23 August, 2007


"Though I'm passed one hundred thousand miles, I'm feeling very still

And I think my spaceship knows which way to go,"

- David Bowie

Business plan - check.

Moat in business plan - check.

Fundraising rolodex - check.

Personal cash cusion - check.

All systems go for escape orbit on September 17.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!


  1. Are you leaving? And if so, where, how?

  2. Yes, I am slipping the surly bonds of MSFT and winging my way back to a more stable orbit of my own construction.

    It's time to start a business of my own design again and not be burdened with the gravity that a large company generates and that drags so many good people down.

    Large companies are great places to be if you value security, direction and don't like to be pushed outside of your comfort zone too much. Microsoft provides that in spades, no matter how much management and leadership makes noises about how much they want their employees to pick up the ball and run with it.

    Personally, as someone who has done that in the past and created wealth and employment for others, I've been staggered at how hard it is to do that within Microsoft. With almost unlimited resources and a rhetoric of "big bets", the biggest bet you're allowed to do as an IC is a small pilot that will get taken out of your hands if it performs and you're only allowed to do it if it aligns with your GM/VP's commitments. If you're in management, heaven help you if your manager's vision horizon ends at the top of their monitor.

    Litebulb has an ongoing discussion about why so few people from MSFT go on to start their own companies. The reason why is that the company does not have an entrepreneurial culture and does its level best to squash it in most cases. Maybe I didn't try hard enough, but unlike dealing with bankers and investors who are usually blunt, MSFT has the Northwest passive-aggressive down in spades when you're trying to advance a new idea. "Great idea. Let's do a pilot of that next year and get that on your commitments."

    Only the rabid and those with previous startup experience can navigate and gain access to the entrepreneurial pipeline. And that pipeline has so many dependances, a VC term sheet reads like a love note.


    MSFT doesn't train entrepreneurs, it trains corporate sheep to jump through hoops in order to maximize corporate profits.

    But who can argue with that? They make billions with their employment policies. That's what they're in business to do.

    For myself, I'll take my bonus (thankyouverymuch) great reviews, great references, the MSFT on the career role and try and build my own equity again.

    I leave the madness of MSFT to its denizens and the false prophets that lead it. I wish most of you well and hope that regime change comes soon and swiftly.

    The rest of you - get over yourselves. The universe does not revolve around you and the company you work for. And stop double-parking your fucking Hummer/Porsche/Lotus/Ferrari/etc. in no parking zones and stop cutting off the Kims in your zeal to enter and exit work.

    Therefore, I'm getting off my ass and will be working more, earning less take-home pay and have a high probability of failure. But I'll have much less stress, I won't have to worry about bozos randomizing me and exhorting me to work harder on projects that I (and my team) know will be flushed down the toilet in a few months when the next, best, shiny thing comes along from a competing group. I won't have to spend endless cycles aligning my commitments, taking training devised by lawyers and accounts straight out of Dilbert and I most certainly won't have to have my work interrupted at least once a day by technology so complex and unstable, even its creators don't have a clue how to tame it.

    As to the blog here, I'm not sure what I'll do with it. My relationship with technology is changing, so that may become grist for the mill.

  3. Microsoft has ruined my career and my love of all things computing is vanished.

  4. Yeah, my passion for technology wanes with every day I spend in Microsoft's employ.

  5. This is really interesting: leaving MS for something more fulfilling is a common theme all over the world! I just left MS with a co-worker to start up our own business over here in good old Europe - trust me, with a field perspective it's even worth because you need to execute what some 23 year old MBA blockhead with zero life and business experience in Redmond considered an appropriate plan :-)

    And I've seen MCS, Sales and BMO - good education for my own venture but time to leave - I'd encourage everybody to stop complaining inside of MS - there's life after it :-)

    Cheers from Europe!

  6. Hey, so it's the 17th tomorrow. Where you going? Post a copy of your resignation letter and some details on the exit interview if you would be so kind. :-)

  7. I slipped the surly bonds back in 1997 for a bunch of travel and grad school. I miss my co-workers. I miss working with extremely smart, talented people in poorly paid jobs with awesome benefits. I miss the wonders of vesting and MSFT shares that split every 8 months. But I don't miss Microsoft so much.

    During my travels, I discovered that you can survive without technology. I came back and realized I was no longer on the cutting edges for tech, music, or TV. And that was all OK.

    I haven't really found the right orbit, yet. I spent some time on developing a personal life (got married, had a munchkin, bought a house, took a bunch of painting classes) and am now excited about re-entering the business. But we also want to do it on our terms, not in some bloat-fest like the current MSFT.

    Best of luck!