I'm going to take a bit of a blog break and let things cool down here. It's been a heck of a couple of weeks and I, for one, need to recharge. I'll check-in occasionally to moderate, but I'll be far more focused on the deeper meaning of Red Hook than blogging. Cheers to you.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Monday, March 27, 2006
The most interesting perspective I've seen on the conversation carried on here at Mini-Microsoft, especially given the Vista 2007 tirade (how's that for an example of quality corporate blogging?), came today from Musings of a Merry Mad Monk in the post Microsoft, Your Slip Is Showing (Passion)... a snippet:
[...] Skewering the Microsoft leadership. Calling for heads to roll. Frustration. Disgust. Dark humor. Cynicism. Optimism. Pessimism. Rage. Love. Hate.
Another reason -- big reason -- why the Microsoft commenters are so passionate: They give a damn. Whatever else you may think about their comments, their Give-A-Damn meter is registering in the Green. Sure, it may seem like I've got it ass backwards and they're pegged out in the dreaded Red zone.
I'm sure a few are indeed red-zoning, but what I see mostly are folks who want to to be the best. They want their team to be the best. They are proud people. They are winners. They hate the thought of losing -- in any endeavor... to any person or thing.
The people who work for Microsoft are not only some of the best minds in the computer industry, they give a damn about what they do. That is a good thing.
The particular post is well worth the full read.
So don't get me confused with the hate-ridden Microsoft bashers of the world (of whom I've been greased over with over the past week... oy). I know Microsoft can turn it around and the incoming generation of Microsofties will get the company back on track and make it a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine. Because we want things done right. If Microsofties didn't care about doing a good job and making Microsoft as good as it can be - forget comparing Microsoft to other corporate beasts, I'm comparing Microsoft to the best Microsoft it's capable of being - Mini-Microsoft wouldn't be at almost 7,000 comments.
(Okay, okay, not all of those comments are from Microsofties or ex-Microsofties... but it's a good chunk.)
There are problems. I feel it important to shine a public light on them so that they can be addressed and prioritized higher than figuring out which business group's features can be innovatingly entangled into another business group's upcoming release... it's also sort of a yodel from one business group to another, "Yodel-lay-dee-hoooo! Automation is kicking out useless, time-consuming issues and I can't check-in my security comments without failing 20 feature tests! How now for you out there?"
And my one final dream is that the shareholders will start putting their collective foot down and demanding effective change.
As for my passion check: either
(a) I'm extremely passionate about Microsoft for doing this blogging intervention to put it back on track and live up to its potential, or...
(b) I'm one heck of a corporate psychological study.
I'm betting on passion.
Administrivia: I've really cranked up the bar for moderating comments. About one third are being thrown into the bit-bucket coz I'm just plain not interested in hosting your anti-Microsoft negativity. I'm one cranky blogger... who only has himself to blame for his predicament. I still feel bad for (most) every comment I decline to post because I know someone spent a lot of time typing that up.
Don't let this happen to you. Save yourself some time if you're not adding signal to help suss-out solutions to the problems Microsoft is facing. There are plenty of other places looking to party with your bad self.
Posted by Who da'Punk at Monday, March 27, 2006
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Well, hasn't this been a hum-dinger-ringer of a past week? That Vista 2007 post is up above 430 comments so far.
(This is one of those navel-gazing posts, so be forewarned - after a fire-burner of a week, I'm trying to bore things down here.)
Last week started with me beginning to collect positive buzz around Microsoft via the Mix06 conference (and write notes about dev vs. pm vs. test). It's all lost now, but I remember seeing appreciative quotes like "...this seems like a very different Microsoft," and how people were beginning to get that the next generation of Microsofties were busy turning Microsoft into a positive, transparent, honest we're working with you company. We have lots of sins to amend for and lots of contrition to work through before we can be back in balance. Mix06 seemed to be a nice, delightful skip along that path. We are working on it.
Then, as if to torpedo ourselves, the bad news and reorganization erupts and the Mix06 attention meter drops to nil. As if scanning the sky amidst the destruction of their city, Microsoft watchers fretted, "Where's Scoble?"
