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Bill Gates' Management Style

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the behold-the-glorious-borg-icon dept.

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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Hey, Windows/Linux refugees! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010553)

The only thing more pathetic than a PC user is a PC user trying to be a Mac user. We have a name for you people: switcheurs.

There's a good reason for your vexation at the Mac's user interface: You don't speak its language. Remember that the Mac was designed by artists [atspace.com] , for artists [atspace.com] , be they poets [atspace.com] , musicians [atspace.com] , or avant-garde mathematicians [atspace.com] . A shiny new Mac can introduce your frathouse hovel to a modicum of good taste, but it can't make Mac users out of dweebs [atspace.com] and squares [atspace.com] like you.

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that suits your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Re:Hey, Windows/Linux refugees! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010585)

Tru dat! But I think you should keep in mind that the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is a New York City and San Francisco-based unincorporated organization that advocates the legalization of sexual relations between adult males and young boys. NAMBLA defends what it asserts to be the right of minors to explore their sexuality more freely. It has resolved to "end the oppression of men and boys who have freely chosen mutually consenting relationships," and calls for "the adoption of laws that both protect children from unwanted sexual experiences and at the same time leave them free to determine the content of their own sexual experiences."[1] NAMBLA's webpage states that: "NAMBLA does not provide encouragement, referrals or assistance for people seeking sexual contacts" and that it does not "engage in any activities that violate the law [or] advocate that anyone else should [violate the law]."[2]

NAMBLA holds an annual gathering in New York City and monthly meetings around the country.[3] In the early 1980s, NAMBLA was reported to have had over 300 members, and was supported by such noted figures as Allen Ginsberg.[4] Since then, the organization has kept membership data private, but an undercover FBI investigation in 1995 discovered that there were 1,100 people on the rolls.[4] It is the largest organization in the umbrella group IPCE[5] (formerly "International Pedophile and Child Emancipation").[6]

Since 1995, public criticism and law enforcement infiltration have heavily impaired the organization. Its national headquarters now consists of little more than a private mail box service in San Francisco, and inquiries are rarely responded to; it has essentially ceased to exist. Some reports state that the group no longer has regular national meetings and few local monthly meetings.

Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (3, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010583)

The most important thing to have for any project is a CHAMPION. So if you aren't ready to champion your own idea then you are wasting everybody's time.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010849)

But not everyone can be a champion. You have to have followers to have leaders. Just because you are a follower doesn't mean you aren't smart, or not worthy of working on X project. You know what happens to corps where the leader/follower ratio is skewed? DOWNSIZING.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (4, Insightful)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011171)

But not everyone can be a champion.

Read TFA. "That meant that I and the other product managers...". Not everyone has to walk into a meeting like this with billg and stand this trial by fire. If you're a product manager, you should be the ultimate champion of your product.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (5, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011293)

It was a test. And you failed. All of us.

Like I was telling my daughter yesterday, the appropriate thing to do when you meet such a person is to drill them in the nose with your knuckles as hard as you can, unless they outweigh you by a significant margin, in which case you should hit them with a chair until they crumple to the ground.

This is how you deal with bullies.

You certainly don't turn yourself one after another into his bitch and make him rich as reward for his antisocial behavior.

I bet Bill wears an "Everything I needed to take over the world, I learned from the bully in kindergarten" T-shirt to bed as a nightie.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010897)

True enough. Though if you found this article interesting, you should try reading Barbarians Led by Bill Gates [amazon.com] . It's an insider's perspective on the going-ons inside of Microsoft in the early days. It's especially freaky to learn that they started coding much of Windows in BASIC. (Which I suppose comes as no surprise given that the Microsoft of the time was known as "the BASIC company".) Just like in this article, Gates was described as the King of the Hill with whom very few of the developers wanted to tangle.

A particularly amusing anecdote was when the author was working on a clock application for Windows. He found the BASIC flood-fill routine to be buggy and quite poor, and set about to rewrite it. He then headed for Gates' office to tell him that he wanted to replace the existing flood-fill routine "because it was crap". (Or something to that effect.) Some of his coworkers tried to warn him off, but he headed straight in and showed off his work to Gates. After forcefully championing his work to Gates, Gates agreed to allow the fix. As he came out of Gates' office beaming, one of the coworkers said to him, "You know who wrote the original flood-fill routine, don't you?"

