Financial Times has probably the most in-depth Steve Ballmer interview in a while for Bill Gates' retirement party. A lot of it is spent on his obsession with search. But there are some savory sprinkles in the mix. Like, unless the board tosses him, we've got nine more years of shouty, sweaty Photoshops to look forward to.
I'm kind of worried that he says not once, but twice, that Microsoft's key trait is persistence: "I'd call it our long term approach, which is a combination of taking on bold challenges, being patient, being persistent, being relentless." But, hypothetically, what if you're persistently getting it wrong?
I would like to see agility more than persistence. Of course big companies can be persistent—inertia can be a kind of persistence. He also scrubs on Google for doing basically one thing, and just doing it really well:
"I mean, they have a gestalt, but gestalt is gestalt. Let's talk about the reality. The reality is one product makes 98 percent of all of their money, search. Oh, they have two products, AdWords and AdSense. They have two products, both search-based, that make all of their money, and it hasn't changed a lot in five years."
Of course, Google does other stuff, but it's an interesting philosophical question: Is it better to do a zillion different things—a couple of them fairly well, some good, and a lot not so fantastic—or to do just a few really great things? [Financial Times, Thanks Jimmy]