EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.15.08

James Plamondon: Microsoft Guerrilla

Posted in FUD, Marketing, Microsoft at 3:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gorilla
“Organize into a Jihad”

“Evangelism” is a word that’s hardly found outside Microsoft. It sounds a little like “angel” (it contains this as a substring) and it has nothing to do with technical work. It’s more like AstroTrufing (under a fancier name of course), which sometimes reaches sites like ZDNet. Microsoft is said to be encouraging this.

Microsoft has a lot of people that it calls “evangelists” (just watch the size of this list), but one who stood out from the crowd is James Plamondon, whose vile attitude and affinity of guerrilla can be jaw-dropping.

Remember that presentation which talks about Microsoft marketing as "Jihad"? That was him. One has to see it to believe it. The full text is in Groklaw. It turns out that it was composed by the same man who called software developers “pawns”. There were some articles about it at the time of the trial which Microsoft quickly paid to settle out of court (and for the damning evidence to be destructed, just like with Caldera.

James Plamondon was a technical evangelist at the company for eight years

[...]

“They’re essential,” he said about software developer pawns, according to a transcript of his remarks. “So you can’t win without them, and you have to take good care of them. You can’t let them feel like they’re pawns in the struggle.”

In the speech, entitled “Power evangelism and relationship evangelism,” Plamondon continued: “I mean, all through this presentation previously, I talked about how you’re using the pawns and you’re going to screw them if they don’t do what you want, and dah-dah-dah. You can’t let them feel like that. If they feel like that, you’ve lost from the beginning…. So you can’t let them feel like pawns, no matter how much they really are.”

Plamondon a technical evangelist for eight years at Microsoft, did not return an e-mailed request for comment.

[...]

In other comments about developers, Plamondon equated working with them to taking someone out on a first date. “It’s like you’re going out with a girl; forgive me, it goes the other way also. You’re going out with a girl, what you really want to do is have a deep, close and intimate relationship, at least for one night. And, you know, you just can’t let her feel like that, because if you do, it ain’t going to happen, right. So you have to talk long term and white picket fence and all these other wonderful things, or else you’re never going to get what you’re really looking for.”

James Plamondon also has a homepage, so those who are curious can pay a quick visit.

Why did he seemingly escape to Australia? Is he one of those embarrassed Microsoft employees who hide in the suburbs ashamed and guilty of what they had done. That’s the way Robert X. Cringely explained it anyway. Have a look.

There are hundreds of Microsoft millionaires (and even a few Microsoft billionaires) in the suburbs of Seattle. For the most part, these are people who no longer work for Microsoft, but still own company shares. They worked very hard for years and are now reaping the rewards of that work combined with their good luck. Most of them are proud of their careers, but a few are secretly ashamed. Climb high enough in the organization, and it becomes clear that Microsoft’s success has not always been based on legal or ethical behavior. The company is, after all, a convicted monopolist, and the exercise of those monopoly powers wasn’t just through a Gates or a Ballmer, but also through dozens of top managers, at least some of whom had to have known that what they were doing was wrong. These are smart people, but also people trapped by their own success. Some are in denial, some are just quiet. Nobody wants to risk what they have accumulated by talking about it. You would think great wealth would be freeing, but it isn’t always. Sometimes it is a trap.

[...]

During one of those last long nights working to deliver DOS 2.0 in early 1983, I am told that Paul Allen heard Gates and Ballmer discussing his health and talking about how to get his Microsoft shares back if Allen were to die.

Maybe that’s just the sort of fiduciary discussion board members have to have, but it didn’t go over well with Paul Allen, who never returned to Microsoft, and over the next eight years, made huge efforts to secure his wealth from the fate of Microsoft.

To engage in the behaviour projected by James Plamondon, one has to lack human ethics. It’s almost like an illness. Where does Microsoft find and recruit such people?

“Mopping Up can be a lot of fun. In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

10 Comments

  1. pcolon said,

    November 15, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Gravatar

    These “evangelists” give the word a bad connotation in what they’re doing. Also, it is they who use the religion type remarks vilifying people who prefer Freedom (FOSS).

    Ass for Plamondon, another puzzling question would be; ‘How can another individual in the workplace, if not of like mind, work with excreta infection such as him?”.

  2. G. Michaels said,

    November 15, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Gravatar

    Hey Roy, is pcolon’s comment an example of the personal attacks that “have no place on BoycottNovell”? Is your post about this person an example of the ad-hominem attacks that show the “desperation” of the evil people?

    Is your link to his family page an example of the stalking you claim afflicts you and your collaborators?

    Just curious.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  3. pcolon said,

    November 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Gravatar

    @g.michaels: This is an opinion based on the subject of the post and my opinion alone. There is no personal attack.

    “Evangelism” usually is used as a depiction of “proclaiming good news”, further, a “technological evangelist is associated by people who look to establish a technology as de facto standards or to participate in setting non-proprietary open standards.

    The case with Microsoft, since it includes services or material benefits, would be better served to use “proselytism”.

    The behavior of any person who doesn’t value another individual as he values himself would be short-changing anyone in contact with said individual.

    Have a nice day.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 16, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Gravatar

    The Web page was just brought to my attention by a reader. it provides background.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 16, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Gravatar

    Wow. Watch this comment:

    http://scripting.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/scripting-news-for-192007/#comment-34530

    ________

    Dave,

    I appreciate your referring to me as “one of the good guys” at Microsoft, back in the 1990’s — although I must say that all of us in Microsoft’s Developer Relations Group (DRG) thought of ourselves that way. It was a great team.

    You can find my response to ComputerWorld’s article here (towards the bottom):
    http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=271057

    I refer to this version of my response, rather than the one on ComputerWorld’s SharkBait, because this version contains URLs to relevant definitions and other resources.

