Monday, October 18, 2010

Nuggets of Insight from a Microsoft Insider on the Way Out

Philip Su leaves Microsoft after 12 years and dishes up some sweet nuggets of insight from the email sent out to his fellow Microsoft employees. Full post here:
The nuggets I pulled:

"Use Occam’s Razor in interpersonal relations:  look for the simplest, most straightforward explanation that assumes the best of everybody.  Stay away from people who always have a conspiracy theory involving twisted office politics, unfulfilled Machiavellian ambitions, and unspoken agendas."

"Listen to understand.  Speak to be understood."

"Good ideas are a dime a dozen.  Great ideas are usually laughed at.  Neither sees the light of day without you taking action.  Do the work to prove your idea, or stop talking about it."

"In a company as large as Microsoft, I guarantee you’ll find someone higher level than you who you think is worse than you.  Don’t get stuck in this mental trap – it won’t motivate you to be your best.  Look instead towards the person you admire most at your level.  What can you learn from them?  What unique strengths might you have which they don’t have?"

"A person is either passionate or they’re not.  People who expect their manager to make their jobs fun and interesting won’t get far."

"Do you practice specific skills with repetition and intent? Athletes do drills. Musicians hone difficult passages. What do you do?"

"Follow great people. Work for great people."

"One day, a sign appeared on a soda fridge in RedWest saying something to the effect of, 'Did you know that drinks cost Microsoft millions of dollars a year? Sodas are your perk at work.  Don’t bring them home.'  This depressed me on too many levels to enumerate, but I’ll toss out a few:
  1. Someone had enough time to get these signs professionally printed and affixed to our fridges.
  2. It was someone’s salaried, 40-hour-a-week job to do things like this.
  3. Someone thought soda smuggling was a big enough 'problem' at Microsoft to draw attention to it.
How much soda can a person steal? How much does that same person cost the company per hour in salary and benefits?  Our most interesting profits will come from capitalizing on huge opportunities, not from micromanaging costs.  I’m sure some finance person will lambast me for this, which would only further depress me. Believe in our upside. Focus on our upside."

"Individuals are the sole cause of anything that’s ever happened."


He says some good stuff there (I don't really agree with that last one - unless "cause" equals "impetus").
I particularly like, "Listen to understand.  Speak to be understood."

My dad said, "You can't learn when you're talking."

His quote about the soda stealing hits home. That was a small decision that can really take the wind out of the sails of the people who actually do the work. Note to all managers: you should actually cater to the ones who do the work instead of those who manage them. Never forget the power of good moral.

So basically, don't let the bastards get you down; only compare yourself to your best work, and you haven't done your best work yet.

Blue Oyster Cult - And Then Came the Last Days of May

More BOC awesomeness!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blue Oyster Cult - Veteran of the Psychic Wars (live)

One of my all time favorite bands! Don't Fear the Reaper - yes. Godzilla - yes. But they also made more and better music that never gets played!

"...all the stars are on the inside."