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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture 204

jfruh (300774) writes New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that he and his leadership team are taking "important steps to visibly change our culture" and that "nothing is off the table" on that score. While much of his declaration consists of vague and positive-sounding phrases ("increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes"), he outlined his main goals for the shift: reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; and increasing investment for employee training and development.
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

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  • Manager (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:34AM (#47437363) Homepage

    Ha, a real manager!

    But seriously, hopefully Microsoft will benefit from him and become a bit more popular amongst nerds.

    • Re:Manager (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:47AM (#47437417)

      yeah, because everything a nerd wants is summed up in the phrase "business process", flat or not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mfh ( 56 )

      Weasels that know corporate double speak are ruining everything though. You know we don't mourn the T-rex. We talk about the dinosaurs as being really big and dumb.

      They were all psychopaths!! Lizard brains.

      When the cockroaches are mulling over what our existences might have been like, they will all say that the weasels died out because of our stupidity and overconfidence. They'll say we were monsters, too. Big and dumb. Lizard brains.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      EVERY new bigwig wants to play "there's a new sneriff in town!" and shake things up. They'll change things for no good reason for the sake of change, even if that same change was already tried three or four bigwigs ago. Imagine a cat or a dog pissing on their territory to make sure other cats/dogs know who it belongs to. That's all there is to see here. After that it'll be meet the new boss, same as the old boss because he'll have to deal with all the same pressures.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Teckla ( 630646 )

      But seriously, hopefully Microsoft will benefit from him and become a bit more popular amongst nerds.

      Why do you hope for that? Microsoft pretends to reinvent itself regularly, but one thing remains constant through the decades: Their goal has unswervingly been lock-in from top to bottom, while trying to nickel and dime you the whole way.

      For nerds, this means locking you into their programming languages (e.g., VB or C#), or if not that, at least lock you into their APIs (so that you're as good as locked in, even if you're using C or C++). It means abandonment of entire domains that no longer suit them (lo

      • by Twinbee ( 767046 )
        USB sockets also lock you in to using USB leads.

        I don't see standards as a bad thing, if they're done well.
        • Re:Manager (Score:5, Informative)

          by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:33AM (#47437763)

          USB sockets also lock you in to using USB leads.

          You're missing that point that anybody can make both USB sockets and USB leads with a very minimal royalty payment.

          What if only one company made USB sockets (Microsoft) and they charged $100 for it (Windows). Then, once you did pay and had your USB device working, they stopped supporting the current USB standard, which encouraged your device manufacturer to stop supporting it. Then, all new USB devices would only work on the new USB sockets, so if you buy a new camera/scanner/mouse/keyboard/whatever, you can't plug it in to your current USB socket, and need to pay another $100 to get the new socket. If Microsoft didn't see Windows as a profit center, but instead used it as a platform to get you to pay for everything else they do, 90% of the complaints about them would stop.

          I didn't mind paying for the first versions of Windows, because they gave me something I didn't have: a windowed UI. Then, Windows NT gave us real multi-tasking and 32-bit code. Windows 2000 and XP were just more polished versions, although XP gave us 64-bit that wasn't supported much. Windows 7 finally gave us 64-bit with real support. Windows 8 is just a different UI. So, the reality is that over that span of nearly 20 years, I feel like I should have paid "full price" for about 3 versions (truly major upgrades), and some token amount (about 20% of the full version price seems right) for the "maintenance" releases.

          Instead, if you wanted to play the latest games, you had to upgrade to XP (2000 was just fine for running productivity apps) and 7, and even before the end of support of XP, you had to upgrade to 7 if you didn't use an alternate browser (unless you like getting burned by the most common security exploits). Then, add in that the more recent OS often don't have drivers for older hardware and have a lot more system requirements, and you end up with Linux getting traction because of this endless cycle.

          Although Linux is really hurting the inroads that MS made into the server market, it will never touch the desktop until it's just as easy to use. It will never be just as easy to use as long as there are 14 different Linux distributions with 43 different GUI implementations (numbers pulled out of my ass, but you get the picture). Until there is one GUI, no large percentage of companies will heavily invest in converting to a Linux desktop because they won't want to train every new hire in how the system works. And yes, I know that the vast majority of people don't do anything complicated, but things like connecting to a network share, changing the screen resolution, changing the GUI colors, playing a video, scheduling a meeting with co-workers, etc., are all things that real people do and which have to be easy and consistent. In addition, until all the standard software is available (no, Linux doesn't have to have Microsoft Office, but it has to have a package that does everything that Office does, and Open/Libre Office ain't it), there won't be a large shift, either.

