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NY Times: Microsoft Rehires Former Employees Who Tried Their Hand at Dot Coms

Martin O'Donnell pointed out this New York Times article, in his finest "over the transom" fashion. In Microsoft Proves a Lure After Internet Stints (registration required), the company is depicted as more than willing to rehire its ex-employees who have tried their hand at working for competitors or Dot Com companies.

Martin emphasized the following quotation, attributed to Glenn Pascall, senior fellow at the Institute of Public
Policy at the University of Washington: "The fear and loathing of Microsoft as too big and too dominant is found
almost everywhere but Seattle." This is a recurring theme of all Microsoft media coverage during the second term of the Clinton Administration, to be sure. One has to wonder, however, whether this sort of sentiment is on the verge of becoming a cliché.

You may recall that the original demonstrators of much of the fear and loathing were venture capitalists and entrepreneurs trying to launch new technology ventures. These people have made and lost a great deal of money in the last five years. But in the process, perhaps the lesson most consistantly learned is that the creation of a viable business model is a lot more of a short-term challenge than the implicit threat of Microsoft depriving a new venture of oxygen.

Getting back to the article's larger point, that Microsoft is willing to hire back its prodigal employees. What's so unusual about that? Many industries are "small worlds".

The bulk of CTDATA's work has been in the financial services and consumer goods manufacturing businesses in the Northeast. We have seen both service providers and individual employees cycle around among two or three large clients. An employee who works at Kraft Foods takes a new job at Unilever, then returns to Kraft two or three years later. A consulting firm does a project at J.P. Morgan, exits the project after two or three years, and returns to work on another project a year or two later.

If the largest and most successful companies in America, like Microsoft, know anything, they know that leveraging the productivity of talented individuals is the key to their future success. Because their is still a shortage of dependable people in most industries and regions of the world, the most bankable currency is a person who has already proven they can do the job.

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