Farewell to Microsoft (8/23/1999)

22 years ago today, I said farewell to Microsoft.

I started at the 10-year-old, 800-person, privately held company in June, 1985. Windows 1.0 shipped that November, and the MSFT IPO was March 13, 1986. During my 14 years and 2 months at “the ‘soft”, I helped the company grow to over 30,000 employees, made a lot of mistakes, worked on some disaster projects, but still managed to ship software used by hundreds of millions of people, including MS-DOS 6, Windows 95, Internet Explorer and *.CAB files.

My about page has more details on my Microsoft career, as does my LinkedIn profile, so here is the farewell email that I sent, as was customary in that era at Microsoft:

From: Ben Slivka (at home) [mailto:Ben@slivka.com]
Sent: Monday, August 23, 1999 9:37 PM
To: 'BenS Goodbye'

BCC: {541 email addresses -- see below}
Subject: farewell

After 14 years, I am leaving Microsoft.  This was not an easy decision, nor a snap decision, as Microsoft has provided me with many great opportunities and much good fortune.

As I think about my years at Microsoft, my most vivid memories are of the people of Microsoft, and the fun I had working with you.  The 80-hour weeks and adrenaline rush of IE, the MS-DOS 6 late-night compression hit-squads, designing Microsoft Version 3 with the MMR crew, due diligence trips, recruiting trips, a few lawsuits, the 386 OS/2 prototype, the Win95 ship party, and all the other trials and tribulations that consumed so much of our time and energy and passion.

I spent the past several days rolling back the clock to recall all of the Microsoft people whom I wanted to thank.  Putting aside the casual e-mail or phone call or office conversation, my list grew to over 500 of you!

A few of you I hired into Microsoft, and others I recruited from elsewhere inside Microsoft or "inherited" by virtue of taking on a new assignment.  Some of my most satisfying work was helping you learn and grow, even for all the mistakes I made while "helping".

A few of you I actually worked for, and I learned a great deal from each of you, even if it didn't appear so at the time!

And many of you I encountered along the way as I tried to get my own projects done, or tried to help you get yours done (or maybe we just ran into each other at parties.)

I'm very proud of the team efforts that I was fortunate to contribute to in building MS-DOS 6, Windows 95, Diamond, Internet Explorer, and our Java VM.  Each of these efforts were successful only because of the outstanding people who had the right vision and the passion and the energy and the expertise to come together and build a great product.  And even in the less successful projects - OS/2, Panther, and Redshark (MSN gets an incomplete) - I learned so many valuable lessons.

I am staying in the Seattle area, and you can always reach me via e-mail (ben@slivka.com).

Thank you so much for allowing me to play a small part in your life.

For posterity, here are the 541 email addresses on the BCC line (the 497 foo@microsoft.com addresses are presented as foo@ to save space):