          I maintain Linux servers for a living, but I still use a Windows desktop (even though my employer does support Windows, Linux, and OSX for personal desktops) because it still is easier to get everything done using that. I have lots of options to get to a Linux system and run programs (both text and GUI), and not everyone in my office uses the same toolset as I do. But, the other direction is painful. Without Windows, you can't easily find out when everybody is available for a meeting, and can't stay logged in to your e-mail (OWA times out, while Outlook does not). I can connect to a Windows share from a Linux system, but I can't adjust the ACLs. With a Windows desktop, I can connect to both Windows and NFS shares and adjust the ACLs.

          • by Twinbee ( 767046 )
            All fair points but...

            so if you buy a new camera/scanner/mouse/keyboard/whatever, you can't plug it in to your current USB socket, and need to pay another $100 to get the new socket

            Microsoft have done a lot to support backwards compatibility. Most software which works on WinXP will work on Win 8 and vice versa.

            I don't think the price MS charges for Windows is amazingly extortionate, but I get your point.

            As you semi-pointed out, if MS opened up Windows I fear we'd get the same fragmentation Linux/Unix has. That's the last thing we need. Standards are good, fragmentation is not. (As long as the product is mature/good quality, and competition isn't needed as

            • Microsoft does a good job of supporting backward compatibility because it has to do so to maintain lock-in. If things weren't very compatible from version to version, you might be tempted to try something else. That is how Microsoft rakes in their money for a product that is in many ways worse than a free product: lock-in.
              • Microsoft does a good job of supporting backward compatibility because it has to do so to maintain lock-in. If things weren't very compatible from version to version, you might be tempted to try something else.

                MS is generally OK in the "programs run" bit, but they really need to force hardware manufacturers to keep supporting the older OS with drivers. When Windows 7 came out, a lot of smaller companies stopped providing XP drivers for their hardware.

            • Monoculture is bad. What you call fragmentation I call a healthy diversity allowing security. Unfortunately Linux is heading away from this with things like systemd, which will create a new monoculture for no appreciable gain, but at least so far the diversity is working in the Internets favor.

              And who says competition is not needed in OS'es, anyway? Why should we all settle for a monoculture and just placidly say "standards are good" without examining whether they actually ARE good?

        • And you can by interchangable USB devices that work on multiple operating systems made by over twenty different companies.

          When we can buy windows from twenty different companies and it just works, then the two will be equivalent.

          • by Twinbee ( 767046 )
            Windows is a lot more complicated than a hardware interface specification, so MS deserves a little more to hold the rights to the Windows and its technology. But I get your point.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The problem is at their core they fail to recognise there are two organisations, hard business under M$ and creative works under MSN. They have allowed M$ to be a continual drag upon MSN and really failed to capitalise on it's value. Doing silly stuff like lessening the brand with outlook, live and bing over advertising and lessening page view worth and crippling creativity by leaving it stuck under M$ management.

        They should split the company and allow MSN to achieve it's worth whilst they milk windows a

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        It means high prices (have you seen the prices on Windows Server and/or Microsoft Azure lately?

        Yes pretty reasonable compared to Oracle, IBM and similar offerings. Higher than open source alternatives.

        It means ignoring customers and forcing bad implementations on them (*cough*Metro*cough*) and then taking forever to admit it was a mistake and fix it (when is Windows 9 due out? Next year sometime?).

        IMHO the mistake was not forcing it more by making touch and/or digitizer tablet mandatory for Windows 8

      • Dunno man, everything you just said kind of applies to Apple too...

      • Re:Manager (Score:4, Insightful)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:14AM (#47437931) Homepage Journal

        Their goal has unswervingly been lock-in from top to bottom, while trying to nickel and dime you the whole way.

        This is exactly the corporate culture shake-up that's required.

        Microsoft has a lot of really smart people, and the financial and other assets needed to put them to work doing great things that can compete and win on their own, actually serving customers rather than trying to lock them in and then exploit them.

        MS could be great. But they need a radically different internal dynamic to get there. Will this guy be able to do that? I'm skeptical, but I really hope he can.

