cruel joke, as this reform is badly needed.

Super said...

Email was sent by a director in HR on Sept 27th and will come into effect on Oct 1st. this only effects US policy but it does say they are working on International R&R’s. I await the complex changes for the international region, hopefully they treat international as many different countries rather then outside the US policy. Diversity at Microsoft rocks, sorry, should I say sucks. Jeez, sorry, started to head off on another ranting tangent on that one.

Another thought I had today is that Mini may eventually be tracked down by MSFT. When they track you down, they will offer you a new job with a SUPER package. Your insight, understanding and general comments on strategy would be a great help to MSFT going forward.

Think of the hackers, crackers, virus writers and other general miscreants (not my words) that major Corporations have hunted down, thought about prosecuting and eventually hired. Will Mini eventually fall into this category, would it be a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

"It was said: Well, there's no denying it now, Mini. Your blog has a big influence over HR. I got the e-mail today announcing changes to the internal interview process, and it maps almost directly to your suggestions.

Pray tell more, who sent this email and to which audience? Hopefully this is not a cruel joke, as this reform is badly needed."

I've seen this secondhand from someone else in our larger group, whose manager sent it to her team. So apparently it's true! But certainly hasn't been broadly announced in any way. I guess they prefer that this one "trickles out" so there isn't a stampede for the door. (Or less of a stampede? A phased stampede?)

Anonymous said...

Pray tell more, who sent this email and to which audience? Hopefully this is not a cruel joke, as this reform is badly needed

I am not the original poster but anyway...It was first sent to Managers only on Monday, but I think the whole Company got it today.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap. I left Microsoft about 2 years ago; I quit an 8 year blue badge position and came back as a contractor.

Surprisingly (well, not so surprisingly, now) I found out that I was treated better, more highly respected, and better paid as a contractor. Plus, I was not expected to 'swallow the pill' and work 60 hour weeks.

My decision to leave MS wasn't really about money or hours, however. It was about dissatisfaction with the company's direction and focus (or lack thereof).

I'm no Slashdotter, full of swearwords and invective about what I don't understand; I truly LIKED Microsoft, thought it had some great products (I was lucky enough to work on the Visual Studio team during the Everett-Whidbey timeframe) and had a great deal of respect for the technical brilliance of the people working there (the ./ people can rant all they want -- they know nothing; there are some SMART f-in people at MSFT!).

But more and more it seemed like upper management wanted to "gild the turd." Instead of really fixing problems, they wanted to slap a pretty new name on it, hire a design firm to put together some attractive Powerpoint presentations, and claim that they were "reinventing everything."

As an example, I came back to work as a contractor at MSN Search. One of the questions asked again and again was "why are we losing to Google so badly?" The answer -- both from user feedback and from internal debate -- was twofold; (1) our search relevance simply sucked. Google a topic and the odds are pretty good that the first five results will hold at least one hit that is dead-on what you wanted. MSN Search it and... well, you'll get the most odd, random crap. (2) MSN Search was seen as primarily a way to get ad revenue. Meaning that when we had feature meetings, the first question asked wasn't "how can we deliver a better search experience," but "how can we put more ads on the page, in places where the users HAVE to look at them?" I swear that they were about to resurrect the <BLINK> tag...

And this is typical; unfortunately, the powers-that-be at Microsoft haven't been about innovation or truly wowing the customer for a long, long time. It's all about lock-in and chasing the almighty buck, as well as getting good review scores.

I read an article about 5 years ago that really resonated with me. At the time I was still blue badge. The article stated that Microsoft was in danger of becoming entirely self-referential; in other words, of becoming entirely driven by forces inside Microsoft (politics, reviews, etc.) I see that strongly; our concern for the customer went away, and the most important issues became reviewable metrics and quarterly budgets. That's corporate suicide.

So... I'm sad -- but unsurprised -- to hear that it sounds like not much has changed at MSFT in the two years since I left. It sounds like it's still a hugely powerful corporate beast -- with enormous potential -- that's locked into an endless cycle of corporate navel-gazing.

The gilding on the turd is quite thick by this point. Sad.

I just hope they don't kill .Net. I really LIKE .Net (C# is what Java SHOULD have been...)