Yep, it was Gates. And the author had just told him that his code was crap to his face. Doh! :-P

Sounds like a great manager (4, Insightful)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011401)

That story of the Flood-fill rewrite makes Billg sound like a great manager. So does being the richest guy in the world...

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (5, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011039)

The most important thing to have for any project is a CHAMPION. So if you aren't ready to champion your own idea then you are wasting everybody's time.

There's a distinct difference between expecting someone to champion their project and being a bully and abusing them verbally. Telling every person that their project idea is "the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft." is just being downright mean. Especially when you just glare at them coldly after they defend themselves (as the article points out).

And then you get people who'll imitate the behavior without the smarts to back it up, so it becomes nothing BUT abuse. (Middle management for example.) I think Bill's management technique explains a lot about Microsoft's behavior over the years and why they're so disliked in the technical community. In fact looking back at how MS acted during their two biggest trials (the US anti-trust and EU anti-trust) you can see this "bullying" all over the place. Acting like a bully when you're the defendant in court is not a good idea. It'll just piss the judge (and possibly the jury) off, and they're the ones passing judgment on you.

Besides, it's not like this technique has worked incredibly well for MS, especially in areas like security. MS has also put out some really lousy stuff over the years, like MS Bob, that were apparently "championed" all the way to release, then bombed. Maybe if Bill had developed a culture less focused on bullying they could have avoided some of those things, and saved money. When you force every one of your employees to defend their projects in such a manner then how many are going to be willing to listen when people point out problems with them? You can't have any second doubts if you have to defend your projects constantly, so people will stop listening to any criticism, leading to lower quality all around.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (2, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011115)

Whatever you choose to believe from your limited insights in MS or any other company's management, in the end there has to be that person who has the balls to have a vision and follow through with it. It's also true that is is very difficult to be an effective leader and be liked by all the folks working for you. Few people like having to answer to authority, be held accountable for their actions or do what it takes to get the job done - no matter what.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011241)

It's also true that is is very difficult to be an effective leader and be liked by all the folks working for you.

There is a difference between being a leader and being a commander. People follow a leader by choice. A commander is obeyed only if he has the power to back up his commands.

A leader need not be liked by those beneath him but he does need to be respected. Gates by this report is not a leader but a commander who rules by fear if not terror. A commander who rules in this way has to always worry that those below will rebel and destroy them.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011321)

MS has also put out some really lousy stuff over the years, like MS Bob, that were apparently "championed" all the way to release, then bombed.
Apparently MS Bob was Melinda Gates' idea.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (4, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011381)

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.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (2, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011419)

Is it really bullying or abuse? Ok, the physical act may be, but I am asking in a bigger context. I am guessing they were the way they were because it was what made them great. I am guessing they were thinking, "heck this is how we became a 10,000 employee company and thus it must be good." And to a degree it is.

Sort of like Google who for some odd reason has this itch to test everybody's ability to fine tune a bubble sort. While I can agree some Google folks needs to know this, most probably don't. Yet I see the same Microsoft attitude, "heck this is how we became a 10,000 employee company and thus it must be good."

What Microsoft and Google often don't get is that they need to adapt, and change. For example, I would love to see Google get smart with their Google apps. For example, why do the Google apps HAVE TO be hosted on Google? Would it not be smarter to have a sort of online, offline application? Heck they tested all of their employees on the merits of the bubble sort I am sure that this online offline application would be a snap.

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011219)

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." --Bertrand Russell

Re:Champoined Needed - Sounds Good To Me (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011397)

I heard from people who work with international teams that this is the american way of doing. You need a champion, you need a super-hero who will be credited for the whole project. This is a bit shocking for other cultures I must say.

And that idea was... (5, Funny)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010619)

Linux?

Re:And that idea was... (0)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010765)

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.

He could be fantasizing about Melissa??????

21st Century Reading List:

American Dynasty by Kevin Phillips, Blood Money by T. Christian Miller, Hostile Takeover by David Sirota, The Bush Agenda by Antonia Juhasz, Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast, Jacked and also Other People's Money by Nomi Prins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, No Place To Hide by Robert O'Harrow, What Every American Should Know About Who's Really Running the World by Melissa L. Rossi, War is a Racket by General Smedley Butler, Licensed to Kill by Robert Young Pelton, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace by Gore Vidal

Re:And that idea was... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010845)

No, evidently it was TCP/IP.

