6 Comments

Re Billg’s use of lists, I was taught by Paulma to constantly maintain two similar lists — biggest business/technical problems stack ranked, and strongest team members stack ranked. And if you didn’t have good alignment between your best people and your biggest problems, you probably needed to rethink things. Did billg use the lists the same way?

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2021Liked by Steven Sinofsky

I love this line: "Bill seemed to think in two dimensions."

This insight: "Perhaps what I ended up learning more than anything, was just how much the initial seeding and DNA of a group end up defining the outcome."

And this acknowledgement: "As much as it hurts to say, these groups did not need Bill’s help. That is difficult to say."

Expand full comment
May 12, 2021Liked by Steven Sinofsky

On the topic of text on Windows, I once heard a story (from someone who I had reason to believe had direct knowledge) that Windows 95 was delayed a bit because the way gdi.exe allocated memory for fonts meant that Windows 95 would support too few installed fonts (relative to Macintosh). Release was delayed while they worked on ways to support a larger number of installed fonts. Does anyone remember this?

Expand full comment
author

Something this significant would have come up earlier in the process. During the development of Chicago there were ongoing debates about the inherent limits of teh 16-bit data structures in Windows 3.x, upon which Chicago was based. This would have included GDI objects (shapes, bit maps, etc.) and also USER and KERNEL objects. By the time it shipped, the inherent 16-bit limits were all but eliminated for practical purposes. It was not uncommon to get “out of memory” on 16 bit windows which was really because of GDI objects failing to create, but that wasn’t a Windows 95 problem.

Expand full comment
Apr 20, 2021Liked by Steven Sinofsky

I was particularly interested in the part where you described how BillG was a 'voracious reader' of product reviews. I do that for a living, and although it's clear to me that press agencies pay attention to what tech journalists write, I guess our comments don't really reach the people that make decissions. I'd say that's almost impossible: even BillG wouldn't be able to read product reviews written everywhere in the world in different languages.

I wonder how much those product review really affected the development of products at Microsoft. Maybe there's some anecdote or story there to tell.

Keep the good work, Steve, I'm really enjoying this :)

Expand full comment
author

Thank you!

Expand full comment