Friday, September 15, 2006

Does becoming a region mean we are ONE Microsoft?

6 Microsoft's - one India: Now that we are a region and are all exhausted from rushing to the rooftops and shouting out how dramatically our life has changed because of this, I'd like to understand whether this means we have one leader and one set of policies for all divisions residing in India? Right now, this is so incredibly broken it is not funny. R&D has higher grade levels, a different HR head, different HR policies, blah blah blah. We need to either stop talking about one Microsoft in India or genuinely make changes to ensure it IS one Microsoft in India.

The silence of the dead: I'm quite astonished by how quiet everyone has become. There was a reasonable exchange of thoughts and ideas before the retreat, but there is now a deathly silence on this blog. Even an inflammatory post from someone at IDC (presumably) could not wake up what I'm beginning to think are the living dead. I'll continue posting though. What is a little disappointing is that the people in Microsoft India don't appear to have much of a creative view on anything. It seems like you will every once in a while react to a thought, but there really isn't an unsolicited view that is actionable.

I read on the ''mother" Minimsft blog that ITG tracks the sites you go to and minimisft is on the watch list. While I wouldn't necessarily post on this blog while I am on corpnet, I don't think there is much risk of either identification or retribution if you do.

Reviews: The reviews are done. People are either thrilled to be here or are still trying to figure out if they did well or poorly based on their 'achieved' performance and 'strong' stock rating. There IS a forced curve and we're obligated to rate some as underachieved. There is indeed a quota system at it myMicrosoft or whatever.

Reflecting on the congratulatory mails that people receive when they complete 1 year at Microsoft, I think they can use it as ammunition if they get anything other than an 'exceeded' and 'outstanding' rating for there salary and stock ratings respectively. Wouldn't that be funny !

Feel free to post your level, stock rating and number of shares you got. It's anonymous and should open up an interesting dialogue on whether what you got was fair.

Millionaires now...NOT: Our stock price has started ticking up. We surprised the street about 6 months ago with some asinine talk about investing an additional $2billion, but not knowing exactly where. Not that you are I are going to get rich with a $3 share price increase. Those 200 share handouts that you got translate to about Rs. 25,000 a year after tax. Now, if you want to know who's really riding the great year we had, go to http://hrweb and look at what the stock grants could be like if you weren't so underlevelled coming into Microsoft.

iPod killer: Zune has launched. It's going to be a while before it lives up to our chest pounding reviews that it's going to be an iPod killer, but it looks quite good. We need go public with our efforts to get OEMs on board to offer accessories like docking stations and speakers custom made for Zune.

IPTV: I'm curious where we are with this considering Verizon just decided to take the code inhouse because of delays in the software. There is so much hype around this but Microsoft's TV business have been stellar underperformers in the 10 years they have been around and if I were a betting man, I would hesitate to predict that this is going nowhere in India for a while.

Vista and Office: On the flipside, we're making some good strides with Vista and Office 2007. RC1 is really nice and if we don't screw up, we may still get Vista out by the holiday season. These cash cows may keep us going for a while longer.

Flex-go: We also announced Flex-go. It is going to be a while before it is launched in India, but at least we can now talk about it in something other than hushed whispers. I think it is time we had some kind of briefing on what this is about and we all learned to speak about it meaningfully.

Finally, ever wondered why we move into a new office before it is ready for occupation? Phones not working, bad cell coverage etc etc. Why don't we pick a move date and ensure that the work is complete on schedule?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Review

Hopefully most of you by now would have completed your reviews - To me it really looks like we are getting more of the curve only now it is all lost in the ambiguity of a three-point scale.

What did you like or dislike about this process? Is it any different from before?

PS: I couldnt help but notice an interesting comment to my previous post -

"To the Management -By acknowledging the presence of this blog you have also tacitly endorsed the tone and purpose of this blog - Kudos to all of you!

However if this is indeed a healthy forum for self-expression why not encourage this inside of the company in the first place? Mini India - will you stop this blog if that happens?"

What do you think? Is Microsoft India ready to discuss uncomfortable issues openly?

Friday, September 01, 2006

The first day of a new blog....

I'm not sure what's happened to this blog. In the process of cleaning up various drafts, I think stuff got deleted. The old posts are probably not going to be recovered, but we'll start afresh. Please post away. The retreat, constructive criticism, India becoming a region, reviews....nothing is off limits. Please be open and respectful. In the next day or two, I will rewrite this opener and post (and this time I'll create a back up in just in case something gets messed up).

Great retreat: This was a well organised retreat. The new hires found it very energizing. The old timers got drunk AND didn't get bored out of their skulls. I wish there had been a detailed agenda of who was presenting when, but that’s nitpicking. During the general session, bringing in 2 people whose lives and livelihoods we have directly impacted was a stroke of genius. Bravo ! Sure there were hiccups, but the bottom line is that it was well put together. Hyderabad would not have been my first choice, but the retreat proved that the location is secondary if the event is well put together. The food was acceptable, logistics were good, the presentations were on schedule for the most part, content was passable if you were new to Microsoft. The party was fun (although the drive to Ramoji and back was too long).

A few questions:
  • We were awarded a Worldspace radio because we are apparently not able to give employees a reward of >$100 without triggering all kinds of LCA alarms and warning bells. SLT - Where there's a will, there is a way. If you recollect, each SMSP employee got a ~$2000 reward a couple of years ago - was LCA was caught napping on that one???
  • Why Hyderabad?There was zero participation from the other groups based in Hyderabad, so the event could have been in ANY city. Could not the GDCI, GDIC and MGSI heads have traveled?
  • Only 23% of all the employees were happy with compensation at Microsoft India. I'm curious what we are doing to address it. With 250 new hires, this must be cause for concern
  • It was surprising that not even one management team member spoke about what did NOT go well and what our learnings were from those experiences.

The only way to provide feedback: I'm glad that the management team is reading this blog and acknowledging that it does exist. It is strange when you have to look outside the system to get visibility to issues within the system.