Re:And that idea was... (3, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010973)

Trusted Computer Platform/Intellectual Property?

"that's the dumbest fucking idea..." (5, Funny)

toby (759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010633)

...And we can be sure he gets to hear a lot of dumb ideas.

But why greenlight them, bill?

Re:"that's the dumbest fucking idea..." (5, Funny)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010801)

Oh my god, I read TFA and the first thing I wondered:

1. invent 'clippy'
2. "That's the dumbest fucking idea..."
3. ???
4. clippy get's accepted

That poor guy must have gone through some hell in #3 there.

Re:"that's the dumbest fucking idea..." (5, Funny)

joekool (21359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011033)

wasn't the project manager for clippy his future wife?

via the MS Bob project anyway...

puts number 3 in a different light.

Re:"that's the dumbest fucking idea..." (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011327)

Or perhaps it makes 2 parse diffrently.

I know I wouldn't last long (5, Funny)

capebretonsux (758684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010641)

I wouldn't last very long at Microsoft, by the sounds of it.

"that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft."

And 'Clippy' was a great idea?

Re:I know I wouldn't last long (2, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010745)

Bob

Re:I know I wouldn't last long (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010751)

The actual Great IdeaTM here was MS Bob. Clippy derived from there. MS Bob was managed by Melinda French, now a.k.a. Melinda Gates. You don't say "that's the dumbest fucking idea" to your gf. So Clippy was hired essentially to try not to waste all the effort that went into creating the totally flopped Bob.

Re:I know I wouldn't last long (4, Interesting)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010819)

Well, as coarse as his management style is/was, a key ingredient in its success may have been in the fact that he's a really smart guy who wants to be convinced of why your ideas are right, and while he's a tough customer, he can be convinced.

Now, there are a lot of boneheads on Planet Earth. Everybody has worked under a PHB who you have to practically subvert in order to keep your company afloat. But far more insidious are smart people who don't know how to argue or debate - or, if they do, replace actual discussion with fallacy. They use tactics such as circular arguments, attrition, argument from authority, ad-hominem attacks and stonewalling to prevent any actual reason from taking place. And usually, they're the most powerful person in the room, so your only option is to say, "Actually, sir, you haven't responded to any point I've made, and I think some outside factor is influencing your decision." Yippee.

Re:I know I wouldn't last long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011173)

Can not be put any better---
Now, there are a lot of boneheads on Planet Earth. Everybody has worked under a PHB who you have to practically subvert in order to keep your company afloat. But far more insidious are smart people who don't know how to argue or debate - or, if they do, replace actual discussion with fallacy. They use tactics such as circular arguments, attrition, argument from authority, ad-hominem attacks and stonewalling to prevent any actual reason from taking place. And usually, they're the most powerful person in the room, so your only option is to say, "Actually, sir, you haven't responded to any point I've made, and I think some outside factor is influencing your decision." Yippee

Re:I know I wouldn't last long (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011185)

You can be a manager who needs to be convinced of the merits of a project WITHOUT being an asshat. Bill Gates sounds like a serious asshat.

Stop cowering before managment... (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011351)

I've never understood why people don't just leave in workplaces like that. It' s not like you have some good reason for company loyalty if the management is indeed a bunch of irrational fucktards. Don't just quietly leave, explain clearly why you are leaving. You like the job and the pay is fine, but there is too much internal bullshit to make the job worthwhile. When Billg says "That's the dumbest idea I've heard ..." respond by saying "You are wrong, it is an excellent idea. Your criticism is niether constructive, nor professional. I will be taking my ideas elsewhere." Then immediately leave the room, perhaps the building. So before you present your idea to Billg you should look for a new job. Hopefully you won't need the new job if Billg actually does see the value of you idea, but much more importantly he will also have to acknowledge the value of you. Sure, he still might want you to prove your idea to him, but Bill Gates is smart enough to be able to come up with insightful questions without being rude. I can only imagine this technique is an artifact of Bill Gates being, on some level, scared shitless of the size and responsiblity that MS has become. It's a "trick" that might work with some reliablity, but it's something he should have outgrown long ago. Management can only treat employees like shit when we let them, they need us at least as much as we need them. Following these princples I've doubled my income (and respect from managment)in the last three years. No, not all of this happen with one employer. I did have to walk away from one stable, but poor quality of life, job.

