Tag Archives: technology

The End of the Sinofsky Era at Microsoft – Opinions on Leadership

So Mr. Sinofsky is gone from Microsoft. I’m not all that surprised given Microsoft’s shift to devices and services.

A friend and I were once having lunch at Kidd Valley and we spotted him sitting in the back with only a tablet computer keeping him company. As a fellow introvert, I understood the allure of getting away from all the people and demands to claim some quiet space and time to think over a meal.

Months later, I spotted him across the lobby of building 37. I watched him take the long route around to avoid someone he obviously didn’t want to talk to, but it was to no avail. Called out on his avoidance and hailed by name, heads swiveled to focus on him and the emotion this stirred in him was plain to see but hard to name. He was at the least clearly unhappy and annoyed, and made a throwaway comment in response while he placed his mask back in place and continued on to his destination without stopping.

I had the opportunity to meet and work with several people in the Windows division, and provide some input here and there around the developer documentation, website, and store. Great people, hard-working, cognizant of the scale and scope of the product they were working on. But many were uneasy about their leader, and the uneasiness mostly derived from fearing the wrath of their often inscrutable leader.

Leadership is hard, but in my opinion, there are some things that leaders should do:

  • Leaders should be clear in their direction and vision.
  • Leaders should spend as much time as possible with all levels of their team in order to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
  • Leaders should boldly meet all comers.
  • Leaders should show the full range of their emotions.
  • Leaders should recognize when their leadership methodology hinders team execution.
  • Leaders should listen to negative feedback and address it clearly and directly.
  • Leaders should care and talk about more than just what they are leading.

If Mr. Sinofsky were to address these areas, I think he’d be an even more formidable technical leader.

I’m Leaving Microsoft – A Personal Update

I’m leaving Microsoft at the end of this month.

The decision to leave was simultaneously hard and easy. It was hard because I had just begun some new job duties that I was very excited about being involved with. It was easy because in the hierarchy of my life, family comes before work.

It sounds trite, but I’m leaving to focus my entire attention on my family. Simply put, they could use some extra help, and working a more than full time job is incompatible with the type of help they need.

I have some broader thoughts about Microsoft that I’ll share at a later date, but right now I’d like to thank everyone that I’ve worked with. You’ve been tremendous, and I have to keep pinching myself that our work has touched tens (hundreds?) of millions of people. Microsoft the company gets a bad rap for many things, but the people have always been amazing in their brilliance and I’ve been continually impressed by everyone’s professionalism, deep thinking, and focus.

It’s been an honor to work with you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!