Former Microsoft engineer: Rethinking my career at Microsoft


The Translation Bureau is a compilation team of 36氪, focusing on science and technology, business, workplace, life and other fields, focusing on foreign new technologies, new ideas and new trends.Editor’s note: Microsoft’s current situation can be described as a renaissance.The feeling of returning to the peak is definitely good, but it does not mean that the future is a smooth road.The transformation of technology direction can only let you catch one or two trends. If you want to grow your career, you must make cultural changes.In fact, in the view of Microsoft’s former engineer James Whittaker, many of the achievements Microsoft has made today are based on the bold changes made in personnel.However, this is not enough. Microsoft just put a toe into the river of the future.In an article published on Medium, he discussed how Microsoft can fix many of the company’s vulnerabilities.The original title is: Speaking Truth to Power: Reflections on My Career at Microsoft “What kind of experience is working at Microsoft?” The only simple answer to this question is “Which one are you talking about?” I am intermittent at Microsoft.His professional experience spans three versions of Microsoft, each with its own unique and inspiring side, as well as its tragic flaws.As Microsoft renewed its efforts to reinvent itself, future versions of Microsoft are being entangled in the past.In the 1990s, Microsoft was given a command by Bill Gates. It is a technology-leading company with fast-paced, ambitious and capitalist capital.This is a beast, ranking first in almost all important categories, partners fear, opponents fear, users love and hate.From the top to the front, the naked ambition, the desire for a dominant position is pervading throughout the company.Working for Microsoft in the 1990s was a knowledge impulse that was wrapped under uncontrolled personal wealth.We know that Microsoft is a shit.Under the leadership of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft in the 2000s almost coincided with the former.Let Microsoft take the ambition of the throne, the US Department of Justice happens to have it.Under the pressure of their (antitrust) judgments, Ballmer’s Microsoft became cautious and sales-oriented.It’s not about staring at its own Windows core, it’s holding the pearls in your hand in the case of Google’s approaching in the rearview mirror.Due to the lack of attention to imaginative or innovative things, Microsoft experienced brain drain, inventory backlogs, customer boredom, and missed (or at least caught up with the late bus) three major trends of web, cloud and mobile.It was an era of helplessness. Although Microsoft’s business still made money but lacked originality, it could only slowly slide into the abyss of insignificance.There are good aspects of working for Microsoft, very good, so it is quite simple to do the brand endorsement.This brought us to the current era led by Satya Nadella, and Satya Nadella took the challenge and restored the company’s magic to return to excellence.This position was achieved by his strategy of giving up his two predecessors.Microsoft is no longer a technology-oriented or sales-oriented company.Nadella began to portray a culturally oriented vision, but there are some major historical obstacles to clear on the way forward.That is: When a company is filled with people who earned fame and wealth under previous versions, how can they move toward the new version?Everyone should be aware of Nadella’s expectations.Compulsory training has proven this.He advised Microsoft’s culture to change from “omniscience” to “doing everything.”He warned Microsoft to stay away from the “fixed mindset” and hire consultants and evangelists (including three-year cultural commissioners) to help the company transition to a “growth mentality.”Before you pull in any Microsoft person to discuss an annoying manager, you’d better expect yourself to have a little time on hand.He should know that this is the right battle.His long-term position at Microsoft allowed him to sit in the front seat influenced by Gates and Ballmer management style.He witnessed the puberty and maturity of the culture he was so eager to end.Watching your beloved child grow up and become a person who deplores you privately, and you know his situation halfway through, imagine what it would be like.Nadella’s open confrontation with Microsoft in the past is the default for the long shadow cast by Gates and Ballmer.Both of them have withdrawn from the company, but their influence still exists.In the absence of a named surname, Nadella tried his best to pass on this idea, but this did not point to the idea and delayed treatment.When he hinted that everything is omniscient, we all know who he is talking about.When our fixed mindset is awakened, we can trace back to its source.In the case of idols who cover the follow-up practice, it is difficult to get rid of an era of inferiority.In fact, Gates and Ballmer are the products of a few people (especially successors) who want to see the era of return.Both of them are perfect omniscient people, they firmly believe that there is no discipline, no matter how subtle, can be worthy of their intelligence.No expert analysis can be more predictable than their own analysis.No competitor can match their superior strategic thinking.They focus on making quick decisions and controlling subordinates.However, yelling, screaming on the spot, and so-called throwing chairs are simply attributed to “the passion of the leader,” but they miss a bigger point: things are gathered together, people are divided into groups.Almost all of them are leaders who imitate that behavior, causing this harmful behavior to remain in the company.Together