Re:I know I wouldn't last long (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010865)

it was based on microsoft bob, which was melissa gates idea.

That Borg Icon (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010645)

from the behold-the-glorious-borg-icon dept.

Taco, isn't it long overdue for that Borg icon to be retired? No other slashdot topic icon has that juvenile caricature. And Bill Gates isn't even the CEO of Microsoft anymore. He is the chairman.

That icon isn't even relevant anymore. It's time slashdot grow up as well.

Re:That Borg Icon (1, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010703)

Be patient, they're almost done working on the monkey suit for Steve B. for the dancing monkey icon.

Re:That Borg Icon (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010857)

"And Bill Gates isn't even the CEO of Microsoft anymore. He is the chairman."

I thought steve ("I'll fucking bury them") is the "chair-man" ...

Re:That Borg Icon (1)

nSignIfikaNt (732122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011387)

SteveB is the CEO and Bill Gates is now Chairman. He used to be the Chief Software Architect as well but was recently replaced by Ray Ozzie.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/steve/defa ult.mspx [microsoft.com]
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/billg/defa ult.mspx [microsoft.com]
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/ozzie/defa ult.mspx [microsoft.com]

Re:That Borg Icon (2, Funny)

rgravina (520410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011023)

And Bill Gates isn't even the CEO of Microsoft anymore. He is the chairman.

Actually, I think it's Balmer who is the chair-man.

Re:That Borg Icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011237)

GNU-holding-a-blanket-and-appearing-to-suck-his-th umb-icon anyone? Bill is hardly the only such icon left.

What has slashdot come to? (-1, Flamebait)

1s44c (552956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010647)


Slashdot - Microsoft new for windows fanboys.

Dumbest F*ing Thing huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010661)

"that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft."
So when steveb came for his interview, he really must've been sleeping.

Re:Dumbest F*ing Thing huh? (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010727)

I guess you don't know how Steve B came to work for Microsoft.

Continuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010663)

"that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft..... It needs to be harder to run programs, and slower How else would Dell sell those XPS's?!"

This explains a lot (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010669)

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.
This explains why no one put a stop to IE, ActiveX, UAC, etc. when he said it. So I guess Mr. Gates isn't responsible for everything wrong at Microsoft ... it's the people who didn't listen to his good judgment. ;-)

Re:This explains a lot (3, Funny)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011207)

So I guess Mr. Gates isn't responsible for everything wrong at Microsoft ... it's the people who didn't listen to his good judgment. ;-)

That's the dumbest fucking thing I've seen since I've been at Slashdot.

Oh wait, that's a joke. Never mind, but I'm still not responsible for anything but your success.

It's all about presentation. (5, Interesting)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010671)

Maybe you should've spent less time on the PowerPoint slides and more time thinking about how your idea was going to (figuratively) grab Billg around the throat and shake him until he said, "That's the best idea I've ever heard since I've been here at Microsoft."

I mean, shit, do you really think you're going to impress the CEO of Microsoft with a PowerPoint presentation, of all things?

Re:It's all about presentation. (5, Insightful)

writermike (57327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010749)

Maybe you should've spent less time on the PowerPoint slides and more time thinking about how your idea was going to (figuratively) grab Billg around the throat and shake him until he said, "That's the best idea I've ever heard since I've been here at Microsoft."



I mean, shit, do you really think you're going to impress the CEO of Microsoft with a PowerPoint presentation, of all things?

I've worked with bosses like that. Presuming you could impress them, they'd never let you know it. They still tell you your idea sucks and that you suck and that they don't understand why they hired you in the first place. They wish you were dead, sock you in the gut, etc. They're bullies. That's the point of the article, I think.

In general, however, I don't know if this story is an example of 'billg' so much as it is an example of asshole bosses, of which there are legions.

Re:It's all about presentation. (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010885)

They still tell you your idea sucks

And there are ones that tell you that your idea sucks only to come around a few days later and tell you a revolutionary new idea that he'd come up with - yep, you're idea. Some do that intentionally, some are just too f*cked up to even remember who's idea that was in the first place.
 

Re:It's all about presentation. (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010981)

That management style might work for some people positively but I think in the end most people want some acknowledgement of thier idea.

I've seen many policy changes and products where I've worked that were good ideas. But not great fucking ideas (GFI). Its that difference that makes people buy, promote and increases sales. I think a lot of companies need the GFI plan. Hell, if a company has this as its policy, I WANT TO WORK THERE!!!!