        • Look at who came to the top alongside Satya. It's people like Scott Guthrie, who have been pushing for more openness and more attention to other platforms rather than just Windows for years now.

          "Open source" is actually quite a buzzword inside MS recently. I didn't think I'd ever see a lawyer giving a talk to programmers on F/OSS emphasize that "GPL is not actually bad, you just need to be careful and aware of the implication". As well as describe the historical hostile policy on open source as "stupid and

      • Re:Manager (Score:5, Interesting)

        by raddan ( 519638 ) * on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:38AM (#47438041)
        (disclaimer: I have interned at Microsoft for the past three summers; I do not speak for them)

        I think your criticism against lock-in is fair, and this is clearly one of Microsoft's strategies, and I suspect that it will continue to be to some degree. But on the language front, you are wrong. Not only are Microsoft's newest languages open-source (F# [fsharp.org], TypeScript [codeplex.com]), but they are also cross-platform [msdn.com] and collaboratively developed [xamarin.com] with open source groups. And, of course, you can run all .NET languages on the Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, etc. with mono [mono-project.com].

        While it is theoretically possible that all of this is a deadly Microsoft-bait-and-switch just waiting to happen, having worked at Microsoft, I can say that doing so would fly in the face of a lot of hard work by many, many people there. I was as critical about Microsoft as you were (dig into my /. history and you'll see) until I worked there. Not only is it a great place to work, but the company really is committed to changing its culture. Use of open-source tools at Microsoft used to be strictly-prohibited. Now they have a fast-track process for working with them. Open-sourcing of Microsoft software was also a complete non-starter. Now putting Microsoft code up on the web is increasingly routine, and they even have their own open-source hosting ala GitHub [codeplex.com] that has git bindings [codeplex.com].

        Microsoft is a big company (the Redmond campus is mind-bogglingly huge to me) and they have a lot of corporate momentum. Despite this, in my opinion, I've seen my daily interactions with people do a complete 180 in the last couple of years. Microsoft knows that the era of selling boxed copies of proprietary software is coming to an end. So you're simply wrong about Microsoft not being able to change.
        • The issue, in the long term, is does it really matter? Microsoft still had a big chunk of the enterprise workstation and groupware market, but in many other ways they're becoming irrelevant. Despite throwing boatloads of money at the search and tablet markets, they're not moving those products. To make up for that they're hiking the prices of the very enterprise offerings they need to survive. Volume licensing, Server, Exchange, SQL Server and the like have Alli been jacket up to fund their failures. The la

          • by raddan ( 519638 ) *
            You're forgetting that mobile devices need a complement to be useful: mobile services. Many of the services that we know and love-- and the many more coming down the pipeline-- all need massive amounts of computation. And the trend right now is toward more and more computation. For example, Skype (not exactly a failure) requires massive cloud resources, and the forthcoming Skype Translator [microsoft.com] will require a neural net behind the scenes.

            I don't think your feelings about Windows Server contradict my point:
      • So true. I wish MS could more like Apple. oh wait...

      • Microsoft pretends to reinvent itself regularly, but one thing remains constant through the decades: Their goal has unswervingly been lock-in from top to bottom

        Essentially every for-profit company has the "unswerving" goal of lock-in. Google wrote Gmail to make search "stickier" (your data tunes their search responses to you, not their competitors), the Play Store is to make Android stickier (both to you and the handset makers) because you'd have to re-buy your apps and videos if you switched, and the handset makers would lose easy access to the Play store if they didn't also preinstall Gmail, Google Now, and the Google branded apps on their phones. Your printer o

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      But seriously, hopefully:
      Code great support for game developers on the PC over the Windows 8 to 9 upgrades.
      Console can coast along as always.
      Lock in new consumer revenue streams over generations of emerging product lines.
      Have more people involved in decisions before another confidential ex parte motion.
      Ensure ongoing quality encryption for consumers globally.
  • Good call (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashdice ( 3722985 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:35AM (#47437365)
    as a former MicroSoftie (research, don't be a hater) I can confirm that Ballmer was first and foremost a sales guy. He brought in the revenue but destroyed the culture and the company in the process. He was a corporate raider, he just did it from the inside.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      What culture? The only aim was to ship software at a price to win over a generation of customers and keep them consuming the next versions.
      What changed? What was different from the early days? The productivity software runs, the games play, the cash flows.
      • by digsbo ( 1292334 )

        What changed? What was different from the early days?

