Microsoft – past and Future

This morning, I was talking exactly the same thing with my boss on the hallway. MS should just concentrate on the cloud – the azure platform. Build the developer community for it. Make sure it delivers data and functionality to every connected device. Bring office and sharepoint as services to the world. To every connected device. That is the future.

And was I surprised to read a blog post by John @gruber  on daringfireball.net today which pretty much ended on that same note. Very well written article I should say.

Read the article here. [link]

Delegating vs MicroManaging

Just read a great post by Steven Sinovsky in his “Learning by Shipping” blog, which he started, just after he left MS. This is one of his few rare concise posts. He has a ton of experience and fantastic in-depth into software management, but some of his posts just run too long. I liked this one.

The problem is clearly stated in the words of a first year MBA student:

High-performing people generally want autonomy to get things done without anyone micromanaging them.  At the same time, as a midlevel manager, I’ve often had someone above me who’s holding me accountable for whatever my direct reports are working on.

I’m struggling to find the right balance between giving people their autonomy while also asking sufficient questions to get the detail I need in order to feel comfortable with how things are going. 

And Steve provides 5 tips to find the right balance between delegating vs micro-managing.

  1. Delegate the problem, don’t solve it.
  2. Share experiences, don’t instruct.
  3. Listen to progress, don’t review it.
  4. Provide feedback, don’t course correct.
  5. Communicate serendipitously, don’t impede progress.

I mostly agree with all of them. My favourites (which I try and practice as much as possible) are (2) and (5). I am a big believer in Management by Walking Around (for middle managers atleast). It is so much more productive for the manager and the team.

Maybe sometime later, I will write up something myself on what I feel one can do to find the middle ground. But for now, you can read the full article here.

Microsoft SSMS Bus Service

Yep. Intriguing title right? When I was with Microsoft Hyderabad, I used to be a Program Manager with the SQL Server team. We pretty much owned the front end manager of the DB, and this tool is called the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

So recently, when I saw the two photos below – I had to blog about it. 🙂

ssms1 ssms2

Yep. The stickering says – “Glory of SSMS”. Now you see how the title makes sense 🙂

TC goes to Surface Garage

In which a Tech Crunch writer is invited to a Surface Garage in Microsoft HQ Seattle …

Devin Coldewey gets invited to a Garage meeting. For those not in the know, the Garage is a term that is used inside of Microsoft for groups of people who passionately develop independent software outside of working hours. This creative activity is highly encouraged by Microsoft. This particular invite was for a Surface Garage – ‘stuff’ that involved a Microsoft Surface.

Very nice article from Devin, where he gets super impressed with the cross-section of people who work on these side projects, and the amount of design details that go into writing a feature from scratch.

A snippet  –

Last was an interesting fusion of two innovative Microsoft products: the Surface and the Kinect. This is a sort of “morning briefing” app that is meant to run on your living room’s idle TV, which one can imagine may some day have a touch panel and depth sensing camera built in. Today it was an upright Surface 2.0 and a stock Kinect.

You always see people in movies set in the future talking to their computers, controlling them with a gesture, and so on. This is a small-scale attempt at something like that that people might actually use. When you’re at a distance, it displays large-granularity info like the weather, upcoming appointments, and so on. You can say “mail” and it’ll switch to email, or “calendar Wednesday” and it’ll switch to that. And when you approach, it senses your proximity with the Kinect and switches to a touchscreen mode where you can touch the news and email items and read them.

All put together by one guy, admittedly using APIs developed by hundreds, but a fun demonstration of what’s possible with the project right now.

For the full deal go [here].

Microsoft vs Apple

“For apple to be successful, we have to let go of a few things. One of the things that we need to let go, is the notion that, for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that, for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us, thats great, because we need all the help we can get. And if we screw up, and we dont do a good job, it is not someone else’s fault, it is our fault. So, if we want Microsoft Office for the Mac, we’d better treat the company that puts it out, with a little bit of gratitude. The era of setting up the stage as a competition between Microsoft and Apple is over, as far as I am concerned. “

Steve Jobs, MacWorld 1997.

This was the time, when Gil Amelio was ousted, and Steve Jobs came back to Apple. Apple was close to bankruptcy. Microsoft bought some shares, which helped the company financially. A bunch of agreements got signed – including making IE as the default browser for Mac.

I (personally) think, Jobs showed a lot of maturity and humility in this speech. If you want to see the whole speech, see below.

The tech mud-slinging match that is happening …

Some of us have been following the mud-slinging match that has been happening between Microsoft, Google, and Apple, in recent times. The scene is hot now, with the latest patent issue.

If you have not been followng this, MG Ziegler from techcrunch has a good piece on how it has panned out until now. Read it here.