Re:It's all about presentation. (4, Funny)

egyptiankarim (765774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011109)

I remember learning about this managerial style from George Bluth who constantly shot down his son's business ideas in order to keep him constantly striving to gain his approval. I'm still waiting to read the Slashdot post about BillG burning his hands on a cornballer :)

Re:It's all about presentation. (4, Interesting)

Taagehornet (984739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010767)

It might also be that the idea wasn't any good after all...

Not all former MS employees hold a grudge. Joel Spolsky appears thoroughly impressed with his former boss: My First BillG Review [joelonsoftware.com]

Re:It's all about presentation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011409)

Good story. Thanks for sharing that link.

Re:It's all about presentation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010803)

I mean, shit, do you really think you're going to impress the CEO of Microsoft with a PowerPoint presentation, of all things?


You should probably at least learn who is CEO of Microsoft, so you won't embarrass yourself when giving presentation / posting on Slashdot.

Re:It's all about presentation. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010879)

Gates was CEO until 2000.

Re:It's all about presentation. (2, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Poker (3, Insightful)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010673)

No wonder he's ####ing good at poker.

Oh, go see 'Pirates of Silicon Valley'. You'll enjoy it.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0168122/ [imdb.com]

Re:Poker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011213)

So if MS have a bad quarter, he just drives on down to Vegas for a few hands?

reminds me of the stories about Henry K. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010675)

After a State Dept. staffer turned in their first report to the big boss, it would frequently come back with a scrawled note indicating it was totally unacceptable, slipshod work, etc. The staffer would go back and spend the next couple weeks furiously researching and revising before submitting a completely rewritten draft. Back would come the comment that it was "not good enough -- should be much more thorough". After another three weeks of research, the staffer would add a cover letter to the latest rewrite begging the boss to specify where the report fell short, since the staffer had now spent practically all of their waking hours over the past two months working on it, etc.

"In that case", Kissinger would say, "I'll read it".

Different from I heard it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011371)

The staffer, after having turned in the report, was asked "Is this the best you can do??"

Staffer took back his report and worked on it some more before handing it in again.

Still same question "Is this the best you can do?"

Lather, rinse, repeat a few times.

When handing in the report for the Nth time, he was asked that very question again: "Is this the best you can do?"

Replied the staffer: "Yes sir, it is!"

Replied H.K: "Well, in that case, I'll read it."

If you think he is a bully during presentations... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010683)

...you should see that bastard during the regular mandatory Satanic rituals that all MS employees must attend. Suffering a powerpoint is nothing compared to watching the flying entrails of an infant. The company gym and caf is nice and all, but I'm wondering if I made the right decision.

Creepy... (3, Funny)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010709)

"that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at xxxxxxx."

I've heard rumors that that the same line can be heard at my corporation, in addition to fist-on-desk pounding, and finger pointing. No chair-throwing though, yet.

So he's copying from Steve Jobs too? (4, Funny)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010719)

From TFA:

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."
That sounds a lot like Steve Jobs except for the closed eyes and rocking back and forth. Couldn't Bill Gates even come up with an original management style?

Re:So he's copying from Steve Jobs too? (2, Interesting)

crazyeddie740 (785275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011091)

That sounds a lot like Steve Jobs except for the closed eyes and rocking back and forth.
Which sounds a lot like Asperger's. Maybe there is some truth to the rumors?

Obviously (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010723)

that may be one way of managing things. It may just be that he tries to unbalance the presenter and see if the presenter is able to catch up. If the presenter is catching up then the idea may not be so bad after all... But the problem here is that this will be much more dependent on the presenter than the idea itself, so in the end it's not a really good filter for good/bad ideas.

This is usually the problem within any organization - people with good ideas but bad presentation skills can either develop the ideas and ask forgiveness later or forget about the whole idea unless they can get the idea to someone that's a good presenter.

It will be far better management style to actually give constructive criticism, but that is also a lot harder.

Re:Obviously (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010799)

Are you saying that management should instead focus on the concepts behind the presentation rather than the quality of the presentation itself? Cos if so, that's the dumbest fucking idea I've ever heard. ; )

Re:Obviously (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010911)

Every corporation has a culture. That's real. Maybe the top brass have a certain kind of people that they hire, or a certain kind of mentality that they promote, and this is part of it. I know that if somebody comes to me with an idea, if they're not excited about it, neither am I. That's not unusual.