Could we have at least waited a week to break the news and built up a wee-bit of positive goodness from Mix06 and the Office developer's conference?
Truth be told, at this date I'd much rather start writing about how Microsoft is turning itself around versus pounding out diatribes raging against the machine regarding how we need to start obvious enforcement of accountability. This accountability thing is a core value to me that translates into a better company. A number of commenters have pointed out that slipping Vista due to the non-business components not being ready was the right thing to do: shipping something shoddy early is an awful sin compared to shipping later and high quality. Yeah, okay, "duhs" all around there, but that's a small insight at the end of a long running slo-mo train-wreck.
One small reflection on accountability in this comment, in the midst of fixing automation-generated issues:
[...] I’m willing to be accountable for my mistakes, but first I want to see some GMs held accountable for theirs. I’ve made lots of mistakes in my career, and I’ve been accountable by making up for them with even more successes. But now every good thing I do is craptulized by someone farther up the management chain. We are working hard, but can’t make a difference because we don’t have any coordination or direction. The managers who should provide that are MIA. Off buying villas in Italy, I guess. So Mr. Just-Suck-It-Up, what do you propose I do? Stage a dev coup and tell my PM team that I’m calling the shots now, so they can forget about those last few DCRs? That should look good on my September review, considering my boss the GM used to be the GPM. Or maybe I should march into Amitabh’s office and tell him I’m firing all his flying-monkeys and bulk resolving their PREFIX bugs. Should I go over to building 9 and tell the Shell team to dump Glass and just go back to the XP shell in the name of shipping?
[...] Second of all it's contrary to reality. While I was working on Vista - and I don't think you ever have - there was no shortage of dedication on the part of anyone I knew of, at least those at the bottom of the org chart. Devs, testers, maybe even PMs, putting in the grueling hours and present on weekends and not just at crunch time.
The real problem comes from those higher up the chart, the ones who keep tossing obstacles into our paths. The ones who release LH versions that wouldn't even complete installation, the ones who turned the checkin process into a nightmare of needless steps each exhibiting random failures, the ones who insisted that their favorite hobbyhorse had to be part of the process.
Regarding accountability: SPSA. What's that? Well, first there's this:
All us partners were awarded our humungous SPSA grants 8/2003. They vest this August. For some reason I thought they were going to vest a little later, closer to the november original date.
For me, I collect 68,000 shares on 8/29 so I hope the slip hype blows over quickly. I'll take my $1.8m this August, then get pumped and help push this bad boy out the door!
November would have been pushing it for me anyway cause my house in tuscany is supposed to be done late october and we were planning on spending a month there once its ready.
-a distinguished partner
p.s. - go ask your vp if you think I am being a bs/troll. this is real. the spsa program is huge awards tied to company performance, BUT does anyone honestly think that bill/steve have the balls to say that since our performance has been shit that the multiplier is 0? See ya in tuscany!
Now that's just a nipple twister for my soul. A follow-up that doesn't twist so much:
The 68k spsa number is a reasonable number, and the vesting date of 8/29 is accurate. Trust me, I am a senior partner (L80). The numbers are in line with reality and the award amount is based on company performance metric goals established 3 years ago. I also agree with the poster that its unlikely that the award multiplier will be 0, BUT I also don't expect it to be 150% (the allowable max).
The sad truth is that comp plans like spsa are designed for the long term and are designed to reward people at the time they are granted. Its hard to look forward and its impossible to recall a previously granted award.
If LisaB wants to rebuild trust between the front-line team members and our executive leadership, how about making everyone's rewards transparent. As I dole out a couple of percent raises here and a few hundred stock awards there, it becomes impossibly difficult to explain the money-grab happening at the top of our corporation when results do not match the awards. Profit sharing should benefit every full-time employee.
Going back to getting Vista out, one good comment (well, good other than the M. Anti-Mini start) has the following observations:
[...] I am one of the several components owners who consulted with Brian on this latest Vista stuff. And to be honest, Vista is nothing so different from the complex beasts that Brian has nutured to fruition in the past. Of course if you have been here for only five or so years you'd think Vista is the only challenge MS has ever faced. But I digress..
