Lenn Pryor who until quite recently was the Director of Platform Evangelism at Microsoft has left the company for greener pastures. If you don't know of Lenn you should read the notes on Lenn Pryor from Robert Scoble's book blog. Lenn was the guy who came up with Channel 9 and was instrumental in Microsoft hiring Robert Scoble. Particularly interesting is the following description from Robert Scoble's book blog about Lenn's day job
Much of Pryor's job is to serve as a bridge between Scoble and other company elements, such as PR where he has worked to help each to see the other's value and respect each other's turf.
So one might wonder why a guy who was probably been most responsible for the increased corporate transparency at Microsoft would want to leave the company. The answer is in his blog post Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Skype where he writes
I have a lot to say about both companies right now. Microsoft lost me for many reasons, Skype gained me for many reasons. I will let you draw your own conclusions rather than disparage my Microsoft colleagues or over hype my new colleagues and company. I don't believe in writing diatribes and manifestos when moving on from a job so I will spare you the soapboxing. Microsoft has its challenges, we all know what they are, they are more than apparent these days. Skype has its opportunties we all know what they are, who wouldn't like to see the communication and collaboration technologies in their lives get much much smarter and cheaper?
I decided to swap problem sets from one that I am not passionate about any more to one that I AM deeply passionate about. I just couldn't go on being an evangelist for a gospel that I don't believe I can sing. I am returning to focus on what I enjoy most, building amazing things that make people happy, change lives, and make money. In this case Skype was a better place for me to do this and one that shares my core values and beliefs in how the future of both software and business will unfold.
I know lots of people at Microsoft who have voiced the same sentiments that Lenn has. Some like the Mini-Microsoft blogger are anonymous voices in the wilderness begging for change, some like Mark Lucovsky [and Lenn Pryor] leave for other companies that they feel can still make a difference while others have tried to find somewhere at Microsoft that isn't overwhelmed by the current malaise that has smothered main campus. I'd count myself in the latter camp.
At least once a week I want to post a blog entry about how much my job rocks. Unfortunately I haven't found a way to do this that doesn't paint a negative picture of other parts of the company. Our VPs get it and are very open to communication, the product teams have a vision of what they want to build and they want to build it as quickly as possible, and we literally have millions of happy users who are excited about our products. In the places where we are lagging, we have lots of efforts under way to reverse the trend.
I didn't get that feeling when I worked on main campus nor do I see it the few times a month I have to go down there to meet with various folks. However unlike the Mini-Microsoft blogger I don't think Microsoft is Better Off Without Ballmer but I do think something should be done about the company's current funk and it definitely should involve some executive heads rolling.
I hope it doesn't take the stock hitting $10 before some action is taken.