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July 11, 2007 | Comments Off on Content Manager


Stop Him Before He Speaks Again!

Please Hammer, dont hurt him.

Just keep him quiet ! Should we expect another mea-culpa in the inbox?

  • Seattle-PI: Stock falls on Ballmer speech
  • Seattle-Times blogs: Ballmers update: Reading (between) the lines and Brier Dudley – Whats up with Vista?
  • Ballmer Vista forecast too rosy – Microsoft The Seattle Times
  • Barrons: Microsoft: Mixed Analyst Reaction To Warning On Vista Sales; Stock Sells Off (via Brier Dudley)
  • All the rest ( hmm, is there a theme? ):
    • Microsoft shares fall after analyst conference
    • Ballmer Sends Microsoft Shares on Slide
    • Microsoft shares tumble on CEO comments

I especially liked reading MSFT Extreme Makeovers take on the analysts presentation: MSFTextrememakeover Ill gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today . Snippet:

Finally, what can I say about Ballmer? Beyond questioning, as I have, what content was included while leaving major issues – like investment track record to date – largely unaddressed, I have a real problem with his tone and attitude. The word that comes to mind is flippant. Im sure thats not his intention, but it nonetheless seems to be the result. You get almost no sense that this is the CEO of a publicly-traded company who is accountable to his Board and shareholders.

And it just gets better.

When listening to the webcast, I certainly spat out a non-acronymic version of WTF! when Ballmer brought down the hammer on Vista expectations. Wow, that could have been worded better, as if the impact was well understood, I muttered, flipping over to check in on after-hours trading. Additionally, Im no great presenter, but someone has to work with Ballmer on his ability to get through a lot of information ( editing it down to begin with is always nice ) without droning in some sort of anti-pentameter: blah blah dee blah dee BLAAAAAAH, blah-blah blar buh da BLAAAAAH, etc etc repeat a few dozen times.

Off-hand, if we see irrational exuberance around expectations we do need to put some reasonable restraint on it. But who let the bears out?

Along the lines of doing the right thing :

I find all the people above plain ignorant who are blaming Ballmer for the stock fall afterhours yesterday.


I have never found anybody who has blamed Ballmer for failing financial target of Microsoft business. Therefore he is doing his job well. Those who prefer to keep stock price up on false estimates are like people who sell their own personal stuff by lying to a potention buyer (a lemon car is passed as a perfect car). Or these people see stocks as lotto instead of the economic engine of a capital market.

Fortunately Ballmer has better ethics and sense than these two types of people.

As for lunch-table conspiracies :

Ballmer, in case one of your assistants reads this BLOG . please shut the *&#% up or Im going to begin to agree with those who say you want our April options to stay under water!

Getting back to the Hunt for Ray ( that should be worked into the next Puzzle Hunt ):

Ray isnt the answer. Ray has vision but his execution lacks significantly. Have any of you actually used Groove? or Notes? Id rather swallow glass than work with either of those gems.

And :

Ray has stepped back to reassess his commitment to put some sanity into the Live strategy.

To wit:

Office Live is a disaster. Usability sucks, support sucks, and there is a lot of infighting between them and the rest of the Live services. Also, it is beset with many of the same problems as previous projects like NetDocs and Hailstorm: not enough focus on what the customer wants and too much focus on fancy code. Coincidentally, many of the same leaders from those projects are now leading the Office Live project.


Live is .Net all over again. No one knows what the hell it means, even those who are supposed to be leading the effort. Ray wasnt around during the .Net days, so he is getting a dose of what it is like and he doesnt like the taste.

Finally, as for Ray and his vision :

We need more engagement from Ray and his brigade about whats happening and what kind of coherent vision is coming about.

Im sorry, but this is NOT what you need. You do NOT need vision from Ray. At this point, what you need from Ray is code !

I have a very long history with Microsoft, and I am no longer a softie. One of the reasons I left is the whole vision/strategy vs. code problem. In the old days, production quality code really mattered a ton. In the new Microsoft, from Forum 2000 onward, code was much less important. What really mattered was laying down a vision and a strategy.

Death to PowerPoint decks! Okay, next, it seems as though the Orange-Badge life has more ups than downs :

I just left my Level 59 job, the level is between $68,000 and $78,000. I was at the top of my level doing great work, great stats, and couldnt get promoted. Over time, I found out it was because I just happened to be working on a product that management couldnt wait to hit the end-of-lifecycle.

Now, Im a vendor, and Im making $130,000 a year. And I dont have to put up with the corporate political bullsh” that kept me down, mainly the stupid review process because I didnt go bowling with the boss team every Wednesday night (no sh”).

Now, I have a job thats singular in focus, and I cant wait to get on campus every day to do my one little complicated job that I do incredibly well, and I am well-paid for the excellent work that Im putting in. Blue-badging is dead to me.

That led to a resurge of former FTEs quite happy with the non-review, pay-me for the time Im hear is the life-for-me. Something to think about. If youre not risk averse.

Lastly, for those going through career-management exhaustion, heres a comment that certainly resonates with me :

Particularly apropos for anyone who has seen the HR deck for midyear reviews, or waded through any of the hours and hours of reading and data entry (nevermind the training, manager meetings, etc.) that accompany this brand-new vision of how were supposed to (apparently) spend about 8 months of the year either working on, reviewing, revising, talking about, or learning how to update our careers or performance measurements.

Are we actually supposed to do our day jobs at some point too? Or is that incidental now?

I used to work at IBM, and even there, we didnt have this kind of mind-numbing, process-upon-process bureaucracy around *anything* – nevermind around something like career paths.

My favorite part was a sentence on one slide saying this was all because You asked for it! Not in my wildest dreams would I have asked for this kind of B.S. I like my job. Can I just do it, please? At least some of the time?

Or I will be just another ex-MSFTie wondering what the h” happened to such a great place to work.

Not only should we be agile and efficient about shipping our next generation of products and services, we should be just as diligent as being efficient about running our business and not running it into the ground with more and more of Satans Process Excellence .

Mini-Microsoft Microsoft