Yes the original plan was to get this puppy out August ending to ensure the two classes of OEMs (Direct and Indirect, e.g. Dell and Circuit City) had a level playing field for the year end Vista fueled hardware & software sales. Vista is being delivered with a bottoms up project management method where each component's (and there are hundreds) schedule make up the master. So the Brian review showed a few components (I can count with the fingers on one hand) needing a few more weeks to wrap. Because of the nature of these components (input vs output) there is no other alternative other than adding these extra weeks (half in Beta 2, 0.25% in RC1 etc).
Now Brian has humongous titanium balls - Go check his history from Exchange 5.5 to Win2K etc. He has his rules that cannot be overriden and some of these are:
1) If it ain't done, I a'int serving it. Period.
2) A customer will soon forgive you for shipping good stuff later than you promised but will never forgive you for shipping bad stuff on time.
The added time was not even much, prolly 6weeks (or 8 worst case) and will serve mainly those few components. Over 90% of the Windows components will be Vista complete in June and then cruise along the project ending dance to August as originally planned. However the added time pushed overall RTM to mid-October.
Regarding that, a number of people followed up saying, "Wow, that's exactly the kind of perspective I wanted to hear from our leadership." Exactly. Not that bungled spin put out by Allchin. And where is Ballmer? Where is Gates?
Regarding Mr. Sinofsky, this comment shines forth with silver lining for those folks looking forward to working on Vienna:
If you take a look through the Office org (including Client, Server, Shared), count how many PUMs, Directors, or GMs there are. You can probably do it on one hand (maybe two). That's not an accident. Sinofsky is not a big fan of the PUM model because it can lead to fiefdoms (see: Windows org). He's more about letting smaller, flatter product teams of Dev/PM/Test do the right thing and be hard core about carving out a vision and sticking to it. And that means not doing every feature you want in a single release and adding 1000 DCRs after you're code complete.
And with some fiefdom busting, you can easily rebalance people around according to needs versus spending time breaking through empire building and useless features.
(And if you want to piss off someone from Office, here's something I witnessed: poke them about how Office 2007 is slipping just as much as Vista. Expect to be told how they are just fine, thank you, and on target to be completely done way before the end of the year. It seems the people ready focus around shipping Office is our OEM customer-people and making their pre-install lives easier to deal with two major releases at the same time vs. back to back.)
And what have I learned?
I'm encouraged by the mention of agility in Kevin Johnson's memo:
3. Agility: Lay the foundation for accelerating our pace of innovation, including focusing on ways to improve clarity of decision making, drive greater accountability, and reduce layers in the organization so we can move faster. It also means utilizing existing expertise within the division to embrace services -- and rapid release cycles that services can enable -- to all aspects of our business. Our software + service approach and the expertise we have built in MSN can support innovation agility as we enable the Live era.
Reducing layers, accountability, moving faster, and agility are all pretty much one of the Pillars of Mini. I know we can do it, it just has to be something that's both valued and something that the leadership, from top to the very front-line, are all compensated for succeeding at as part of their commitments. Otherwise, it's just lip service and a nice slide to pontificate in-front of a crowd of rolling eyeballs.
I've discovered that if you link to relevant topics currently on-top of tech.memeorandum you can achieve perhaps more attention than you really want... even being the top story for a small bit. From a technical + sociological + news gathering + attention economy point of view, it's fascinating. It's like letting a steely ball loose inside of a complex pinball machine. Sometimes it's one boink! and the ball goes straight down between your flippers. Other times, it bouncing around and careening through the bumpers and traps all on it's own, even bouncing into the land of Slashdot.
