A Q&A With Joel on (Microsoft) Software

Former Microsoft employee and software-development pundit Joel Spolsky shares his two cents on what's going on with Microsoft.

If you work at Microsoft (or are part of the Redmond ecosystem), Joel Spolsky probably needs no introduction. And it's not because his company, Fog Creek Software, is a household name. But Spolsky (known in Microsoft circles as just-plain Joel, or "The Joel") is one of the characters whose words have had serious impact on Microsoft, especially this past year. Spolsky is a former Softie himself. From 1991 to 1994, he was first a program manager on Excel, and later, a Microsoft Consulting Services employee, specializing in Excel. He founded Fog Creek, a software vendor and consultancy that develops software-management products, among others, in 2000.

MSWatch: I'm curious. Why do you think your words carry so much weight among the Microsoft folks. After all, you haven't worked there for nearly a decade. And you're just one software developer.

Joel: One of the reasons I get read there is the people I worked with on the Excel team are (or have been), to a large extent, the leadership of the company now. I worked with Brian McDonald on Project; Lewis Levin, Chris Capossela, Ben Waldman. A lot of people had the connection with Excel. I think at some point they realized that Excel didn't need that much help, and Excel became the farm team for the rest of the company. The thinking was, "We don't have to isolate all the good people in Office. It has enough market share. Maybe Office can struggle a little bit and we can farm out the talent elsewhere."

News source: Microsoft Watch

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