Author Julie Bick on
Transcript of the Live Event
August 6, 1997
TMF Czar: Good evening, Fools, and welcome to our auditorium event
with Julie Bick (MotleyJule), author of "All I Really Need to Know About
Business I Learned at Microsoft." Julie was a product manager with Microsoft,
so she has the unique perspective of an insider. Tonight, she'll be talking
about her book, sharing some of the insights that she gained from her time
at Microsoft, and answering your questions.
TMF Czar: My name is Keith Pelczarski, and I'll be pest... er,
interviewing Julie tonight. TMF Twitty (Rich Dressner) will be doing all
the hard work backstage so that I can goof off, er...ask questions. Speaking
of questions, let's start with the basics -- tell us about your book.
MotleyJule: Here's the quick description: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW
IN BUSINESS I LEARNED AT MICROSOFT" is 90 business and management lessons
I learned while working there, and it's illustrated with behind the scenes
anecdotes. A quick read. Good for any industry
TMF Czar: So it's valuable even for people not in the computer industry?
MotleyJule: Yep, my editor made me take out anything too geeky.
TMF Czar: You're doing something unusual with the proceeds from this
MotleyJule: Half the money is going to a charity that hooks up Inner
City kids with computers.
TMF Czar: That's great. :) I was looking through your book, and there's
an interesting lesson in there about eating your own dog food. Can you tell
us more about that?
MotleyJule: Eat your own dog food means use your products like a real
customer would. At MSFT that means using the new email even if it crashes
all the time! You can see how it is to install, use, train, transfer files,
etc... Same holds true for any biz -- even a Godiva chocolates store. Try
TMF Czar: A lot of folks out here tonight are interested in today's
news from Microsoft regarding Apple. AlanFalcon asks: "What do you think
of the Microsoft/Apple dealings?"
MotleyJule: Looks like good news for Apple -- even though lots of
Mac users are probably enraged! But good for MSFT, too, since they have the
top selling office suite on the Mac. This gives customers confidence those
apps will be around for 5 more years.
TMF Czar: Reldnahc asks: "What do you do exactly at Microsoft?"
MotleyJule: I did marketing for Word, and then product planning and
marketing for 20 CD ROMs -- everything from dinosaurs to Julia Child cooking
to Cinemania. Also MS DOGS! Anyone buy that?
TMF Czar: I missed that one, but I did pick up MS Jesters. ;D REldnahc
follows up with: "What is it like working for Microsoft?"
MotleyJule: Like trying to drink from a fire hose. Tons of work,
opportunities, markets, competitors
TMF Czar: We just got a question from TMF Bogey: "Julie, your book
is as much about business in any walk of life as it is about Microsoft. You
teach managers to 'let people fail.' Why would you want your people to fail?"
TMF Czar: Why don't we bring David up here? ;) [TMF Bogey is invited
TMF Bogey: Hiya gang :) Julie, great to have you on this Ship of Fools.
MotleyJule: If you let people fail, they're taking risks and hopefully
learning more the next time. There's a tongue-in-cheek saying at MS: "If
you screw up, you get promoted!"
TMF Bogey: Julie, I have a tough one for you...
MotleyJule: oh oh
TMF Bogey: If Bill Gates were to step down tomorrow -- and retire
-- would the company survive and prosper? Is the company stronger then any
MotleyJule: There's sort of this trickle down theory of Bill Culture
at MS. His "generals" and their "lieutenants," etc., have mostly adopted
his way of doing things. So the same intensity will continue -- not sure
who the next visionary would be.
TMF Bogey: Bill's Army :)
TMF Czar: Rgsimmons asks: "Was it harder as a women to advance at
MotleyJule: Not harder as a woman, but harder as a non-technical person
-- no comp sci degree. That's something they really value (as you might imagine!)
I have an MBA in Marketing, so I was not coding software.
TMF Czar: KC4ML wonders: "From when to when did you work there?"
MotleyJule: 1990-1995. The company went from 5000 to 20,000 employees.
TMF Czar: Yowza!
TMF Bogey: Holy cow. Now, THAT's growth!
MotleyJule: We had the rock band 'CHICAGO' play at my first company
TMF Czar: One of our Fools, TMF Jeanie, asks: "Would you consider
the 'Bill Culture' environment to be nurturing of the entrepreneurial spirit
in its employees?"
MotleyJule: Yep! But with a twist. Instead of saying just, "How can
you achieve your biz goals with half the $." They say, "What if your budget
was doubled? What could you deliver?" Then you convince them to give you
that extra budget.