Speaking of Slashdot: I've once again had to flip comment moderation on. I let a lot of the anti-Microsoft comments pile up for a while, but then it just got offensively silly. You know, recently I was talking with a medical doctor. He said how much he was impressed by Microsoft Corporation and what high esteem he held for the company, along with the community values that lead to lots of charitable giving by the employees and the company. He was bemused and confused to have discovered recently that there was this "Evil Empire" point of view by some people. Most people in the world view Microsoft with polite indifference. The incoming comments by the Any But Microsoft crowd certainly serve as a small reminder of the lightening rod of hatred we still are for a techy subculture. The one thing it makes me ponder is, "Where are the Microsoft zealots? The ones who only want to run Microsoft technology and wouldn't dare suffer a Mac or Linux?"
What's your reaction to that question?
I look forward to flipping the moderation off again. Perhaps this post will be boring enough to warrant that. Plus, I'm going to have to take a break because I need to read some books and enjoy the sun and the wind against my face (and mended knee) vs. lurking in the dark with my laptop and 92 new morning comments to scan through (I know, rub your fingers together to play me a nice, mournful violin tune, but how about you imagining what moderating Slashdot-based comments must be like. Take a moment. Okay, now go to your happy place.).
Oh, and that 60% rewrite brouhaha? On the face of such a comment: what?!? No one would ever believe that!
Then it shot off like wildfire on a dry West Texas plain. Maybe they meant one particular small component of Vista was requiring a 60% rewrite, but the whole OS? There's a lesson here, though: technical people are going to pick up on wild stuff like this and start propagating it and turning it into real news quickly, where it dries and becomes fact. There are going to be plenty more examples of this in the future, especially around releases of Vista and Office 2007. Microsoft (and other companies worried about misinformation) needs to have an fire-brigade that can disperse in minutes blog postings regarding the facts, linking to the offending posts, to stop the propagation as soon as possible. Don't rely on one guy. Blogging is not his day job.
Updated: fixed two small typos that irked me.
Posted by Who da'Punk at Sunday, March 26, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
There's a new sheriff in town, and he's aimin' to gun down any rootin', tootin' varmit that can't deliver what he committed to.
Mary Jo Foley probably had the most succinct characterization of Mr. Sinofsky: "...a strict, schedule-bound manager who keeps the trains running on time." Holy smokes, start handing out the brown shirts emblazoned with Vienna 2009 on the front and ... or else I'm fired on the back.
Follow-up elsewhere on this:
- Microsoft PR: Microsoft Realigns Platforms & Services Division for Greater Growth and Agility Steven Sinofsky joins PSD to lead Windows and Windows Live development.
- Mary Jo Foley with Kevin
Turner'sJohnson's memo: Microsoft Memo Details Latest Windows Unit Reorg
- Ms. Foley again, wondering that if Office 2007 is slipping then maybe the trains aren't quite on time after all: Can Microsoft Make the Trains Run on Time?
- Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Steven Sinofsky Takes Over Windows and Windows Live - just a touch of commentary. Oh, Dare, where's that dark side anymore?
- Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog @ SeattlePI.com - Windows management reorg
- Nathan Weinberg: » No No No! Damnit No! Damn! InsideMicrosoft - part of the Blog News Channel
- Good read: » Regime change at Microsoft Ed Bott's Microsoft Report ZDNet.com - Mr. Bott does an especially good job at skewering the spin on the Vista delay release from yesterday. A snippet: No wonder they delivered the news on a conference call. Even Bagdad Bob would have had a hard time keeping a straight face while reading the line “We must optimize for the industry.” I’m not even sure what that last phrase means. It sounds to me like someone’s trying to deflect the blame for this whole mess. Looks like they didn’t succeed.
Turner Johnson will have a Friday morning meeting to discuss this, available for webcast later. Interesting times.
My little take: I'm especially disappointed that we're not using this as a demonstration of accountability. Show that we're reshuffling to come in to get rid of whatever mismanaged mess there is within the Windows leadership. That would restore confidence. Even if this has nothing to do with executive leadership finally having a revelation, "What-the? Vista development sure hasn't been a success... light the Sinofsky signal!" it could at least be spun that way. What the hell is wrong with not only working to fix the problem (thank you) but admitting we're fixing a problem, instead of leaving it in some sort of unsaid, abstract wink to everyone to connect the dots. Sorry, them dots are going to continue screwing up.
