In the first of a two-part episode, Paul and Rich talk to Dean Hachamovitch, the former corporate vice president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft. In this installment, we talk about what that job is like on day one, and how to motivate a large team working on a massive scale.
Rich: Did you view yourself as an employee at that point? At that point, you’ve got a weird tattoo somewhere, right?
Dean: I have no idea how to interpret any of these questions.
Dean: There are these fun stories of new hires coming in. So some fresh-out-of-college person shows up, the email goes out to the team: “Please welcome Joanna Smith, who’s joining us from Carnegie Mellon University, or from Stanford, or wherever.” And you go by the office to say, “Hey, welcome to the team, how’s it going, what are you working on?” And they go, “Oh, I have this bug to fix. They gave me this bug, I’m all checked in and I’m going to go fix this bug.” And you go, “Well, you know, that’s great. You’re getting started on your first day fixing a bug and that’s going to be great. Just one word of advice here: Don’t break the internet.”
A “glorious bulleted list” about the career of Dean Hachamovitch
- Joined Microsoft straight out of college (Harvard) in 1990
- Began his career at Microsoft’s online gaming site zone.com
- Worked on MS Office for a decade
- Joined the Internet Explorer team
- General manager of IE from 2003–2010 before being promoted to VP
- Became corporate vice president: Chief ata scientist in 2013
- Listed on many patents for things like AutoComplete, AutoCorrect, and progress animation.
- Left MS a year later to be an adviser to LifeQ
- On the board of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College
- Needs 6 more friends to push him over the 500+ on LinkedIn
- At the Mix 06 conference in Las Vegas, he famously said: “I want to be clear: We messed up. We messed up. As committed as we are to the browser, we just didn’t do a good job demonstrating it.”