Wired – Ozzie wants to push Microsoft back into Startup mode

I really enjoyed this article as it reflects a feeling I get internally everyday.


The keynote speaker at this past summer's TechReady conference—a gathering of 6,000 or so Microsoft engineers from around the world—was the company's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie. This was not a routine appearance. Ozzie arrived at Microsoft in 2005, and the following year he inherited the title of CSA directly from Bill Gates. He was now the microprocessor of the Microsoft machine. But he had never addressed the semiannual conclave. His explanation? He wanted to wait until he had something big to show the troops………more

They reference a part of Ray’s internal speech to the employees that he uses Twistori as a metaphor for telling his story.  It’s a powerful way to make a point.  I had the chance to be in the audience for his talk and it really left an impression on me.  To quote Ray:

  • I love software, because if you can imagine something, you can build it.
  • I love Windows, because without it there would be no PC. There would be no PC developers. There might not even be a Web.
  • I love the ubiquitous Web because of the connections that it opened up.
  • I love competition. But when we're behind a competitor, I hate it when we find ourselves just chasing their taillights.

I think in a lot of ways our team embodies this spirit at Microsoft Canada.  We pride ourselves on being agile and willing to take risks.  Techdays is a great example of really trying to change the “legacy” Microsoft playbook.  We have a big vision (empower Canada’s technology professionals and drive cutting edge innovation) with limited budget – a common startup reality.  Then there is our people.  We’ve brought in some non-microsoftie talent into our team to compliment the amazing talent already here.  Many say that the people are always the source of a startup’s strength.  If I ran a startup today I’d try to poach my entire team since they are the best group of people I have every worked with.

So – if you want to see the startup spirit, look no farther than MSFT Canada’s DPE Team :-)