The story of Microsoft’s openness

Wired has this long but interesting article about how a few people at Microsoft went against their PR department and other top management to essentially start a culture of open communications with the outside world. This is now largely seen as a major success story – and Microsoft is one of the few major corporations that now has this culture of open blogging (with about 4500 employees blogging).

Lenn Pryor who started this initiative, go this idea after the following experience:

Pryor used to be terrified of flying. A close friend had survived a near-crash in the early ’90s, and it affected Pryor deeply. The idea of putting his life in the hands of two pilots he didn’t know gave him panic attacks. Before boarding a plane, he was routinely sick to his stomach, and he spent most of each flight alternately meditating and gripping his arm rests in fear. Then he met a pilot for Delta Air Lines. Pryor quizzed the pilot about every detail of flying jetliners, how many backup systems they had, what it would take to make a plane fall out of the sky. It worked. By getting inside the pilot’s head, he came to understand how safe flying actually is.

A decade later, Pryor was seeing similar signs of anxiety in the tens of thousands of software developers who create programs that work with the Windows operating system.

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