Molly Holzschlag: No Mr. Ballmer, Microsoft Will not Win the Web.
Oh, Molly, I totally agree. SteveB, the Web isn't something you can win. The Web is something you can love. Or something you can hate. But it's not something you can enslave or own -- anymore than you can own or enslave oxygen or water.
I think SteveB assumes we all know what he's talking about. I think he's talking about businesses on the Web and not the Web itself. Sorta like you can own a fish that swims in the sea, but you can't own the sea itself. I know I've often heard him speak and find myself saying "huh?" but when I add "profitable business" to what he's saying it makes a lot more sense.
Steve, why don't we do another interview? This time for an hour so we can get in depth and make sure we really understand what you mean.
In the meantime, I'm taking Molly's side.
Brad Feld, venture capitalist: 2006 Will Be The Year of Microsoft.
Lots of people are asking me what I think of the two very negative articles about Microsoft (that link goes to Memeorandum where you can see some of the early discussion) that were published this week.
First, I like Mini-Microsoft.
Cause I want to work for a company that constantly is looking at itself to see how it can improve and Mini-Microsoft certainly gives employees a way to surface problems and get attention on those issues. Some might argue about whether or not hanging our dirty laundry in public is a good thing, but to me it is. I'd far prefer dealing with the negative feelings that brings around than dealing with a Worldcom or an Enron (or a bankruptcy like two airlines are going through this week).
How do we avoid the innovator's dilemma? By always looking at ourselves and asking ourselves "are we doing the best job we can?" and "are we doing the right things?" and "are we serving customers the best we can?"
One thing I've learned as I've traveled around Microsoft with my camcorder is that software is just the realization of human ideas. I will always defend those who discuss and generate ideas. Even if they are unpopular.
Mini-Microsoft often infuriates me. He often makes me cheer, too. But, that's why I love him. He gets me to think. He gets me to question what I'm doing. Where I'm going. And the same about Microsoft.
Anyway, I thought about getting "rah rah" but now is not the time. We had a great week here at the PDC. Now we have to get back to work cause we have long lists of things that customers want us to do.
I guess I didn't answer the question that was raised about these articles. Am I proud to work here at Microsoft? Yes. Is my morale high? Yes although there are definitely issues I'm working with management on that I'm hearing from around the company. The way we compensate people, for instance, is just not optimal. Is Microsoft becoming less relevant? I'll let our customers answer that one. Is Microsoft a fun place to work? Absolutely. There's no other company that's doing the depth of work that we are from the Xbox to SQL Server. It's damn interesting work as you'll see in the videos I've put up this week. Does Microsoft have morale problems? Yes, but not unsolvable ones and it varies from team-to-team. Guess what? All companies have morale problems.
By the way, our recruiting team has three former Google employees on it (I had dinner with them the other night). But no one ever talks about the employees who leave Google to come to work for Microsoft.
This year alone I've turned down other jobs for more money (lots more money, actually). Why did I do that? Well, I work with the folks who do stuff like this.
Why do I stay at Microsoft? Because I get to see the whole of Microsoft. I get to see it in a way that not even Gates or Ballmer do. My coworkers continually amaze me.
Now back to work.