Self-centered service

 I’m tired of people whining about being unrecognized, unhappy, or unfulfilled. I’m unimpressed. Everything is all about themselves for these bellyaching blowhards, and that’s no coincidence. External recognition, gifts of happiness, and transcendent moments are rare. If you rely on others to provide them for you (because you’re just so deserving), you’ll certainly feel disappointed….

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The little things

 Little things mean a lot. We all know this, whether it’s about our products, our relationships, or our lives. It’s the little things that make the difference in what we say, what we accomplish, and who we are. You may build a fantastic product with innovative technology and experiences, but if a small aspect is…

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Making lemonade

 A week or so after I started as the new dev manager for an existing group, the person who was clearly my most knowledgeable and respected lead informed me that he was leaving Microsoft to move back home. A few days earlier, I had seen this person resolve a crisis that no one else expected…

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Some time away

 I have few regrets about my career, but there’s one that stands out. Back in 1998, my 2-year-old son was diagnosed with autism, and my life was dramatically altered. This happened before there were widely accepted protocols or insurance coverage for autism treatment. It was a very difficult time. I should have taken family medical…

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Get real

 Could you be replaced? Could your product get hacked? Could an essential service fail? Could a key co-worker leave? Could a critical dependency arrive too late? People often measure themselves, their peers, and their heroes by how they respond to crises. That’s nice, but it’s dumb. Some people freeze, run, or hide during crises—they’re pathetic…

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Winning among friends

 There are plenty of ways to lose. People can be unlucky, unskilled, or unprepared. People can simply be overmatched. However, it takes a special kind of talent to lose in spite of having all the luck, skill, and preparation. These special losers have more than enough capability to overwhelm the competition, yet they stall or…

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Evil assumptions

 You work on big, important projects that involve many moving parts and many different teams. You work hard to deliver your piece on time and with high quality. No one can claim that you’re the one who held things up. No, it’s always those clueless, slow, self-centered, self-righteous, uncooperative, bureaucratic, unresponsive, opaque, evasive, reckless, late,…

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Is it important?

 We’re getting into the midyear career discussion period at Microsoft. People do appreciate a career discussion with their manager, but most folks have another topic on their mind—how am I doing? Look, it’s not a mystery—you should already know. If you don’t know, you’re clueless about more than just your performance. Six months from now,…

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You’re no bargain either

 “Can I talk to you about Bozo? He gets on people’s nerves. His communication style causes trouble. He’s bringing the whole team down. He’s a freaking clown.” If you’re a manager, you’ve probably heard this before. Every team seems to have its share of Bozos. What do you do about Bozo? Discipline him? Move him…

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I messed up

 Ever make a bad mistake? One that makes you feel like there’s a hollow in your chest—you know you’ve messed up badly. Maybe you were even trying to do the right thing, but it just ended up wrong unintentionally. This happens to me regularly. It recently happened to a friend of mine—I feel for him….

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