Throwing chairs…

Dean Hachamovitch throws a chair

One of the things I love about Microsoft's employees is their sense of humor. Unfortunately this very rarely comes out in public.

Anyway, Dean Hachamovitch (the guy who runs the IE 7 team) and I had a meeting set for this morning and when I got there he threw a chair in my honor. Of course we were laughing about that. He's a great guy and someone I'm glad to have gotten to know over my journey the past few years.

While walking to his office (it's in building two, which is one of Microsoft's first buildings) I drew misty eyed. I realized I've been given a gift very few human beings have ever had the opportunity to have: to walk the halls of Microsoft where history has been made.

While walking by office after office I realized something. Each office had a name on it. The Microsoft empire has more than 60,000 people working for it. Not just one.

What has changed in the past few years? Easy: search engines have made it much more likely to get to know each person inside a company. Even a big one like Microsoft.

If there's one thing I'm happiest with is that Bill Gates decided early on not to blog. He wanted you to get to know the employees who build the products and work the halls of Microsoft. I far prefer that approach. Why? Because he knew it would lead to better conversations with customers. That, in turn, would lead to better products.

Don't understand how this works? Read this blog. It shows how a guy you didn't know, fixed a bug you didn't know about, reported by a customer you didn't know.

Microsoft no longer has one Scoble, but it has one David Powell. And 60,000 others like him.

+++++

I'm getting a few notes this morning about "I was thinking of joining Microsoft and now I'm wondering."

That bums me out. Why? Because you're placing your hopes and dreams on someone else. Don't.

Take a job because you could use that job to do something good for the world. Why would I consider working at Microsoft? Because the things you'd build here MATTER.

I was sitting in the studio listening to Robert Fripp a few weeks back play for hours. Why? To find one 2.5-second clip of sounds.

Why take that effort? Cause that sound will play trillions of times over the next decade.

Trillions.

And I'm not overestimating that, either. That'll happen if Microsoft's Windows Vista turns out to be a huge sales flop. If it's successful (and I believe it will be — I'll be running it on my computers at PodTech after I leave) it'll be a factor of ten higher than that.

As to working for Jeff Sandquist. He's the best boss I've ever had. And I've had some damn good bosses (if you have a good boss, knock on wood, there are very few out there). Jeff and his family are personal friends and are welcome in our home anytime.

The usual belief is people leave bosses, not companies. That is NOT true in my case. I just had a spectacular offer thrown at me that, at the end of the day, excited me and Maryam.

Out of all the people at Microsoft that I've met he's one of the top 10 in terms of being able to motivate people to give their top performances. He has, over and over and over demonstrated to me his ability to bulldoze through red tape and get shit done.

I am quite confident that he'll soon be a major corporate leader, although he's too humble to ever say that himself.

Anyway, I'll miss working with him. He always hated being called "Scoble's boss" by the way. I used to bug him with that by always introducing him that way. But, really, he was a far better person than that. He covered my back and made it a joy to come into work every day.

Not only that, but he hired the best people in the industry.

The first on that list is Charles Torre.

One thing I feel bad about is that Charles often didn't get the credit he deserved. Why? Cause he isn't the kind of social butterfly that I am. He's more a typical developer who just likes building stuff. That's why I love him.

He built Channel 9, along with a couple of other developers over the years. Bryn Waibel. Adam Kinney.

It's unfortunate that in the world some people get credit for other people's work. That happened in the media storm this weekend.

When I'm gone and you see that Channel 9 is still rocking and rolling you'll see that Channel 9 was a lot more than just me.

I think Michael Gartenberg said it best: the cemetaries are full of people who couldn't be replaced.

Comments

  1. [...] Before I sprinkled a few words into the verbal deluge on the subject of Scoble’s exodus from the evil empire I wanted to read a lot of what has already been said, especially what Scoble himself had to say on the subject, so I wouldn’t say anything astoundingly stupid. Let’s see how well that strategy works: [...]

  2. Robert,

    Just … wow. Very kind words, indeed.

    I’ve often read your blog to find out what was going on with you guys at work (since I’m not technical, and you have a knack for just explaining things in plain English) and the past few weeks you have really put yourself and your life out in the public.

