Joe and his 5 Tips for 6 Months at Microsoft

A couple of months ago I noticed that Joe had a blog on MSN spaces. Well, now he also has a more work related home on MSDN. His first post goes into the what he's learned after 6 months here after joining from college.


  • Talk More; Email Less - This is a very hard one to follow--business is email here. I've noticed that if you talk to somebody directly, either by picking up the phone or knocking on their door, it forces both of you to get your story straight and think about something, rather than allowing it to flounder in an inbox for two days before giving it a worthless, one-line reply.
  • Get Thick Skin - People here love giving criticism and hate getting it (especially from the outside community). Get used to having every incorrectly reported stat, loose end, and bad assumption you make to be pointed out and used to pick apart your credibility. Nobody is immune. It's not personal--it's a head-on culture that expects people to deal with it.
  • Loan Your Manager Money At Lunch - Then he'll eventually have to return the favor by taking you out to lunch. :)

Yes, I do owe Joe at least one lunch at this point.  I also agree that having think skin helps at Microsoft.  If you learn anything from the mini-MSFT blog you'll notice that there is a "complaint culture" here.  It may just be the minority, but it becomes a problem when they are the vocal ones.   Poor Joe has been sending out mail to 2k + people letting them know how healthy their customer communities are. 

I wouldn't say people "hate criticism", but in some cases, the truth hurts and causes them to get defensive.  Having regular conversations with customers and hearing their feedback is still something that's new to a lot of people here and we continue to have to educate and train people to properly respond to customers.  Joe's been doing a great job and a look forward to seeing what he blogs about. :-)