Cover image for Microsoft first generation : the success secrets of the visionaries who launched a technology empire
Microsoft first generation : the success secrets of the visionaries who launched a technology empire
Tsang, Cheryl D., 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : J. Wiley & Sons, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvii, 253 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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HD9696.63.U64 M538 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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What began as a modest start-up partnership only twenty-five years ago has already surpassed all the giants of contemporary capitalism, including General Electric and IBM, and has achieved a value estimated at nearly $500 billion. How did Microsoft achieve all of this in so short a time? What was the true nature of the Microsoft environment in the beginning, and what are the secrets behind its triumph?

Find the answers here. With \IMicrosoft First Generation\N, Cheryl Tsang skillfully renders recent history in bold, colorful strokes, highlighting each of the specific business qualities and entrepreneurial traits that turned Microsoft's dreams into reality. Meet the early builders of Microsoft, and step inside the famous culture of loyalty, the storied "maniacal work ethic," and the hardcore world of reckless risk-taking that remains so integral to the computer giant's matchless and ongoing success.

Here, up close and personal, Tsang introduces readers to twelve members of Microsoft's mythic first generation, each of whom has walked away from Microsoft as a multimillionaire. The collection spans a diverse collection of creative geniuses and business wizards, from Bob O'Rear, employee number seven, who joined the team in 1977 and wrote the original MS-DOS program on the first IBM PC; to bestselling author Russell Borland who, after innocently answering a help wanted ad for a technical copywriter in 1980, suddenly became the mouthpiece of an entire company, singlehandedly familiarizing the world with Microsoft products; to Trish Millines, who began as a software tester in 1988 and then blazed a trail and effected lasting change as a powerful advocate for ethnic diversity in the technological arena.

Featuring candid appraisals of the idiosyncrasies of software culture, fascinating portraits of the enigmatic Bill Gates, and rare photographs of the company's early days, \IMicrosoft First Generation\N uncovers a range of surprising success secrets-and reveals, once and for all, exactly what makes Microsoft tick.

Author Notes

Cheryl Tsang is an award-winning business journalist and fiction writer. She lives in Bellevue, Washington.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Microsoft and Bill Gates are synonymous. Although Gates appears on the covers of news magazines and is treated as a celebrity, few are familiar with Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. Allen, who left Microsoft in 1983, is nonetheless the third richest man in America, with $22 billion. Then there are the even more anonymous "Microsoft millionaires," the young workers hired by Gates and Allen because they were bright, willing to take risks, and possessed a "maniacal work ethic." In return, they collected stock options that were worth more when they left Microsoft and cashed them in than they could ever have dreamed. Tsang profiles 12 of those people, who represent a cross section of Microsoft's first generation of employees. Included are programmers, project managers, and individuals who worked in marketing and in accounting. Tsang conducted extensive interviews to find out the paths those men and women took to arrive at Microsoft, what life was like there, and what happened to them after they left the company. --David Rouse

Library Journal Review

How has mighty Microsoft, begun 25 years ago as a two-man (Bill Gates and Paul Allen) partnership of extremely bright "twentysomethings," amassed an estimated market value of nearly $500 billion and become the predominant computer company in the world? This is the focus of business journalist Tsang's collection of personal stories from 12 former "softies" and their fond reminiscences about their work in the very early days of the firm. Among the alums interviewed are Bob O'Rear, the original programmer of the first MS DOS program for the IBM machine, and Trish Maline, an early beta tester who became the advocate for the ethnic diversity movement inside the company. From these tales, Tsang summarizes keys to the unprecedented success of Microsoft, including its famous maniacal work ethic, an emphasis on risk taking, an unwavering drive to success, and the unique internal culture mainly influenced by the even more unique personality of CEO Gates. Throughout these fascinating inside scoops, listeners will be continually intrigued by the always crisp narration by Mary Woods, which reveals some of the truth about what it was really like to work for Microsoft in the beginning. While this is not a historical analysis of the company, a story yet to be told, these nostalgic recollections are important to the growing computer history genre and are essential for all university libraries supporting an information systems curriculum.√ĄDale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Tsang offers a biography of a dozen early Microsoft employees who played key roles in the company's early successes. These are people never heard of--Bob O'Rear, Scott Oki, Richard Brodie, Russell Borland, Neil Evans, Dave Neir, Ida Cole, Min Yee, Ron Harding, Paul Sribhibhadh, Russell Steele, and Trish Millines Dziko--who succeeded because they were all brilliant overachieving workaholics blessed by having the greatest overachiever of all--Bill Gates--as their boss. Although the book discusses each person separately, their stories are basically the same--if one is very good at one's job and totally devoted to it, there will be success. Their average stay at Microsoft was about ten years, and they are all comfortably retired now. Thankfully, the author does not indicate how much money they received for retirement. This is not hard-hitting journalism, and readers will not come away with original success secrets, but they will learn a bit of the history and personalities that formed Microsoft. Recommended for all levels of readers. H. J. Bender; Education Process Improvement Center, Inc.

Table of Contents

Bob O'RearScott OkiRichard BrodieRussell BorlandNeil EvansDave NeirIda ColeMin YeeRon HardingPaul SribhibhadhRussell SteeleTrish Millines Dziko
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1 "The Mathematician," 1977-1993p. 1
2 "The Force," 1982-1992p. 23
3 "The Dilettante," 1981-1994p. 47
4 "The Author," 1980-1997p. 69
5 "The Professor," 1983-1994p. 87
6 "The CPA," 1983-1993p. 113
7 "The Independent," 1984-1990p. 131
8 "Min," 1985-1992p. 149
9 "The Techie," 1986-1990p. 179
10 "The Diplomat," 1987-1997p. 195
11 "The Musician," 1986-1994p. 213
12 "The Athlete," 1988-1996p. 227
Afterwordp. 243
Indexp. 249