they created a single management culture like a combat cock, ensuring that every manager looks the same, sounds the same, and behaves the same.This culture has existed for a long time.Before you pull in any Microsoft person to discuss an annoying manager, you’d better expect yourself to have a little time on hand.Today, they still dare not name the person who is at fault.We danced with the sins of the past while keeping our heroes away from disputes.Nadella’s internal conversation about culture is reminiscent of a picture of a southern mayor who categorically denies racism while standing on Robert E. Lee (Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Alliance during the American Civil War)Under the shadow of the statue.In the case of idols who cover the follow-up practice, it is difficult to get rid of an era of inferiority.Treating people who are blamed is a critical area for criticism. This will send a message to those who are now committing crimes, that is, these behaviors do not cross the border, and those who implement them will not be affected continuously.This does not prevent the internal memorandum that condemns continued gender discrimination, racism and bullying from being published on time and on time as financially.Nor can it prevent most newly recruited college graduates from leaving the signing bonus at the moment of the signing of the bonus.This also does not prevent those who are arrogant in power for the reincarnation of power for themselves.People who are in the toxic management style of Microsoft still have power, and the number is frustrating. They found a lot of hiding places in the shadow of Gates (Balmer showed good judgment, heHe escaped correctly and thoroughly. Indeed, his abdication is probably his only and most valuable contribution to the future of the company.Those heroes (made-man, who were formally absorbed into the Mafia family) were guilty.An omniscient manager is transferred to the new product group, and his omniscient team will follow him.A new person exposes the supervisor’s fixed thinking, but the follower who is in charge of fixed thinking all rises to support the supervisor.Their group immunity is a hard armor that protects them from any serious attempts to change them.Following the example of Gates and Ballmer made them rich and powerful, the corridor cultural posters, some online training, and occasional use of theme tags such as #MicrosoftLife are not enough to change this situation.A zero-tolerance policy must be adopted for dereliction of duty in culture (whether past or present).The biggest beneficiaries of Nadella’s attempts to change Microsoft culture are not just newcomers and young people.Thanks to a commendable legacy – welcoming ethnic minorities at all levels, as well as a large number of people and dream catchers who are not good at working with others, Microsoft is diversified at different levels of experience.This diversity is one of the reasons why Microsoft’s work is so enjoyable.However, this diversity is basically just around the corner.All those square wedges are still trying to fit into the management culture of Microsoft’s round hole.The diversified class is not so much successful, it is better to say that it is lingering.Those who Gates had previously preferred (and still ingrained under his shadow) are seeing this.When challenged, they simply call out his name as a protective spell, and because Gates’ guilt is still not publicly acknowledged, their spells succeed.This is regrettable, because when Microsoft really tries to break the oligarchy of the hero, the result is often unbelievable.Despite being behind in all important areas of technology (even in some areas, such as mobile and personal agents, they have already raised the flag), Microsoft is killing rivals.The income has increased.The stock price has gone up.The status of the industry has risen.Microsoft has a common place in all the thriving places: the key heroes are squeezed out by better people.This is the problem of a single leadership culture like words and deeds.It is not the best talent to promote, but the talent that is most similar to those who are already in power.Success is quickly followed when the authorities are pushed aside by candidates who are more in line with Nadella’s new cultural vision.Let Amy Hood be promoted to Microsoft CFO.No one knows her name.She does not belong to any known power circle or list of common suspected candidates.This decision was widely questioned by the company’s private whispers.Now those whispers have stopped.Indeed, few people remember the name of the hero who was replaced by her. Hood is now considered one of the best CFOs in the tech world.She belongs to the kind of non-mainstream, who believes that the treasure is placed on the talents, and people who can rely on the talents to promote cultural development.This situation reappeared as the sales team changed.Ballmer’s Kevin Turner was printed with him as a mold.When he and Ballmer appear together, it is difficult to tell who is moving first.Like Ballmer, Turner is an idol inside the company.Although Microsoft was stagnant in the 1990s and early 2010s, his numbers were always impressive.Inside the company, people joked that he could sell dry air in the desert.Although there is almost no exciting thing to sell, the sales department still prints the currency in the first quarter of the first quarter and one year.Insiders firmly believe that he is irreplaceable.Leaders should think about the ideals and values ​​of subordinates rather than their superiors.Promoting these leaders is the quickest way to repair a company’s ruined culture.Those insiders are wrong.When Turner left, the revival came.A new voice has appeared.I finally heard new ideas.New power was born.It was Tarner