What I do at Microsoft: It’s all about the customer

I was asked yesterday, “what the heck do you do at Microsoft these days?” That was a follow up to a friend seeing a post in Computerworld that I’d missed, which was interesting as I was calling out the importance of numbers in names… as I have one in mine (hence the emoticon, which Gregg Keizer neglected to note in his post).

But back to what I do.

As I wrote here, many people in our offices focus on the work to make and keep customer satisfaction a top priority, especially important now more than ever. That’s a positive. Steve Ballmer said previously that Microsoft has more work to do to please our customers and partners, noting that “we’ve only begun to tap the real potential of computers to help you communicate, find answers, solve problems and be more productive.”

At Microsoft, I have the privilege to coordinate and support the work our product and services teams do (our business groups, aka BGs) as they focus on improving satisfaction with our customers and partners. We call this “CPE” at the company, and you can read a little more about it here.

Along with a small group focused on the BGs, and with a great team of people in our worldwide Sales & Marketing team, we help frame and prioritize issues, make connections across teams (challenging when you have as many people around the world as we do, serving so many customers) and improve upon the customer’s experience with Microsoft. This isn’t done in a vacuum, and I get to work with our talented and dedicated product and services teams to provide guidance and work with teams when needed, and sometimes actively engaging on issues. For me, that includes evangelizing best practices, identifying and resolving broad issues, and working on broad, cross company efforts (most often technical in nature, as I’ve documented on this blog).

In short, rule #1 about my job in CPE is about making our customers happy, and for ones that are happy, keeping them happy. For ones who run into an issue or have a problem with products and services, it’s about referring to rule #1 and working with teams to make them happy.

As I wrote here, fools may find fault with ease. It takes the persistent to note that the customer experience isn’t a commodity, and to course correct when we find fault…

Benjamin Franklin and Dale Carnegie both said that “any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.” But if you listen to the criticism and respond to it — take the criticism and do something positive with it — then you can course correct and improve the customer experience.

With that, I’m off to course correct. And offer some advice.

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Microsofties: When it comes to Tweeting, be thoughtful

For all you ‘softies a reminder: please watch what you tweet and share in the social mediashpere about meetings or any Microsoft event.

I posted this about tweeting: remember to be thoughtful. 


And did this one over the summer…

dont discuss rumours_sm

Always nice to catch up on industry news from good folks like Mary Jo Foley, just don’t be the news. 😉

Tags: Microsoft, travel tips.

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Top 10 little known Microsoft facts

A little fun on the shuttle today, via Twitter…

Top 10 little known Microsoft facts:

# 10: There is no building 7, but Devs like to schedule meetings with new PMs there

# 9: Xbox was originally “Microsoft Interactive Audio Video Multiformat Entertainment System 2000” 😉

# 8: Microsoft’s leadership in tech slogan, code-named t-shirts was recently lost to Old Navy

# 7: Microsoft Mice are built by actual mice!

# 6: @CraigyFerg’s new robot sidekick beat out three Microsoft robots: J, M3 and K7

# 5: I’m actually an autoresponding, Alexa-like MSR project. How’s that for innovation? 😉

# 4: @ckindel’s new start up? confidential but I bet it has something to do with the new Tin Tin movie

# 3: @mrelph was originally a member of Canada’s Department H, working with Wolverine

# 2: yes, we have excellent engineering systems, and cricket bats are used to closely manage schedules

And the number one little known Microsoft factoid:

# 1: one way to solve the debt crisis? Get @fxshaw: he does “the numbers”! (See


Tags: Friday Link, humour, commercial

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World IPv6 Day and Windows

 has a great post out on some more detail on our support for World IPv6 Day coming June 8…


