050. The Team's Plan in the Face of Disruption in “Hardcore Software”—previously detailed an Office team facing cacophony of “Office is being disrupted” BUT we still needed a plan—the first plan as an integrated team. And yes, people would quit! 1/10 …rdcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/050-the-team…
2/ While lots of technology forces were in play, none of them were close to Win32 in being able to build rich creation products. HTML 3.2+JS was getting better for display but connectivity was not yet uniform and browsers were not clearly converging. There was a force though…
3/ That force was business and enterprise sales. Business PCs were going in everywhere and were a *nightmare* to manage with the dreaded “cost of ownership”. Problem was Word, Excel, etc. treated deployment and mgmt as lowest priority and last to get done. Ack!
4/ So the plan for “Office9” literally *inverted* our priorities— change the team from machinery adept at making new productivity features for individuals—IntelliSense, formatting, document creation and editing—to a new execution machine aimed at creating tools for a whole biz.
5/ The plan—we called this the vision—was an inversion of priorities. Imagine that. The Office teach achieved all this success, was half of Microsoft, and more and we in one release decided to invert things. This became known not as “TCO is #1” but “Personal Productivity is #6”. Tom cruise in Top Gun “inverted”
6/ I wrote the vision using Word’s Internet Assistant then ~3 years old. I put it out on http://officeweb which was our first team web site running in my office using FrontPage.

People were very upset. One senior product leader even quit. I got called to “discuss” this w/BillG. Product vision.
7/ Changing priorities is never easy. Great people do quit. It is awful. But there’s not much you can do when faced with a change that has to be made with real clarity. Otherwise everything gets muddled.
8/ For the first time we rolled out a vision/plan to whole team—the best of months of “top down, bottom up, middle out” work. Here’s the cheat sheet. I was up until late in the AM making copies. I used goldenrod paper in the copy room. It was crooked b/c the machine kept jamming. Product vision as a cheat sheet.
9/ An important thing you see in this cheat sheet is the expansion of customer segments from basically end-users and “influential end-users” to include IT professionals and CIOs. This was huge…and also boring. Much more on this to follow in future posts.
10/10 Oh, PowerPoint’s PM leader made a mobile cheat sheet—there’s one in every car.

Please consider subscribing. The history of the PC is getting fun now that we’re in the middle. This is all about organization, strategy, and disruption. Next up HTML!! hardcoresoftware.Substack.Com Product vision shaped like deodorizers you would hang from a

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More from @stevesi

12 Oct
One of the more fascinating things to hear about is how "overly complicated" or "over-engineered" crypto is compared to what we use today. Look I have no idea how things end up or where we're going.

BUT I do know from where we came. 1/
2/ It is 1994 and the "internet" as most know it is months old. (Yes, WWW started a few years earlier, and I was using email and CHAT a decade earlier...)

I'm showing WWW to anyone who would watch. One person who was assigned by SteveB to watch a demo stopped by my office.
3/ Their job was to put together a monthly CDROM of all the marketing and sales materials for Microsoft products and DHL it to every subsidiary around the world. They would then translate and localize, then print (everything was print) them for local use.
Read 15 tweets
11 Oct
1/ @MichaelDell's new book is out "Play Nice But Win" which is a perfect title for one of the most successful, yet low-key and humble CEOs of any industry who is also the OG PC leader. *Everyone* in tech should read this book. Some of what I felt...smile.amazon.com/Play-Nice-But-… book cover
2/ Michael's first book (Direct from Dell) is a great story of the nuts and bolts of Dell. Definitely an important book. This book is much more "inside his head" and at times "emotional" about his journey, and reflective. Also Michael is the "last" PC era founder still CEO!
3/ From my perspective it is really several key stories woven together (literally in alternating chapters):
• Founding and Managing of Dell and Michael's upbringing
• Definitive book on the BS of corporate raiding
• Private v. Public company dynamics
• Transforming a tech Co
Read 26 tweets
4 Oct
Disruption is now business canon, even though it has legit critics and isn't general as many think. What was it like face "disruption" right when the paper/book came out in late 90s? Here's "Hardcore Software" on gaining org alignment for "Office9". 1/13 …rdcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/049-go-get-t…
2/ My favorite thing about disruption is how stories are always told after-the-fact when everything seems so clean and neat. Or conversely when everyone is quick to say and agree "ripe for disruption". Few consider the variable of time. Everything much more difficult. Book photo innovator's dilemma.
3/ In early 1997, Office had just really taken off on Windows with Windows 95. It was a huge hit and half of Microsoft's revenue. The internet was happening at the same time. And then "Innovator's Dilemma" came out. Everyone was being disrupted. (Annual report) Revenue from annual report. Platforms showing 5.97B and Appl
Read 14 tweets
25 Sep
“If you ain’t out on a iPhone 13 Pro nature walk, then where you aaaat?”

I think by now many know the new iPhone has macro and closeup capabilities. They are really cool. But just how cool? I’ll show you some first shots but the real cool is the march of innovation. 1/
2/ When portrait mode came out wrote this on how the phone is a revolution in tools and tools are what come to define the changes in the world we live in. Cinematic mode shows how much this has evolved. ♻️ “Nikon versus Canon: A Story Of Technology Change” link.medium.com/QRaWOdlAQjb
3/ Some shots with the new macro mode.
Read 17 tweets
20 Sep
iOS and iPadOS 15: MacStories Review // Worthwhile read for a lot of details about releases.

If you’ve been looking at Apple software releases for any time then you know “major”, “minor”, or “incremental” are all the wrong descriptors and upset me! 🙀 1/ macstories.net/stories/ios-an…
2/ What Apple does is “relentless execution” coupled with a “long-term and focused point of view”.

And they do that by releasing Every. Single. Year. At. The. Same. Time.

I guess after all this time, this fact is so taken for granted that we sometimes fail to appreciate it.
3/ This goes back to Apple history and failure to delivery the OS releases reliably. Of course everyone was failing to release software on time back then (even on mainframes). But Apple, much like Microsoft, teetered between betting too big and scrambling something out the door.
Read 18 tweets
17 Sep
"A predominantly remote future will challenge the need for layer upon layer of bureaucracy in American work by rejecting the assumption that 'management' is the only way to grow" @edzitron theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/… // Don't agree w/generalized view of "manager bad"...thoughts 1/
2/ Company structure is not a law of nature. Rather it is a product of strategy (intentional or not). The past 100 years have seen different waves of structure from chaotic, centralized, scale, conglomerate, re-engineered, and more. Every one of those had bad managers. A truism:
3/ The pandemic has shown that at a fundamental level what companies should revisit is not "how many managers" or "remote work" but what does a modern product/service execution strategy look like?

IMO, that will drive "the great restructuring" that will happen.
Read 14 tweets

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