    Anyone who says you wont be missed is dead wrong .. but you are also correct in that you are but one blogger in a company full of excited and interesting people.

    I have to tell you though that in your earlier post about news regarding Maryam, I truly expected you to say she was pregnant! But good for her for making you two a package deal… that’s even more exciting.

    Wives are often just along for the ride, and Maryam has carved out a place for herself and brought an interesting and humorous perspective as your ‘other half’ ..

    I wish you the best of luck in the Valley, although, having just ended the teen years with one of our kids, are really sure you want to be that close to Patrick in his teen years?? (lol)

    I think the coolest thing about blogging is, even though people move around, we can still have those glimpses into their everyday lives – so, bad or good, keep it up.

    I just wish I’d had a blog when our movers, who drove our stuff down from Canada, showed up drunk in Redmond .. :-/

    Aye, the stories we’ve missed writing down along the way!

    Cheers ..

  3. Robert,

    Just … wow. Very kind words, indeed.

    I’ve often read your blog to find out what was going on with you guys at work (since I’m not technical, and you have a knack for just explaining things in plain English) and the past few weeks you have really put yourself and your life out in the public.

    Anyone who says you wont be missed is dead wrong .. but you are also correct in that you are but one blogger in a company full of excited and interesting people.

    I have to tell you though that in your earlier post about news regarding Maryam, I truly expected you to say she was pregnant! But good for her for making you two a package deal… that’s even more exciting.

    Wives are often just along for the ride, and Maryam has carved out a place for herself and brought an interesting and humorous perspective as your ‘other half’ ..

    I wish you the best of luck in the Valley, although, having just ended the teen years with one of our kids, are really sure you want to be that close to Patrick in his teen years?? (lol)

    I think the coolest thing about blogging is, even though people move around, we can still have those glimpses into their everyday lives – so, bad or good, keep it up.

    I just wish I’d had a blog when our movers, who drove our stuff down from Canada, showed up drunk in Redmond .. :-/

    Aye, the stories we’ve missed writing down along the way!

    Cheers ..

  4. Regrets of the White House staffers when the term is up.

    This is starting to read like the end of the West Wing.

  5. Regrets of the White House staffers when the term is up.

    This is starting to read like the end of the West Wing.

  6. > I’m getting a few notes this morning about “I was
    > thinking of joining Microsoft and now I’m wondering.”

    People like that should just visit (and if they already have, visit again). I was fortunate enough to visit on two occaisions when I interviewed for an internship this summer, and it completely changed what I think of Microsoft. Hopefully I’ll get to work there in the future.

  7. > I’m getting a few notes this morning about “I was
    > thinking of joining Microsoft and now I’m wondering.”

    People like that should just visit (and if they already have, visit again). I was fortunate enough to visit on two occaisions when I interviewed for an internship this summer, and it completely changed what I think of Microsoft. Hopefully I’ll get to work there in the future.

  8. Pat: it’s not ass kissing. It’s how I really feel.

    And, maybe, you should try giving credit to the people who helped pull you up in life sometime. It’s not only nice, but if you want other people to pull you up further it’s just good common sense.

  9. Pat: it’s not ass kissing. It’s how I really feel.

    And, maybe, you should try giving credit to the people who helped pull you up in life sometime. It’s not only nice, but if you want other people to pull you up further it’s just good common sense.

  10. Well said about the C9 guys. They deserve a hell of a lot of credit. They think of an idea or pick up on the ideas of others and follow them through to the end. Someone needs to tell them that they are doing a good job. (pass on the compliment to them… I know they take compliments as badly as I do!) Don’t let them give up coz you are going on to bigger and better things.

    Good luck in your new job and best of luck. Lets hope MS don’t make the mistake of trying to replace you with someone else.

    If people want to apply to MS for a job then they should at least give it a go. Who am I to get in the way of passion and technology… it’s what drives me on and what better place than somewhere that demands it of you. (all they need to do now is add in true innovation and maybe they can become real competition to Google, Flickr, Apple etc. again ;) )

    BTW some what predictable that you went for a start up. :) I just hope you guys go where you want to get to.

