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Bill Gates' Management Style 362

replicant108 wrote in to give us Tom Evslin's fascinating account of working for Microsoft in the early 90s. "So you're in there presenting your product plan to billg, steveb, and mikemap. Billg typically has his eyes closed and he's rocking back and forth. He could be asleep; he could be thinking about something else; he could be listening intently to everything you're saying. The trouble is all are possible and you don't know which. Obviously, you have to present as if he were listening intently even though you know he isn't looking at the PowerPoint slides you spent so much time on. At some point in your presentation billg will say "that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft." He looks like he means it. However, since you knew he was going to say this, you can't really let it faze you. Moreover, you can't afford to look fazed; remember: he's a bully."
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Bill Gates' Management Style

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  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Sunday May 06, 2007 @12:13PM (#19010883)
    Somehow, I doubt that any good CEO is going to be impressed by a Powerpoint presentation, itself. It's the content that they're interested in, not the color of the clip-art. You could also hand them a sheet of paper explaining whatever it is you're trying to explain, as well. A good CEO isn't an idiot that's going to be swayed by pretty pictures.
  • by Jeian ( 409916 ) on Sunday May 06, 2007 @01:11PM (#19011317)
    Don't let me get in the way of everyone's dogmatic Gates-hate, but Linus Torvalds operates in a similar way.

    "I'm always right. This time I'm just even more right than usual." Torvalds, Linus (2005-07-14). Message to linux-kernel mailing list. Retrieved on 2006-08-28.

    "If you still don't like it, that's ok: that's why I'm boss. I simply know better than you do." Torvalds, Linus (1996-07-22). Post to comp.os.linux.advocacy newsgroup. Retrieved on 2006-08-28.

    That's all, return to your ranting.
  • by dont_run ( 1050730 ) on Sunday May 06, 2007 @01:12PM (#19011319)
    If this subject interests you, then you should also read Joel Spolsky's account of his first BillG review: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.htm l [joelonsoftware.com]
  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Sunday May 06, 2007 @01:19PM (#19011381) Journal
    Melinda French was the product unit manager for Bob, Publisher, Encarta, and other "user-friendly" products. The project leader for Bob was apparently Karen Fries, and a quick search indicates a lot of research into things like "anthropomorphic" software, so it most likely was Karen Fries' idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2007 @01:42PM (#19011549)
    I worked in Tom Evslins group while he was at Microsoft. He was not the genius or as self aware as he presents himself to be. He was more responsible for exchange slipping & having no direction than anyone in the company.

    Luckily for Microsoft, Brian Valentine was able to recover from that & push Exchange out. Say what you like about Microsoft, but Exchange Server did more to make email a reality for corporates than any other product.
  • Re:Untouchable crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by 75th Trombone ( 581309 ) on Sunday May 06, 2007 @04:17PM (#19012653) Homepage Journal

    This parable illustrates how personal defects get in the way of quality.

    Dude, did you even read the comment you were responding to?! It said that Gates ALLOWED THE FIX!! I mean, I don't think Bill Gates is some kind of role model or anything, but having someone come into your office to unwittingly call your own code "crap" to your face, and then going along with what that person says, is NOT a "personal defect" of any kind.

  • by Sproggit ( 18426 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @04:02AM (#19017805)
    Physical violence is often the best solution to a problem, within a very specific framework of ends being met.
    The best course of action with a bully depends entirely on a classification:
    1) Loner, possibly demented sociopathic bully:
      a) Find bully's weak spot and firstly attempt to leverage this (alcoholic parents, history of abuse etc) in an attempt at a display of an understanding friendship
      b) Wait until bully is alone, hit bully in the back of the head with a brick. This for of bully ultimately splits everyone into 2 camps; predators and prey. Become the predator, but dont add the pressure of humiliation as this might cause a violent retaliation in order to save face.
    2) Bully leader, usually with a group of sycophants in tow:
      a) Weak spot finding would be less useful unless you can use this to publicly humiliate the bully. A small amount of released information to the group of hangers-on might easily cow the bully into leaving you alone, as the fear of losing face in front of them might be a deciding factor.
      b) A small, swift and painful physical attack may be called for, but this must be done publicly, in front of more than the bully's group of friends (In case of accusations later). It should be humiliating (If the bully is a boy, and the bullied is a girl, even better). The best course of action would be to insult the bully into threatening one first, and then a swift cafeteria tray in the teeth, or a head-butt on the nose should suffice. Remember, quickly done, quickly over, but make the bully less in the eyes of his peers. The cost / benefit ratio of attacking you then just becomes too high...

    Handling bullies 101...

    The Sproggg

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.