Crazy ideas for Microsoft

April 5, 2005

I know a lot of people think I’m overly harsh on Microsoft, so before I begin, I want to remind people that despite my criticisms, I still think that Microsoft does a lot of things well. There are lots of extremely talented people at the company and they make a good number of really cool products. After all, you don’t make billions in profits year after year and have large shares of multiple markets by messing everything up.

Now that that’s out of the way… through reading Scoble’s linkblog, I picked up a blog called Mini-Microsoft. It’s an interesting read; mostly the ideas revolve around trimming the fat at Microsoft – and not by discontinuing convenient and relatively cheap benefits. The writer remains anonymous, probably a wise move considering he advocates most of his management chain getting fired.

The latest post on the blog talks about Bill Gates’ annual Think Week, which happened a few weeks ago and was reported on by the Wall Street Journal. One of the papers talked about in the WSJ article was entitled “10 Crazy Ideas to Shake Up Microsoft” and they are:

  1. Schedule Unscheduled Time into Performance Reviews
  2. “Break Up” the Company
  3. Encourage Loose but Prominent Couplings
  4. Exile and Empower Incubation Projects
  5. Offer Super-exponential Rewards
  6. Offer Different Risk-Reward Compensation Profiles
  7. Cut Back on Bureaucracy
  8. Review Cost Cutting
  9. Reduce Headcount on Large Dev Projects
  10. Eliminate Exec Reviews

I agree with the author of Mini-Microsoft in that these “crazy ideas” aren’t really that crazy at all. It seems like it would be crazy not to implement or at least explore a few of them (specifically #s 4-9). Obviously, I don’t know exactly what’s in the paper, but judging from the main points, it sounds like a pretty good read.

That being said, knowing Microsoft, the contents are probably pretty controversial and most of the management probably thinks it’s a bunch of B.S. (thus the labeling of “crazy”). However, many people I know at the company would love to see some of these ideas explored and, not that it matters much, but it would definitely make me stand up and notice if they did ๐Ÿ™‚

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No Responses Yet to “Crazy ideas for Microsoft”

  1. Joe Burlas Says:

    If you’ve ever watched the movie “Anti-Trust” you’ll realize that being radical can be very empowering. While Tim Robins ends up being the bad guy his thoughts of doing the impossible by being creative are intense. Maybe if Microsoft was a little radical themselves they’d be able to do anything. After all they have the resources and the minds. N.U.R.V. (Never Under-estimate Radical Vision).


  2. Actually Bill Gates responded to that ThinkWeek paper and he thought the ideas were interesting to consider. Obviously I can’t pass along what else he said, but let’s just say I’m very happy working at Microsoft.

  3. markjen Says:

    Hi Robert – Love hearing that the paper was at least read and considered by BillG. I’ll definitely be anxiously watching to see if/when the suggestions are implemented ๐Ÿ™‚


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