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Microsoft First Generation

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Microsoft First Generation

The Success Secrets of the Visionaries Who Launched a Technology Empire


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How did Microsoft really get cranked up? Take it from twelve people who were there: late hours, competitive colleagues, demanding bosses and a cutthroat office environment — but, hey, it worked.

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Taking a Studs Terkel Working-style approach to the world’s most powerful company, Cheryl Tsang presents Microsoft as seen by 12 people who worked there before 1990 and participated in its creation. Given that she words everything with cautious courtesy and that her husband, Rick Tsang, is a Microsoft higher-up, one wonders if the author dared to be sharp or critical. Still, she clearly has inside knowledge and strong internal relationships at Microsoft. If you’re interested in Microsoft - and since it is so frighteningly powerful, you kind of have to be - you will learn some interesting things here, even if many salient points are buried in overly polite language. But perhaps the book’s most valuable asset is its insight into Microsoft’s no-holds-barred management style - a confrontational process that flies in the face of much current management theory. won’t bother you now with quibbles about nepotism: Face it, this is must reading for Microsoft junkies. ( note: Despite the 2000 copyright date, nary a word to be found about that little antitrust matter.)



The first group of workers who helped build the Microsoft brand also helped launch a technology empire that changed the Information Age.

The profiles of these 12 workers - Bob O’ Rear, Scott Oki, Richard Brodie, Russell Borland, Neil Evans, Dave Neir, Ida Cole, Min Yee, Ron Harding, Paul Sribhibhadh, Russell Steele, and Trish Milliones Dziko - introduce them by using 1990 as a jumping off point and a dividing line.

The years leading up to 1990 were spent making and creating the company. How did these employees succeed in those early years? What traits did they bring to the company that made them successful? And what are they doing now? Individual by individual, this is the Microsoft success story.

Bob O’Rear, "The Mathematician" - 1977 to 1993

Bob O’Rear worked for the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the 1960s and was in Houston during the moon landings. He served NASA for 16 years and then became Microsoft employee Number 7.

O’Rear was the company mathematician. He was the first programmer in charge of putting MS-DOS on the first prototype IBM PC in 1980, a daunting task. He also held various...

About the Author

Cheryl Tsang  is an award-winning business journalist and fiction writer. She lives in Bellevue, Washington.

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