TMF Czar: Nice! You listening, Tommy? ;D
TMF Bogey: LOL. Tom Gardner is in Antigua spending our budget :)
TMF Czar: MaylingRB asks: "Ignorance makes me ask why you left Microsoft,
MotleyJule: I left to travel, do volunteer work, take classes and
all the stuff the MS work lifestyle doesn't allow time for! Then I wrote
this book and had a baby. (Those 2 not related)
TMF Bogey: Julie, I have another one for you about the Microsofties
:) How closely do all the folks at MS follow the stock price? Microsoft gives
their employees a "piece of the pie", yes? Tell us why that's so important.
MotleyJule: They do watch it, and the cool thing is they learn about
biz issues that make the stock move. So you get these administrative assistants
who can tell you key MS strategy and competitor stuff. Having the employees
know about the whole biz makes them better decision-makers in their own area.
People make decisions at MS for the good of the company, not their fiefdom,
because they are looking at their own stock price.
TMF Czar: TahSun asks: "MotleyJule, what is Microsoft doing to help
teenagers in the computer realm? Are there any programs that Microsoft is
TMF Czar: Sure, Microsoft runs lots of programs: Word, Excel, Access,
MotleyJule: I know they have high school internships and give money
to a variety of tech organizations.
TMF Czar: FLgirl38 asks: "You used the phrase 'MS Lifestyle,' typically
how many hours did you work a week?"
MotleyJule: Depends on where the product was in its life cycle. If
it was about to be launched, I'd work 8am-8pm or so. Maybe do email at home
TMF Bogey: Julie, you teach people to work "smart" not "long?" What
do you mean by that?
MotleyJule: Everyone says prioritize, but the key is to go to your
boss and say, "I have these 10 things. These 4 are most important. Probably
wont get to these 2. Do you agree with these priorities? If not, tell me
how to change them." That way you get buy off on what you're choosing to
work on and no surprising them later with some dropped balls.
TMF Bogey: Speaking of bosses, what do you do if you have a really
MotleyJule: First, tell them in a nice way (if possible) what they're
doing wrong and how it is affecting your performance, i.e., "You haven't
been reviewing my plans by the date I asked, so I missed some business
opportunities." They may not realize, and most people do want to do a good
job themselves. If they don't improve, I'd probably try to bail!
TMF Czar: Goodman51 asks: "What is the best way to satisfy the customer
and to tell if they are satisfied with your service without having to inquire?"
MotleyJule: Without asking them what they like or need, you could
observe it in the market via sales. But these days, research firms are
everywhere, or you can do your own on the net -- so if you can ask them directly,
all the better. Also look at competitor's customers. What do they like/dislike?
How can you get them to your product?
TMF Czar: Psychfool asks about a REALLY bad boss: "Julie, how would
you go about bailing on a horrible boss that steals your work and shafts
MotleyJule: Well, have you talked to THEIR boss at all? You may want
to try to reason with your boss, but tell them that since they did not shape
up, you need to talk to their manager. In general, it's better not to blindside
them. Don't burn the bridge if you don't have to.
TMF Czar: Juliet575 asks: "How did you come up with the idea for the
MotleyJule: May sound corny, but when I left I realized I had learned
a ton and in most cases, there was a funny story attached to the lesson I
learned. So I put them all in the book!
TMF Czar: McTick asks: "What is the Most Compelling Reason for us
to read your book?"
MotleyJule: Three reasons to read the book: first behind-the-scenes
look at MS written by a real insider, first book to apply MS winning practices
to what you can do on a daily basis in your job. Third, it is a quick, fun
read and half the $ goes to kids charity!
TMF Czar: It is a really keen book, folks... you should check it out.
The title is, "All I Need to Know in Business I Learned at Microsoft."
It's been getting great reviews. :)
MotleyJule: 30% off at AMAZON.COM!
TMF Czar: Woo-hoo! (Fools love bargains) ;-)
TMF Bogey: :)
TMF Czar: Well, that's about all the time we have tonight. I'd like
to thank Bogey for joining us up here, Twitty for doing all the hard work,
and most importantly, I'd like to thank our guest, Julie Bick. :)
TMF Bogey: Thank you everyone!
MotleyJule: I had a good time. Thanks for inviting me!
TMF Czar: Well, thanks for coming out. And thanks to all you Fools
who joined us for the event. Have a great night, and Fool on! :)