71664.2503@CompuServe.com, a-andtev@, aaronco@, aarono@, aaronr@, abay@, a-cathyw@, adam@rauch.com, adamb@, adamde@, adriaanc@, alanau@, alecs@, alessanm@, alexgo@, alexgt@msn.com, alexloeb@, alvys@, andersh@, andreib@, andrewk@, andyp@, annesc@, annmc@, anthonys@, arnoldb@, arthurbi@, arulm@, atsushik@, autumn@, autumnw@, barbarad@, barbe@, barrys@halcyon.com, bcountry@, bena@, bendaven@, benjones@, benw@, bernarda@, betsyj@, bfox@, bgivens@, bharats@, bherbold@, bill_pope@msn.com, billbak@, billbl@, billg@, billkru@, billn@, billv@, blakei@, blampson@, bobesh@, bobhed@, bobm@, bobmu@, brad@the-silverbergs.com, bradc@, bradlo@, bradsch@, bradwr@, brendand@, briana@, brianmac@, briansm@, brianv@, briggsw@, brucefo@, brucemac@, bryanst@, bryanwi@, bshah@, byronb@, c_myhrvold@hotmail.com, cameronf@, candaceg@, carlalew@, carls@, carlt@, carolwhi@, castedoe@, ccooney@, cecilju@, charlesf@, CharlesGust@earthling.net, charless@, charleyp@, chealy@, cheechew@, chescaw@, chrisf@, chrisfra@, chrisg@, chrisjo@, chrisli@, chrisp@, chuck@dealstudios.com, chuckm@, clwill@, colinmil@, Cornelius@qpass.com, coryv@, craigfi@, craigsi@, craigwi@, curtsm@, cwilso@, danallen@, danli@, dannygl@, danpl@, darylo@, davegas@, davehe@, davepl@, davereed@, davesh@, daveth@, davewill@, davidby@exmsft.com, davidcol@, daviddi@, davidds@, davidmck@, davidms@, davidna@, davidpar@, davidpr@, davidso@, davidstu@, davidt@, davidtr@, davidv@, davidw@, dbayer@, deannag@, debbieh@, debbiewa@, debbl@, deniselr@, dennisad@, dennist@, dgreen@, dhach@, dhirenf@, dianed@, djk@, donaldm@, donbrad@, donel@, donh@, doughe@, drosen@, dschott@, duanec@, dweise@, ebbea@, edc@, edf@, edithf@, edst@, edwardj@exmsft.com, edwayt@, edye@, ehults@, eileenj@, elizbas@, ericar@, ericeng@, erichand@, erichen@, ericl@, ericr@, ericst@, eugeneh@, fabioy@, felixa@, forrestf@, francish@, frankar@, frankpe@, garybu@, garyki@, garyne@, georgem@, georgen@, georgep@, geraldd@, gideony@, gideonz@, gilado@, Goetter@halcyon.com, gordm@, gordonl@, gpease@, grantg@, gray@, gregj@halcyon.com, gregma@, gregro@, gregshaw@, gstein@lyra.org, hadi@tellme.com, halho@, halliet@, hanss@exmsft.com, harelk@, harishn@, heidykr@, heikkik@, henrysa@, hillelc@, holly@marklyn.com, horvitz@, ianel@, irar@, jallard@, jamespl@, jasonand@, jawadk@, jaya@, jcordell@, jeannes@, Jeff@doublebit.com, jeff@, jeffbi@, jeffbog@, jeffku@, jeffmj@, jeffort@, jeffsa@, jeffsch@, jeffwe@, jenh@, jenk@, jeremys@, jerryd@, jforbes@, jhludwig@hotmail.com, jillro@, jimbr@, jimmat@aloha.net, jingc@, joachimk@, joanh@, joeb@, joeos@, joepe@, joes@, johannp@, johnbed@, johncon@, johngray@, johnmas@, johnshew@, johnza@, jonburs@, jonde@, jonro@, jont@, josephm@, joshh@, jroxe@, jschwa@, JudyN@, julianj@, julielar@, kajiya@, karenfr@, karin@plastina.com, karlt@, kates@, katesa@, kathleen@, kathrynh@angrygraycat.com, kathrynh@, kathyfa@, kavis@, kayb@, kcoop@, keithd@, keithl@exmsft.com, keithla@, kenong@, kentsu@, kenwic@, kevinjo@, kevinki@, kevinmil@, kevinpur@, kevinshi@, kimb@, kimberle@, kimpar@, kirksc@, korys@, kriso@, kristh@, laled@, larah@, larrye@, larryo@, larrysu@, laura_fm@hotmail.com, lauraj@, laurapi@, Laurie_Raisys@hotmail.com, leeac@, leeg@, leifp@, lesleyh@, levi@, lewisl@, lins@, lizking@, lloydfr@, lnorman@, lorenk@, lorim@, loup@, lydias@, mackm@, maiken@, marco@, margiem@, markche@, markl@, marksl@, markz@, marshalb@, marype@msn.com, marysn@, mattfe@butterflyproduction.com, matthewm@, mblain@, mbmaines@, mbyron@, mdsmith@, meganb@, mgoff@, mhanfelt@hotmail.com, mhois@, micheleb@, michmath@, mikec@, mikedr@, mikeguo@, mikehy@, mikeke@, mikeko@, mikeli@, mikem@, mikemap@, mikemat@home.com, mikeris@, mikesh@, miketout@, mikets@, mikkya@, mitchd@oz.net, mitchgo@, mjerger@, mmckeown@, mmurray@, morganc@, morrisb@, moshel@, msliger@, nancymal@, nancymc@, nataliey@, natbro@, nealp@, NeilEv@aol.com, nicholer@, nickd@, nikjo@, nilsv@home.com, normj@, osharp@greenspice.com, paulfle@, paulha@, paulma@, pdussud@, peggyst@, peteku@, peterbo@, peterde@, peterpla@, peterzat@, petes@, pgross@, phelland@, philbo@, philco@, philipbi@, pierrec@, pierreys@, ppathe@, prakashs@, rajeevd@, ralfha@, ralphbu@, ralphl@, rameshp@, raor@, rashid@, rayblake@, rayka@, raymondc@, raype@, reedk@, reuelr@, richardf@, richardm@, richba@, richt@, richthom@, rickeame@, rickthom@, ricom@, Rob@Shurtleff.org, robb@, robbieb@, roberth@, roberti@, robertre@, robp@, robs@, robwell@, rodc@, rodneyv@, ronrad@, ronso@msn.com, rosiep@sprynet.com, rossh@, roxannaf@, russg@, rust@, ruthannl@, rvarun@, rwaddell@, rwolf@, ryanw@, sam@jadallah.com, sammck@, sangilj@, sanjayme@, saraw@, satona@, satyan@, saulk@, sbehm@, scapps@, scoco@, scott@randell.net, scottc@, scottchi@, scottq@, scousens@, sdouty@, sdruker@, sean@msn.com, seanf@, sgugg@, shannona@, shishirp@, sinl@, skkhang@, sreeram@, sriramr@, stephebr@, stephlov@, steveaes@, steveal@, steveb@, stevebu@, stevel@, steveluc@, stevengu@, stevepro@, SteveSa@msn.com, stevesi@, stevesmi@, strohma@, sudeepb@, summerso@, sungr@, suwatch@, suzid@, talalb@, tandyt@, tarekn@, tbrown@, tburt@, tedk@, terik@, tessa@, thomasf@, thomasko@, thomasre@, timbrag@tgi.net, timg@, timme@, toddw@, todn@, tomad@, tomb@, tomle@, tonyad@, tonyc@, tonyci@, tpeters@, tracysh@, upe@email.com, vancem@, vatsanp@, vicg@, vich@, victors@, viktorg@, viroont@, vreddy@, waldenb@, wassefh@, w-clairl@, w-coll@, wesc@ricochet.net, w-heidir@, wjpark@, w-maria@, wpoole@, wsmith@, wtseo@, yarons@, yoramy@, yslin@, yusufm@, yuvaln@

That’s All Folks!

Author: benslivka

19 start-ups, software, hardware, biotech, space launch, neurodiversity, learning, free markets, food, wine, cycling, walking, Seattle, Microsoft, Northwestern University, Garfield HS, DreamBox Learning, IBM, Amazon.

One thought

  1. I think I read this every time you post it, and causes me to reflect on good things…(for brevity, ‘good things’ represents a plethora of historical, technical, relational, and emotional events in life).

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