    Keep in touch!
    Sarah

  11. Well said about the C9 guys. They deserve a hell of a lot of credit. They think of an idea or pick up on the ideas of others and follow them through to the end. Someone needs to tell them that they are doing a good job. (pass on the compliment to them… I know they take compliments as badly as I do!) Don’t let them give up coz you are going on to bigger and better things.

    Good luck in your new job and best of luck. Lets hope MS don’t make the mistake of trying to replace you with someone else.

    If people want to apply to MS for a job then they should at least give it a go. Who am I to get in the way of passion and technology… it’s what drives me on and what better place than somewhere that demands it of you. (all they need to do now is add in true innovation and maybe they can become real competition to Google, Flickr, Apple etc. again ;) )

    BTW some what predictable that you went for a start up. :) I just hope you guys go where you want to get to.

    Keep in touch!
    Sarah

  12. Hey, Robert, blog revolutionist par excellance, I think you served Microsoft as a blogger, a blogger who rarely blogged about Microsoft, a personal technical blogger who helped shape and define business blogging, probably more than any single blogger ever has or ever will.

    For you stood on the edge of the vertigo that swirled blogologically around the center of the web that holds all the secrets and solace.

    As we tie our shoes in unison for you, we wish you much success, as you benefit others with your experienced expertise on all things bloggy.

  13. Hey, Robert, blog revolutionist par excellance, I think you served Microsoft as a blogger, a blogger who rarely blogged about Microsoft, a personal technical blogger who helped shape and define business blogging, probably more than any single blogger ever has or ever will.

    For you stood on the edge of the vertigo that swirled blogologically around the center of the web that holds all the secrets and solace.

    As we tie our shoes in unison for you, we wish you much success, as you benefit others with your experienced expertise on all things bloggy.

  14. Channel9 is in disarray, Jeff is preoccupied with his 9 + 1 and Chazz has dropped the ball.

    You and Len were the heart and soul of C9.

  15. Channel9 is in disarray, Jeff is preoccupied with his 9 + 1 and Chazz has dropped the ball.

    You and Len were the heart and soul of C9.

  16. Paul: that’ll get cleaned up right now. Chazz was on a long-earned vacation. Jeff is paying attention to 9 again. To tell you the truth I’ve been the one dropping the ball there. I have a ton of videos to get out and up on the site.

  17. Paul: that’ll get cleaned up right now. Chazz was on a long-earned vacation. Jeff is paying attention to 9 again. To tell you the truth I’ve been the one dropping the ball there. I have a ton of videos to get out and up on the site.

  18. Been busy with my real business and testing new MS software, just heard the news.
    We started our own business 16+ yrs ago and have never looked back. Since then we have and are subsidising 2 kids through college University of Houston and now UT.
    All this would not be possible (or would have been harder without) without your software that has made our business more productive. Now that we can actually test new stuff and correspond with the Teams at Microsoft, we can and have made contributions to improvement in the software we use.
    We are just a Mom & Pop business out here and really appreciate all that you have done to bring Microsoft to your customer(s).
    Hopefully you or someone there has designated a successor… since you do much more than the current advertising company you use. They really suck! Dinosaurs??? we are not… Dynamics, yes but not for us, your regular retail customer.
    Live, looks great and tests so far are coming up as not integrated with our purchased Office software. There are signs that this may work someday, but someday is not today unfortunately. Shame that OL will work with Ebay but not Office, strange for sure…
    Great luck on your new endeavour!

    Customer

  19. Been busy with my real business and testing new MS software, just heard the news.
    We started our own business 16+ yrs ago and have never looked back. Since then we have and are subsidising 2 kids through college University of Houston and now UT.
    All this would not be possible (or would have been harder without) without your software that has made our business more productive. Now that we can actually test new stuff and correspond with the Teams at Microsoft, we can and have made contributions to improvement in the software we use.
    We are just a Mom & Pop business out here and really appreciate all that you have done to bring Microsoft to your customer(s).
    Hopefully you or someone there has designated a successor… since you do much more than the current advertising company you use. They really suck! Dinosaurs??? we are not… Dynamics, yes but not for us, your regular retail customer.
    Live, looks great and tests so far are coming up as not integrated with our purchased Office software. There are signs that this may work someday, but someday is not today unfortunately. Shame that OL will work with Ebay but not Office, strange for sure…
    Great luck on your new endeavour!

