On December 10, 2018 Geekwire published an article about Microsoft seating first in Forbes ‘Just 100’ list of most responsible companies. To learn this, Forbes partnered with Just Capital and asked 81,000 Americans what they want to see most from America’s largest companies. Among the top answers were fair pay, treating customers well (while keeping their information private), environmental friendliness, and commitment to diversity. Of 890 of the largest publicly-traded companies, Microsoft ranked #1 which shows that while taking public interest to heart, it continues to grow economically and in public consciousness.

Categories where Microsoft did exceedingly well:

  • Environment – minimize pollution, reduce waste, and protect the planet
  • Worker Treatment – keeping worker pay and treatment at the heart of just business practices
  • Customers – maintaining fair treatment, privacy, and honest sales terms
  • Leadership – prioritizing ethical leadership and value creation 
  • Communities – providing community support at home and abroad

Though Microsoft like any other company has room to grow, the most noteworthy category I found was where they ranked lowest: products.

  • Products and services should be high quality, fairly priced, and beneficial to society.

Entrepreneurs create companies because they have a passion for an idea or product; success often follows if they can solve a problem facing their target market. Having been involved in the software industry for decades, Microsoft’s strong brand awareness and reputation for great products have kept them in competitive business all these years. Because of this it’s rather shocking to see that they ranked so low in the product category. If not for their product, why are their customers so loyal and their brand first-rate?

In an interview that came long the rankings, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Forbes in an interview “People are finally coming around to saying, ‘it’s not just the surplus you’ve created for yourself. What’s the state of the world around you?’ That’s where I feel like we’re at our best.”  With this is mind it seems ever more relevant to ask what your company is doing to support the state of the world around you? Having a product or service that solves a problem or that people enjoy is what put you into business, but how do you take it to the next level in how you give back to your employees, customers, and the environment. We’re curious at thinkspace what you’re doing and where you think you rank in these categories. Leave a comment below and let’s start a discussion on why your product isn’t always the sole driver of your company’s success.

 

 

When you saw the title of this article, what came to mind? That was actually a trick question for anyone other than the soloprenuer. If you are a soloprenuer, your best asset might be a “what.” But, for the rest of us – your best asset is probably a “who.”Earlier this year, Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft would be raising employee salaries as a part of an overall revamp of its employee review and compensation system. This shift is proof of Microsoft’s attempt to protect their best asset – their people. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, some of the best known web companies from the Bay Area –  including Zygna, Salesforce, Google and Facebook are opening satellite offices in Seattle in order to tap the region’s pool of software engineering talent. Though companies like Microsoft can offer comparable compensation packages, the news doesn’t bode well for local start ups.

So, I am here to put a little bug in your ear. I’m not telling you to go and give each of your employees a 15% raise, but I am reminding you to keep your best people at the forefront of your mind. Make them a part of a mission that is bigger than themselves and more important than their yearly salary.

Everyone knows that Microsoft’s HQ is in Redmond, but, how much physical office space does Microsoft occupy in Bellevue?  I was reading a report that GVA Kidder Matthews released about how much office space they have.  Some of this information is from that report, some of the information I found on my own.  All of their office space in Bellevue is leased.  However, most of their office space in Redmond is owned.  The amount of office space in Bellevue is a tiny compared to the amount of space that Microsoft already has in Redmond.

Downtown Bellevue: Approximately 1,300,000 SF. (1,621,000 SF. corrected 1/30/09)

  • Lincoln Square – 320,000 SF.
  • Bravern – 740,000 SF.
  • City Center Plaza – 240,000 SF. (561,000 SF. – corrected 1/30/09)

Redmond: Approximatley 11,450,000 SF.

  • Currently under construction is the $1 billion, 14-building expansion project on its main Redmond campus.  Information provided by Schnitzer Northwest.
Microsoft’s Puget Sound Headcount:
  • 2004:  28,587
  • 2005:  30,858
  • 2006:  34,869
  • 2007:  36,405
  • 10/08:  41,276
Microsoft has never had a year where its headcount has declined.  It will be interesting to see if Microsoft will keep that up for 2009.  Even with a “headcount freeze” they still managed to hire 500 people in the month of November, per the Seattle PI.