According to commenters in the past, Mr. Sinofsky has kept a very open door to people who want to discuss problems getting Microsoft business done and what kind of solutions are needed. He's also been pretty pro-active blogging for recruiting new Microsofties (the kind of Microsofties who like their writing as dense as last year's fruitcake). And a little bit anti-Mini. Office does seems to get things done. I have no idea how many of the disgruntled comments or ideas to fix process have come from Office-softies. So, I'm willing to take a sip of the SteveSi Kool-Aid and have hope here.
(Oh, man. For some reason just had a flash-forward vision of our 2006 Company Meeting and yet another demo of Vista. Does it get an award for the most-Company-Meeting-demo'd soon to be released product?)
In the meantime, with this potential for leadership results (will Sinofsky lieutenants soon follow in his wake?) we also have ChrisJo keeping his word: on his internal blog, someone asked if he was going to own up to forgoing his bonus if we didn't make the 8/31/06 RTM date. He said "Yes." Simple answer. Solid leadership. I'd like to hear some more VPs and Partners kick in to that refreshing "Yes" choir.
Administrivia: flipping back into moderation mode for a while. Waaaaay too many zealots crapping out comments I've got to hunt down and delete. Hopefully a temporary state. Any ideas, Clay Shirky? And for all the passionate anti-Microsoft folks out there: I hope your satisfied now that you got that neener-neener-neener out of your system. I never mind reasonable arguments from the ABM crowd, but some of what's typed just makes me wonder if you hug your Momma with those naughty fingers.
Updated: gotta pay more attention to those president's names. Thanks for the comment correction.
Posted by Who da'Punk at Thursday, March 23, 2006
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
It certainly sounded like Microsoft leadership committed to us, our customers, our partners, and our shareholders that Vista would be out in 2006.
We should have asked for more details around the "or else" part of that commitment.
I was upset at missing the back-to-school market. Now we're missing the holiday sales market. All of those laptops and PCs are going to have XP on it. What percentage will upgrade to Vista? Well, I guess that's the little dream that I need to give up on. Vista's deployment is going to come from people buying CPUs with the OS pre-installed, not dancing down the CompUSA aisle as they clutch that boxed version of Vista to their loving chest. So not only did we miss last year's opportunity, we're missing this year's opportunity, too. With the convergence of high-tech media, this holiday season would have been an explosive nodal point to get Vista out for a compounded effect.
Personally, I've been holding off of buying a laptop and a new mega-big-iron PC until Vista is done. I'm super-excited to get Vista Ultimate on that new PC and be able to hook Media Center up to my Xbox 360. And now I'll wait.
In my afternoon daydream, after Allchin's email went out, I imagined all the L68+ partners from the Windows division gathered together and told, "You are our leadership. When we succeed, it is directly because of how you lead and manage your teams. When we fail, it is directly because of how you lead and manage your teams. We've had enough of failure and we've had enough of you. Drop off your badge on the way out. Your personal belongings will be dropped off at your house. Now get out of my sight."
Sigh. Well, I'd settle for the version: "... When we fail, it is directly because of how you lead and manage your teams. We reward success. We do not reward failure, especially sustained failure that has directly affected this company, its future, and its stock price. You will not receive any incentives this year. You will not receive a bonus. You will not get a raise. You will not be awarded stock."
People need to be fired and moved out of Microsoft today. Where's the freakin' accountability?
In the meantime, the discussion of how you'd sell Vista in 30-seconds to a non-techy consumer hasn't come up with much Abbie-understandable reasons other than "cooler games!" Sure, Abbie probably spends a lot of time with solitaire and minesweeper, so that's good. But most of it focuses either on issues so deep and technical that the average consumer is going to shrug and say, "Hell, I don't think I need any of that!" or on issues that make you think that XP is a ticking time-bomb of unstable code ready to explode 1s and 0s over anyone who looks at it wrong. And as for Alpha Geeks and super-users, it sounds like LUA is going to be a daily pain in the patootie.
The good news? Well, we've got plenty of time to conjure up reasons why Vista is going to be better than XP in a way that anyone can understand and agree with. Plus $500 million to spend doing it.