    Customer

  20. I’m always amazed at the lack of class some people show.

    (example: You are an accomplished ass kisser to the highest degree. I commend you)

    I wonder what goes through the mind of someone as they think up such a response and procede to generate it.

    A comment like that reveals more about the person who wrote it than the person for whom it was written.

    Sad.

  21. I’m always amazed at the lack of class some people show.

    (example: You are an accomplished ass kisser to the highest degree. I commend you)

    I wonder what goes through the mind of someone as they think up such a response and procede to generate it.

    A comment like that reveals more about the person who wrote it than the person for whom it was written.

    Sad.

  22. wow. Thanks for the link Robert :D

    Oddly enough it hasn’t appeared in my trackbacks so I didn’t even notice until a co-worker pointed it out to me! Maybe wordpress will catch up after the traffic spike subsides ;)

    I’m really looking forward to Microsoft opening up even further, it’s restoring my faith in them.

  23. wow. Thanks for the link Robert :D

    Oddly enough it hasn’t appeared in my trackbacks so I didn’t even notice until a co-worker pointed it out to me! Maybe wordpress will catch up after the traffic spike subsides ;)

    I’m really looking forward to Microsoft opening up even further, it’s restoring my faith in them.

  24. Congratulations on the change. But speaking of Channel9 Guys, please send mine out before you leave the building! I’ve got a full sked for him this summer. Thanks…

  25. Congratulations on the change. But speaking of Channel9 Guys, please send mine out before you leave the building! I’ve got a full sked for him this summer. Thanks…

  26. Does C9 have any videos about C9?

    There should be a video of you doing your job.. a video of you doing a video.

  27. Does C9 have any videos about C9?

    There should be a video of you doing your job.. a video of you doing a video.

  28. Paul,

    We’ve said in the C9 Coffeehouse we’re working on the V3 update to Channel 9. It has been a big effort for the entire year growing C9, launching MicrosoftGadgets.com and 10.

    With any growth there are challenges, but in the last 12 months Channel 9 traffic has grown from less than a million per month to over 3.5 million unique people every month. We now push out more content in a week than we did in some months with Channel 9 when we first launched. The site needs to grow to handle this all and we’re learning day by day. I really is a constant learning process.

    We made a conscious decision with on10.net to build out a new platform for c9 and 10 at the same time so although it might be a few months since we’ve had a major code up to Channel 9, you’ll see the fruits of our labor soon.

    Not much else to say I guess but we do plan to be very transparent and let the Niners help us shape it into something good.

    -Jeff

  29. Paul,

    We’ve said in the C9 Coffeehouse we’re working on the V3 update to Channel 9. It has been a big effort for the entire year growing C9, launching MicrosoftGadgets.com and 10.

    With any growth there are challenges, but in the last 12 months Channel 9 traffic has grown from less than a million per month to over 3.5 million unique people every month. We now push out more content in a week than we did in some months with Channel 9 when we first launched. The site needs to grow to handle this all and we’re learning day by day. I really is a constant learning process.

    We made a conscious decision with on10.net to build out a new platform for c9 and 10 at the same time so although it might be a few months since we’ve had a major code up to Channel 9, you’ll see the fruits of our labor soon.

    Not much else to say I guess but we do plan to be very transparent and let the Niners help us shape it into something good.

    -Jeff

  30. Greg,

    We just received a new stock of Channel 9 Guys from our supplier. Yesterday, I consolidated all of the orders sent to Robert and will have a shipment going out within the next week.

    For those of you not sure what we’re talking about, since the launch of Channel 9 we’ve been given out foam 9 guys. If you want a Channel 9 Guy, just send us a postcard:

    Channel 9 Team
    c/o Jeff Sandquist
    One Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA
    98052

    Thanks!
    -Jeff

  31. Greg,

    We just received a new stock of Channel 9 Guys from our supplier. Yesterday, I consolidated all of the orders sent to Robert and will have a shipment going out within the next week.