MS in the early 90s (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010757)

msshill: "So Bill, this world wide web thing is really starting to take off in the academic world. I think it's time we started making our own browser and include it with all installs of Windows."
billg: "That's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft."

Yep, sounds about right...

Re:MS in the early 90s (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010941)

Microsoft didn't 'wake up' to the 'World Wide Web' as you term it, until Netscape came along, and started promoting their proprietary server, with proprietary extensions connecting it to their browser, as a means of 'freeing up the desktop' from any particular desktop platform.

Microsoft wasn't interested in putting a LOT of resources into IE until the spectre of the Intranet reared it's head, and Andreesen at Netscape started bloviating on stages about 'taking over the corporate desktop' with web-based applications.

Microsoft's response was to roll out IE as a means of crushing Netscape, stopping the rollout of their proprietary browser with 'hooks' to their servers. It was 'the applications' that Microsoft wanted control over. The Web Applications that still to this day are weak and generally unaccepted.

Almost Right. I fixed it for you (3, Funny)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010969)

msshill: "So Bill, this world wide web thing is really starting to take off in the academic world. I think it's time we started making our own browser and include it with all installs of Windows."
billg: "That's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft. By contrast, over here is the best idea I've seen in a long time; its a new user-interface paradigm. I call it 'Bob'"

Yep (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010771)

I worked at MS on the VS.NET IDE - a coworker who demoed to Gates told me that the guys who demoed CLR in the same meeting were white as a ghost when he was done with them (though we're nerds in redmond so we didn't get much sun anyway). Apparently CLR was a little slow.

From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010791)

"If you see that your dead wrong - you may be, he's very smart - best to admit it immediately and move on."

Personally, I see nothing wrong with you're ideas.

Joel on BillG (5, Interesting)

Lachryma (949694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010793)

Reminded me of Joel on Software's first BillG review [joelonsoftware.com] and how he handled it.

Re:Joel on BillG (1)

andyr (78903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010847)

Mod parent up.

Re:Joel on BillG (5, Insightful)

rikkus-x (526844) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010925)

Sounds like he handled it like a teenage girl meeting her pop idol.

Front page probably being blocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010817)

by those who have to read through "NetNanny" or "CyberSitter" with all that cussing. Won't somebody think of the homeless [slashdot.org] ??

Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 10 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment


FUCK YOU!!! You goddamn shitheads!!!

he's a bully (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010829)

he's a bully

Sounds more like an abusive jerk.
Fits right with Ballmer throwing chairs.
Definitely needs some "special" energy to do what Microsoft is doing.

Maybe he pulled it off (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010831)

Few people can pull that off. If it's understood that once you pass the trial by fire, the boss respects you and your work, I can see that becoming the sort of thing that would make people feel like they'd earned their place and work harder. Like passing the crucible and becoming a marine. However, I can also see that becoming just an excuse to abuse people. In fact, I have not personally met a manager that treated their employees so harshly that was a good one.

Then there is also the fact that if you underestimate someone, you might end up backing someone into the corner who can make you look like a total moron. I can imagine that would be great for a boss who already struggles for respect...

Sounds like Law & Motion. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010877)

Bill Gates' dad is a lawyer. He came from a family where "cross-examination" in a legal sense probably went on from time to time (i.e. questioning a hostile witness). It sounds like he was inculcated with the culture.

Also, when dealing with judges, particularly when the witnesses or jury are out of the room, lawyers can face something that can be pretty similar to what was described here. So, ok, it's hard on the computer scientists, but welcome to what lawyers get to deal with all the time. It's an accepted practice.

Long and short of it--make sure your thinking is done BEFORE you present. Otherwise, as is to be expected, you're toast, whether the "toasting" is done by the CEO or a judge.

Re:Sounds like Law & Motion. (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011263)

It's worse than that....I believe if you keep going back a few more generations you'll find he comes from cattle-rustling stock. (Remember that Olde Wild West poster: "Cattle rustlers and other varmints will be hung.")

Or maybe that pertained to the Bush Crime Family.....

Isn't that what (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010901)

Isn't that what he said about many idea before he stole them?

Application for CEO Position at Microsoft (0, Flamebait)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010903)

Qualifications include being able to transition seamlessly between high functioning autistic and Simon Cowell during presentations and board meetings.