To ensure that these issues are avoided, the Internet is transitioning to the new protocol, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 offers a tremendous number of unique addresses – more than a billion per person! We’ll hopefully never run out. Websites and Internet experiences will gradually transition to this new system of communication, and we’re confident that prudent IPv6 migration will ensure that the Internet continues to function and grow.
On June 8, 2011,,, along with Internet properties from a host of technology companies, will be participating in World IPv6 Day. Most websites today only support IPv4, but on World IPv6 Day participating Internet properties will additionally enable connectivity via IPv6, going “dual-stack.”
This one-day test will enable the Internet community to evaluate the general state of IPv6 preparedness. We want to validate that all of the hardware and software that participates in Internet communication is able to transition smoothly. Laptops, home routers, web servers, network load balancers – there are a lot of things that need to checked for robust and scalable IPv6 support.
Most people won’t even notice World IPv6 Day. If you have no IPv6 connectivity, then you will continue to work as before. If you happen to have IPv6 connectivity, then your connectivity to participating websites will automatically shift over to IPv6. Here at Windows, we’ve been working on IPv6 support since Windows XP. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are automatically enabled to use IPv6 when it is provided by your ISP and your local network.
IPv6 “Brokenness”  Again, most people will be fine on IPv6 Day. But not necessarily everyone – one thing that we hope to assess and isolate is how many users might lose network connectivity when accessing web sites that support dual IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity, a situation called “IPv6 Brokenness.” For example, it is possible that a misconfiguration of your Internet connection can make it hard for your computer and browser to pick the right IP address to contact. This problem might require usage of the IPv6 Brokenness fix that we have made available on Knowledge Base.
Current indications show that this affects less than 0.1% of Internet users. The below test can help you understand whether you will be negatively affected, as well as whether you have IPv6 web access.
It’s important to note that this is a basic test of your computer, its configuration, its local network, and the connectivity provided by your ISP. A negative test at a coffee shop isn’t necessarily informative of the experience at your home.


Satya Nadella: the new president in Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business

News today: we have a new president in the Server & Tools Business: Satya Nadella, a respected technical leader here at the company (as noted here: Satya moved from MBS to the Online Services Division to head up the engineering division there, which includes Bing, MSN and AdCenter (our advertising platform).

Satya Nadella hasn’t blogged in quite a while – I’ll suggest that he pick this back up ;)  You can check out his old posts at In particular I enjoyed one of his last posts on “making complex things simple” mantra, with observations from the book "The Laws of Simplicity" by John Maeda…

"I recently read The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda. He has a cool web site as well. In the Dynamics group there is a lot of passion around this subject.

"John’s first rule – REDUCE: Simplicity through thoughtful reduction…strikes me as the most critical, when it comes to software design.

"I remember going to for my first meeting with the technical team at Navision before the acquisition. Their entire presentation was around how little code they have in their application. Mind you this was before we had settled on price!!

"This spirit of “minimalism” has helped us a ton as we have looked to evolve our apps and make them modern both in terms of user experience, runtime infrastructure and design time tools."

This reminds me of another discussion: Tony Scott, our CIO, asked Steve Ballmer (as noted on the Microsoft CIO Network site) about the biggest lessons he has learned over the ten years Steve has been CEO.

"… there’s a quote from a college basketball coach who just died here in the U.S., a guy named John Wooden, who was the coach at UCLA for many years.  But his writing on this sort of stands out to me.  He used to tell his players, "Be quick, but don’t hurry."  In our business more than any, you’ve got to be quick, but don’t hurry.  You can hurry things and you get a bad outcome if you try to rush, rush, either half-baked, not forward-looking enough.  But if you just take your time, you’re slow, you’re not in the market, you’re going to fail too.  And so really being thoughtful about — it doesn’t mean — there’s no implied algorithm of how you be quick but don’t hurry, but I know that a lot of the bad decisions I made, I made when I did hurry or when I took too much time to make a decision.  One or the other.  And so those are sort of my principles that I’ve learned.  I mean, I can also tell you I’ve learned a lot of things from specific projects."


Tags: announcements, Microsoft, Windows Server.

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