February 18, 2007
@ 11:39 AM

Mini-Microsoft has a blog post entitled Where's Ray? Where's the Vista Campaign? where he claims that Ray Ozzie has been AWOL when it comes to presenting a vision for Microsoft as it's Chief Software Architect. There is an interesting comment in response to his post from an ex-Microsoftie which is excerpted below

>We need more engagement from Ray and his brigade about what's happening and what kind of coherent vision is coming about.

I'm sorry, but this is NOT what you need. You do NOT need vision from Ray. At this point, what you need from Ray is code!

I have a very long history with Microsoft, and I am no longer a softie. One of the reasons I left is the whole vision/strategy vs. code problem. In the old days, production quality code really mattered a ton. In the new Microsoft, from Forum 2000 onward, code was much less important. What really mattered was laying down a vision and a strategy.

I wrote a longish post in response to this comment then realized no good could come from posting it here. Suffice to say I agree with the sentiment in the comment. Somewhere along the line VISION became more important than SHIPPING CODE at Microsoft. This really became a problem when the gap between our vision (or should I say BillG's vision) and our ability to ship code widened a lot more than we realized leading to unpleasant results (e.g. Longhorn). 

What the company needs now is more focus on shipping code and less focus on vision. Quite frankly, I'd be quite happy to never get another vision memo or speech from Ray as long as I'm sure he's out there making sure we aren't working on any more obviously bad ideas. One of the reasons I'm still at Microsoft [specifically Windows Live] is that I believe that our current leadership believes in shipping code. I've also gotten the same vibe from Ray which is also goodness in my book. Time will tell whether my confidence is warranted or not.

PS: Is it me or are there shades of markl in that comment on Mini's blog?