I'm glad bgates has parlayed that into a marketable (and enviable?) skill. It gives the rest of us needlessly cruel bastards something to dream about while rocking back and forth in our chairs.

Hmmm (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010907)

As with any other important figure out there, people tend to make stories, than with time, becomes legends. Everyone that has meet him has a "story", that brings us a little picece of his(her= point of view about the person in view (Gates, in this case). And we, the readers think that we know a lot about him because of those (often very subjective stories). And he is not dead yet. 10 years after his dead there will be legends told about how the guy spoke to you while smoking a USD 100 bill, or something similar...

Slash dot is now yellow press.

So where was his brashness when it was needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010923)

Apparently, "that's the dumbest fucking idea I've ever heard" didn't come out of his mouth when the Microsoft Bob idea was pitched to him. What went wrong?

Re:So where was his brashness when it was needed? (1)

CornfedPig (181199) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011139)

um, he married the product manager

if only billy (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010933)

said "that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard..." a few more times in the early and mid 90s. Perhaps after hearing dumb ideas constantly he just gave in to them.

Ah the joys of alpha male management style (4, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010955)

I had one of those bosses. Only my idea wasn't just dumb fucking stupid, I took too long to tell it. (Well, he did have a degree in journalism, and you could see how that would fit you for CEO of a tech company.)

Only, being naive and not realising this was just challenge #101, I left, joined a small company which just grew and grew, then left after a difference of opinion with the CEO, then joined a startup which just grew and grew. Interestingly, our CEO is able to motivate people without a single swearword.

It's nice for Microsoft that it is so big and all, but (as Scott Adams notes somewhere, I think) all the really smart people prefer to live in Switzerland as compared to the US, i.e. to live somewhere where even politics is truly local and individualism is valued versus somewhere where the driving forces in society are completely out of your control and individualism is just having a different alignment of ballpoints in the pocket protector.

It must have been really exciting and creative to work for Microsoft - once. Perhaps some of the pent up anger in the founders, if it is reported accurately, is simply because, even for them, it's no fun anymore.

Re:Ah the joys of alpha male management style (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010991)

It sounds like you were the wrong personality type for the company(ies?) you worked at.

I have to say (-1, Troll)

Bertie (87778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010983)

And I don't mean this to sound like a troll, but I don't exactly find it a revelation that Bill Gates is a nasty bastard with a severe lack of social skills. Clearly Microsoft has been built in his own image.

re: fucking ? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010985)

I don't care about Bill Gates, but I got a kick out of seeing the word "fucking" on the front page of slashdot !

a lot bettr than Balmer (1)

SQLz (564901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010993)

Balmer just throws chairs at you during the presentation. If you can't dodge them, then your fired. Its that simple.

Re:a lot bettr than Balmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011167)

If you can dodge a chair, you can dodge anything.

Re:a lot bettr than Balmer (1)

windex82 (696915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011285)

Which isn't that bad a deal considering after the resulting lawsuit you will likely not have to work anymore anyway!

Shock and awe (4, Interesting)

akypoon (258201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011043)

It's a pretty common tactics to throw your presenter off guards. Some people use this as a way to gauge the competency of the presenter. I know one university professor who is famous (or notorious, depends on your perspective) for using this tactics.

Re:Shock and awe (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011425)

Some people use this as a way to gauge the competency of the presenter.

Or he could just be an asshole.

Hands Down..... (0, Redundant)

surfduke (656872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011071)

Vista was the F$@#(*^& dumbest idea in Billy G's tenure at MS!

The Story of Bob (4, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011265)

melindaf: So I've got this great idea, it's this little smiley face that helps you manage your tasks and do your work!

billg: That's the dumbest-

melindaf: You want some tonight or not?

billg: ...

melindaf: How about we call it Bob.

there is only one thing to do.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011269)

post a link...

http://www.bullyinginstitute.org/ [bullyinginstitute.org]

Don't let me get in the way... (5, Informative)

Jeian (409916) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

If you're interested, also read Joel Spolsky (2, Informative)

dont_run (1050730) | more than 7 years ago | (#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]

another conversation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011379)

billg: "that's the dumbest fucking idea i've heard..."
presenter: "this is madness!"
billg: "THIS IS MICROSOFT!!!" *looks at steveb and points to a chair*

The whole comapany is that (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011391)

"Get it into production immediately."

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