J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

Summary: Microsoft Chief Experience Officer J Allard sent out a goodbye note of his own on May 25, the date that Microsoft announced officially that both Allard and Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach are leaving the company.

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Microsoft Chief Experience Officer J Allard sent out a goodbye note of his own on May 25, the date that Microsoft announced officially that both Allard and Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach are leaving the company.

Allard's note was entitled "Decide. Change. Reinvent," and doesn't mention the canceled Courier tablet project, which my sources claimed contributed to Allard's decision to resign. (He does mention another completely different "courier" in his note.) Allard assures readers that "no chairs were thrown" -- a reference to former Softie Marc Lucovsky's claim that CEO Steve Ballmer was so angry when he announced his intentions to leave Microsoft and join Google that he threw a chair. (Ballmer denied the chair-throwing incident, for what it's worth).

Allard says he'll be "working for SteveB on a couple of projects beginning this fall....." but doesn't mention what those projects are. Allard told Todd Bishop of TechFlash (with whom he spoke directly) that he has no intentions of joining Apple, Google or any other Microsoft rivals.

Here's the text of Allard's note (minus a few internal e-mail references) sent to me from one of my sources.

Update (May 26): Looks like this was an abridged version of Allard's full note. Microsoft has posted the full version of his note on its corporate Web site.

From: J Allard Date: May 25, 2010 8:56:08 AM PDT To: "Robert (Robbie) Bach", Entertainment & Devices Division FTE Cc: Senior Leadership Team Subject: Decide. Change. Reinvent.

Reinvent.

If you’ve been following along, you probably understand just how difficult it was for me to decide to leave the tribe and explore new territory, but the time has come.

My passion for our cause combined with my obsessive nature has put many of my other interests on hold for a long time. I don’t know exactly what tomorrow looks like – but if my focus has been 95% MSFT, 5% life until now, I know that the first step is to flip that ratio around. After wrapping some projects up, I will shift to 95% life and 5% MSFT. With that 5% I’ll be working for SteveB on a couple of projects beginning this fall.....

In response to the curiosity, no chairs were thrown, no ultimatums served, I am not moving to Cupertino or Mountain View, I did not take a courier job and I require no assistance finding the door. I do know that I’m going to help a couple of friends get their startups going (e.g. The Clymb), I’m planning some races (by foot, bike and off-road trucks), and I’m going to put some energy into my passion for design, the arts and philanthropy. For those of you reporting into one of my organizations, I am committed to working through all of the transition issues and assure you that The Tribe remains committed to the work you are doing and our purpose going forward.

If, at the next juncture, I decide to join a corporate tribe again, this place will definitely top my list. There are a lot of great companies out there doing terrific and meaningful work with better pizza, nicer décor and great implementations of “ls” on the desktops, but The Tribe? No one can touch our talent, our impact or our ambition. We’re the only high-tech company with the track record and self-confidence to reinvent ourselves as we have. If you want to change the world with technology, this is still the best tribe out there.

Please, put my headcount and that cardkey “invitation” to good use. Find a college student that claims we don’t get it and blogs tirelessly about our lack of agility. Track down an EE that has been focusing on fuel cells and has radical thoughts about power management. Or a social networking whiz who is tired of building little islands that go hot and cold and can’t break the mainstream. Hire a designer who’s given shape to 2 decades of beautiful automobiles and thinks we can sculpt technology to better connect to users. Infuse them with our purpose. Give them the tools. Give them lots of rope. Learn from them. Support where they take you. Invite them to redefine The Tribe.