Oy. Oy. Oy.
Updated: added the Channel9 link.
Posted by Who da'Punk at Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Some really interesting comments coming in as of late.
Next week I'm going to take a moment to read-read them all and call-out some of the ones I find interesting (460+ to read through at the moment, so that's gonna take a while...). Due to the WashTech union / level pay-range story and its subsequent coverage (hey, even including a CNN story: Microsoft's labor troubles), folks have discovered or rediscovered the Mini-Microsoft conversation and have added plenty of comments. Some added their comments to the older entries, meaning that most people won't see them... unless you've created a CoComment feed for every posting. I'll try to pull those out in a post next week.
In the meantime, some homework: why is Vista better than XP?
If your non-techie friend or financial advisor or Mom asked you that question, what are you going say?
I only ask because recently I was watching a video of a speaker at Microsoft. During the Q&A, he asked that question of a lady Microsoftie in the audience. Not only could you tell her brain was momentarily frozen (uhhhhhh), you could feel that the entire crowd hit a panicked brain freeze. The lady then came up with an almost apologetic answer saying the Vista is more stable, safer, and faster than XP.
Ooo, ouch. Not great talking points. And no one kicked in anything better.
I do think Vista is great, but even I can't come up with a 30-second knock-it-out-of-the-park reason as to why anyone would part with their hard-earned money to upgrade to it. Which I feel bad about and I'm going to work on it. I figure everyone at Microsoft needs to have an honest answer as to why our two cash cows are worth upgrading to.
Why is Vista better than XP?
Why will Office 2007 make my work-life better?
Update: okay, comments turned on. And, looking at the most recent comments, I feel like I finally have to start drafting that Dev vs. Test vs. PM post, if only to give one place for it all to be...
Posted by Who da'Punk at Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Oh my, I interrupt the kudos love fest. Here am I, approving the morning comments, and ka-bang! I find out that WashTech has received internal documents about Microsoft's recent compensation trends... and it looks awful for everyone riding in coach.
Rising Frustration with Microsoft’s Compensation and Review System - analysis of internal information on Microsoft's compensation system. Snippet:
Internal Microsoft documents obtained by WashTech News show that Microsoft salaries have been stagnant or nudged only slightly higher over the past two years. Comments from current and former employees about the company’s compensation and performance review system suggest a growing level of frustration among rank-and-file workers.
Union trying again to organize Microsoft - Seattle Times article on WashTech.org's analysis.
Union gets special delivery: Microsoft pay guidelines - Mr. Todd Bishop's blog at the Seattle PI (includes an image of the salary info), along with newspaper article Union says Microsoft salaries lag. Snippet:
The documents appear to show minimum, midpoint and maximum compensation guidelines at Microsoft going unchanged between 2004 and 2006 for eight of the 21 salary categories, at the lowest end of the pay scale. In other categories, many of the increases shown are below 3 percent.
"Overall, you can clearly tell what their goal is," said Marcus Courtney, president of the WashTech union. "In terms of what they're paying out in annual increases to employees, they're trying to hold the line well below 3 percent a year."
Good reads. I realize that WashTech has an agenda: unionize Microsofties. All I can say is that the mismanagement of Microsoft and the reaping of benefits at the top of the company is giving them plenty of hope and ammunition.
As for the review system and compensation... I know it's been talked about a good bit here. If you've been a long-time reader here and want to stay on a positive bend, I'd say continue adding your thumbs-up comments to the kudos post.
If you're new to this blog, I'd suggest reading the below old postings and add your comments to this post.
- Microsoft's 3.0 (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Curve)
- Microsoft Stack Ranking is not Good Management
- Stack Ranking Has an Expiration Date
- Get Rid of The Curve to Reduce Microsoft's Headcount
And, one of my ego-centric favorites:
As for Microsofties: if you haven't done your Mid Year Discussion yet, perhaps you now have at least one more interesting topic to bring up...
Posted by Who da'Punk at Thursday, March 09, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 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?
Posted by Who da'Punk at Tuesday, March 07, 2006