I hear a lot of people saying that Microsoft’s big mistake was not moving to mobile soon enough or that XP was a failure or that Bill Gates was out killing mosquitoes instead of working on what the world needed from Microsoft. Each of those played its part but there was a far more basic flaw at Microsoft, and I saw it drive a away really talented people that otherwise would have loved to stay.

Doing performance models on a percentage basis as Microsoft has creates an insidious atmosphere of avoiding risk and CYA.

The system—also referred to as “the performance model,” “the bell curve,” or just “the employee review”—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor. …


Tags: Advice, Bill Gates, Microsoft, XP, Slate, The bell curve, The employee review