        What changed was selling development stacks that were both first-class tools aimed at real programmers (i.e. not VB compilers as glorified spreadsheet builders), embracing and NOT extending 3rd party and open source components, and open sourcing their own stuff (i.e. Roslyn).

        As a former open source guy, I find that I ENJOY using MS tools to build software, and increasingly see them working to make their stuff more and more interoperable and less and less locked in.

  • translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:36AM (#47437369)

    reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision = layoffs

    quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends = every ms product will have facebook-like privacy-infringing malware

      increasing investment for employee training and development = get more h1b visas to replace us workers with foreign code monkeys

    • i was going to post something similar (i usually use blockquote) but you pretty much hit it

      i lol'ed when i saw "quantify outcomes"...

      seriously..."quantify outcomes"...might as well say "keep toilet paper stocked"...the whole fskign world runs on quantified outcomes...i'm dismayed not because a M$ CEO is throwing out doublespeak BS...no, that is expected of course...it's what he chose to say that indicates his vision for M$ will be more of the same only more efficient internally

      • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 12, 2014 @01:49PM (#47438593) Journal

        Nothing is off the table? Does the table include lying, doublespeak, file format lock in, using proxies to sue Linux users, bribing and strongarming standardization committee members, the whole embrace, extend, and exterminate strategy that they tried with Java and IE, Windows Genuine Advantage, staying in bed with the copyright extremists of the entertainment industry, continued support of organizations like the Business Software Alliance? Is any of that off the table?

        If MS's new CEO isn't acknowledging that they went too far with that stuff, and that the company will go in a new direction, stop being anti-social, stop being evil, then the new CEO represents no real change, just some minor adjustments.

        • by Shaman ( 1148 )

          This. Exactly this. Everytime I hear someone apologize for Microsoft, I can't help but stare at them blankly. It's like Dumbledore and Harry Potter (this is news for NERDS still, right?) .. are you sure you ever really knew them at all?

  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:36AM (#47437371)

    So, does 'crease' actually exist in this sense?

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:38AM (#47437383) Homepage Journal

    Sounds good. To Malaysia and Beyond!

  • Wha? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:41AM (#47437389) Homepage

    crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization

    What does that even mean? How can you 'crease the fluidity' of anything? Sound suspiciously like typical management-speak, and I don't think that's what MS needs at all.

    • Other sources have it as 'increase'.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Other sources have it as 'increase'.

        Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

        • Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

          From the sounds of his announcement he's been burning too much AzureGreen. [incensewarehouse.com] Wait, Washington did legalize pot recently! That explains it!

        • crease the fluidity of information

          Other sources have it as 'increase'.

          Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

          Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are censed here!

          Actually, I think he said, "grease the fluidity of information", and the speech to text system got it wrong.

          . . . or maybe he said, "lease the fluidity of information", and was referring to charging for Cloud Big Data Service.

          . . . to that end, "fleece the fluidity of information", would also make sense.

          . . . or something concerning security, "police the fluidity of information" . . . ?

      • by rmstar ( 114746 )

        Other sources have it as 'increase'.

        Actually, it is 'increase' already in the linked article. The quote is

        "We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,"

        And it actually makes sense.

    • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:51AM (#47437433) Homepage

      Flatten the organization is simple enough - fire or demote managers so that there are more people reporting to any particular manager.

      Really this sounds like the kind of buzz-speak I was hearing at work a few years ago when the same sorts of things were done. The same Accenture consultant probably wrote the slide deck.

      Fewer people = fewer people involved in each decision, etc. They always talk about changing the culture, because talking about layoffs doesn't exactly make people excited to go to work.

      • by DingerX ( 847589 )
        Yeah, "Flatten the structure" means, at some level, have fewer bosses responsible for more employees. "Increasing communication" means having more bosses responsible for fewer employees. Doing both together means firing the people the CEO's entourage doesn't like.

        reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; = fire people.

        quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; =If it doesn't sell in the first quarter, kill it. Predict the
      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        One time I was watching Gen. Patraeus give a press conference by first giving a brief involving a lot of slides. One slide particularly stood out because it was so incomprehensible. It had arrows flying every which way, some pointing indistinctly at nothing in particular. Different kinds of arrows, blobs in clouds, starbursts, etc. The general was stumbling a bit in his words and he looks up, eyeballs the audience, and thanks the help he got from Microsoft employees in constructing that slide. That answers

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      Not a microsoftie, but my guess is that "flatten the organisation" refers to the organisational chart - he reckons there's too many layers of management.