    For those of you not sure what we’re talking about, since the launch of Channel 9 we’ve been given out foam 9 guys. If you want a Channel 9 Guy, just send us a postcard:

    Channel 9 Team
    c/o Jeff Sandquist
    One Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA
    98052

    Thanks!
    -Jeff

  32. [...] The last 5 days have been far more interesting than I ever would have imagined, most of it related to my post about Microsoft.  I’ll get the big news out of the way first – Scoble picked up on it, and linked to me.  AJ thinks he referred to me as insignificant, but I read it more as an example of how Microsoft looks after the little guy.  While I have no doubt that a large part of the traffic coming my way is from his own readers, he’s also had a surge in traffic from the BBC and surely some of them checked out his other posts [...]

  33. Vista at podtech? Dude, I hope you’re not going to run your production servers on that. You’ll burn through your cash with license fees and have a much higher management cost than necessary.

    Desktop – hey run what you want. But use linux for production fercrissake. Its the only production server that makes economic sense in collossally scaled systems.

  34. Vista at podtech? Dude, I hope you’re not going to run your production servers on that. You’ll burn through your cash with license fees and have a much higher management cost than necessary.

    Desktop – hey run what you want. But use linux for production fercrissake. Its the only production server that makes economic sense in collossally scaled systems.

  35. IE7? Sorry butthat’s all I honed in on from this particular blog, and tis guy should be throwing chairs as IE7 is the most cumbersome peice of software ever developed. I loaded it and took it off immediately, just a royal pain in the ass.

  36. IE7? Sorry butthat’s all I honed in on from this particular blog, and tis guy should be throwing chairs as IE7 is the most cumbersome peice of software ever developed. I loaded it and took it off immediately, just a royal pain in the ass.

  37. [...] Scoble says “farewell“, and Nick Carr says that Scoble might be burning bridges.  Scoble tends to never say bad things about past employers, so perhaps Nick doesn’t trust Scoble’s comments about the situation.  On the other hand, I’ve known Scoble since three companies before he worked at Microsoft, and I’ve never hesitated to say exactly what I think about specific high-profile employee departures, so maybe what I say will have some credibility. [...]

  38. I realize this post is almost a month old, but I just got married, so it has been sitting in my RSS reader for a while, and I’m pretty sure you read all the comments, whenever they arrive.

    Anyway, regarding people changing their minds about jobs at Microsoft after your move, I would just like to say that after you announced you were leaving Microsoft, I only felt an increased desire to work for the company. In a strange way, you leaving sent a message that the job is never complete, that there will always be a need for people who are passionate at big companies. I can only hope that when my beautiful new wife nags me to get a “real job”, there will be a manager out there willing to overlook an anorexic resume and see a desire to bring out the best in Microsoft.

    I realize that there are 60,000 great people at Microsoft, all of which have a story to be told, but the reason your “movement” was successful was that you made it a priority to shine a light on those who deserved it. I wish the best of luck to the team you leave behind at Channel 9, since they have a daunting task ahead of them. Everyone who works their ass off at Microsoft deserves for their hard efforts to pay off, and, far too often, it falls to the person behind the camera to help make that happen.

  39. I realize this post is almost a month old, but I just got married, so it has been sitting in my RSS reader for a while, and I’m pretty sure you read all the comments, whenever they arrive.

    Anyway, regarding people changing their minds about jobs at Microsoft after your move, I would just like to say that after you announced you were leaving Microsoft, I only felt an increased desire to work for the company. In a strange way, you leaving sent a message that the job is never complete, that there will always be a need for people who are passionate at big companies. I can only hope that when my beautiful new wife nags me to get a “real job”, there will be a manager out there willing to overlook an anorexic resume and see a desire to bring out the best in Microsoft.

    I realize that there are 60,000 great people at Microsoft, all of which have a story to be told, but the reason your “movement” was successful was that you made it a priority to shine a light on those who deserved it. I wish the best of luck to the team you leave behind at Channel 9, since they have a daunting task ahead of them. Everyone who works their ass off at Microsoft deserves for their hard efforts to pay off, and, far too often, it falls to the person behind the camera to help make that happen.