    Inevitably, Microsoft’s PR people are distancing Microsoft from my 1996 presentation, saying that the approach to evangelism that it describes was not then, and is not now, Microsoft’s policy. This overlooks the fact that my presentation was such a hit with DRG’s management that I gave it in three subsequent internal training sessions at (roughly) six-month intervals. DRG’s management REQUIRED the attendance of all newly-hired evangelists at these presentations, and the attendance & participation of all other evangelists was recommended. The pace of hiring new evangelists then slowed, so it was not necessary to give such internal training sessions thereafter. Microsoft had not previously had any formal training seminars for newly-hired evangelists, so far as I know (between 1992 and 1996). If you read the transcript of the “offending” presentation, you’ll see that Marshall Goldberg — a senior evangelist who had frequent meetings with Microsoft’s senior executives, including Bill Gates — refers to me as being Microsoft’s “evangelism theoretician.”

    The point being that Microsoft recognized that my presentations on evangelism theory, strategy, and tactics — of which only one has been entered into the public record, the others still being massively confidential — were, in fact, the best embodiment of Microsoft’s evangelism “policy” that existed at the time. Else, they would have used some other materials and presenter for new-evangelist training, would they not?

    Another portion of the old “pawns” methaphor said “We can only win the allegiance of the pawns by understanding what they need, and supplying it; what they fear, and alleviating it; what they believe, and reinforcing it; where they want to go tomorrow, and taking them there. Set things up so that they get what they want by helping you get what you want – then just get out of their way.”

    Hardly a prescription for abuse, is it?

    That said, the “pawns” metaphor was stretched well beyond the breaking point, and should not have been used.

    The “first-date” analogy was puerile, stupid, and wrong. In one of the other training presentations, I emphasize that the first rule of evangelism is, simply, “Never lie; always tell the truth” — a point contradicted by my stupid “first-date” ramblings. I was usually slated as the “after lunch” speaker because I was recognized for my ability to wake up a sleepy audience — and in my search for spicy, vivid, exciting analogies, I went too far, for which I am truly sorry.

    Fair enough?

    Thanks! :-)

    James Plamondon
    CEO, Thumtronics
    The New Shape of Music(tm)
    http://www.thummer.com

    P.S.: Once I’m done revolutionizing the music-technology world, I really should finish my book on the theory and practice of technology evangelism.

    ____

    So it was indeed Microsoft’s policy.

    Also see: http://www.thumtronics.com/Ron.pdf (going ‘lyrical’ elsewhere)

  6. David Gerard said,

    November 17, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Gravatar

    The word “evangelism” in this sense was popularised by Apple. It’s given its name to a form of marketing. It’s not a Microsoft jargon word.

    Guy Kawasaki wrote a book on the subject, Selling the Dream (Amazon link), about how he did it at Apple, which I highly recommend. Certainly applicable to free software. Guy also blogs chronically about this sort of thing.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 17, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks.

    If you do a Web search for “evangelism”, then you’ll find that a lot of he stuff is Microsoft.

  8. David Gerard said,

    November 17, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Gravatar

    Don’t let them co-opt it then! ;-)

    I just wrote a message to discussion@fsfeurope.org on this topic, quoting this Guy Kawasaki blog post.

    Being hopelessly addicted to volunteer activism in far too many spheres, I apply this stuff lots. I need to find my copy of Selling The Dream again … it’s in a box somewhere. (The running joke in my house: “Where’s x?” “It’s IN A BOX!” One day everything will be unpacked … then we’ll probably move.)

    This, by the way, suggests to me that free software “gateway drugs” really work, e.g. Firefox, OpenOffice, GIMP. Users care about applications; once they’re using all-free applications, swapping the OS out from under is easy and they sudenly discover their battery life has doubled from not running an antivirus. Etc. This suggests that Microsoft’s drive to make Windows a first-class platform for open source software will in fact shoot them in the foot, and I’m sure they have a game plan that says it won’t but I still can’t see what it might be myself.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 17, 2008 at 5:49 am

    Gravatar

    They haven’t a choice. People will use such applications either way, but Microsoft tries to deprive GNU/Linux of users. it’s the same on the server side.

    I liked one of Guy’s talks when I read it almost 3 years ago.

  10. James Plamondon said,

    December 13, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, et al.,

    You’re right. Some of the evangelism practices that I taught and executed at Microsoft in the 1990′s were unethical. I didn’t think so at the time — I thought that they were just hyper-competitive — but I agree now.

    I am trying to change the error of my ways. I trust that you will agree that even the most hardened sinner can be redeemed.

    Read more here: http://platformevangelism.spaces.live.com/blog

What Else is New


  1. Great News: While IBM et al Try to Undermine Patent Reform the Supreme Court Deepens the Reform in TC Heartland Case

    In a unanimous decision, with the court ruling 8-0 against TC Heartland, the monkey business in East Texas (beneficial to patent trolls and large businesses that leverage software patents) may have just come to an end



  2. Speculations About Battistelli's End of Term, Campinos at EUIPO, and Failed UPC Ambitions

    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  3. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  4. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  5. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  6. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  7. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  8. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  9. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  10. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  11. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  12. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  13. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  14. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  15. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  16. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  17. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  18. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  19. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  20. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  21. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  22. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  23. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  24. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  25. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  26. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  27. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  28. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)



  29. Links 10/5/2017: Mesa 17.1, Git 2.13, Qt Creator 4.3 RC1, MINIX 3.4 RC6

    Links for the day



  30. Team UPC Still Twists and Fabricates Statements to Make It Seem Like Unitary Patent is Happening Soon

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a terrible system which was envisioned and covertly constructed by those who stand to benefit/profit from injunctions and trolling, is not going anywhere, but media which is dominated by Team UPC would have us believe otherwise


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts