Microstiff - Microsoft Outings of the Third Kind

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Microstiff – Your Trip on the “Redmond Limited” – A Pragmatist’s View from 80 Miles Up

First, One Basic Premise – You don’t have to see “how others in industry do it” to know if it’s good or bad; you just “feel it in your gut.” This simply means that, when something’s wrong, like the “Limited” label, it will take more than a truckload of HR apologists to spin it right. So, I use nothing more than good old common sense and red-blooded American ingenuity to make my case. You decide.

Your trip on the Redmond Limited begins at the station, of course. This station is like many at Microsoft…newly designed, austere yet filled with gratuitous, name-etched-on-every-glass-pane arrogance. Oh, and the station just “magically appears.” No announcements, no fanfare, just a new station, built just for you on your trip to nowhere.

The stationmaster is the campy-casually dressed Beesa Lee. Beesa does best when she’s not talking and just mastering the station. Oh, she’s seen many a train come through her station but this is her favorite: The Redmond Limited; quick and stealthy with a powerful diatribe. But it’s nothing more than Gilly-speak, a kind of canned rhetoric that emanates from a Muzak-quality speaker with little round grill holes just beneath the surface of this wind-up-Gilly-doll with the robust demeanor.

Gilly-speak is the brain child of that brainy child known as Gilly Bates, the wealthy tycoon industrialist “railroader” also known as the “Commodore”; the man-boy who likes to think he runs more than your business lives. Gilly-speak goes like this: Money and Power trump Civility and Love. Pure and simple. You say there’s no room for love in business? At Microsoft, you’re right. And, if you think there is, then…you’re Limited.

Let those words sink in. You’re Limited. LIMITED! Make you feel good? I didn’t think so. That’s because, try as he may, Gilly doesn’t know how to make you feel good. You can’t give what you don’t have. Gilly don’t play that!

Commodore Gilly created the Redmond Limited because it fits the programmer’s paradigm: Problem - perceived deadwood. Solution - a series of finite, instructions designed to repeat, again and again, with a minimum of overhead and a maximum payoff with no human intervention. The Redmond Limited! All a-booaaarrrd!

Board it and you are Soylent Green: A little green biscuit of your former self; eaten up by the hungry Limitless Ones, your cube mates on a better track.

How did you get so limited? Your reviews have all been good. Your job? Well, somewhere along the way Beesa, keeper of all things HR, forgot to provide a safety valve, a way out, a way up. So, here you are, doing good but dead wood…at least according to the Gilly-man.

A week or a month or two ago, before they wanted to turn you into crackers of the green kind, things were so…well…limitless. You could actually do good in a dead end job and feel good about yourself. Now, not only did Beesa define your job as dead end but, Gilly says your good work is now bad. It’s like Gilly and Beesa…they…well…tag-teamed up to just beat the livin’ HOPE right the hell outa yah! All a-booaaarrrd!

What is it, Gilly? Your kids not listening to you? Wifey too independent? Tablet computers not selling like hotcakes? American educational system not jumpin’ at your millions? Vista condoms not solving the African HIV problem? What’s goin’ on, Gilly-boy? Just how can you explain this absolutely ridiculous response to a totally erroneous assumption that multitudes of Microsofties are hiding under their desks.

And…how can you call someone Limited and expect them to prosper? Perhaps, Bubby, it’s YOU that are Limited. All a-booaaarrrd!

Meanwhile, if the rest of us are feeling Limitless while others see us as wearing a big, red “LTD” around our necks, we DO have some choices:

  • Don’t buy into it; i.e. – don’t get on the train. Leave.
  • Don’t buy into it; i.e. – don’t get on the train. Stay and change the system.
  • Don’t buy into it; i.e. – don’t get on the train. Stay and hide under your desk

NOTE: Each choice and any you can think of, all begin with “Don’t buy into it; i.e. – don’t get on the train.” This is PARAMOUNT! As Mini says, if you believe you’re limited, you’ll act that way.

Of course, being known as a “Limited” will foster a culture of “haves and have nots”, so should you decide to fight the good fight, it won’t be easy. You may not win this fight but you WILL be empowered! You ARE Limitless! All a-booaaarrrd for the Redmond Limitless. This train is bound for glory...this train!

Mini-Microsoft: No-so-limited Kim
Mini-Microsoft: Microsoft Academy
Mini-Microsoft: Microsoft FY07Q1 Results

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