I like Bill Gates a little more now

I recently enjoyed reading what appears to be a genuine and not at all atypical internal Microsoft email from Bill Gates. I always enjoy seeing an honest opinion expressed in a way that cuts through the glossy corporate PR image, and this one certainly does that. Actually, it reminds me of the sort of thing I write in MyFeedback when evaluating pre-release versions of AutoCAD. It’s honest, it’s negative or even cutting where it needs to be, it represents a real user’s viewpoint, and most of all, it’s useful.

I don’t think this sort of exposure does any harm at all to a company. It’s unlikely to change anybody’s opinion. Microsoft haters will still hate Microsoft, fanboys will still be fanboys. People like me who sit in the middle somewhere are likely to admire the honest self-evaluation shown here. Here’s the Big Cheese looking at things like a user. Great! I’m sure the spin merchants wince when something like this makes it into public view, but that can only be a good thing, right?

I’d like to think Carl Bass fires off this sort of email within Autodesk from time to time. If such a thing went public, would it hurt Autodesk? Absolutely not. Autodesk haters will still hate, fanboys will still, er, fan, but there will be no lasting measurable effect on Autodesk. I bet a lot of real world users would like Carl Bass a little more, though. Frustrated users would probably like him a lot more.

2 comments to I like Bill Gates a little more now

  • Steve,
    this is a great example of a CEO, or top executive, that is not afraid of using the products his company is producing. I don’t know how many CEOs, excluding Steve Jobs, have a first hand experience of their own products. In my opinion this is the most important difference, not just the honesty. For sure Steve Ballmer, the current Microsoft CEO, seems more interested in financial details than in spending a few minutes using MS Vista!

  • I suspect Carl might. His talk at the AU Technology Mainstage was pretty frank about the current state of play.

    see http://rcd.typepad.com/rcd/2008/01/robinz-autodesk.html

    PS: I wish Carl would join the Autodesk blogosphere

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