« PDC Day 3/4: Monad Rocks | Main | A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Demo »

September 18, 2005

Clarification on Business Week Quote

After getting several WTF? emails from people at Microsoft, I need to clarify the intent of my quote in the Business Week article.

This is an excerpt from the article:

"But the more revolutionary features have been dropped, and Vista will arrive three years after researcher Gartner Inc. originally predicted that it would ship. Worse yet, they say, nobody has been held accountable. "People look around and say: 'What are those clowns doing?"' says Adam Barr, a program manager in the Windows group."

As I noted earlier, the quote is an example of a complaint from people outside the Windows team who don't understand the difficulty of shipping a project as large as Windows, and what the current state of the project is (Beta 1 shipped, Beta 2 on the way, final release on track for next year). Mark Lucovsky is an example of this (although a somewhat bizarre one since he worked on NT for years and knows what is involved).

Unfortunately by including the part about "nobody being accountable" as the lead-in to the quote, it makes it sound like I am amplifying complaints about Windows executives. It switches from me being one of the clowns to me being in the group that thinks someone else is a clown.

Jay Greene asked about using the quote and what he said in his email (verbatim) was "it gets at one of the issues that’s been a challenge for the company as it’s gotten bigger. The development process is slower than it used to be." So I don't know where the non-accountability angle came from. Does including an accurate quote in an inaccurate context qualify as a "misquote"? The effect is the same. For the record, I don't think I have ever said anything about Microsoft executives not being accountable and I certainly don't think it's true (to clarify that double negative: I think Microsoft executives are plenty accountable). I'm not a fan of the "10 Crazy Ideas". If anything, people complain that our review system is TOO Darwinian, so accusing someone of not being accountable is bound to annoy them. Yes there is some griping over at Mini-Microsoft about executives being on a different review curve, but I don't know about this, nor do I particularly care.

So the quote went from me defending the Windows team, to appearing to attack it (although people also seem to be missing the fact that I am only reporting what I hear from others, not my personal opinion). So now I've been stressing all weekend about what kind of shitstorm awaits me when I get to work on Monday. Bleagh. How was your weekend??

Posted by AdamBa at September 18, 2005 11:29 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


It's a shame that I almost come to expect this sort of "misquoting" from the media/journalists, but those that are intelligent enough are able to see through the PR spin. I hope you don't catch too much flack at work over your quote. I saw where you were coming from even though your quote may have been out of it's original context. I would think those close to you would also know what you were trying to get at.

As for stressing, worrying might give you something to do but it's not going to get you anywhere. You know the truth and if it came to it I would like to believe that anyone doubting you would be willing enough to listen to your side instead of keeping some preconceived notion. I wish you the best and hope all goes well, sorry to see you upset over what someone else did. But again, thanks for speaking out and giving some insight. I enjoy seeing you get some coverage, even if it didn't quite come across as you had hoped. Best of luck to you.

Posted by: Paul at September 18, 2005 05:18 PM

Weekend here was fine, if a little too hot.
Your point of view comes clear in this post, so I hope many at Microsoft will read it (Robert Scoble, are you listenting?).

Posted by: Diego Vega at September 18, 2005 07:14 PM

Talking to the media is a double-edged sword. Good publicity if you want it, but they will do their damnedest to fit your statements into their preconceived stories. So unless you're looking for publicity (e.g., if you have a new book to push) and are willing and able to engage in antispin, AVOID talking to them.

Posted by: at September 19, 2005 04:00 PM

Diego/Paul thanks for the support. Actually work today was fine. Mostly some kidding from my co-workers about my "celebrity". Good to have supportive people to work with!

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at September 19, 2005 10:50 PM