Just posted "Every Group Is Screwed Up" in _Hardcore Software_. This is my interview with billg to become his technical assistant. 👇that's the old fountain you could see outside from our office windows. 1/ …rdcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/015-every-gr…
2/ Check out the post for the adventure (including me humiliating myself). The most interesting thing though was how the previous technical assistant warned me about the job.

Also, he told me to start looking for my next job right away!
3/ He told me that every group is "screwed up" and that becomes readily apparent as you cycle through meeting after meeting. Projects are late, buggy, missing features, and more. I was intrigued by the idea everything was messed up.
4/ Turns out Bill thought that too! He actually told the Wall St Journal that for the launch of Windows 3. As I grew to understand Bill employed a portfolio management style to projects/investments. He knew some things wouldn't work out, but more bets are better. This from pg A1 Quote I'd say there is as much stuff screwed up now as thereHeadline Openign of 'Windows' Shows How Bill Gates Succeeds
5/ The next sections explore the breadth of the portfolio that I got tasked with helping him keep track of.

Oh here's a photo from Netflix doc on bill's brain. It was from c. 1993 as that's the same Compaq setup I ended up taking care of. I'm on the other side of the wall. //END Photo of Bill at desk.

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More from @stevesi

16 Mar
1/ Super excited to have completed the second full chapter of "Hardcore Software: Inside the Rise and Fall of the PC Revolution" on substack …rdcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/013-end-of-t…

The most recent post is the end of "16 bit" era c. 1992-3. Join me as I learn about naming a product and reviews.
2/ PC sales had been slow due to global economic stuff, but the Mac had really slowed (you can see why in one of the magazines below). But recently sales had gone vertical with the success of Windows 3.x

At the same time developers all moved to focus on "Win32" the 32bit world. chart of pc v mac sales 1981 to 1994. Mac sales go from 3,80
3/ That's the market we launched Visual C++ into. Talk about tailwinds. We had a Windows-based development environment that was "object oriented" just in time for this massive uptick.

Windows NT was in beta. The successor to 3.x was under development. Momentum built. Screenshot of Visual C++
Read 14 tweets
8 Mar
Ever wonder when and how Microsoft made a big bet on Windows? Today’s Hardcore Software shares what it was like to have a bunch of existing confusion clarified by the CEO in a memo. 1/5 …rdcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/011-a-strate…
2/ The memo was from Bill Gates and detailed a “A Strategy for the ‘90s Windows”. Seems kind of obvious now. But then the company was deep in a partnership with IBM to develop OS/2, the successor to MS-DOS. Windows was a side project. Infoworld headline from 2/18/91 “‘Advanced Windows’ Ma
3/ But Windows 3.0 was selling super well—sales of Windows 3.0 exceeded that if Macintosh by a huge amount, selling over 4M copies in the first year (2.5M Macs were sold that year). OS/2 was not selling well, nor was it making progress in product development that was needed.
Read 5 tweets
3 Mar
In the most recent Hardcore Software substack post, I shared the "turning point" for learning how to ship software. It was a memo/presentation based on the work of Excel 5 that shipped 11 days late. Let's look at the first "massive" project to ship on exactly time, Office XP. 1/ Bill Gates at Office XP launch.
2/ First a quick excerpt from hardcoresoftware.substack.com. This is the memo from 1990 on Shipping Software, written by the development manager for Excel (Microsoft legend Chris Peters). Cool Stuff.
3/ The key lesson is the most obvious which is actually having a ship date. It is amazing how many projects have dates that are "1st quarter" or "1st half". That's 90 or 180 dates. Second lesson, shipping is everything. It's all that matters.
Read 12 tweets
21 Feb
If you’re following “Hardcore Software” on substack then we just finished the first chapter w/ Windows 3.0 ship May 1990 …rdcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/007-windows-… (pls subscribe it’s fun!)

Just before then Excel for Windows shipped in 1987—the first Windows version. Some fun Excel background 1/
2/ Excel for Mac shipped in 1985 and received very strong reviews and was quite successful. Between Mac Excel and Mac Word, Microsoft “Applications” had grown to be the leading Mac vendor and also about half of Microsoft!
3/ Windows Excel was built by creating a cross-platform layer (what it was called in code) enabling Windows and Mac to share the core engine for calculation/charting/etc. But it still needed Windows...but no one had Windows.
Read 7 tweets
30 Jan
I ordered 4 accent pillows from a well-known home furnishings store. They shipped them in 8 packages. Each pillow ships individually and separately from cover. I received one today—the box that would easily fit all 4 pillows.

Gonna take me 3 weeks to recycle all the cardboard.
Update on my shipment. Part 2 of 8 scheduled to arrive today. But wait, what will arrive?
The box is here and it is enormous.
Read 4 tweets
28 Jan
The number of iPads being sold is huge. It is worth putting it in context. (Horace does the best analysis and accounting of Apple's business) 1/
2/ Just finished a "blow out" year for PC sales, at 275 million. Sounds huge from a growth perspective, but that still doesn't approach estimates of 450 million or more from a decade ago. Gartner PC sales from https...
3/ The underlying shift that started in 2010--towards low power, high reliability, "sealed case", app store, connected to phones, WWAN, and more computers epitomized by the iPad -- remains in full swing.
Read 9 tweets

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