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Bureaucratic Tales from Yahoo, Microsoft

An earlier post discussed the challenges of “staying small” when employee counts soar. More on that theme:

One. From the 12/2006 print edition of Inc. magazine (not online yet), Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield talks about changes after Yahoo bought Flickr:

We used to call our guy at Dell and put stuff on our credit card and get the servers three days later and then go and install them. Here, there’s a hardware review committee and a procurement process, and it takes weeks and weeks and weeks.

Think the formal Yahoo procurement team gets better pricing than an aggressive startup badgering their Dell saleperson at the end of the quarter? Doubtful.

Two. Responding to a spot-on diatribe by Joel Spolsky on the poorly designed Vista “off” menu, the Microsoft designer Moishe Lettvin lays the blame on Microsoft’s corporate bloat. Lettvin reports 24 engineers were involved in the “off” menu design — and that count doesn’t include managers!
(Moishe subsequently got fed up by MS bureaucracy and quit to join a smaller software shop. )

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  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman
    Alan Rimm-Kaufman founded the Rimm-Kaufman Group...
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