Strong opinions, weakly held

Steve Ballmer is a peach

What does Steve Ballmer have to say about Microsoft’s early employees, the ones that built the juggernaut that has made him one of the world’s richest men? Scott Rosenberg reports:

Mossberg: “What, it was small but ossified?”

Ballmer: “The people we had weren’t as good — they just weren’t pushing as much.”

Mossberg: “Like Paul Allen?”

Ballmer: “Paul was good. Bill was good. Four out of 30 were good — and believe me, the rest are gone.”


  1. As much as I hate to take Ballmer’s side on this, those other 25 people didn’t turn MS into the juggernaut it became. They were licensing ports of Basic to new hardware manufacturers, and maybe were involved in the distribution of some of the other languages that came along. But the fundamentally different company which profited from large-volume bundling of an OS and productivity applications with high-volume commodity PCs was created and perfected by a different group of people.

    Learning to hire good employees is really damn hard. If Gates at 20 years old had the skills to do better than a 12% “great hire” rate? I’d have been shocked. Especially because that kind of extreme growth would take really extremely talented people.

  2. Yeah, but Ballmer is still pretty abrasive there.

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