Decide. Change. Reinvent.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Emerging Tech, Social Enterprise

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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13 comments
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  • Awesome...I think

    Hopefully his "other projects" with Ballmer will turn into something big.
    rjohn05
  • Beautiful goodbye

    He has an awesome style of writing; very meaningful and intentional. I wish he had a bigger role to play at Microsoft or to one day come across his path.
    mario.albertico
    • RE: J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

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      IanBell840
  • RE: J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

    He definitely will leave behind a nice legacy.. I use and love many of the products he dreamed up and made happen.
    incendy
  • Very inspiring letter

    That's a very nicely written letter. I hope things work out very well for him.
    P. Douglas
  • RE: J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

    I first met J when I was a youngish engineer in a Microsoft field office. I was fascinated by this thing called the Internet which not many people at corporate Microsoft were paying much attention to. Uh, this was the early nineties. He happened to visit my town which was hosting one of the early Internet World's. I hung out with him throughout the conference. For those of you not in the know, J is one of the reasons there is an Internet stack (TCP/IP) in Windows 95. It was known as project Wolverine if my aging memory serves me well.

    Good luck to J!

    -CB
    ctbarker32@...
  • Allard and Bach get the boot - Microsoft ZDNet makes it a beautiful thing.

    But this doesn't solve anything. The problem is at the top. Propaganda minister Ballmer needs to go. But it won't ever happen. Microsoft wouldn't be Microsoft without propaganda minister Ballmer.
    The real reason Allard and Bach were fired is Apple SECURITY. Think about it.
    zato_3@...
    • Stop making nonsense...

      @zato_3@...
      Given that Allard and Bach worked for Microsoft, what does Apple have to do with anything? And for that matter, Apple Security barely exists. Think I'm kidding? How is it then, Apple gets regularly PWNED at every CanSecWest Pwn2Own contest? At the last contest, Charlie said he had a library of over 150 exploits in his bag of tricks. The last major Apple update only took out maybe 25 of them. And since that's been a while ago, I'm sure he's added a few more to his collection. "Apple Security" is a nonsequitor like "military intelligence".

      Apple's software for Windows (Quicktime, iTunes, and Safari) generally are quite insecure and have been known to have exploits you can drive a Mack Truck through.

      So please... Elaborate. Tell us all about how and WHY they got "fired" because of "Apple Security"...
      Wolfie2K3
  • RE: J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

    He probably could have been MS's Jobs, if given enough rope. Unfortunately, I think it became a noose. Good luck, J. A.
    MurphysLaww
  • excellent!

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later. I invite you to see my post, I hope you will find interesting too.
    radu_prisacaru
  • RE: J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

    "We?re the only high-tech company with the track record and self-confidence to reinvent ourselves as we have."

    This is a joke is it not? MSFT has been grinding out startling mediocrities for decades: Xbox, Zune, SPoT, PlaysForSure, Vista, Encarta, Money, etc. The problem is that MSFT has not had the COURAGE to reinvent itself, being content to emphasize intellectual theft to the shunning of innovation (because, what the hell, they have no alternative...).

    MSFT will have another epic fail in WinPho because it has not invested in developing a culture of innovation. You cannot produce what you have never done. WinCE and WinMob were just thrown together junk to support the big WinMonopoly. They existed only as monopoly defenders and their authors NEVER considered innovation as important.

    Now, surprise, surprise, the rotund, stupid fool at the top of the BloatFarm knows he must have innovation to compete. Good luck monkey boy. You cannot have what you never wanted because you never developed a capability to make it.
    Jeremy W
  • RE: J Allard's goodbye note: 'No chairs were thrown'

    He seen too many Geraldo Rivera or Jerry Springer shows.
    Like many people that had been a large corporation a long time, it is time to move on to newer & better things.
    Best wishes to J Allard and Robbie Bach.
    phatkat
  • microsoft Demise

    microsoft Seems, for years, to be running without strategic leadership. I recently took a tour of their "Home of the future" that portrays to present a home 5 - 10 years into the future and found it not inspiring. Are the many dots inside microsoft connected? Can this lack of inner connection enable microsoft connect with the trends outside their big world?

    What has Ballmer done to assure shareholders that microsoft is not missing on opportunities.
    ega9831