      He may well be right. Too many layers of management often leads to stagnation because you wind up with every little decision having to be scrutinised to ensure it passes muster at every level of the chain. Personally, if I was a middle manager at Microsoft right now I'd be looking very seriously at polishing up my CV.

    • increase fluidity of information

      Apparently the information at MS is not very fluid, so this is a serious attempt at making that information much more fluider

      and ideas

      This one suspiciously coincides with the legalization of pot in WA state

      flatten the organization

      I think this is really a statement about facilities, there is a lot of wasted vertical space so most likely they will be installing something like those Japanese "drawer" hotels (where the person lays in what looks like a human sized drawer). They should be able to put a screen and keyboard in there so people

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:43AM (#47437405) Journal
    This is precisely why higher the CEO pay results in poorer performance by the company. All that pay, blinds the CEO, makes them think they are invincible, if the market is shoving that many billion dollars their way, they must be doing everything right. It sets up the eco system where flatterers, sycophants and yes men thrive insulating the CEO from real news and real feedback.

    To think one man, with some initiative can change the culture of a company the size of Microsoft, with entrenched interests, history of turf warfare and empire building is blowing smoke. That company went through spectacular expansion and growth in the 1990s. All those very capable people, the ones who have the vision and ability and the guts to skate too close to or even past the edges of legal behavior have all cashed out, burnt out or pushed out. As the able ones leave, the fraction of PHBs who are clueless when there is not a de-facto monopoly increases. They are playing the same game that used to be effective when there was a WinTel monopoly on desktops, and desktops had the monopoly on computing.

    A truly visionary CEO will realize this, break the company into pieces that will once again compete or perish and resign. But Satya Nadella is no Michail Gorbachev.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @09:03AM (#47437467)

      We are also under the delusion that the CEO's actions really matter. If you took the CEOs with the best track records and brought them in to run the businesses with the worst performance, how often would those companies become more profitable?.....the answer is roughly 60%. That isn't much better than the flip of a coin. [wsj.com]

      And I"m to find another stat that said that a CEO contributes about 5% to a company's bottom line.

      There have been CEOs - Lou Gerstner's turn around of IBM in the early 90s comes to mind - that may have been worth it.

      But all in all, they are over paid for what they do. Yahoo!'s new CEO, for example, is just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Marissa was the great blond hope for Yahoo! but she is turning out to be mediocre - like most CEOs. But, regardless of what happens, she'll get her $60 million - remember that when you bust your ass to meet a deadline and during your review you are told you could have done more and therefore you are rated as only "meeting objectives" and you just get a cost of living raise (1.5% If you didn't bust your ass working 60 hours a week for months, you would have gotten a "below standards" rating, no raise and if lucky you keep your job until they offshore your entire department.).

      Yep, we live in a meritocracy all right.

    • PHB ?

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      This is a fairly common problem, and it stems back to one thing.

      Finding staff is easy. You or I could place an advert tomorrow and we'd be snowed under this time next week. Problem is, drill through those applications and you'll probably find that 60% of the applicants couldn't even be bothered to make sure the job was vaguely appropriate for their skill set - and most of the remainder have such shocking interviews that you wonder why you bother.

      Finding good staff - people who will turn out to be a real ass

      • I suspect that by the time you get to the very top of a huge organisation, you run into a problem: the number of people on the surface of the planet who have the experience, skills and ability needed are so few and far between that you'll be lucky if there's half a dozen potential candidates in the whole country.

        This may be true, but looking from the performance of who actually gets hired shows that often (not always, of course) they *don't* appear to have the experience, skills, and ability needed, or
        • by jimicus ( 737525 )

          That was pretty much my point.

          You'll find similar results at every level in every business: put simply, hiring good staff is so difficult that it's a totally unsolved problem.


          Nobody knows how to do it with any degree of reliability. All those weird interview questions that seem to serve no purpose but to puff up the interviewer? Pointless. They might as well put everyone's name into a hat to pick who they're going to hire.