himself who realized that it was a hindrance to the sales department, which surprised everyone.His aura is not true, but the blurring of Ballmer’s aura.There are better people, a lot of better people, they are as good at what they do, just like Hood.If they don’t break the reincarnation of the heroes, no one can do these things.But the biggest shift in power took place in the cloud computing sector, which is now a pioneer in Microsoft’s profit and shareholder value.This department was run by Nadella personally. Under his leadership, the team did achieve the goal, but it did not impress anyone.When he was promoted to the position of the CEO, the newcomer, more qualified, unexpected people suddenly skipped those more likely candidates and succeeded him.The new boss is the person who wields the hoe, not during the Gates gold rush, but in the years of Ballmer’s ridiculous years, still trying to find gold occasionally.They are still struggling when there is no guarantee of success, so they never think that success will fall from the sky.What happened in the middle?It is they who have made Microsoft’s future.Nadella is a better CEO because he put the treasure on them.High-level changes (rather than presentations, training or topic tags) have the greatest cultural impact.If you want a real and lasting cultural change, then sweep out the successful heroes of the previous culture and promote those who behave like words and ideas more like employees than managers.This is the key: leaders should think about the ideals and values ​​of subordinates rather than their superiors.Promoting these leaders is the quickest way to repair a company’s ruined culture.My former transition manager Lu Qi, another highly acclaimed “magician”, is a good example.He left Bing and created conditions for the latter to flourish.Good ideas from subordinate employees (both abound) have nowhere to go.But the ineffective strategy of the top has quickly become an unquestionable law.Lu Qi is his boss and his peers, not the creation of his team.When the fixed mind above his head was removed, the new idea found the sunshine needed for growth.Oh, unfortunately it’s too late for Bing!If someone can properly give Google a little competitive pressure, the world would have been a better place.But on the contrary, Microsoft’s good man is just to ensure Google’s monopoly.Microsoft clearly knows that there is a problem.Otherwise, it will not fight such an open struggle to reinvent itself.It is worth noting that there is no cultural transformation in some places, such as the Windows department, Nadella just re-arranged the lounge chair of the hero.He did not follow his own cultural change manual, but just changed the Windows hero to a Windows Phone hero.The same group of people who have not been able to develop a winning strategy for mobile phones in the past decade has suddenly been given the task of developing a desktop winning strategy.So it’s no surprise that Windows continues its tradition of being boring, full of loopholes, and constantly clumsy to update.The heroes have not been saved, and the real talents of the Windows department, as well as their diversified ideas, are still buried under the guise of the heroes.If Windows is the only refuge for recycling failures (although Gates and Ballmer’s strategy missed the web, cloud, and mobile era, but still actively and resolutely embrace the former’s leaders), Microsoft may still be OK.of.However, the remnants of the past are too thick in too many places to suffocate tomorrow’s culture.Microsoft clearly knows that there is a problem.Otherwise, it will not fight such an open struggle to reinvent itself.The message I want to convey is simple: when you continue to worship your idol, there is no way you can forget the outdated culture.The symbolic memorial for those who are caught in this cultural chaos is an obstacle to getting rid of this chaos.Just like the statues of Robert E. Lee, as long as they are still, they are a tribute to the better years that the good man thinks.The demise of Turner, Lu Qi, Nadella, and whoever CFO’s single leadership culture shows that Microsoft’s best people are those who are obscured, and their values ​​reflect the future, not the past.The future development of Microsoft depends to a large extent on Nadella, depending on his commitment to publicly claiming the desire to build a more diversified and humble company.Through the above examples you can prove that Microsoft is making progress.However, my former female colleague who had pre-reviewed this document before the public release did not believe it.None of them expressed confidence in the new Microsoft.They mentioned articles that the abuse was not punished and still feared being retaliated against and afraid to speak.In fact, many commentators have said it alone. The irony is that the only reason I can say what I want to say is because I am a “50-year-old white man”, so I won’t be there.Revenge for help.So they are still silent, in fact, that is the voice that Microsoft most needs to listen to.So obviously, Microsoft just put a toe into the river of the future.It’s time to take a dip in the river, and if Microsoft decides to take this critical step, the whole world will be rejoicing.In essence, Microsoft is a company that makes money by arrogant means: creating wealth by creating valuable products that everyone is willing to spend.They are seen by Google and Facebook as the future of human trafficking data and the use of a bastion in front of users.The fate of the world is closely related to Microsoft’s internal struggle. Can Nadella’s just-initiated cultural-oriented strategy overcome the gang culture that has been rooted in 40 years?We will wait and see.Come to Microsoft, the world needs you.Translator: boxi..