Antagonizing Microsoft and its admirers has long been a part of my professional work culture. It’s easy to get a tinge of excitement when I see the giant stumble (ironic, given that I actually own some stock in the beast). But as I’ve matured (heh, heh, he said “matured”), I’ve come to know many people from Microsoft’s past, present, and I’m sure, future. And these people are passionate. They want to change the world for the better.
Microsoft is just a company, and yet its significance in the history of computing is so great, and its power over operating systems so daunting, that it’s far from being just a company. The company is a giant, figuratively and literally.
In his article, Be Microsoft, David Weiss expresses simultaneous love and disdain for the company he works for. In not so many words, it’s depressing to David that the giant lumbers around, fearful of all the smaller creatures surrounding it. So concerned is Microsoft with the competition, that it’s forgotten how to be itself.
I find David’s analysis to ring true. Grippingly true. It’s coming from the heart of Microsoft. The figurative heart, that is: straight from its precious employees. David’s blog is a perfect example of the thoughtful, well-intentioned self-criticism that I wish Apple would allow its employees to engage in more often.
The fear of anti-employee-blogging companies like Apple is that such off-the-cuff self-reflection might bode ill for the company’s public image. But posts like David’s only strengthen my impression of Microsoft as a company with character. A damaged character, perhaps. But one that is worthy of my consideration.
David draws parallels between Apple’s downturn several years ago, and Microsoft’s situation now. While David suggests that Apple’s recovery should instruct Microsoft about the value of “Being Microsoft,” perhaps Microsoft’s pro-blogging policies could teach Apple to “Be Human.”