      • Then the right thing to do is to realize that the company is too big to manage and split it into smaller pieces. That is the job of the board of directors. But the board and the CEO form a conspiracy to milk the corporation instead of providing true value to their customers. They give huge pay to CEOs, who in turn spend lavishly on the board. They nominate each other for directorships. This is corruption at the highest levels, and it is all legal because they are all private entities. Till the board is sued
  • PHB (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tokolosh ( 1256448 )

    Am I the only one thinking this?

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:54AM (#47437443)

    "crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes"

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:57AM (#47437455) Journal
    People who speak like this generally do so in an attempt to disguise a lack of communication skills and new ideas.

    It may be the management culture he was raised in, and I had higher hopes for the Indian-born CEO (diversity, new perspective), but he was also reportedly emailing employees the company would reinvent productivity.

    So, likely we'll get SSDD... and less entertainment value than Ballmer provided.

  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @09:04AM (#47437473) Journal

  • I've seen numerous talks/podcasts with MS employees and it seemed pretty flat. Many say things like my bosses boss (head of enterprise software) says we should XYZ for our customers. Maybe by the time you get invited to podcasts you are already pretty senior but a lot of them sounded like they were just a member of a team, ASP or C# say. If that is any indication of the hierachy though it probably is only 5-6 levels to the CEO which isn't bad when you have 130k employees basically breaking the company up wi

    • 5-6 levels sounds about right. I'm 7 levels down from the top right now (and don't have anyone under me), but this is the most that I ever had.

      Being invited to the podcasts is not necessarily based on seniority, but even if it does, a principal dev has maybe 1-2 fewer management layers above them compared to plain SDEs.

  • by Pete Venkman ( 1659965 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @09:42AM (#47437593) Journal
    MBA's have the amazing ability to fit a lot of words into very little meaning.
  • Corporate culture has a way of pushing back.

    Look at home lame Yahoo still is technically, even with former Google engineer Marissa Mayer as their CEO.

    OTOH, engineers don't specialize in managing people and that is what is needed in changing a corporate culture. That is tough to do even with people who are talented with people, as well as people who aren't pregnant when taking over a company.

  • Changing MS's corporate culture will be comparable to driving a fully loaded mega oil tanker through the same S curves as Formula 1 cars traverse. In another word, impossible. By the time any minimal action is started in this area, Nadella will likely be retired or fired.
  • He could start by changing the company's grading system from an "individual selection" to a "group selection" system since the individual selection fosters competition and group selection fosters cooperation.

  • My grandfather was lucid right up until the end, until he convulsed and cried out some gibberish, which I thought was: "Crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes!", but that sounds too outlandish to be real. Then he passed away.
  • by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @12:18PM (#47438221)

    I don't understand how people with such a poor command of meaningful language are able to effectively manage and lead multi-billion dollar corporations.

    I suppose it is possible that they are capable, secretly, of conveying meaning by the use of words, but then why would they hide this ability from investors? Surely a CEO who doesn't sound like a retard inspires more confidence than one who does?

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @01:06PM (#47438431)

    Two lions who, escaping from the zoo, split up to increase their chances but agree to meet after 2 months. When they finally meet, one is skinny and the other overweight. The thin one says: âoeHow did you manage? I ate a human just once and they turned out a small army to chase me â" guns, nets, it was terrible. Since then I've been reduced to eating mice, insects, even grass.â The fat one replies: âoeWell, I hid outside the door at One Microsoft Way and ate a manager a day. And nobody even noticed!â


  • Nadella used to run Bing. Did anything change there while he was in charge?

  • Who's still on the board?

  • Most of it is empty business-speak; I especially like "Today I want to synthesize the strategic direction" for pure meaningless noise. However, there is one meaningful part: "We'll use the month of July to have a dialogue about this bold ambition and our core focus. [...]Over the course of July, the Senior Leadership Team and I will share more on the engineering and organization changes we believe are needed."

    Meaning? They'll take July to make up the lists, then layoffs in early August.

  • . . . including offshoring all of Micro$oft's jobs to my mother country, India!
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:25PM (#47440697) Homepage

    I'd much rather hear him say:

    "I use Windows 8.1 on a desktop and it sucks. Windows 9 is going to be good on desktops and we are not going to release it until it is.

    AND, we are going to play fair with users and make sure that every security patch we develop for Windows Embedded Industry is also SQAed on and made available to all Windows XP users. It may not make us the most money but it's the right thing to do."

    Corporate culture? I am an end-user, I don't care what Microsoft's corporate culture is, I care about its products.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller